Hubris may be defined, in accord with its roots in the hierarchic Greek culture from which the term derives, as thinking more of oneself than one’s talents, charisms, circumstances and office, permit. Our modern leaders seem rather full of it, and I mean hubris, acting as though their position bestows on them a wisdom and privilege far beyond their what means they have. As the Church’s prayer in the office of doctors of the Church proclaims, such ‘wisdom’ can only be the fruit of discipline, of long prayer, study, meditation, self-reflection, after which, as Socrates of old would say, one is more and more aware of what one does not know, than of what one knows.
Ponder the bizarre reaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in at a recent press conference, wherein he and his finance minister, Bill Morneau, with photo-flashes going, the reporters gathered round with baited breath, while the two politicians declared…wait for it… that they were lowering the wildly unpopular small-business tax a whole whopping… one percent. Gasp if you will, dear reader, at such largesse bestowed upon us poor beleaguered hoi polloi, thankful for such mercy of our potentates.
But it gets better: When a reporter directed a financial question to the finance minister, whose task it is to take such questions, Trudeau, with that rather annoying sideways smirk of his, intervened as the minster stepped forward, “I’ll take this one“, in tones evoking some brave soldier standing in front of a bullet for his comrade-in-arms, before adding, “it’s not every day you get to ask a question of the Prime Minister“, as he flicked an auburn lock, looking knowingly at the camera. Witness hubris, the effect upon a man somewhat too fawned, feted over and selfi-ed for his own good.
Morneau dutifully backed awkwardly down, like some beta-male extra in a film, permitting his dear leader to hold the spotlight.
It seems Trudeau conflates himself too much with his office, which, alas, to the detriment of Canada, our dysfunctional ‘democratic’ system bestowed upon him in monarchical fashion, like he was to the manor born. Of course the scion of Trudeau Sr. must hold the office of dear old dad, like the Capetians or Bourbons of old. Trudeau Jr.’s lack of preparedness for that office is obvious to anyone who reads what little he writes, or listens to his awkward speeches, his cramped mind immersed in feminist, environmental and other sundry slogans that, at some level, he seems truly to believe.
Both Morneau and Trudeau are multi-millionaires, by means that remain somewhat obscure to the popular, and by that I mean rational and Catholic, mind; yet even within the limited horizons imposed on them by such riches, they realize dimly that they have to find money somewhere to keep funding the bloated, unwieldy, debt-ridden, ready-to-capsize boat that Canada and its provinces have become. How to keep the whole thing upright, before, to paraphrase Louis the XV, le deluge? Careening towards a trillion-dollar debt, especially in a country with Canada’s limited economical base, is not a good thing, to put the matter mildly.
So they flail, trying to find money beneath what stones they might. Hence, the imposition on small businesses, where ‘real wealth’, that is, goods and products actually traded in a real market, is still being produced. As Pope Leo XIII put it in his landmark encyclical Rerum Novarum, which I suspect neither Morneau nor Trudeau nor most (all?) other current legislators have ever read, “it is by the labour of working men that states grow rich“.
There are too few such ‘working men’ in our society, most of them in ‘small businesses’, and the desperate Liberals have them, and that means many of us, in their sights, squeezing financial blood from such metaphorical, but all too real, stones.
We will see what becomes of all this, for ideas have consequences, and, as Margaret Thatcher so eloquently put it, ‘the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money‘.
At some level, the Liberals are waking up to the fact that socialism cannot work. They just don’t want to face it.
Here’s hoping some conservatives, somewhere, somehow, will. I always try to hope, even as a deluge looms. After all, God is in charge.