Pasquinade is a satire or critical comment traditionally posted in a public place in ancient Rome; in particular, on the statue of Pasquino. Pasquinades in E is my contribution to this waning tradition.
These essays are exercises in critical thinking. They aim at exorcising a number of mental prisons about aspects of governing, and at denouncing pathologies in our ways of thinking and governing ourselves, by exposing their toxic nature. Silence on such matters connotes tacit agreement with toxic nonsense and, therefore, guilt by association for the ensuing mal-governance.
Four ensembles of pathologies are considered. First, institutional pathologies: the toxic effect of the Charter of Rights, of certain special commissions of inquiry, of the creeping power of super-technocracy, and of the rampant invasion of legal corruption. Second, impostures and sophistry that have derailed the democratic conversation: weasel words, academism, fundamentalisms, demonization and psychosis. Third, toxic trends that are crippling the democratic process: the rhetoric of promiscuity, oikophobia, hyper-toleration and the politics of guilt. Fourth, a sample of redesign challenges difficult to meet because of social blindness and powerful interest groups standing in the way: the National Capital Region, higher education in Ontario, the Armed Forces, the RCMP, the Office of the Auditor General, the culture of the federal public service, and the notion of stationary population policy as fata morgana.
I will be delighted if the reader is provoked and amused by this attack on doxacracy – a democracy dependent on ill-founded opinions – and saddened if the reader is not.