Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coulter In Context

You can get some idea of Coulter's real position within the political firmament by noting all the federal Conservative big-wheels her Ottawa appearance brought out:

One of those helping to facilitate and organize this event is Ashley Scorpio, who is listed in the government's electronic directory, as a staffer working in the office of Conservative MP Gerald Keddy. (She has also worked for Ontario Conservative MP Patrick Brown and was once an administrative assistant in the Harper PMO.) Ms. Scorpio, it should be noted, did not use her Parliamentary contact info. Instead she invited those who wanted to tickets or information to contact her via a Hotmail address.

And, oh yeah, a fistful of nerdlingers from the U-of-O Conservative Campus Club. Which is to say that nobody of any stature was willing to appear in the same room as Ms. Coulter. As CC notes, she and her gang have become entirely irrelevant to political discourse in this country.

Indeed, the Levant/Coulter tour can be viewed as the after-life of Ezra's free speech/anti-HRC (human rights commision) crusade, as it shuffles from university to university not even knowing that its dead. Dead federally, dead in Alberta, and Hudak's not saying a word about it these days. Even Jason Kenney seems to have accepted his constraints (emphasis below is mine):

Kenney: Mr. Speaker, this government supports free speech within the Canadian law.

PS. Some interesting observations from SDA. That's the "mob" below:

Mobs seemed alot bigger when I was young, and I think "unruly" must have meant something a bit different.

Also, Coulter was playing to an audience of around 400. Not very big. And remember it was Coulter's organizers that called off the event, not the police or campus security.

Note: Here Coulter seems to be claiming it was the police that shut down the event.

PS. this story suggests it was Coulter's bodyguard made the call.

48 comments:

Jerome Bastien said...

BCL: this macleans story suggests that the event was shut down by the police. I really dont know either way but Im wondering where you got your info that coulter's people shut it down.

If that is indeed the case, and the event was actually shut down by a violent mob (apparently the 'anti-zionists' behind IAW), they may have actually out-douched Coulter, which is no small feat.

bigcitylib said...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ann-coulters-speech-in-ottawa-cancelled/article1509793/

I've linked through the main post.

Ti-Guy said...

If that is indeed the case, and the event was actually shut down by a violent mob (apparently the 'anti-zionists' behind IAW),

Nice use of the word "apparently" there, Bastien. Especially in the same comment where you ask for evidence for a claim.

*sigh* They just can't help themselves.

Are you an evangelical, Jerome? Did you (or your parents) leave the Catholic Church only to join one of those fundagelical thing-a-mabobs?

deBeauxOs said...

This, btw, is the Craig Chandler that Coulter refers to in the MacLean's post from Cosh.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Chandler

Jerome Bastien said...

BCL: thanks for that.

ti-guy: i used 'apparently' because i'm only repeating someone else's allegation and i dont know for sure. isnt that proper usage of 'apparently'?

and im not challenging BCL, Im just pointing him to a story with a different version of events.

and where would you get the idea that im evangelical? i was raised catholic and now im not religious at all.

bigcitylib said...

Jerome,

Seems to be a dispute as to who ordered the show cancelled. The most widely circulated version is that, at the advice of police and ACs private security people, the organizers cancelled it. But, given the size of the "mob", that doesn't sound like it was a very brave decision, esp. if it was based on Facebook advise to bring rotten tomatoes (as is being suggested).

Jerome Bastien said...

The most widely circulated version is that, at the advice of police and ACs private security people, the organizers cancelled it. But, given the size of the "mob", that doesn't sound like it was a very brave decision, esp. if it was based on Facebook advise to bring rotten tomatoes (as is being suggested).

That seems like a likely explanation and it also explains the varying accounts on whether the police or organizers took the decision. My guess is that Coulter figured that if she could have the headlines she got this morning, it would be a bigger boost for her than actually going ahead with the speech. Also, instead of the story being about anything retarded she might have said, the story is now about the student mob.

On a purely PR level, this is well played by Coulter, as it makes her the victim, and the U of O and the student gestapo look respectively impotent and authoritarian. Im just saying, it takes some pretty big retards to lose a PR battle to Coulter.

bigcitylib said...

