Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Journalist thinks historically

Dale Smith dismisses law professor and constitutional scholar Adam Dodek's ideas for reforming the Senate
I’m not seeing the pressing need for these changes, other than the usual “because it’s anachronistic” excuse. That’s the thing about a parliamentary system though – much of it is anachronistic, but that’s part of the beauty, because it is a direct touchstone to the evolution of our system, such as why the monarch is not allowed in the Commons. That the Senate has anachronistic property requirements that are no great barrier to membership demonstrates the evolution of our system in a very real way, and keeps parliament grounded. To do away with the harmless requirements for the sake of modernizing it risks losing that historical touchstone that is so absent from many things in politics these days, to our detriment.
He's right that the changes Dodek wants, while attainable, are almost entirely meaningless -- so why bother?  -- but it's just as interesting that he opposes that attitude of "change because it's 2016, just to be up to date." Almost no political scientists or lawyers, and few enough historians, think that way. Smith's defence of parliamentary tradition sounds "conservative" but I don't think it's a right-wing thing.
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