Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Conservative culture of obscurantism

Though it's likely that few of the CPC faithful would be familiar with the term, it seems that obscurantism is woven deeply into that party's culture.

An article in yesterday's Le Devoir offers up evidence of many instances where the Conservatives' New Government has reined in the release of information and willfully promoted a culture of obscurantism.

A brief look at the succinct entry for obscurantism in Wikipedia takes you from the familiar ("the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or full details of something from becoming known") to the hermetic (Derrida, Lacan et al). Ever pragmatic, Le Devoir provides examples of the Conservatives practices of obscuring information from the public by making it unavailable. Two major scientific studies commissioned by the federal government, the first about global warming and its effect upon public health and the second, a rigorous analysis of the social costs of our current transportation systems, were released in the dead of summer.

The article also mentions that immediately after the Conservatives came to power in 2006, all information and links regarding the Kyoto accord were removed from the Environment Canada website. An allusion to the SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) tactic for silencing critics did not reference the Chuck Cadman affair, but I will.

"Though often associated with religious fundamentalism, obscurantism is a distinct strain of thought: Fundamentalism presupposes a sincere belief in religion, while obscurantism rests on the deliberate manipulation of faith by an enlightened few."

Which segues perfectly to a rather arcane species of obcurantists: Opus Dei members. Thanks to La Presse and its diligent reporters, a Con candidate in a riding south of Montréal has been outed as an adherent of that extremist orthodox sect within the Catholic Church.

Fortunately, black hole production is not yet available to the Cons' overactive web designer geeks otherwise there might be more major 'unsanctioned' obscurantism.

CPC kids - don't play with the anti-matter machine at Conservative Party Headquarters without adult supervision, okay?

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