Be hard to sustain the outrage if the "mob" amounts to one lonely protester. Remeber, the 1st stories were about 2,000 people overturning chairs and tables.

Otehrwise, yeah it wouldn't surprise me if this was orchestrated by AC and Co.

Jerome Bastien said...

Be hard to sustain the outrage if the "mob" amounts to one lonely protester. Remeber, the 1st stories were about 2,000 people overturning chairs and tables.

yeah Blazing Cat Fur has some pictures which show more than the one you have posted. and the media was there too, so I doubt the mob was one or two losers, although 2000 sounds like a lot.

barroom_hero said...

The Globe is now reporting that AC has hired Ezra Levant to file an HRC complaint. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/bureau-blog/ann-coulter-prepares-human-rights-complaint/article1510468/

Maybe this was all part of the plan. As you noted Ottawa U is no conservation bastion so why on the itenerary? Those FreeSpeechy types are so clever!

Tof KW said...

I agree with Jerome. Watching this on CBCNN? (oh whatever the hell they call it this month) this all smelled like a well calculated PR move by Coulter. Indeed it makes her look like the victim, and the potential tomato-throwing students of the UofO as the anti-free speech 'lefties' that play into Ezra's lost crusade.

Coulter should have been allowed to speak. Personally I would like an explanation about her comments on how Canada is 'lucky' to be allowed co-existence on this continent.

bigcitylib said...

ToKW,

Well, she was allowed to speak, if it was her organizers that finally cancelled the show.

Jerome,

which other sites have links?

Jerome Bastien said...

Coulter should have been allowed to speak. Personally I would like an explanation about her comments on how Canada is 'lucky' to be allowed co-existence on this continent.

Exactly. If you want Coulter to look like a moron, let her speak. If you want Coulter to look like a dignified victim, prevent her from speaking.

Let me try to explain her comments re: Canada. She thinks what is the most horribly offensive thing she can say about it and says it. That's pretty much it. There's no other type of thinking involved.

bigcitylib said...

Jerome, sorry what sites have pics.

Tof KW said...

Well, she was allowed to speak, if it was her organizers that finally cancelled the show.

True. This is a weird situation, without knowing all the facts it's tough to phrase things. I tend to believe this is all a ruse myself, and they used one vegetable threatening looney on Facebook as an excuse to cancel for 'security concerns'.

Jerome Bastien said...

BCL:

Try here and scroll down. I can attest that the first pic with the guy with the kaffiyeh is indeed the Marion building as I had classes there during my undergrad.

Tof KW said...

Jerome - couldn't agree more :)

And I just wanted the satisfaction of watching her sweat as someone brought up that old comment.

Ti-Guy said...

and where would you get the idea that im evangelical?

You argue like one. Also, the evangelicals (and the Mormons) are doing a lot of proselytising in French Canada to scoop up a margin of people who, after two generations of rejecting religion, are having second thoughts, especially once they settled down and have had kids.

Just thought I'd ask. I'm very suspicious of right wingers.

Jerome Bastien said...

I'm very suspicious of right wingers.

you dont say!

How does an evangelical argue, and how am I like that? Im curious too.

I dont particularly like evangelicals. Like Coulter, they give the right wing a bad name - anti-gay, pro-drug-prohibition, pro-creationsim, all the nonsense which is soundly rejected by the libertarians.

Ti-Guy said...

How does an evangelical argue, and how am I like that? Im curious too.

More questions than answers, basically, which is a tactic they use to put their adversaries on the defensive and shift the burden of proof. I'm impressed, in fact, with how practised they are at it.

But never mind. I was just "colour commenting" while everyone here speculates about what really happened.

In this entire saga, I've not seen one, single new thing. I'm hoping, eventually, someone will address the fact that Coulter is a pathological liar, but then, I've been waiting years for someone to start taking that issue seriously.

Jerome Bastien said...

I'm hoping, eventually, someone will address the fact that Coulter is a pathological liar, but then, I've been waiting years for someone to start taking that issue seriously.

I believe from the previous BCL thread on topic that even Paul_S refused to defend Coulter. If you want to have a discussion on Coulter's character, your biggest problem will be finding somebody who will stand up for her.

She's a prototypical media whore. She says anything to get her attention, and sadly it works.

