Canadian Conservatives Defined

Professionally angry midget Kathy Shaidle attempts to explain who’s who in the hinterland of Canadian “conservatism” to Sun News host Brian Lilley:

Heh. By my estimation, Shaidle just slagged off about 90% of the “Bloggin’ Tories” in one form or another as not being REAL conservatives; at least that is, according to her quirky and peculiarly incoherent definition of the species.

So, suck on that all you “tedious” tax-averse conservative men that are overly tolerant of diversity; you “culturally retarded” SoCons that don’t own TVs; and wacky libertarians that are effectively enabling the hordes of drug-addled “parasites” corroding society…

As for the notion that conservatives are frequently typecast as being “angry and stupid” (a pitiable trope of conservative victimization deftly served up by Lilley with wide-eyed puzzlement), oblivious to self-incriminating irony, Shaidle suggests that it’s nothing more than a “mainstream media pop-culture meme.”

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22 Comments

Filed under Conservatism, Wingnuts

22 responses to “Canadian Conservatives Defined

  1. I couldn’t finish the video. Just too tedious. Shaidle is everything she claims to abhor. And less. Shockingly bad TV. Notice no specifics. Few, if any, examples. Just talk. Wasting time. Filling air. Promoting a T-shirt company.

  2. Alison S

    She knows the meaning of the word meme? If she wants us to think cons aren’t stupid, maybe she should get off the air. Liberals don’t pay taxes? Who knew? What a dunce.

  3. Tom

    You know, as female impersonators go, Shaidle isn’t very convincing.

  4. Peter

    It’s ironic that she condemns the “meme” about conservatives being stupid while clearly believing it herself. In this she resembles a lot of the blogging left. It’s really not so much about left or right as the contempt of the ideologue for the unengaged or partially unengaged middle. On one side you have the Harper-as-Darth-Vader crowd screaming about the destruction of democracy while on the other you have a grab bag of Steyn-like frothings about the death of the West. In the middle are millions who happen to think they live in a pretty good country that is more or less on a promising track, and boy, do they make the ideologues angry.

  5. Peter: It’s hard to know what Shaidle thinks about “the unengaged or partially unengaged middle” (generously referred to in parlance of the media simply as “independents” but sometimes described by political insiders, more accurately one could argue, as “low information voters”).

    While you may have a point that rabid ideologues regard this largely indifferent mass of people with contempt it’s somewhat irrelevant in this instance given that Shaidle was simply tasked with helping viewers define the nature of Canadian conservatism — which in the loony-tunes world of Brian Lilley apparently seems to involve whether or not one favours the government supposedly dispensing free crack pipes to drug addicts.

    As for those “who happen to think they live in a pretty good country that is more or less on a promising track” that’s not an unworthy sentiment to have even though it most likely is founded on complete ignorance and may be shattered at any moment when reality slaps them upside the head should they suddenly, for whatever reason, fall off their own imagined “promising track”…

  6. Peter

    My point was simply that many ideologues, perhaps because of their fixation on politics, come to see the world in Manichean terms of ongoing crises, with the population divided among the righteous, the evil and the stupid/naive. Where would blogging be without all the panics and calls to arms? Many of them become downright offended by what they see as political disengagement, but which often is little more than their failure to convince the majority that radical change is needed. Without actually trumpeting ignorance, I disagree with you that optimism or even relative sanguinity is based on ignorance, but it’s a subtle issue and does often bespeak a different perception of reality and priorities. Ideology is great, but it’s like iodine: You can’t live without it, but too much will kill you.

  7. Peter: “relative sanguinity”… What a wonderful expression.

    I’m mostly in agreement with your sentiments. As much as I despair sometimes about the disengagement of the majority of people from political discourse, considering the vitriolic and mostly pointless nature of the fray, it’s little wonder they elect not to be involved.

  8. jkg

    This may be why people like J.R. Saul view the West as being the victim of its own success as it attempted to integrate Enlightenment values into its body politic. Anyway, there is a certain danger of ascribing to the comfortable notion of “there are extremes on both sides!” while smugly standing in the middle pretending to cut through all the gobbledy gook. This is the same type of perverse iteration of “common sense” that tends to be so omnipotent as to dismiss any ideologically charged argumentation yet jives precisely with whatever framework from which the “common sensertron” views the world. The word, “sheeple” tends to be immediately excreted following such a tirade. This is why I think the “mushy middle” is not all that particularly mushy as any veiled attempt being ‘objective’ reveals that they do have many long-held positions. It is just that they are proximal to their own existence and social space they occupy.

