Dr. Dawg

Political symmetries

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Once it seemed that we simply took our political cues from the US and adopted every American political fad that came along. When they had a war on poverty, we soon followed. We had a war on drugs, too, and then a war on terror, with suitably draconian legislation (but without, so far as we know at least, the drones).

But now, like Mr. Jones, I think there’s something else going on, and I don’t know what it is.

Some time ago, as part of the Harper government’s war on the Enlightenment, the longform census was abolished, and replaced with a sophisticated version of those pointless on-line newspaper polls. To give our government the credit that is due, we bravely took the vanguard position in this anti-intellectual salient. Now it’s the US (well, a couple of crazed Republican congressmen, if I’m not being somewhat tautological) possibly following our lead. Does any of this sound familiar?

It’s not the first time U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-3) has signed onto a bill that would, one way or another, end a legal requirement that Americans complete the ACS, which goes to 3 million households in the United States each year and asks recipients about their state of health, how much they think their property is worth and what they do at their places of employment.

“Over the years, our office has heard from dozens, if not hundreds, of constituents about the intrusive nature of a number of Census-driven surveys-especially the American Community Survey-that are outside the core mission of the Census Bureau,” Jones said Friday.

“The eastern North Carolinians that we have heard from believe, and I agree, that the federal government should not infringe on citizens’ privacy by requiring by law the completion of this survey.”

The benighted congressman has apparently been at this since 2011. Tony Clement’s destruction of the longform census took place in 2010.

Well, we might simply conclude that political influences flow in more than one direction, or proceed by osmosis. But then how does one explain these two recent examples of synchronicity?

First, in the very midst of our Senate scandal, the Brits are having one too. It’s about influence-peddling, a no-no both here and there, uncovered by a journalistic sting operation. (Hey, how come we don’t have those?) Of course the current Senate imbroglio is mostly about other types of financial impropriety, but the Nigel Wright aspect of it, perhaps the key issue in the entire affair, concerned the executive power exerting improper influence of its own (to go easy on Senator Duffy).

Then we have the US AP scandal, in which reporters were investigated by the Obama administration, which has become paranoid about leaks. Well, funny you should mention that.

Again, it’s not the fact that powerful people and administrations behave badly in often predictable ways. It’s the timing. Not wanting to speculate foolishly, it seems difficult, nonetheless, to ascribe this solely to coincidence. It’s as though this sort of thing goes on all the time, but every so often becomes a media target du jour.

Comments welcome. As I said, I don’t really know what to make of it all. But it’s always possible, of course, that there is nothing to make.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on June 3, 2013 1:19 PM.

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