I did read her book "Useful Idiots", and although I recognize it was a biased account of events, it was to some extent well researched and did not contain the type of inflammatory statements for which she is known today. I believe she felt that staying within certain bounds of reason did not give her the instant fame and money she craved, so she started calling for mass conversions and attacking 911 families.

Rotterdam said...

The hard left will hate you and want you shut down if you are one of two things.
1. A defender of Israel.
2. A Pro-Lifer

Daniel Pipes at York
Netanyahu at Concordia
A Pro-Life meeting at Saint Mary's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eulKIaVM9DE

Ann Coulter sin is that she is both.

Tof KW said...

I dont particularly like evangelicals. Like Coulter, they give the right wing a bad name

And I'll add, so do useless trolls like Rotterdam who don't read a friggin' post here and just deposit their verbal diarrhea.

Ti-Guy said...

I believe from the previous BCL thread on topic that even Paul_S refused to defend Coulter.

Many conservatives don't, but I only think that's because it's just not fashionable anymore. I'm sure at some point, these same conservatives overlooked her dishonesty when it served their purposes better.

If you want to have a discussion on Coulter's character, your biggest problem will be finding somebody who will stand up for her.

It's much broader than the character of Ann Coulter personally; it has to do with I believe is fundamental to the characters of most conservatives.

She's a prototypical media whore. She says anything to get her attention, and sadly it works.

I agree, but that's a different issue and I don't want to be distracted by it.

I did read her book "Useful Idiots"...

That was written my Mona Charen, although I can understand the confusion. Like I said, there's something in the nature of conservatism that requires being economical with the truth. If they were more honest about it, I think I could move on. As it stands, the last one to be candid about that was Irving Kristol, who asserted that there are different truths for different classes of people. Although I used to be appalled by that sentiment (and still am) I have more sympathy now with that point of view.

Jerome Bastien said...

Like I said, there's something in the nature of conservatism that requires being economical with the truth.

Here you are making the same mistake that you accuse conservatives of doing. You are taking a character flaw observed in some members of a group, and assuming it applies to all (or most) members of that group.

Conservatism is many things and is seen to be many things by different people. JSuggesting that anyone who is generally right-wing is necessary a liar is just as nonsensical as accusing all muslims of supporting terrorism. You should at least define what you mean by 'conservatism'. And keep in mind that to dippers, you are right-wing.

Besides, as with all political ideologies, left or right, it will be hijacked by power hungry jackasses. That's what power hungry jackasses do - they look for an ideology to hijack and use it to satisfy their need for power.

On that point, I like George Jonas' semi-joke that if someone ever expresses interest in running for office, that should disqualify him for office.

But the general principles of conservatism (which are unfortunately almost never applied by conservative politicians): limited government, balanced budgets, low taxes, personal freedom and personal responsibility are sound principles, and there should be no need to lie in favor of these principles.

sharonapple88 said...

But the general principles of conservatism (which are unfortunately almost never applied by conservative politicians): limited government, balanced budgets, low taxes, personal freedom and personal responsibility are sound principles, and there should be no need to lie in favor of these principles.
Well, you can't enforce personal responsibility and say at the same time you believe in personal freedom (if people are free, can't they have the choice of walking away from the crap they do?), so you can't blame conservative politicians from walking away from those two things.

Jerome Bastien said...

Well, you can't enforce personal responsibility and say at the same time you believe in personal freedom

Wow this is interesting and I dont mean this as an insult. You really think like a leftwinger, in that when I speak of "personal responsibility" you think it's something that ought to be enforced.

By personal responsibility, I mean that the government should not be actively trying to help those who refuse to help themselves.

sharonapple88 said...

Wow this is interesting and I dont mean this as an insult. You really think like a leftwinger, in that when I speak of "personal responsibility" you think it's something that ought to be enforced.

Left-wing, right-wing... whatever.

The idea that a virtue can be promoted or not promoted by a government through action or inaction is a little silly.

We can see in the United States that government inaction about health care didn't cause people to lead healthier lives... they have rising rates of obesity and diabetes. This even under the threat rising health care costs.

Anyway, smaller government doesn't lead to personal responsibility. It's the buzz words that help promote the idea of cuts to programs. "You see, we're not abandoning people. We're teaching them to be personally responsible."

