Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It Only Stokes Anger

In what Lawrence Martin calls The Anglosphere, conservatism is in crisis. He writes:

In the United States, the conservative brand has gone from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan, to George W. Bush, to Mr. Trump, who was on display in full floral gory or glory (take your pick) in Monday night’s presidential debate. Canada has gone from the moderate Toryism of John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield and Brian Mulroney to the vanquishing of Red Tories and the conservatism of Stephen Harper (with Toronto’s Rob Ford thrown in for bad measure). In Great Britain, the Conservatives are in the thrall of those who want to put up walls.

The brand is increasingly about identity tests and xenophobic strains. It is home to, if not climate-change deniers, then many who are close to it. It is soft on guns. Its appeal is to aging whites, to the prejudices of the less-educated, to religious fundamentalists. It’s a time-warp version of modernism, one many Canadian Conservatives apparently think they can thrive on.

Rather than building a big tent, conservatives have doubled down on their base:

In recent years, Canadian Conservatives have been like some of the others with their obsession with appealing to the party base, to the prejudices of the base, for milking it for everything it’s worth. In this sense, the crisis in conservatism reaches beyond Mr. Trump. The “base” fixation was rarely what it is now in these countries. The parties normally sought to broaden their pitch, not narrow it.

Democracy requires openness to ideas and to people who are not like you. But for modern conservatives, people who are not like them are considered  members of the elite. That's Donald Trump's pitch line. It was also Stephen Harper's line.

That mindset doesn't encourage renewal. It only stokes anger.



the salamander said...

.. conservatism.. if there is such a thing.. may just be a mealy frat club that allows some women who are electable or rude.. as sorority sistas, plus some who likely have access to money or know how to get it.

As Hunter S Thompson once pointed out.. 'there's a dark side too'

I often wonder if there's a freaky secret handshake or chin wag.. or way one crosses their legs or smacks their lips.. Its also a certainty that 'conservatives' must have extreme flexibility or extremely attenuated 'situational ethics'.. How else to explain greasy meatballs like Calandra or Adler or Trost - sharing confidences with John Baird? Or the bizarro #ridemewilfred escapades!

We know from experience now, that the most strident 'christians' among American 'conservatives' whining over the horror of homosexuality were often caught frequenting bedrooms or highway rest stops with boys or men their wives n families presumably were unaware of.. and then there's the conservative Weiner phenom of having to send pics of your junk to complete strangers.. ! Goodness but those 'conservatives have copious and diverse tastes !

Regardless - What happens in the closet - stays in the closet .. That's the 1st rule of Political Closets.. and if you're kind of outside the 'family values' perceptions of the electorate.. well just fabricate a rumor and fart it out there via a convenient mainstream media slacker.. thus we are dutifully informed of the romantic peregrenations of Poilievre & Jenni Byrne.. and the dubious dating of Dr Khristinn Kellie Leitch & Peter Van Loan .. What role Nigel & Ray Novak & Stephen Lecce play or played in the mysteries of the Harper family bliss is just that.. mystery.. & well uh.. amen amen..

I guess its the phony role playing that makes my teeth grind.. and here comes Catherine McKenna now, to inform us breathlessly that after soul searching & plumbing indigenous old time wisdom & the miracle of science - the LNG unicorns of BC's Christy Clark .. a true Liberal.. must be brought to fruition, to feed the ravenous Asian Economies & revive Canad's.. 'To Tidewater' '- 'To Tidewater' is the war cry of Conservatives.. er. well, uh Liberals now as well.. The haunted NDP being in freefall through either a time warp or vacuum cannot be found, much less heard.. but one presumes they too have that itch to align with conservative values.. !

I never realized what saints all politicians are ! But the conservatives truly took the cake.. n ate it too !

Owen Gray said...

It's the galloping certitude that bothers me, salamander. It's the political version of "that old time religion."

The Mound of Sound said...

When we revisit the foundations of conservatism, the professions of thinkers like Edmund Burke, we see the stark abandonment of conservative principle among those who today claim the name.

In truth, we recognize them as "conservative" only because they sit to the right of the political spectrum. Trudeau's Liberals are conservatives as are Obama's Democrats. We only label them leftists because they are positioned to the immediate left of the radical right.

Just as religious fundamentalism has become the modern plague around the world, political radicalism is exacting a similar toll. What links them is that both are rooted in ideology. Both are "faith based." Both reject science and fact where they don't comport with their ideology.

This is not to praise Trudeau's Liberals or Obama's Democrats. They don't seek to disembowel our societies but merely prefer to let us bleed out slowly, the death of a thousand cuts.

Owen Gray said...

Ayn Rand died decades ago, Mound. But her ghost pervades political thinking these days. It was she who claimed that selfishness was a virtue. And all our political parties bought her drivel -- regardless of their labels.