Monday, June 11, 2012

The Harpercons and the Sad case of Kitty Genovese...

Upon leaving a note on a blogpost of my fellow blogger Owen Gray, it occurred to me that recent events in Canadian political culture mirrors what is known as "by-stander effect" or, more sadly, the Genovese syndrome. The Genovese syndrome is named after the tragic case of Kitty Genovese, a woman who was brutally murdered while a few dozen people looked on, not one of them intervening or even calling the police. Since the murder of Kitty Genovese, many psychologists have studied the phenomenon in which terrible acts can be perpetrated while on-lookers, knowing all the while that what is happening is wrong, fail to inteven. Why people fail to stand-up is complex and varies from fear to the feelings that if many others are not speaking up concerning events, the events must have a certain social acceptability.

I contend that the Genovese Syndrome is precisely what is happening the government today. The present government has travelled far afield from its election stance, its conservative party traditions,  and the democratic traditions of the House of Commons and Canada in general. However, no matter how ruthlessly anti-democratic and abusive of our parliament the government gets, not a single Conservative Party member is standing up to condemn what many of them surely know is deeply wrong. I would think little of these events if the Harpercons were simply pursuing traditionally conservative programes and values. However, the Harpercons have simply led an all-out attack on many of the very principles that conservatives (and the Conservative parties in Canada) have stood for.

Canadian democracy and the Constitution of this nation is our own Kitty Genovese. We are witnessing a brutal murder and the very people who could do something to stop it are startlingly silent. I suggest that these Conservative MPs who are watching the murder of our democracy will be judged very severely by future generations. And just as psychologists were eager to understand how poor Kitty could be murdered amid so many on-lookers, future political scientists will shake their heads in amazement at how MPs let democracy simply be killed before their very eyes.


Owen Gray said...

There is a hint that some Conservatives -- Tom Siddon, John Fraser, even Brian Mulroney -- are less than happy with the Harperites, Kirby.

Richard Nixon resigned when the Republicans -- led by Barry Gold water -- told him it was time to go.

sunsin said...

Careful with that. The Kitty Genovese case was itself a "war on crime" fraud. Later testing showed conclusively that at the very most, one or two of the neighbors might have heard something.

kirbycairo said...

@sunsin I am not sure where you get your facts susin but it is clear that several people hear Kitty cry out for help and one witness did cry out to the attacker. What is perhaps most interesting is that the initial report to the police was essentially ignored, giving the attacker time to return and finish the job. You could argue that the case is overstated but your word "fraud" is problematic and misleading. Further examples of the by-stander effect are to be found in the annals of psychological study.

Kitty's case is a metaphor here for the failure of a group.

Anonymous said...

Thirty-eight people did stand by, while Kitty was murdered. They all waited to see, if anyone was going to make the first move.

We saw the little girl in China, hit by a car. Many people saw it happen, ignored her and walked around that little child.

We see citizens here, not helping a man, who had a heart attack on the street, and was left dying.

I wouldn't vouch for Harper's safety though, around a group of angry citizens. That's why he wastes $47 million, of our tax dollars on his security, because he knows that. Harper really seems to think, himself worth $47 million. Far too many Canadians don't think so. That would be, mob mentality. In fact, many of Harper's consorts, are concerned about their safety.

I have never heard any of Harper's ranting, raving ministers, say one word about Harper's fascist behavior. Most of them are as bad as Harper is. We are called, terrorists, pornographers, the Taliban and references to being Nazi's. Which is pretty funny coming from the Harper Conservatives.

I am not doubting you Owen, you are too good at what you do. I am very happy, to hear that news. I have been in disbelief, that any normal person with morals and ethics, could ever support a monster such as Harper.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kirby. One reason no other Canadian gov't has gone as far as Harper has is b/c they knew they couldn't get away with it. There would be a huge public outcry. People just don't care anymore. They have become desensitized to scandal. Politics is boring. etc etc.

Why care about Harper when you can watch Hillbilly Handfishin!!