Ti-Guy said...

Here you are making the same mistake that you accuse conservatives of doing. You are taking a character flaw observed in some members of a group, and assuming it applies to all (or most) members of that group.

I'm older, wiser and more experienced than you; you'll just have to accept that and not feel insulted by it. I've met many of these types of people, from different classes, levels of education/experience and from many parts of the World. I'm confident of that assessment. It's difficult to prove empirically, since most population surveys are of the self-reporting type, but it's something I've spent a lot of time observing and thinking about. Unlike the impression I might leave here, I listen a lot more than I talk in real life.

Conservatism is many things and is seen to be many things by different people.

I'm not so sure about that. By definition, conservatism is cautious, moderate suspicious of change, temperate, stoic, deferential to authority (and by that, I mean intellectual authority, not state power or the police or people in charge, or anything like that), comfortable with the status quo, etc. etc. Words have meaning.

The essential confusion stems from the leaders of modern political conservatism convincing people to believe that one's own personal values should be the same as one's political or civic values, which, by definition is what one expects others to live by as well. This has been aided by the extreme individualism that has become a social pathology. It has been done largely to have various groups, many of them by definition not conservative (radical nationalists and libertarians, to name two) to coalesce and mobilise in order to seize political power. It's a great strategy (it has worked to a certain extent after all) but it requires a great degree of delusion and dishonesty to maintain.

But the general principles of conservatism (which are unfortunately almost never applied by conservative politicians): limited government, balanced budgets, low taxes, personal freedom and personal responsibility are sound principles, and there should be no need to lie in favor of these principles.

Case in point. Most of these are just sound principles (or ideals) of good governance in a liberal democracy and are not necessarily exclusively the domain of conservatives. I can understand why conservatives have co-opted them, since some of them are in response to the excesses of previous socio-economic and political trends, but they don't arise, in and of themselves, from theoretical first principles of conservatism, which, as I said before, has a very specific meaning.

In the end, the problem is rooted in the fact that while conservatives might wish to have a conservative society, reality itself changes at a constant pace. The best they can hope is for the opportunity, periodically, to put the brakes on certain shifts and reverse previous excesses. But they must always understand that their influence will always be short-lived and limited.

None of that of course, has anything to do with the present Conservative Party or parties and the conservative "movement", which have been a disaster since the Mulroney years. Somethings, especially those that reflect true human nature and genuine freedom, you just can't reverse and there's no sense in trying.

sharonapple88 said...

Going back to Ann Coulter... it's not the first time she's cut and run. At the University of Conneticuit, she cut a speech sort because of protesters.

Some earlier stories of Coulter facing off against protesters are interesting. She's been hit with a pie and had people walk out on her. It's not as though she's had an easier ride in the States.

She's certainly milking the situation in Canada for all it's worth.

Jerome Bastien said...

Left-wing, right-wing... whatever.

...

Anyway, smaller government doesn't lead to personal responsibility. It's the buzz words that help promote the idea of cuts to programs. "You see, we're not abandoning people. We're teaching them to be personally responsible."


i wouldnt dismiss the left/right divide like you do. i think it points to a basic belief of how society should be organized.

the point of responsibility is not to make people become responsible (like government could transform irresponsible people), its to not make irresponsible people a burden on others.

if you think that people are too dumb to run their own lives and need government assistance to be saved from themselves, you're a leftwinger.

if you think that some people will be smart, others will be dumb, and government should just butt out because any help it could provide will be mostly window-dressing and make-work projects for civil servants, then you're a rightwinger.

of course, the above is a gross oversimplification, but I think as a generalization, it is accurate.

what I dont understand is this: people generally agree that government is an ineffective bureaucratic behemoth. yet government is called upon to solve impossibly difficult problems (e.g. eliminate poverty - Bill Gates could write each Canadian a cheque for 100 grand and that would not eliminate poverty, it would just suspend it for a few months).

Right-wingers on the other hand would see the elimination of poverty as a laudable goal, but not one that can be tackled by government directly. They would push for more nuclear families, (and then be called christian fascists), low taxes and the elimination/reduction of programs which create a culture of dependency (and then be called greedy heartless monsters).

