The debate surrounding the Charter of Values continues to intensify as hearings started this morning in Quebec City. As I've written repeatedly, Bill 60 is an ethnocentric abomination that aims to solve problems that don't exist, and if they did exist, the Charter's unsubstantiated solutions are the wrong ones. But I digress.
A couple of CJAD 800 listeners were upset that on The Exchange last night, I abruptly cut off a caller who began to argue that Péquistes were fascists and Nazis. It's a comparison I've been hearing too much of in the past few months. I'm simply not interested in having discussions with political extremists who are too ignorant and/or intolerant to have a debate in good faith. Get some very basic facts right first, then we can talk.
The typical "PQ = Nazi" argument goes something along the lines of...the ethnic nationalism that we see now in Quebec is similar to Hitler's nationalism which was a precursor to things like Kristallnacht and then the Holocaust (I purposely hyperlinked because clearly some people need to learn more about pre-war Germany).
Those who lack intellectual rigour are quick to contextualize a problem by comparing it to something else they've heard of; Israel built a barrier between it and Palestine - well, that must be exactly like the South African Apartheid regime, right?! Well, no. Like the Péquiste Nazi argument, it's historically inaccurate and unnecessarily controversial. It makes debaters sound just about as crazy as Ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters who believe the Israeli government is also run by Nazis.
Taking liberties with history and making wild and wildly inaccurate statements for attention on talk radio won't win you points on The Exchange; you'll just embarrass yourself. There's enough wrong with the Charter of Values that calling Péquistes Nazis really, really isn't necessary to win the argument.
(It's worth noting that I'm Jewish, my late grandparents were Holocaust survivors and my family would have been three or four times larger than it is today if not for the Nazis, so I do not lack perspective on the issue. The comparison is not only inaccurate, but insulting to myself and the Jewish community at large. I'm also a lifelong Quebecer, from the 'regions,' that knows the modern PQ's brand of ethnocentric nationalism, previously relegated to the fringes, is rooted more in the insecurity of Quebec's political class than an overt hatred of Jews or Muslims, though that hatred exists on the fringes, like in any society - like in the Rest of Canada.)
Really, the best argument against this hysteria is that THE PQ HAS NEVER PROMOTED OR ATTEMPTED GENOCIDE. Alright?
If the PQ starts branding Anglos with a scarlet letter 'A' and telling us to board the next Via to Toronto or else...then I'll start to panic and maybe then the Nazi comparison might be valid. That's not going to happen because most ethnocentrism around the world does not turn into genocide and it won't here.
Vigilant Nazi-watchers should read up on Godwin's Law and learn take gauge their outrage accordingly.