Saturday, April 20, 2013

Root Causes

Just want to make a quick point here about PM Harper's attack on Justin Trudeau for using the words "root causes" that's too long for the Twitters.

The quotes (from the Globe and Mail, who wrote an idiotic editorial condemning them):
“We have to look at the root causes,” Trudeau said in the interview done just hours after Monday’s bombing. “Now, we don’t know now if it was terrorism or a single crazy or a domestic issue or a foreign issue.
“But there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded. Completely at war with innocents. At war with a society. And our approach has to be, okay, where do those tensions come from?”
Here's something that's important to know - immediately before that, he made clear that we have to stop terrorists. We have to prevent terrorism.

So yes, part of Trudeau's approach is clearly to try to build up our society. Building up our society won't stamp out mental illness - but that's definitely a cause of terrorism, and there are things we can do that will help, a lot. It may not eliminate alienation - but if that's a cause of terrorism, having a better knit together society is probably a good idea.

We have to know.

I've seen two responses to the unhinged Con attacks that I don't think are ideal. First, "they said it too" - pointing out that Peter McKay said exactly the same thing in the past. This is twinned now with "oh, so you think President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron and others are all morons, eh, Harper? Huh? HUH?". Second, from Paul Wells, "they're doing it right now"- he finds a tonne of current government money going to exactly this kind of research.

I think these are both a little too defensive, if fun. Actually, the response needs to be "Justin was 100% right. We have to figure out why people do these things. Because we don't want to live in a world where there's terrorism. And, if you're not an idiot, that has to mean more than more police and less civil liberties - because we can't harden every target, and we can't just deport and strip of citizenship every Muslim/gun nut/Communist/person who looks at me cock-eyed/one. This week's tragedy proves that - what're you going to do, shut down all races everywhere? What about malls? Schools? Ice cream stands?".

Mr. Trudeau is right. Harper is wrong - and dangerous.

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