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I wonder how strongly the paradigm of autocracy still holds. In our lifetime, we have witnessed the fall of the paradigm of communist autocracy. In the Western world, we assume that the fall of the paradigm of theocratic autocracy must follow. It is natural to be under the mistaken belief that other societies will 'progress' in the same manner that ours has.
Outside of the Western world that likely seems an arrogant and naive assumption. Even if there are indications that there are cracks in the wall of that fortress, Amiel may be right on the mark with the warning of a lost generation. Who really knows the strength of that fortress or the size of cracks in the wall?
It is likely that democracies have been more often born out of a strongman's desire to get out of Dodge than a magnanimous gesture on his part to advance his country. I doubt relaxation is their usual state of mind in such cases.
Comparisons of contemporary autocracies with those past should take into account remarkable shifts in mass access to dialogue. When a regime attempts to stifle all dialogue, as in the Iranian case that Amiel cites, it may be the an early indication of a lost cause in an age where free dialogue is flooding even the most repressive societies.
Coyne argues that attack ads are ineffective, offering as evidence that the parties support has plateaued with no change between them. A look south of the border, where the vindictiveness in advertising makes Canadian ads seem almost chummy, together with their wildly changing electoral outcomes would suggest Coyne is off the mark.
Coyne also makes the argument that with money, people become less interested in quality. Yeah, high end manufacturers like Mercedez, Acura, BMW, these are hallmarks of low-quality. Its absurd to suggest that with money, you become less interested in quality.
Coyne offers that politics are an industry in decline, citing the falling voter turnout numbers. I don't think voter apathy suggests that politicians are doing a poor job running their industry. It likely means that the voters feel that the politicians are doing a good enough job that the voter doesn't have to go through the effort of determining the most deserving candidate. It may also mean that some voters do not see enough differentiation to bother choosing between candidates and parties.
Its also a little ironic that Coyne begins his article with a loathing CPC beat-down on the very day that the Liberals unveiled their own series of attack ads.
Had Coyne not resorted to making up specious arguments and favouritism, I think his message would have been much more worthy. Attack ads should be criticized because they are demeaning, simple as that.
Who really cares? I think that falls under the 'protest too much' category.
An interesting aspect of the article is that it focuses on Christmas, but the case works against all gift giving, so why limit the complaint to Christmas giving?