Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What I Can't Stand About Harper

A few BC Libs have gotten together to exchange ideas about the LPC, the CPC and, of course, Stephen Harper. In search of consensus, each of us set out just what it is we most dislike about Stephen Harper. It's a neat exercise that does wonders to focus the mind.

Here are some of my thoughts on why I don't like Stephen Harper:

"My partner put it best. She doesn't like Harper because he doesn't like us. Harper's comments going back a decade reveal his contempt for the Canadian people and our social values. Harper is outside our values in a place more likely to be inhabited by right-wing ideologues, would-be Republicans. At a purely personal level I believe he has set himself up against me and against my country. Harper doesn't want to serve and build Canada. He wants to transform it by shifting it far to the right following the same method that has worked in the United States.

I don't like Harper because I find him parochial. His preference is for wholesale devolution, a rejigging of our confederation and a Balkanization of the nation.

I dislike Harper because he flies false flags and employs ruse to effect fundamental change. Take the GST cuts. Harper didn't cut the GST for economic stimulus. In fact economists were nearly universal in holding economic stimulus would better be achieved by direct cuts in income taxes. What Harper was really doing, without being honest about it, was defunding the government. Doing that, covertly, is, in my view utterly subversive.

The world is now entering an era that promises great upheaval - socially, politically, economically - and Canada, while relatively blessed, won't be immune. Yet our central government has been rendered impotent to act quickly and powerfully should that need arise. It has been deprived of its fiscal strength and that has been a deliberate but unspoken policy of the Harper cons.

I see in Stephen Harper a man guided by a narrow, mechanical ideology who pursues objectives but without any clear or compelling vision. He's a glorified clerk. His lack of vision is reflected in a common failing of our time among the political classes - an utter indifference to posterity.

The times that are upon us mandate that we incorporate posterity into all our decision-making. What's good for us in five years is important but not if it requires neglecting or impairing the welfare of the country for generations to follow. That surely must be the nub of the entire climate change dilemma. Looked at in the span of an election cycle, it's vastly different than when taken on a generational scale.

Harper's goals are immediate and that makes his focus small and devoid of the inconvenience of vision. It gives rise to that "bull in the china shop" decision making where immediate results eclipse long-term consequences.
The Tar Sands development to lever Canada into an "energy superpower" reflects that way of thinking.

Our society, our nation, our world are facing long-term challenges that can't be met by short-term thinking. It needs vision with an eye to posterity to begin developing long-term, effective responses - both remedial and adaptive.

The coming three decades will usher in enormous problems of a global dimension. Taken collectively they're unprecedented in scale and impact. Global warming, desertification, overpopulation, resource depletion, freshwater exhaustion, species extinction, the arrival of peak oil. Society is going to undergo change, the nation is going to undergo change, the global community is going to undergo change, often unpleasant and threatening and ultimately unavoidable. It's going to take strong social cohesion and clear vision-based consensus to find and implement the very best responses, short and long-term, to these challenges. Put another way, this will require leadership totally at odds with the corporate management style of movement conservatives."

And that, in brief, is what I can't stand about Stephen Harper. He's stuck in a rigid and atrophied ideology that does not serve this country well, even in the short run, and will certainly harm it in the long run.

So, do you dislike Stephen Harper? Is there something about him you can't stand? If so, why not take a few minutes, go to your blog and put your thoughts down in writing for the rest of us to share?


WesternGrit said...

Mound: This is fantastic stuff. You (and/or your partner) have basically outlined Stephen Harper, Bush-Cheney, and the entire neoCon movement. I'd say your comments should really be a part of speaking points for every Liberal MP - and every Liberal Party member.

I agree with you precisely. My greatest fear is Harpo's techniques - along with the complicit media (they would just discredit the CBC as being lefty-Liberal appointees) - would destroy Canada's "management infrastructure" to such a point that we would have no alternative than to join a stronger union with the US, or allow for corporate hegemony to get out of it.

