Monday, February 29, 2016

Sorry, Simon, But Progressivism Means More Than Not Being a Tory

Our friend, Montreal Simon, doesn't think much of progressives who are critical of the government rather than battling the remnants of the Conservatives.

And the only thing that does surprise me is that some progressives spend more time attacking other progressives, and our new government, than they do attacking the Cons.

Even though there is a massive Con conspiracy out there, which is funded by big money, it's at war with us. And those dummies don't even know it.

And the good news? At this blog we only attack the real enemies of the Canadian people and their values.

Apparently we're "dummies" too obtuse to attack only "the real enemies of the Canadian people." Never fear, however, for Simon assures us we'll do to the Conservatives in the next election what we achieved in the last and - "finally finish them off."

I have a lot of problems with this diatribe. Simon, like too many Liberals and even some New Dems, think that "progressive" is something defined as "not Conservative." He's wrong, dead wrong.

One of the most powerful advocates for progressivism was America's Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt and, before him, Abraham Lincoln. Anyone who considers themselves progressive should read Roosevelt's "square deal" speech delivered at Osawatomie, Kansas in 1910. The core principles of progressivism are powerfully stated there in most stirring fashion. I read that speech once a year to recalibrate my political compass. I think that's a good idea.

Canada has descended into a condition of neoliberalism. Our affliction is not as advanced as America's where it may well have become terminal but we're not doing much to treat it either. Neoliberalism usually leads to the rise of illiberal democracy. The public still gets to vote but the political apparatus has been hijacked by special interests, corporatism the usual culprit. That's something we dummies understand and it angers us deeply.

And what's this business about how we'll "finally finish them off." What in hell does that mean? Do we disenfranchise the 30% of Canadians who prefer the Conservatives? Do we disqualify their candidates, drop them off the ballot?

Sideshow Steve Harper quested to "finally finish off" the Liberals. He wanted a two-party state, Conservatives and New Democrats. Sounds like Simon wants the same only played by Liberals and New Democrats. That doesn't sound progressive to me or remotely democratic for that matter. It does, however, sound just a bit authoritarian.

"Enemies of the people." Those are loaded words, a term with some fairly dark historical overtones. Ugly words, repugnant.

I freely criticized the opposition parties while Harper reigned. It struck me that there was precious little I could do to change Harper but at least I could advocate for changes to make the opposition parties better, more fit to succeed old Beelzebub when that time came.

There are things Trudeau has done that I support and I have regularly said so in my posts. There are also things he's done, for example the Saudi war wagon deal or the government's support of the Tory BDS resolution, that are appalling. For these he richly deserves my criticism.

This is a democracy and no one has the right to attack another for legitimate criticism of bad government policy. Not even you, Simon.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with the sentiment expressed here. When I pointed out a problem a month ago or more, they (Simon disciples) had at me.

Whatever the type of social commentary offered, it is wise to take whatever a constant rah rah supporter of some party or another says with the appropriate grain of salt, simply because objectivity is bound to suffer with such hidebound thinking.

I've been guilty of it from time to time, though, as have most others. The trick is to realize when you're simply beating a dead horse. Easy to say, harder to accomplish.


Kim said...

I used to enjoy Simon's blog, until the cracks started to show in Trudeau's sunny ways and Simon failed to see anything to criticize. Now he attacks anyone who dares to criticize.

Dana said...

I find his site so needlessly graphically busy that whatever he might have to say gets lost in the clutter, clutter, clutter, clutter, clutter.

the salamander said...

.. Mound.. you and Montreal Simon are working completely different terroir.
You're more the classic vintner.. will old vine vineyards.. Zinfandel
He's homebrew.. unpasteurized btw ..
(just a quick fun analogy..)

Aside from the complete different approach of journalism, collected science, studies, statistics..
- versus - .. comic book & graphic novel style..
you both accomplish great things in far different ways. Certainly Simon can read your specific criticism.. which is accurate .. and politically 'technical' in its definitions, interpretations, reasonings. And I think he'll recognize where you've pointed out the hyperbole went far too broad or his comments wandered astray.

He has his ear to the ground in Toronto, and his heart and soul in the right place..
You're up on the high ground, glassing the broad horizons & reading intel from far away lands
What's really cool is that you share much of the same audience.. concerned coherent Canadians

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree, Sal. What caused me to react at all was the loaded language in Simon's piece - enemies of the people, that sort of thing. I recoil at that because it's the common tongue of the groups I've come to dislike so much and they're on the fringe right.

How many times have I written about the urgent and vital need for us to heal the engineered chasm in our deeply divided society. Harper was masterful at using fear and bigotry to appeal to some people's basest instincts. That was the very essence of his wedge politics style of governance. I'm sure Harper & Co. thought of us, especially the focused progressives, as genuine enemies of the state he sought to construct. They posit a world of "others" - us versus them.

You know what that does? It leaves us, the Canadian people, divided, suspicious and angry and, in that state, we're easy pickings for those whose stock in trade is pushing the buttons of the most susceptible. That keeps us off balance, distracted and weakened when, in the face of the enormous challenges looming this century, Canadians need as cohesive and tolerant a society as possible.

We don't have a monopoly on good ideas. Many of our finest values can be traced back to Edmund Burke, the unquestioned father of conservatism. In many circumstances today Burke would recognize a lot more in our side than he would in what laughably continues to claim the mantle of modern conservatism. In reality they're something far beyond any Burkean notion of conservatism.

This wedge that divides us is a powerful thing made even more dangerous by our complacency toward it. If we're to convey our values we must be willing to sincerely listen to theirs. That willingness to honestly listen is what can build moderation and respect, the foundations that were torn away to create this chasm.

My political spectrum is a circle. At the very bottom lies democracy. At the very top is totalitarianism. At the centre-bottom is liberalism. To its immediate right is democratic conservatism. To its immediate left is democratic socialism. As you proceed outward from the centre-bottom, left or right, you enter an area of increasing authoritarianism and illiberal democracy. Justice, equality and democracy are suppressed, replaced by rank ideology. As you near the centre-top illiberal democracy dissolves into despotism and, finally, outright totalitarianism whether left or right. We need to recognize how far we're ready to stray these days from that limited band of democracy. Voting in a new government isn't enough to even our political keel.

Les Smith said...

I guess I'm late to the party in commenting, but I couldn't agree more.
I had wondered what would become of Simon when the Torries were no longer there to excoriate, and am sad to be able to say that he has turned into just as mindless a cheerleader as the purveyors of right-wing drek that the Conservatives inflicted upon us for a decade.
We (and he) rightly ridiculed the bloggers of the right for taking their stipends to post willful ignorance from their mothers' basements - and now I can't really see much of a difference.
C'mon Simon - prove me wrong. (please) There's more than plenty to criticise in the new government.