If you’ve never heard of Laodicea, don’t feel too bad. Not that many people make a habit of reading their Bibles nowadays, and the Book of Revelations isn’t exactly a popular reference except for people trying to invoke “end-of-the-world” scenarios. But before you get to the “Four Horsemen Unleashed!” bit, there’s a healthy chunk of editorializing where the author of Revelations gets to rant on the state of the Church, in his time.
According to the Revelations author, God is extemely pleased with the Church in Philadelphia (which is what the Pennsylvania city is named after), but Laodicea? Not so much (quoting from the King James version):
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So that because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and whit raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.
Traditionally, churches use this passage as a metaphor for the passions with which the congregation pursues church activities. But I think that description of Laodicea could apply to political parties as well — and one political party in particular.
Liberal partisans will argue differently, of course, but you can’t exactly get away from the impression that the current Liberal caucus is, on average, a mediocrity. Which is, of course, one of the reasons why the electorate rejected the party as an entity capable of governing so soundly in the past three elections.
And it’s also hard to ignore the idea that, like Laodicea, that party’s fooled themselves into thinking they still have what it takes to get back into power. Peter Newman outlined the problems: no constant geographical base, no consistent fundraising apparatus, no ability to attract talent. (Rex Murphy has a nice piece this week on the lack of talent bit.)
Fortunately, to their credit a few of the more serious Liberals have been thinking of the problem, but I’d suggest to them that in terms of coming up with a solution, they’re still thinking symptoms and not overall condition. All the policy stances in the world won’t do a party a lick of good unless it can explain the thinking behind them.
Or, to put it bluntly: the Liberals have no idea of what Canada should be in the 21st century, beyond the usual mouthing of nice-sounding but ultimately empty patriotic platitudes.
And until they figure that one out — well, at least the period of time during which they wind up a messy gob on the floor is going to be mercifully short.