James Travers has yet another excellent op-ed in The Star today on the census, where he elaborates on the difference between facts and truthiness:
In an instructive moment here a couple of years ago, Harper encouraged loyalists to ignore experts and go with their gut.
On that particular brisk Ottawa winter afternoon the issue of the day was crime. Despite falling rates, Harper was promoting a toss-away-the-key agenda that’s now forecast to add a staggering $5 billion annually to the tax bill of a nation already deep in deficit.
Focusing on feel-good retribution instead of effective rehabilitation isn’t just costly; it’s a proven U.S. failure. Still, keeping more people in jail longer easily passes the conventional wisdom test. Debunking it requires a hurts-the-head explanation too long and layered to fit on a campaign bumper sticker.
Crime is far from the only example of the partisan benefits of preaching simple solutions to complex problems. From climate-change denial to straw man attacks on a long-gun registry police chiefs insists saves lives, comforting illusions are routinely pitted against inconvenient truths.
And then of course some earnest soul comes along in the comments and precisely proves his point:
Jul 8, 2010 9:57 AM
Look at the 'agree' and 'disagree' percentages on the posts in this column. Your answer is right there. The reason why we not only 'tollerate' Harper but in fact support him is that there are (sightly or significantly) more Conservatives than Liberals and in our democratic society, that means we can do almost anything we want.
I had sworn off commenting on these things, but I did make an exception just to point out that if this guy honestly believes that comments on an online news forum represent a statistically accurate sample than he may well have a job waiting for him at the New Conservative Statistics Canada.