Michael Bryant is the former attorney general of Ontario and was tipped to become the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Note, I said was. That was before he was involved in a road rage incident last week that left a 33-year old bicycle courier dead.
Bryant is perhaps best known as the author of several controversial pieces of legislation. He’s the King of the Ban in Ontario. Problems with aggressive dogs? Ban dogs. Street racing an issue? Ban speed. Gang crime getting you down? Ban legal shooting sports.
I’m not going to go into the details of any of these laws. Instead I’ll invite you to take a wander with me through some of my random thought processes:
- Bans of any form are nothing more than a fear response. Period.
- Projection: Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world. A common form of projection occurs when an individual, threatened by his own angry feelings, accuses another of harbouring hostile thoughts. [emphasis added by Jayde]
What is Michael Bryant afraid of then? Following on with the two points I made above, the pieces slowly start to come together.
- Bryant decided it was was best to ban aggressive dog breeds rather than punish the owners who don’t take responsibility for their pets. Not too much of a leap to assume that Bryant doesn’t think he would be able to handle a more aggressive dog. And since he can’t do it, nobody else could possibly do it either.
- If you’re caught speeding excessively you immediately fall under the purview of the new street-racing laws in Ontario. Your car is impounded and your license is suspended on the spot. Perhaps Bryant has difficulties driving in a safe manner, and could only be stopped from driving this way by having is vehicle and license revoked. Again, because it’s true for him, it must be true for everyone else.
- Working to enact a gun ban to reduce gang crime is actually the easiest to peg out of these three examples. Bryant is one of those types who think that owning a firearm automatically makes a person a killer. He’s afraid that because he wouldn’t be able to control his temper/emotions and shouldn’t be trusted with a firearm, that nobody else should be trusted with one either.
Now let’s go back to the main story. I’m not going to discuss the likelihood of a Liberal politician getting off scot-free in Liberal-dominated Ontario. I’ll leave alone the probability that even after this incident Bryant will still go on to lead the Liberal Party. I’m not going to go into why Bryant chose to hit the accelerator rather than the brakes with a person hanging off the side of his car. I don’t know the details of what happened on that road, and I honestly don’t care. It’s irrelevant.
The key is this: Bryant was involved in a road rage incident that involved aggressive driving. Once again, let’s take a look at two of his fears from above: an inability to drive in a safe manner or to control his temper. Hmmmm. Pattern?
What’s my point? Politicians are not immune to human emotion and psychoses, and projection is one of the most common human defense mechanisms. So the next time you hear someone calling for any type of a ban, pause and ask yourself a couple of questions. Who and What are they really afraid of? Is society at large really the problem? Or are they?