Voters’ Responsibility

H. L. Mencken, an American commentator and journalist in the early part of the 20th Century, observed that “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule.”

Local governments who quote world issues as the justification for their actions pose a particularly cogent example of this tactic. A recent attempt by some members of the North Cowichan council using the excuse of a self defined “climate emergency” to strip the value from a project that met all its zoning requirements is a classic application of it.

The proponents’ action may seem capricious and ill-conceived, but the maneuver, had it been successful, would have had the effect of transferring control and with it, effective ownership of the property. In addition, it would have created a precedent that would let the municipality use the same excuse to apply the same treatment to anyone’s property.

Municipal elections scheduled for 2022 are a good time to start reversing this trend. Good representatives share community values and aspirations. More importantly, they do not bring in externally developed ambitions, and use community assets to achieve them.

The big challenge is to get enough people out to vote. In too may cases, municipal and school board elections are won on less than a thirty percent voter turnout. That means control is handed over to a well-organized minority.

True democracy means that citizens can delegate the management of their community but never the responsibility for its outcome.

A Matter of Maturity

Recently Elizabeth May, formerly the leader of Canada’s Green Party, suggested that the country lower the voting age to sixteen. It should be obvious that this would be a disaster. Quite apart from the fact that sixteenyearolds lack a fully developed prefrontal cortex and are therefore at a disadvantage in making rational decisions, the simple fact is that they are children, not adults.

So why would May, and she is not alone in this, (the Liberals have tried to make this suggestion too) want to implement such a dangerous and unwise policy? The likely answer is:  Pure unadulterated power.  Teenagers are easily influenced, and there is more than a little wisdom in the old adage that “If you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain.” Also, as many parents and teachers can attest, almost without exception, children tend lean to the far left. What an opportunity – willing and compliant tools.

May can see a chance when it comes her way. Should she be able to accomplish her goal, Canadians may all have to deal with an irrationality they have never experienced before. This is not an exaggeration.  China’s Mao Zedong unleashed the Red Guard, an army of indoctrinated teenagers, on his enemies and as history proves, the result was disastrous. Perhaps one should not leap that far ahead, but the idea that unqualified, immature teenagers could influence politics should cause all Canadians to pause.