It goes back to the basic vision of society which is different between left and right. The right believes the government should create conditions whereby people can pull themselves out of poverty. The left wants the government to lift people out of poverty.

The problem with the left's approach in my view is not so much that its dumb or evil (it actually probably springs from very good intentions), but that it doesnt work. Government is just not that good at things, so it should not try to do things that are too hard.

Jerome Bastien said...

I'm older, wiser and more experienced than you; you'll just have to accept that and not feel insulted by it.

I do (at least the older and more experienced part).

By definition, conservatism is cautious, moderate suspicious of change, temperate, stoic, deferential to authority (and by that, I mean intellectual authority, not state power or the police or people in charge, or anything like that), comfortable with the status quo, etc. etc. Words have meaning.

Yes agreed, and that is the meaning from which conservatism takes its name, i.e., to conserve. But the term also takes on a meaning from the ideologies promoted by self-styled conservatives.


This has been aided by the extreme individualism that has become a social pathology. It has been done largely to have various groups, many of them by definition not conservative (radical nationalists and libertarians, to name two) to coalesce and mobilise in order to seize political power.


This is where it gets interesting. I consider myself a libertarian - well, I loathe the idea that my beliefs should fit in a neatly labeled box but 'libertarian' is the best fit. Yet most would also label me a conservative. This goes back to the above, re: actual meaning vs. acquired meaning.

Most of these are just sound principles (or ideals) of good governance in a liberal democracy and are not necessarily exclusively the domain of conservatives. I can understand why conservatives have co-opted them, since some of them are in response to the excesses of previous socio-economic and political trends, but they don't arise, in and of themselves, from theoretical first principles of conservatism, which, as I said before, has a very specific meaning.

Agreed again. This is getting eerie. But again I would add the caveat that simply by having these principles co-opted by conservatives, conservatism is itself to some extend redefined.

Example: the term 'progressive' apparently comes from the Woodrow Wilson era. In those days, no 'progressive' would have argued in favor of gay rights (or even racial equality, Wilson, a 'progressive', was a racist turd). Yet today the term progressive is almost a shorthand for gay rights and racial equality. The term 'progressive' acquired meaning by the positions taken by those who labeled themselves progressives.

In the end, the problem is rooted in the fact that while conservatives might wish to have a conservative society, reality itself changes at a constant pace. The best they can hope is for the opportunity, periodically, to put the brakes on certain shifts and reverse previous excesses. But they must always understand that their influence will always be short-lived and limited.

Agreed again. Yet having brakes is a useful function - some changes like women's emancipation and stuff, are hopefully irreversible. But some changes are bad, and its useful to have a countering force in order to identify these and reverse them. Of course that countering force will sometimes be wrong, but then hopefully the changes are maintained.

Ti-Guy said...

i wouldnt dismiss the left/right divide like you do.

You should try, at least temporarily, just to extract yourself from the Manichean dualism that limits people's ability to process information. It is extremely limiting.

Jerome Bastien said...

You should try, at least temporarily, just to extract yourself from the Manichean dualism that limits people's ability to process information. It is extremely limiting.

yeah sure but arent' you the one who just today was saying that you're very suspicious of right-wingers. they're labels, and not very good labels, but they are useful. i dont want to write 'those who believe in more government interference in the economy than I do'. much easier to write 'the left'.

Jeff said...

Original Message -----
From: Mark Kelley
To: executivedirector@pgib.ca
Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 8:56 AM
Subject: Re: Last Night


Hi Craig...there was some confusion on our end that you were one of the organizers bringing Ann Coulter to Calgary...but that was our error...which you immediately rectified in before you spoke about anything else. If this has caused any confusion or concern, I apologize for that, and thank you for speaking to us about your support for Ms. Coulter's right to free speech in this country. It was an enlightening, and timely interview.

Thanks Craig,


Mark Kelley
Host- Connect with Mark Kelley
CBC News Network

sharonapple88 said...

i wouldnt dismiss the left/right divide like you do. i think it points to a basic belief of how society should be organized.

