Thursday, January 22, 2004

Belinda Stronach and Politics

The National Post this week carried a cover story that the heiress daughter of the Magna (International Inc.) car parts firm is running for leader of Canada's new united Conservative party. She was said to be attractive, young and a "blank slate" and it was suggested that this was a good thing. "No one knows what she stands for." Perfect. Welcome to Canada where it is a good thing to not have your views known and run for leadership of a party.

The National Post writer suggested her celebrity makes her a sort of "Canadian Arnold [Schwartzenegger]." I think a better analogy would be that she reminds one of that broad toothless smile on MAD magazine - - the face of one Alfred E. Newman - - with his beaming "what me worry?" logo. We could change that to a more Canadian communitarian motto: "What, US worry?"

I suppose if she were competing to head a company, such as the one founded by her Father, Frank, and now run by her, it would be a bit surprising if part of her application procedure was to admit to Frank (we might call this a frank admission) that she knew nothing about business!

Being young, blonde, female and rich isn't enough for politics. Sorry Belinda. Perhaps you might begin considering your ambitions by learning a little about the philosophy behind politics and the role of politics in society. Consider, for example, Aristotle: "the student of politics must study virtue above all things and must study the soul..."

From what we have seen so far it would seem that what Ms. Stronach knows about politics and the soul would fit on the head of a pin. How many of these visually angelic young hopefuls can dance on the pin-like heads of those who take them seriously?

Perhaps we can argue that, having no views on her blank slate makes her an ideal representative of a society in which "beliefs" are bias and the only things that are "neutral" are values such as diversity, equality and tolerance.

Read that last sentence again. There is more nonsense in it than one can possibly believe but to understand why that is so requires much, much more than this latest candidate appears to bring to her ambitions.

National Post Article of January 17th "A Blank Slate" by Anne Kingston.

Iain T. Benson ©