Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Incapable Of Complex Thought

Everywhere in the English speaking world, Lawrence Martin writes, conservatism is in trouble:

In Britain, party hardliners pushed David Cameron into calling a referendum on the European Union. With the Brexit result, they are now in control. The consequences for Britain and well beyond Britain, as the great wealth of analysts agree, could be dire.

In the United States, the Republican Party fell under the sway of Dick Cheney and his ilk. They brought on the Iraq war, the consequences of which have been dire and still are. The Republican Party then fell into the grip of the radical-right Tea Party. Now they are under the control of demagogue Donald Trump. His appeal has similarities to that of the rebels in the British Conservative Party. It is driven by aging, angry-man populism.

If you like Brexit, if you liked the Iraq war, if you favour the retrograde prejudices of Donald Trump, you will like the direction of modern-day conservatism.

And that's the point. Increasingly, modern day conservatism has shown itself to be retrograde, morally bankrupt and incapable of meeting the demands of the new century.  However, Canadian conservatives haven't figured that out yet:

They don’t see Brexit as a step backward. They don’t see the new conservatism as a sure bet to lose the battle of the generations. In Britain, surveys showed the youth were most opposed to Brexit, seniors most in favour. In the correctly named Grand Old Party, the appeal under Mr. Trump is primarily to aging, less-educated voters. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives played mostly to the old-age demographic as well. Millennials being the voice of the future, what are these parties thinking?

It would appear that conservatives -- Canadian conservatives particularly -- preach selfishness and are incapable of complex thought. 

Image: quotesgram.com


Lorne said...

The conservative mentality is largely a reactionary one, Owen. Because of that, they are comfortable only with reacting against things, not promoting new thought. Hence the nostalgic appeal to the mythical 'good old days." They clearly are the past, unable to adapt to a changing world.

Owen Gray said...

William F. Buckley claimed that the function of the modern conservative was to "stand athwart history, yelling stop." Obviously, that position denies reality and -- taken to an extreme -- ends with insanity, Lorne.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think modern conservatism is more wrecking ball than a political ideology that harkens back to Edmund Burke. By "modern" I mean the movement going back to Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney. In this era belief was freely substituted for fact which enabled the movement to hatch some fairly destructive practices such as globalism, deregulation, and legislated inequality. It's small wonder that nations and their peoples have suffered and degraded.

The late-era conservative movement, with centre-left parties in lockstep, have left liberal democracy severely wounded, perhaps mortally. Harvard prof Stephen Walt's article is a timely warning/epitaph.


The final nail in democracy's coffin may be the rise of metanational corporations, the Frankenstein's monster of free market fundamentalism.


Those of us who warned of free trade as a one-way deal anchored on the surrender of state sovereignty have suspected this was coming. From everything I've read the only way out is to bring the whole rotten business crashing down. That begins by recovering sovereign control of our markets and regulating the conduct of corporations accessing them. That means rejecting the puerile fantasy of deregulation and unrestricted movement of capital. Really, Owen, we're so far behind already nothing short of what would appear as radical restructuring will work.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Mound. The power structure has been thoroughly infiltrated by those who believe in market fundamentalism. Such restructuring would probably bring chaos -- unless there are courageous leaders who would be prepared to take on the economic royalists. And present, there seems to be no one in sight.

the salamander said...

.. timely effective analysis, thanks ..
But I would argue the title ..
Perhaps 'coherent thought' would be apropos .. not 'complex thought' ..
one precedes the other .. n'est ce pas ?

To Lorne's excellent comments.. I would also suggest revision..
certainly reactionary.. but currently from the Rona Rump Harper Remnants
we see only evidence of commitment to being Contrary ..
even to the extent of defying their own precious previous policy and even legislation !

Mound gets a gold star.. for 'wrecking ball' ...
though he applies it to broader political or partisan context
than the simplistic & shallow whine of Harper ReformerTorys

Trump just proves that into a vacuum or void - something will flow ..
& that's essentially how septic tanks work ..
toilets are slightly more complex.. requiring a flush
and are just upstream of sewers or the septic tank..
though some will flush right into a freshwater lake.. ..

It does get ugly.. there's a stench..
and seems many can tolerate it..
while others hold their nose.. and investigate the source..
Lately it would seem tolerance.. as in boiling the frog syndrome
is the choice de jour .. no matter how stupid, toxic or incoherent
the right wing nutcases or evangelistic pariahs are ..

Bottom line in my view..
Of what use are 'Big Tent' Political Party circus clowns anymore?
And 'whipped' elected public servants who serve Corporate Masters
and partisan cabin boys n girlz telling them exactly what to say or not say ..
based on what an uppermost level corporate sellout dictates ?

'They call it Democracy' - Bruce Cockburn ....

Steve said...

I wanted to Thinkaboot this unlike the Brexit in the words of Ho Chi Min parapharased backwards, we can now tell, the chickens have come home to roost, and all the lizard brian sheeple have followed your pea brained will. They left a number 2 on your doorstep flamming, You have no idea how to put it out without never wearing a brooks brothers suit again,

Anonymous said...

Brexit was to those that are informed a push back to globalisation.
To the uninformed it was a racist decision.
There re no winners only losers.
We are still left with a deregulated , regulated market!
That is to say the regulation now comes from multinationals such as Microsoft, Apple,big banks and oil companies.
I should add my current pet peeve of UPS who have had me over a barrel for the last four months!!


Owen Gray said...

It's pretty clear that the big money is still calling the shots, TB.

Owen Gray said...

As Margaret MacMillan said the other day on the CBC, salamander, leadership is in very short supply.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect the Brookes Brothers will still sell suits, Steve. But they'll sell fewer of them in London.