Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tom Flanagan Shows Why Idle No More Will Be the Death of Anything It Touches

Is Idle No More really still a thing? Really?

For the moment, let's take their word for it and pretend that it is -- even though this so-called "movement" is obviously dead as a door nail. Anyone who encounters an Idle No More activist in nearly any context ought to tread very, very carefully. Idle No More has been out to be the death of anything or anyone it touches. If you need any proof of this, look no further than Tom Flanagan.

In an understandably-combative interview with Macleans magazine, Flanagan manages to do something quite remarkable. It doesn't seem like he really means to, but he actually manages to pinpoint just why the Idle No More movement is so utterly toxic, not only to race relations in Canada, but to anything and anyone it reaches out and touches.

To whit:

"I was posing a question. And that was the wrong way to go about it in that forum. But in the classroom, I would pose the question the same way again. I’d say, 'What’s the harm?' And the student would say, 'You’re building a market for it.' And I’d say, 'Yeah, that’s a harm,' and dialectically, we’d go somewhere together."

Therein lies the rub. From actually watching the video of the interaction, one thing becomes crystal clear: this particular individual was unequivocally not trying to go anywhere with Flanagan, dialectically or otherwise. Regardless of whether or not Flanagan's detractors are willing to admit to it -- and it's clear that the sheer bombast of their malicious triumphalism has backed them into a corner where can't afford to admit to it -- it very much was a trap. The individual in question was trying to draw Flanagan into saying something that could be used to destroy him. Then they attempted precisely that feat. Whether or not they actually succeeded remains to be seen.

Later in the interview, Flanagan notes that the response to his comments has already worried many academics across the country. Suddenly, the prospect of an angry student attempting to tear them down by similarly trapping them may well become a more enticing idea, now that it's already been done. The chill, as it were, is in.

This is where it becomes necessary to consider the petty triumphalism of certain Idle No More-linked "academics." Suddenly, the apparent disgrace of Flanagan has spared them the hard work of having to lock horns with him over ideas. Ever eager to take such shortcuts -- and desperately in need of them because they aren't capable of it -- such individuals have apparently not spared a single thought for what such an academic chill might mean for them.

There are certainly various reasons for it. They've seemingly managed to convince themselves that their fringe ideas are in vogue in academia, and so no statement they could make, regardless of how outrageous -- and frequently racially-charged -- could be seen as so.

But really that's neither the long nor short of it. In reality, these individuals are not real academics at all. They're bullies who have donned the guise of the professional egghead. They see academia as nothing more than another schoolyard, and even if Idle No More were able to destroy academia as a whole, as opposed to merely diminishing it, they'd just find themselves another playground to rampage in.

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