Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Doubting Thomas

I, and I suspect many others, are curious about the investigative documents being withheld by the government regarding Tommy Douglas. I can only speculate that the police activity from that era would violate today's laws. Regrettably, as a public, we take actions from a historical period and judge those actions on today's standards without recognizing what our country and its people were dealing with at that time.

Such was the case with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaka to end WWII. In today's world that action is appalling. In 1945, after years of war which resulted in millions of deaths, people wanted the war to end and applauded the government of the day for the bombing. Yet leaders from 1945 are chastised today for that action.

Tommy Douglas was a good man, but not a perfect one. He did many good things during his era and has been duly recognized, perhaps even canonized, for his work. I'm going to guess revelations from investigative documents will result in his martyrdom. Actions from the Cold War era will become today's political Hot War.

Is there a way to study our history and learn from it without resurrecting it?


  1. I don't think much of anything relevant will be revealed. Obviously the RCMP crossed the line by today's standards. However, the bombshell seems to have already been dropped with essentially confirmation of these practices. Will knowing the specifics really alter anyone's opinion much?

    Then we are going to be flooded with the 'eugenics' argument by Tommy's opposition. That tired old debate will also fail to recognize the changing of times since Tommy's days.

    All in all, it will just be one big mud slinging contest between the left and right as it always seems to be now.

  2. It's a good point, Mistress. Are we going to judge the actions of the RCMP and the spy agencies with the same standard that we judge Douglas's original paper on eugenics?

    While it is important to remember to judge people on the standards of the day, I think it's more important to pay tribute to those who did their part in changing those standards to what we have today.

    I'm no fan of Douglas. The socialism he introduced ended up creating an unjustifyably stagnant economy in the provice.

    However, I will give him credit for trying to improve the lives of the people of the Saskatchewan by changing the standards of the day.


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