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.”


The Right Balance

Senator Hugh Segal talks about the roots of conservatism in Canada with Allan Gregg.

I actually just finished his latest book about Canada’s conservative tradition the other day. It’s a fairly drab read and somewhat relentlessly partisan, but nonetheless does a creditable job of documenting the historical factors that differentiate Canadian conservatives from their counterparts in the United States, whom Segal characterizes as Darwinian, government-loathing, free-market zealots.

It would perhaps be instructive for many of our so-called “Conservatives” to learn about the tory mindset that values community, one that couples individual rights with responsibilities and views society as an inclusive, organic entity in which people have duties toward one another, including the less fortunate – values that are notably absent amongst the barking jackals of the right wing.

“Not Intended To Be a Factual Statement”

Sure to be a classic in the annals of political dissembling.

Funny as this is, it’s also disturbing in the sense that Senator Kyl may actually have believed the lie fed to him by his staff because this is the kind of patently false crap ceaselessly propagated by conservative media, then amplified and further distorted as it circulates within the right-wing echo-chamber like a demented game of ‘telephone’…

I think it fair to say that most liberals subscribe to the notion best expressed by Daniel Patrick Moynihan years ago that “While you are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.” The right-wing (aka “conservatives”) however, appear to dispute this, as witnessed by their total disregard for facts of any kind – to them, a preponderance of scientific evidence with respect to any number of issues count for little when stacked up against their ideological assumptions or personal, often kooky, faith-based beliefs.

Unlike liberals who foolishly “believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality,” as Karl Rove is reputed to have said about “the way the world really works” when talking to New York Times Magazine reporter Ron Suskind back in 2004… “we [that is to say “conservatives”] create our own reality.”

And indeed they do. Turns out, however, that it’s 87% bullshit.

How Conservative is Stephen Harper?

This is a poll for conservatives only (both “big C” and “little C” varieties).

Taking into account his overall governance and various policy factors such as fiscal management, social issues, immigration, defence, environment, etc., how would you rate Stephen Harper and his party as being in alignment with your own personal view of conservative principles, values, and ideological objectives as you see them?

Note to non-conservatives: Please don’t vote on this because it would defeat the purpose. You’re welcome of course to comment, but refrain from voting just to skew the results. I’d like to do something similar with respect to the other parties and will ask for the same respect from our conservative friends in that instance.

Are You a Conservative?

In his Sun column the other day, right-wing radio windbag Charles Adler asked readers to take “a quiz of sorts” to “decide whether you’re a Canadian conservative or something else”… What followed was part of the transcript from a controversial radio interview with former Alberta judge, now Liberal candidate, John Reilly:

Rutherford: You shouldn’t go to jail for a sex assault?

Reilly: Well, you know, there are sexual assaults and there are sexual assaults.

Rutherford: Sure?

Reilly: And I had another young man, not a young offender, but a 19, 20-year-old. He’s at a party, there’s a lot of sexual innuendo, one of these women is being very aggressive with her boyfriend and they’re drinking a lot, the boyfriend passes out, she goes, gets into bed naked, he goes up, he’s thinking he’s going to be able to, that she’ll probably agree to have sex with him, he fondles her privates, and she wakes up and tells him to go away, and he goes away.

They report it, he’s charged with sexual offence, he has digitally penetrated her, the Crown prosecutor says this is a digital penetration of a woman’s vagina, he should go to jail for three years, that’s the starting point for this sexual offence.

And I’m looking at this 20-year-old, socially inept young man, and his offence is a sexual assault and it’s one that they consider a major sexual assault because it involves digital penetration. I don’t think in those circumstances that what happened there should put that young man in a penitentiary for three years.

Rutherford: Unless it’s your daughter, and then maybe you’ve got a whole other perspective! You haven’t mentioned the word “victim” once yet!

Reilly: You know, I am concerned about victims, but what I’m concerned about is our society as a whole.

I see absolutely nothing wrong in what former Justice Reilly said, so I guess by the terms of Addled Chuck’s little quiz, I must be a Liberal (or worse!). The example he provided illustrated his point quite well, I thought. While the young man’s behaviour in this case was totally inappropriate, it most certainly didn’t warrant a 3-year jail sentence. As Reilly quite correctly said, “there are sexual assaults and there are sexual assaults.”

Is this really what it means to be a “conservative” to people like Adler and his ilk? And is this typical of their “tough on crime” mentality in action? What conceivable purpose would be served by incarcerating a teenager for 3-years in a penitentiary at a cost to the taxpayer of $150,000 — for fingering his drunken girlfriend at a party? No wonder they want to build more jails if they’re going to start throwing people in the slammer for offences like that.

Mugged Conservatives

Playing off the old expression by Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo that “a conservative is a liberal who got mugged the night before,” a disgruntled conservative listener shares his thoughts with liberal radio host Thomm Hartman about his current disillusionment at ideological right-wing extremists having subverted the Republican Party of old.

You know, the one, as Garrison Keillor put it so wonderfully several years ago, “of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships.”

Hartmann’s listener is rather late to the game, but his realization is, well, as they say… better late than never.

Conservative Split

This bizarre conversation between libertarian financier (now turned radio talk-show host after his failed run for elected office) Peter Schiff and the utterly vile Dick Morris (who Lawrence O’Donnell wickedly described as being, “A desperate guy who’s public record with prostitutes makes him unemployable anywhere else”) is perhaps indicative of some of the deep fissures that can be expected to materialize between various factions of the right-wing in America as 2012 election fever ramps up.

I wonder if anyone on Fox News will take their sleazebag contributor to task over his truly remarkable contention (before he abruptly hung up on Schiff) that “every high school student should be drug tested” in order to more effectively wage the hapless “War on Drugs” in America. This, from someone who pretends to advocate “small government” and incessantly rails against its obnoxious intrusion into people’s lives (at least, under the allegedly “socialist” Obama administration).

It’s truly an inexplicable contradiction, but sadly one that’s not at all uncommon amongst faux “conservatives” of the right-wing, as evidenced by the irrational proclivity of these cynical miscreants to zealously advance restrictive legislation concerning gay marriage, abortion, and any number of other social matters that impinge on the rights of others.

I’ve got no problem with conservative libertarians like Schiff, the folks at the CATO Institute, and the Ron Pauls of the world (even though I may vehemently disagree with them in many respects) because at least they’re somewhat consistent in their ideological convictions. By contrast, unprincipled mercenary hacks like Morris are little more than bottom-feeding scum that shamelessly pander to the lowest common denominators and most idiotic elements of the American polity.