I disagree. The left-right thing is a silly way to see the world. The Daily Show parodied the idea in America the Book quite brilliantly:

"Each party has a platform, a prix fixe menu of beliefs making up its worldview. The candidate can choose one of the two platforms, but remember - no substitutions. For example, do you support universal health care? Then you must also want a ban on assault weapons. Pro-limited government? Congratulations, you are also anti-abortion. Luckily, all human opinion falls neatly into one of the two clearly defined camps. Thus, the two party system elegantly reflects the bichromatic rainbow that is American political thought."

Life's a little more complex than to be happy with this.

Jerome Bastien said...

I disagree. The left-right thing is a silly way to see the world. The Daily Show parodied the idea in America the Book quite brilliantly:

you're right this is a good parody. but as, i've made clear in previous posts, this is not what I meant. For example I said:

I loathe the idea that my beliefs should fit in a neatly labeled box


and speaking of left and right
they're labels, and not very good labels, but they are useful. i dont want to write 'those who believe in more government interference in the economy than I do'. much easier to write 'the left'.


the point is to use them for what they are, labels for generalizations. not the be-all and end-all of everything.

i like chris rock's formulation:

on crime, im a conservative. on prostitution, im a liberal.

Ti-Guy said...

But the term also takes on a meaning from the ideologies promoted by self-styled conservatives.

That kind of thing isn't much useful because that shifts quickly, sometimes within a generation, sometimes even from election to election, which is far quicker and more dramatic than the meaning of words themselves can shift. In that sense, it makes the clear communication of ideas difficult, if not impossible.

But some changes are bad, and its useful to have a countering force in order to identify these and reverse them.

And that's precisely how the conservative movement has been a failure for quite some time. They've never managed to argue convincingly or persuasively which changes are bad and how they are bad without insulting those people who don't necessarily see it that way, usually by accusing them of moral failure and ethical corruption (which is why I've come to detest these people; no one gets to blithely accuse me of moral/ethical failure. I take that kind of thing very seriously; so do a lot liberals). Neither have they understood something most accomplished politicians (and managers, directors) understand; it's difficult to take away something from people once they've become accustomed to it. It's a fact of life. And instead of expecting people to simply accept their fate, you'll end up getting people who don't just oppose you, but will undermine you every chance they get.

Ti-Guy said...

yeah sure but arent' you the one who just today was saying that you're very suspicious of right-wingers.

I'm only referring to people who would identify themselves as such. I call people what they prefer to be called...when I'm not calling them names, that is. ;)

Generally, yes, left/right are handy labels, but on specific issues, they're not. I've never really understood what's so left/right about big/small government, for example. As far as I'm concerned, we should have the size of government suited to what we collectively decide it's supposed to do. People conflate size of government with government waste, which I'm sure we all agree, at least notionally, is something we don't want.

sharonapple88 said...

what I dont understand is this: people generally agree that government is an ineffective bureaucratic behemoth. yet government is called upon to solve impossibly difficult problems (e.g. eliminate poverty - Bill Gates could write each Canadian a cheque for 100 grand and that would not eliminate poverty, it would just suspend it for a few months).

Roger's Cable is a bureaucratic behemoth...so are insurance companies.... Bureaucratic behemoths aren't limited to government.

As for government being ineffective... there's an interesting book you should pick up called The Efficient Society which outlines a few instances where things do improve because of government intervention.

Jerome Bastien said...

geez ti-guy, have we actually agreed on something?

this is all rather unsettling.

i dont even disagree with you re: the conservative movement. but i would add that the part of the movement to which you are exposed (like blogging tories and trolls) are just one part of the movement, and they are clearly the most obnoxious part. but you shouldnt doubt that there are tons of good people who quietly go about their lives, and just consider the government to be a necessary annoyance, and consider themselves right-wing for these reasons.

so i dont blame you if you detest those who insult you/accuse you of moral failure, but you should also realize that behind these guys, there are good people with valid concerns, and that some of these concerns could be labeled by some as 'right-wing'.

the same generally applies to liberals i'd say. but not greens. greens have been scientifically proven to be evil*. :)

*before somebody pops a gasket, I dont actually believe that.

sharonapple88 said...

the point is to use them for what they are, labels for generalizations.

