Saturday, 8 September 2012

Diefenbaker on Communism, "Unthinkable" (movie)

John Diefenbaker was a real conservative, in the traditional Canadian style. He was for the old flag, not the Maple Leaf, for instance, and he was for the monarchy. You'd expect him to be a rabid Cold Warrior, saving Canadians from subversive Communist ideas (and ideals). Well, let him speak to that himself:
I frankly state that in 1948 my own party came out in favour of outlawing communism. I was the only one to oppose it. I received a very unusual lack of welcome. The Conservative party was going to sweep Canada with that policy. I said, 'You cannot do it. You cannot deny an individual the right to think as he will. The offence is not in being wrong, the offence is in doing wrong. Whenever communism has been outlawed it has operated underground. When it has come out, it has been stronger than ever.
He said that in the House of Commons on October 16, 1970. (Source). Although, in many ways, I am not a conservative, I would feel comfortable having a man like that in office.

The problem we now have is finding such a man. Compare his attitude to the many laws and practices that the United States now has to pursue its "wars" on drugs and terror: state-sponsored kidnapping, spying on one's own nationals without judicial warrant (though it is officially denied), star chambers, indefinite detention, torture, assassination, murder, and the use of civilians in combat (CIA and "security firms"), contrary to the usages of war and the Geneva Conventions. George Bush approved some of these, but Barack Obama has signed more violations of human rights into law, and no-one expects that Mitt Romney, if elected, would do anything except weaken legal protections even more.

If our current consensus that liberties should be sacrificed for security bothers you, if the erosion of the protection of the law makes you uncomfortable, I have a movie for you to see that will put the issues, pro and con, very clearly. It is Unthinkable, starring Samuel L. Jackson. You probably haven't seen it; it was released direct to video in 2010. Write down your thoughts, watch the movie, then go back to what you've written and see if your opinions have changed. If they have, I cannot predict how.

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