Imagine for a moment two societies living side by side. One has discovered and uses the wheel effectively -- a technology that makes life easier for workers and boosts the economy for everyone. Prosperity reigns. The society next door is well aware of the wheel and watches as its neighbours move inexorably ahead -- wealthier, more efficient, healthier and with more leisure time for cultural activities. But it is not those who do the work in this society who reject the wheel -- it is the governing elite, the priests, the official advisers and scribes who have incorporated a moral objection to the wheel into the state religion. Use of the wheel is thus proscribed by faith, not reason. All practical arguments in its favour are rendered useless.
Another big report, another display of our witlessly shallow politics, which this time has outdone itself almost to the point of comedy in its haste to pour sulphur on the head of Laurel Broten and her tax and regulatory review.
Tory Leader Jamie Baillie comes up with the ultimate neo-con cliché ("job-killing carbon tax") and sees nothing but "major tax increases" and a retro attempt to "tax our way to prosperity."
Here's something else that would advance our cause in Nova Scotia if we could only talk about it without the pious platitudes: taxation.
As it turns out the provincial government has its Tax and Regulatory Review on the case. This could be a very useful exercise if it actually goes to the root of the matter. But will it? Or is it meant to chow down on the prevailing dogma: that the only way forward is to reduce taxes, especially business taxes, and to avoid at all cost the heresy of topping up taxes for the highest earners.
Hopefully the review committee, led by public policy expert and former Ontario cabinet minister Laurel Broten, will take account of the problems with this creed.
Kathleen Wynne broke a number of taboos last week, proving it's possible to get elected premier of Canada's largest province while being a woman, while being openly gay and -- perhaps most surprising -- while openly defying the right-wing orthodoxy that's ruled this country for three decades.
It may be this last aspect of her victory that broke the most resistant taboo.