Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Harper addicted to "reductio ad absurdum" argument to ridicule opponents of Northern Gateway Pipeline

Watching Mr. Harper try to frame the debate over the Gateway Northern Pipeline by using another bogeyman, that is the spectre of a "national park" for the U.S. in the northern half of the North American continent, advocated by environmental groups opposed to the pipeline, is just another reason to question the Canadian leader's grasp on reality.
There is no opinion inside or outside the U.S. that seeks, wants or even dreams of a 'national park' among any of those groups who legitimately oppose the Gateway Northern pipeline. Running up against legitimate, properly funded, assertive and prepared opponents is not something the current Canadian government leader is accustomed to facing. Ridiculing their argument by reductionism, by reductio ad absurdum in fact, is neither responsible leadership, nor is it professional representation of those interests who support the pipeline.
Such lessons were hopefully taught to Harper in his Leaside Grade eleven English classes, where the subject of appropriate devices and inappropriate devices of rational argument were on the curriculum.
Perhaps, he was absent for those classes; presumably he was tilting at the tax burder of Canadians, given his earlier position as the head of the Taxpayers Foundation.
He might  have used his time better, by attending those classes.
He would know that even elementary rational argument has its parameters, in normal professional discourse.
Of course, normal professional discourse is not something the current leader of the Canadian government is interested in modelling for the next generation of adolescent Canadians, although one of their number might actually be a son or daughter of the government leader.
Why have hearings at all, if the leader of the government is so committed to the building of the pipeline, regardless of the environmental costs, the costs to native communities, and the potential for environmental disasters on the Pacific coast.
Reading the story of the Exxon Valdez is a primer on  the potential for navigational disasters in those treacherous waters along the coastline near Kitimat where the pipeline would terminate.

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