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.