Talk about Orwellian.
Lying comes naturally to politicians. The path to public office is paved with broken promises and digging up dirt on opponents. If the state is, as Rothbard opined, “the organization of robbery systematized and writ large,” then those who endeavor to handle its reins seek to be thieves themselves. Therefore, legitimacy of the ruling class must be perpetuated in the election campaigns and press interviews by its members. This entails lying and obfuscation to fool the public into believing the cost of government remains low, its policies not economically destructive, and its halls not filled with the morally repugnant.
The latest example of this trend is the controversy regarding the ballooning cost of the F-35 fighter jets the Harper government is looking to replace its fleet of CF-18s with. Originally estimated to cost $15 billion, the price tag is now $25 billion according to a recent Auditor-General report. The report also reveals that Harper’s cabinet should have known the real price tag for the fighter jets than initially revealed. In light of public outcry, the federal government has scraped the plan in favor of another but the deception remains a black mark on the current administration.
This hasn’t stopped some Conservative Party members from doing what any politician does best and avoiding responsibility with double talk and lies. Chris Alexander, a top Conservative Party member, insists the public was not misinformed on the cost of the F-35 fighter jets. Defence Minister Peter MacKay heaps on the blame avoidance in The Globe and Mail,
“the yawning gap between the $25-billion the government now acknowledges the planes will cost and the oft-repeated estimate of $15-billion is simply a matter of “accounting,” rather than an attempt to conceal.”
Mr. MacKay said missing from the estimate until now were such costs as pilot salaries, fuel costs and the like – costs not associated with the direct purchase of the planes from Lockheed-Martin.There you have it. The cost estimate given to the public and Parliament was only the price of the planes themselves. Only a fool would have thought such an estimate didn’t account for two necessary components of utilizing the aircraft. It wasn’t deception; just a simple misunderstanding. Why dare question the benevolence of your trusted leaders?
Per usual, opposing parties are using this instance of business-as-usual to score political points. Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has called for Harper’s resignation. This is only kabuki theater- a show for the public to convince them that there exists a viable option in governing come election day. Conservative, liberal, socialist; political parties are all the same. There is little difference in ideology or governing. They are of identical breed; equally responsible for squandering pilfered funds to the benefit of the well connected. Their real objective is to cement their party’s place at the public trough and enlarge the scope of the state’s authority. As Harry Swain points out, such trickery is not in the least a new occurrence:
A Tory prime minister, secure in his majority but highly suspicious of his political enemies, finds himself blind-sided by obscure processes in the departments of Defence and Industry that had gravitated to the most advanced fighter plane in the world — but one that cost more than the country could afford. It was fifty years ago, the prime minister was John Diefenbaker, and the plane was the Avro Arrow.
The parallels to the F-35 are eerie, but there are important differences. The basic story of vested interests in both the public and private sectors reinforcing each others’ dreams of the biggest, baddest fighter in the whole world and devil take the taxpayer’s dollars is the same, as is prevarication and mendacity when the truth about cost starts to leak out. Both governments, half a century apart, initially defended their establishments while privately getting more and more alarmed about the financial cost of continuing versus the political costs of cancellation.
Both aircraft were obsolete the day they first flew.The F-35 scandal will be played up in the media for days to come. The press loves this type of controversy as its business is covering the thievery racket that masquerades as politics. The more controversy, the more readers. What many Canadians, like their American counterparts, will fail to act themselves is why a new fleet of fighter jets is required in the first place. There exists little to no “terrorist” threat to Canada. The true purpose of modernizing Canada’s military fleet is to instill nationalistic pride and repay campaign favors. It’s just more pork for the leeches of the military industrial complex.