    I see this a lot in the editorials of some the small rural, village newspapers. As a “common sensical” voice wrought with Conservative populism, they will rail against government intervention (particularly Liberal ones) and exclaim about the ruination of the free, idyllic rural life but will claim the same thing is happening at the dismantling of supply management done by Harper’s Ministry. The resolution of such cognitive dissonances is informed by self-interest first and ideology second even though the latter is argued and invoked more readily.

  9. As always, a whole lot of stuff to unpack there.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have much time before heading off to work. Save to say for now that I may well be a constituent of the “mushy middle” but certainly not for reasons of being entirely indifferent or being strangely attracted somehow to opinions of the CommonSensatron® – at least, I hope not!

    In a world divided between notions such as “Liberals want to confiscate your hard-earned money and give it to bone-idle drug addicts because they hate the idea anyone should be successful!” or “Corporations are inherently evil and would throw your mother off a bridge if they could make a dime of profit from doing so!” I’m not altogether unhappy occupying a small part of the zone that wants nothing to do with either side of that mindless argument.

  10. Peter

    jkg:

    That’s very general, but clearly there is a lot in what you say. But what exactly are you frustrated about–that people read ther own self-interests into their political choices? As opposed to what exactly? The answer isn’t to glorify the “common sense” of the middle (although there can be more to it that you say), but rather to question the tendency of the ideologically rigid to assume they are above self-interest and have a lock on undertsanding the issues and what needs to be done. History is replete with examples of ideological triumphs that proved disastrous and as empirically misguided as the instincts of a Mike from Canmore. Plus ideology often comes with a lot of intolerance and hate. Government is not an undergrad seminar and the case for democracy doesn’t rest on its superior problem-solving features. I think the tendency of the unaligned to resist the view that their lives are blank canvasses on which the clever should be painting masterpieces is a feature, not a bug.

  11. …generously referred to in [the] parlance of the media simply as “independents”…

    They used to be called “Canadians”. And it’s absolutely correct that The Shaidle/Steyn Corp. hates them…because they’re Canadian, and they can do nothing–save to laud Americanism as truculently and as frequently as possible (Shaidle), to live in New Hampshire as protractedly as possible (Steyn), or to work for a corrupt, venal, and lamentably incompetent neo-con US administration as assiduously as possible (Frum)–to wash away the stain of their Canadianitis. To them, we’re just the mucous flung into the Keenex of the ages whenever Manifest Destiny catches cold.

    Hence, Harper’s risible serial attempts to play the “patriotism” card of late; the phrase “He doth protest too much” hardly captures the texture of their queasy fraudulence. They savour of the self-loathing closeted gay guy who feels the need to mutter “I’d tap that ass” at every passing female whilst out enjoying a pint with the lads. Pathetic.

  12. SF: Thanks for the best laugh of the day.

  13. Peter

    To them, we’re just the mucous flung into the Keenex of the ages whenever Manifest Destiny catches cold.

    Eww. That’s liberal humour, old chap.

  14. That’s liberal humour, old chap

    It’s not “humour” in the first instance, mate; it’s a bland statement of regrettable fact.

    At any rate, any humour at the expense of our transvestite “conservatives” risks being conservative, as you must know perfectly well, in ways of which Harper’s Hack Hatchery cannot conceive. Mind you, I’m rather fond of the conservative definition of conservatism; the liberal one, though wildly en vogue and clearly consistent with the current aspirations of 905 hockey moms who think George Washington was a Father of Confederation and that Magna Carta is a vegetarian entree at the Lone Star, leaves me cold.

    Advocating a polity run on precisely the noxious precepts our founders found repugnant enough to serve as a cautionary tale during the generations-long formation of our own several constitutions seems an odd way to be conservative.

    I’ll say one thing for the Yanks, though: they never mistook the Rosenbergs for conservatives. That species of stupidity appears to be uniquely Canadian.

  15. CWTF

    Brian Lilley is a real twatwaffle – as for Shaidle, is she some kind of special ed. student?

  16. “Harper’s Hack Hatchery”… LOL What wonderful imagery that alliterative expression brings to mind.

  17. Red:

    When competing with suggestive confections like “Santorum Comes from Behind”, you’ve really got to bring your best game. 😉

  18. Sir Francis … you are my man. “nuff said …”

    I am naive enough at 48 to still be shocked when uneducated hacks confuse liberalism as conservatism. I simply refuse to accept ignorance and stupidity when I see it.

    The extreme downside of the interwebs is that it has made everyone’s opinions valid (sort of) – which of course they are not.

    One’s opinion is valid ONLY when it is informed. Correctly informed. Otherwise, it is all just stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry.

  19. Sometimes I yearn for the days of the “classes and the masses.” Mass democracy has encouraged a mass idiocy. To classical liberals, this must seem ironic.

