Fire and Ashes
Success and Failure in PoliticsBook - 2013
In 2011, the "Natural Governing Party of Canada" suffered its greatest defeat when Stephen Harper's Conservatives won a majority and Jack Layton's NDP superseded the Liberals to form the Official Opposition. It has spawned a time of soul-searching for the Liberal Party and its former leader, Michael Ignatieff--but while the party continues to look for answers, Ignatieff has found his in Fire and Ashes : the reasons why he went into politics in the first place. In what he says is the most difficult book he's ever written, Ignatieff (the son of a Canadian diplomat whose reputation was made long before he risked it all in politics) explores what it is to be a citizen and why, even in today's adversarial climate, the aspirations of the political life can still outweigh the costs.
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While a painter's medium is paint, a politician's medium is time: he must adapt, ceaselessly, to its sudden, unexpected and brutal changes. An intellectual may be interested in ideas and policies for their own sake, but a politician's interest is exclusively in the question of whether an idea's time has come. When we call politics the art of the possible, we mean the art of knowing what is possible here and now.
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