All Nut, No Tree: FP's Terry Corcoran Interviews Stéphane Dion
June 29, 2008 by Paul McKeever
As I write, I am listening to a recording of Financial Post editor Terry Corcoran interviewing Liberal Party of Canada leader Stéphane Dion. The experience is surreal. A bit like listening to a psychiatrist interviewing a mental patient about some notes they have found tucked behind a loose brick in the patient’s holding cell: crazy notes detailing plans for a comet-chasing mass-suicide.
Frankly, I don’t know how Corcoran can restrain himself. He’s listening to a guy explaining the details of a plan that, in fact, would destroy the economy as it redistributed the contents of a leaking pot of seized, pooled wealth. Dion talks in terms of “social costs” in the context of a discussion about economics (a reference to “negative externalities“), yet Corcoran, I know, is dead set against “Pigovian” taxes such as those set out in Dion’s “The Green Shift“. Corcoran remains cool throughout the interview (one hopes he is just keeping his powder dry for another day).
Dion talks about being a “citizen of the planet” (my best guess remains Earth). Yet Corcoran responds only with more questions about the details of the plan, never challenging the epistemology, ethics, or politics of being a “citizen of the planet”; never questioning how being such a citizen turns loopy central planning into something rational or just.
Now, to be sure, Corcoran is editor of the Financial Post, which tends to focus almost entirely on the economic aspects of things. However, Dion is not an economist (note that, during the interview, the voice of some other fellow can be heard feeding numbers and details to Corcoran when Dion is at a loss). Dion is a politician. And – despite the understandable limits of the Financial Post’s interest in Dion or his platform – listening to Dion being questioned only about the economic details of his whacky ecology platform is excruciating. It’s an interview that, from a lack of questions on matters of ethics, politics, or psychology, seems to imply that the effectiveness of the means justifies the end (consider, for example, that Corcoran’s main challenge to the plan consisted of submitting to Dion that similar plans in Europe have not successfully cut CO2 emissions).
Yes, Corcoran will probably write an excellent column referring to Dion’s plan as a nutty one…for economic reasons. But, given the narrowness of the questions put to Dion, I expect such a column only to scratch the surface.
I want to know more about the tree from which the “Green Shift” nut fell, because, I’m sure, there are a whole lotta nuts yet to fall from Dion’s head. Unfortunately, given the shallowness of the analysis I see coming from most political pundits on the right (I’m not referring to Terry), I do not know to whom I could turn, anymore, for such an interview. Perhaps George Jonas?