Monday, April 18, 2011

How To Know When You're Talking to a Conservative

Just  because you're on the right doesn't mean you're a genuine conservative.  Just because you're to the left of that person on the right doesn't make you a true liberal either.  The political spectrum is very broad but both conservatives and liberals are inherently centrist.  To the left of liberalism lies socialism.  A good bit further to the right of conservatism lies what we might call, for the sake of a better name, Harperism.

In the United States, the equivalent of Harperism is the uber-right lunatic fringe populated by the likes of Bachmann, Gingrich and Palin.  Granted they're more extremist than Steve would like to be but they share a good  many similarities.

Neither Harperists nor American neo-conservatives feel constrained by facts, by the real world.  When facts don't support their ideology, they either ignore them or make up suitable fantasies to present as facts.  

In the States, for example, despite three decades of experience to the contrary, the far right continues to support the fantasy that tax cuts for the very rich boost their nation's economy.  Facts don't matter, fantasy will do very nicely thank you.  Universal healthcare is a mechanism to subvert American democracy.   Single payor healthcare will give rise to Death Panels that will pull the plug on granny.   Obama is a raging socialist and a foreigner to boot.  Climate change is a socialist plot, a hoax perpetrated by many thousands of scientists to secure endless grants.  Fantasy layered upon fantasy layered upon ever more fantasy until you're left with an entire socio-political matrix based on sheer fantasy.

When you're talking to someone like this you know you're not talking to a conservative but to something else altogether.   Real conservatives abhor fantasy just like any reality-based group.   You can talk to real conservatives because they prefer to be fact oriented.  They may see those facts differently or they may derive different conclusions from them but you and they are still working from the same facts, the only facts.   You can and usually will disagree but at least no one is setting up an alternative universe to confound legitimate debate.  And, being willingly constrained by the facts, even contrary opinions are rarely offensive because - they conform to the facts, to reality.

Harperism holds that science and statistics should never be allowed to get in the way of instincts, religious superstition and ideological urges.   Crime rates may be declining but ignore that reality and trust your gut instinct instead.  That's precisely how Harper instructed his caucus to approach his prison building fetish.  And so, like little robots, they did as their master commanded.  Trying to talk to someone who thinks that way is futile.   All you can ever hope to get out of them is "Because I said so, that's why."  They're infantile.

True conservatives and true liberals can respectfully disagree without impugning the others' motives.   They can accept that the other also seeks nothing but the betterment of the country and its people.  They don't have to fear that the other is so besotted with raw ideology or religious superstition that he will drive the country into the ditch.  Harperism, with its Old Testament ways and superstitious distrust of science and democratic openness,  affords no such comforting assurance.  One fact my conservative friends and I agree upon is that Harperism is very far past even the fringes of conservatism.


Anonymous said...

re: "Bachmann, Gingrich and Palin. Granted they're more extremist than Steve would like to be but they share a good many similarities."

I don't think they're at all more extreme than Harper would like to be. I think they are more publicly extreme than Harper allows himself to be because the Canadian electorate has not yet shifted nearly as far right as corporate brainwashing has taken the US populace.

The Mound of Sound said...

Christ I hope you're wrong. Their movement was founded on Reaganism which has nurtured an extremist evolution. I suppose Harperism might be a modern day reincarnation of early Reaganism reinforced with a dollop of fundamentalism. I only hope the Canadian public can't be reduced to the same childlike state that has left so many Americans vulnerable to the machinations of the likes of Gingrich, Bachmann and Palin.

Anonymous said...

This quote has beaten to death - but think about the key things the conservative movement was doing in '97 - mostly trying to fabricate a way to get Clinton out of the White House.

"[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."

- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank.

kyle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Our "Conservative" leader, totally ignores our Constitution. Our Civil Rights and Liberties have been taken away from us. Democracy and freedom is buried under a ton of dirt and corruption. And Canada is corrupt to the core.

Our Mr. Harper's henchmen stormed Guelph University to stop students from voting. The Henchmen even tried to grab the ballot box.

He has a convicted felon, as his adviser. His Conservatives are held in contempt by the House. He wanted to hide the fact, he spent billions on fighter jets, with no engines, for God's sake.

Canada has been a peacekeeping nation, since WW11. He has Canada involved in two wars. He had threatening words for Iran. Harper has joined the war mongering Americans. He is a total idiot for doing so. Canada has a lot of targets for terrorists. And, the terrorists had indeed, threatened Canada, because of our involvement in the Afghanistan war. We are too vast and huge a country to defend, without millions of military units.

What disgusts me the most, Harper portrays himself as a Christian. He certainly is no Christian. He is an arrogant, vindictive, dictator.

Beijing York said...

Maybe someone should start a whisper campaign that Harper would introduce prohibitions on alcohol and dancing if he got his majority ;-) (Although I'm being tongue-in-cheek who knows how extreme his views are when you uncover his mask. His Alliance Mission church has Pentecostal roots and such things as drinking, dancing and playing cards are considered inspired by the Devil.)