  20. jkg

    But what exactly are you frustrated about–that people read ther own self-interests into their political choices? As opposed to what exactly? The answer isn’t to glorify the “common sense” of the middle (although there can be more to it that you say), but rather to question the tendency of the ideologically rigid to assume they are above self-interest and have a lock on undertsanding the issues and what needs to be done.

    I am very much skeptical about idolizing “rational self-interest” as a way of enhancing one’s participation in citizenship and democracy. However, I am not frustrated of it but more of its expression at it is often veiled under the glorification of shared qualities like “common sense.” The does little to add to the questioning of ideological rigidness. The result, I find, is related to what you mentioned:

    I think the tendency of the unaligned to resist the view that their lives are blank canvasses on which the clever should be painting masterpieces is a feature, not a bug.

    But that is the difficulty here. My question is: To what extent are the unaligned really are resisting imprinting by political theorists, activists, and so on? The unaligned may take a very realistic and self-interested approach to their political participation and expressions as away of resistance to that “painting” as it were. In fact, I think it would be far more clarifying as then the actual debate on how that contributes to citizenship and democracy may be done seriously.

    However, when you enter in the realm of that attempted distancing and resistance, there is a reverse “painting,” in many cases I find because then you get reductionist assertions such as everything is reduced to competing self-interests and a self-avowed claim of clarity from being supposedly above the ideological fray. We can debate whether political viewpoints all come down to competing self-interests. However, that claim transforms into a political position itself, especially when married with appeals to universal human qualities like “common sense” and values like nationalism.

    Now, that is a very human thing to do of trying to relate personal experience to universal values; the concept of the organic society is but one of many manifestations of that. However, that exercise, in its current form, is very much informed by Enlightenment thinking even though it ought to be a counterpoint to ideological rigidness, which is a partial byproduct of Enlightenment thinking. That is why I said the West is a victim of its own success. Another example I probably would point out is that using a evidence and research as a guiding principle only to be coloured by the ideological purity derived supposedly from rational political thought. That guiding principle then becomes a matter of degree depending on your ideological and partisan loyalties.

    but certainly not for reasons of being entirely indifferent or being strangely attracted somehow to opinions of the CommonSensatron® – at least, I hope not!

    Thank you for trademarking that, RT. I hope we can put it into the lexicon along with “instapertise.” No, I fully recognize that the binary form of discourse disenfranchises a lot of people and makes them indifferent. People being indifferent due to such a warped discourse, I find, tends to erode the connection with citizenship and democracy, but I am equally skeptical of some who claim to be independent for the reasons I stated above. I take all these observations as a wholesale effect of Western experiment with politics derived from Enlightenment principles. My secondary question is really what is worse? The indifferent who are least honestly resisting it or the demagogues who pretend they are divorced from partisan ideology? I have trouble distinguishing between the two sometimes (not you personally, but in the general sense).

  21. harebell

    That hurt to watch.
    They seriously wonder why folk think Conservatives are dumber than a bag of hammers and put that on air? The two must have committed every logical fallacy and broken every concept of fair discussion in a five minute segment.
    No wonder 5 foot o’ vitriol is angry all the time, it’s all she has. And it’s no surprise she doesn’t allow comments at her place, putting together a coherent sentence seems beyond her even on the very safe fox news north.

  22. JKG: My secondary question is really what is worse? The indifferent who are least honestly resisting it or the demagogues who pretend they are divorced from partisan ideology? I have trouble distinguishing between the two sometimes (not you personally, but in the general sense).

    I’m not sure that those who are “indifferent” to politics are “honestly resisting” the demagoguery of ideologues… It’s quite probably more a case of believing that it’s all just a lot of flatulent nonsense that makes no difference in practical terms – or to put it a bit more cynically, that one way or the other, they’re going to get screwed and there’s not much that can be done to change that cruel reality. At the end of the day, they’d rather just be entertained, amused or distracted than get all riled up to no avail.

    I fully recognize that the binary form of discourse disenfranchises a lot of people and makes them indifferent. People being indifferent due to such a warped discourse, I find, tends to erode the connection with citizenship and democracy…

    I think the more correct term in this regard would be “disaffected” rather than “indifferent”. But you’re right about the corrosive effects of the binary form of discourse on citizenship and democracy.

    When there is no longer any reasonable middle ground or sensible compromise to be arrived at, when those who disagree are simply regarded as “enemies” and demonized accordingly, and when nuance and complexity are dismissed from the argument and vilified as nothing but signs of weak-kneed “moral relativism” then there can be no reasonable discussion… at that point it’s just rhetorical mud-wrestling.

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