The generalizations don't make any sense. There are logical inconsistencies and a weird circling at times of positions -- for example, both the left and the right can can say that they support less government in their lives ("The government doesn't belong in the bedrooms of the nation;" "You'll pry my guns from my cold dead fingers.") One side will tar the other with positions that at times feels more like an exercise in shadow projection from Jungian psychology. It all seems more like tribalism.

Jerome Bastien said...


Roger's Cable is a bureaucratic behemoth...so are insurance companies.... Bureaucratic behemoths aren't limited to government.


yes and rogers has a hard time just providing me with fucking cable and internet. i wouldnt want them to have to solve societal problems.

the bigger an organization, the less efficient it becomes. and thanks for telling me about that book but I dont really disagree that government can help things in some instances. small government doesnt mean no government. the key is finding which instances.

Jerome Bastien said...

The generalizations don't make any sense. There are logical inconsistencies and a weird circling at times of positions -- for example, both the left and the right can can say that they support less government in their lives ("The government doesn't belong in the bedrooms of the nation;" "You'll pry my guns from my cold dead fingers.") One side will tar the other with positions that at times feels more like an exercise in shadow projection from Jungian psychology. It all seems more like tribalism.

well generalizations really dont ever make much sense if you push them too hard. your point reminds me of david frum's excellent piece from not too long ago.

they're not much more than a shorthand for designating a generally collectivist or individualistic ideology, but they never say much about a particular position.

Tof KW said...

Wow, a wonderful discussion here :)

Jerome I’d like to bring this back, re: individualism versus collectivism.

I don’t want to write 'those who believe in more government interference in the economy than I do'. Much easier to write 'the left'.

Here is the strange part - belief in less government interference in the economy was in fact a traditional feature of the Liberal Party of Canada, or rather at least it was until the 1950’s.

I would like to point out that there has been a distinctive and traditional difference between conservatism in Canada and our cousins to the south, one that was based on the philosophies of Benjamin Disraeli and the beginnings of the modern Conservative party in the UK. Or at least it was a traditional difference until neo-liberal economic policies were adopted in the Mulroney years. That difference was that there is a happy medium between individual rights and collectivism, and that a basic morality be used to balance the two with a view to ensure the nation always conserves prosperity and probity.

Aside from being an inherited trait from the British Empire, this balance between individual and collective rights also helped Conservatives to bridge the gap between English and French Canada. Also this was how the Tories vindicated the existence of the more privileged members of society, or in other words to legitimize being rich and why the unequal division of wealth and power was justified. And that meant that members of the privileged class contribute to the common good, or personally I like how Winston Churchill described it… revolution insurance. Yes this means taxes and transfer payments between federal and provincial governments.

If one studies economic theory, one should eventually recognize that this rabid ‘anti-tax / anti-government’ stance that has been adopted by many is not conservative at all; for it conserves neither prosperity nor probity. It’s junk neo-liberal economics promoted over the past several decades by ideologues like Friedman and the Austrian School fools, and adopted whole-heartedly by the US Republican party (who’s conservative roots always lacks Canada’s balance of individual and collective rights) and eventually infected us during the Mulroney years (and the UK under Thatcher). Tory traditions were abandoned and instead our conservatives became obsessed with a thoroughly mistaken idea that taxation is automatically theft, a ridiculous doctrine which, regrettably, became a standard part of the Nuevo-Right’s catechism of (poorly examined and ill-advised) beliefs.

And this is affecting us in an extremely bad way now that we are again running a structural deficit. Neither of our two main political parties will touch the subject of taxation for the obvious political reason that it will mean defeat on election day.

Ti-Guy said...

you are exposed (like blogging tories and trolls) are just one part of the movement,

I don't see much difference between them and conservative leadership in general. The vilification, defamation and condemnation has been in evidence from practically every quarter, from political leaders, to public intellectuals, to conservative religious and community figures to conservative media. I was aware of that long before I started participating in Internet discussions, which I had ignored studiously until the Iraq invasion.

It's still going on. And the charges are outrageous and bizarre.

Meta Kaizen said...

Sadly, Coulter gets much more press and a made in Canada soapbox as a result of this.

I'd agree that she WAS "utterly irrelevant to political discourse in this country", but has now been inserted, front and centre, if the liblogs (among others) jibber jabber is to be believed.

Hopefully, that will be short lived, and we can return to home-grown nuttiness soon.

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