🎧 | Michael Ignatieff and Yascha Mounk discuss the political challenges facing embattled liberals around the world.
"Friendship" feels like the wrong word for what Ignatieff is talking about. I don't know what's the right word, but I do know what's a good example: the way a Barack Obama and a John McCain could disagree about so much while agreeing on the importance of treating the people they disagreed with like fellow Americans. A mere thirteen years ago.
No one should place much stock in political analysis or advice from Michael Ignatieff.
I am a Canadian approaching 70. A life-long Liberal voter. Two of my great-grandfathers and a great-uncle served as Liberal MPs in the federal Parliament. Two of my Uncles ran for Parliament as Liberal candidates. I served as a legal advisor to Liberal candidates in several elections. I would have liked nothing better than to have seen Mr. Ignatieff succeed as Liberal Party leader and then Prime Minister.
However, although he is, by all accounts, an entirely honourable man, Michael Ignatieff is otherwise the Hillary Clinton of Canadian politics. Self-righteous. Short-sighted. Wrapped in a bubble of his own devise. Unable even to understand, let alone connect with, the people he sought to lead. Mr. Ignatieff paints his decision not to bring down Stephen Harper's Tory government as a matter of principle. Some sort of principled calculation not to govern with the support of separatists may well have been an element in his decision (although, at the time, Mr. Ignatieff said he was willing to enter into a coalition with the Bloc if he didn't think the upcoming Tory budget was "in the national interest"). However, deciding not to take office with the support of the NDP and the Bloc was mostly the kind of mind-numbingly stupid political decision that he specialized in. It is fine to have people who think themselves principled as political leaders. It isn't of any value to have people who think themselves principled, but who mostly just aren't any good at politics. Leaders who aren't willing to marry political principle with political effectiveness are worse than useless. They are destructive of a healthy democratic process.
One point that's missing here is the need for a compassionate, independent social movement powerful enough to persuade Washington to respect the will of the people. Moreover, participants in this movement will need to help each other undo the social conditioning that embeds self-centeredness and the desire to climb social ladders and dominate those below, which undermines the affirmation of universalism.
I am mostly aware of this guy for his role as a vocal Iraq War enthusiast. I might be more interested in hearing from him if there was anything comparably good on the other side of the ledger. He is one of the people who put us where we are today.