Dear Editor: I disagree with some assumptions evident in Donna Thistle’s “open letter” to the premier contained in your paper Sept. 19 — quite apart from the assumption that the premier ought to take advice from persons from whom Ms. Thistle says the premier ought not to take advice (voters who are not members of the premier’s caucus and who write political opinions in newspapers, like Russell Wangersky and Donna Thistle).
Ms. Thistle says an “open and democratic vote” has authorized Kathy Dunderdale to govern as she and her team — whose members Ms. Dunderdale hires and fires as she sees fit — deem best, until she and her team lose an election.
That is elected despotism, not government by the people, which is what “democracy” means.
Democracy elects representatives to make and enforce specific laws. No, sorry, that’s what Aristotle said a republic does; “democracy,” according to him — I’m paraphrasing rather widely — elects representatives to pursue specific policies the people choose, not policies government chooses for them.
Ms. Thistle seems to assume the voters are wise enough to make their own decisions on the basis of actual reporting by journalists but far from wise enough to see through a spurious argument by columnist Russell Wangersky to the effect that the premier should resign.
Or else, Ms. Thistle does not deem Mr. Wangersky’s argument spurious and that is her real reason for objecting to his having presented it in the first place, perhaps because Ms. Thistle wants persons in public office to be unaccountable between elections. (One of my favourite authors claimed that persons having much in common with the current premier and Ms. Thistle are in general far better as despots than as democrats.)
Ms. Thistle seems to have taken a long time to perceive the evil inherent in journalistic expression of opinion, which has been going on for quite a while now.
“We obviously disagree philosophically on how we think societies should be directed ...” says Ms. Thistle’s letter.
It appears they agree, though, that governments should direct “their” societies, instead of a society directing its government.
To repeat — some are better at despotism than at democracy.
Colin Burke, Port au Port