We need to continue getting our message out - we are in more dire times than people know (even the "think-they're-neoCons" who vote Con, but don't even fit into the category of people who would benefit from conservative policy - ie - "the Heartland farmers").

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks, WG, for your kind words. You've nailed it when you said we need to get our message out. Identifying the best ways to do just that is a big hurdle. What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Top notch, very well said.

Anonymous said...

And the alternative would be "Prime Minister Dion"?? Wow, I don't believe I have ever seen those words in the sentence, and for the good of the country let's hope it stays that way.

Anonymous said...

The one thing I can't stand about Harper is how all you lefties hate him so much.

And for the record, there are millions of us who happen to like and respect the man. But, in keeping with your typical elitest thinking, our opinion doesn't matter to you and your kind.

It makes me really sad to see all the hatred and lothing that goes on amongst the left, just because the man disagrees with your point of view. If I recall correctly, this is CANADA, a nation where different points of view are embraced, and not dispised, just because they differ with your ideology.

Grow up.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ah, the AnonyMice have been here. I can always tell by their droppings. You may respect the man but his own words demonstrate he holds ordinary Canadians in contempt. Now, if that's the kind of leader you choose to respect, well then that's just sad.

"Elitist" thinking? You've been watching too much Fox News. Just a tip, that's not real.

There's nothing elitist in looking for vision and strong social consensus, nothing at all.

I am glad that you do recall this is Canada, not the Deep South, and the centrist Canadian values are well documented and acknowledged, only not by your Mr. Harper.

sassy said...

Good post.

I don't like Harper because of his disregard for, and abuse of Canada, it's values and it's citizens.

That's my only reason.

WesternGrit said...

Funny to hear someone describe moderate, middle-of-the-road people as "angry". I guess if you're a typically angry Conservative you just don't notice it. These clowns (or was it jokers?) didn't stop hating - even when ensconced in office. It is a part of being part of the "right" - the need to attack the weak and defenseless. Might is right, and all that "good" stuff. Yeah, we're angry... We sure sound like it...

Love the "elitist" reference. I think Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, said it best when he spoke on the subject... He stated the fact that if you think you're good enough to be elected over someone else, you are, in fact, elitist. You have to be elitist to want to be the President (or PM) over millions of other citizens. It's the very definition of the word. He also added, "elitist means good, as in "quality", and that he'd much rather have an "elite" leader, than the opposite (what they have now with Dubya).

The word "elitist" is one that the neoCon right wing have used - albeit with changed meaning and connotation - to try to paint the center as "win-sipping", Volvo-driving, lefties. They overlook the fact that the fiscal measures they espouse (cons) are the very measures meant to destroy liberal democracies and begin corporate hegemony and mass-privatization... The elitist billionaire industrialists from foreign lands rub their hands in glee every time a Conservative Finance Minister somewhere rolls out a budget - because it most definitely includes selling away some part of the public trust to private interests...

wilson said...

''It makes me really sad to see all the hatred and lothing that goes on amongst the left, just because the man disagrees with your point of view.''

I agree with that.
However, I can relate to your post.
I remember when Paul Martin came to Edmonton, and I was angry, really angry (not about Adscam). He used Albertans as political fodder, and then had the nerve to step foot in our province looking for votes.
Ditto Dion and his 'easy money' visit.
I just wanted them to Go Home and leave us alone.
Sometimes it is hard to remember that Liberals are people too.

p.s. too bad Bill Graham is leaving, watched him on MDL today, need more fair and balanced politicians like him.

Oh, and PMSH deserves respect.

LeDaro said...

Excellent. Well-stated. Agree with you 100%.
"He's a glorified clerk". You're quite right. However, a clerk can do very little damage. This clerk is sitting at the 24 Sussex Drive. Too risky to keep him there in face of all the challenges we are facing and will face.

WesternGrit said...

I've forwarded this to a few MPs... Try to get them thinking in this "mindset" when they start stumping in the next few months...

Fish said...

I honestly can't say that I "hate" the man. I'd probably have a blast talking politics and hockey with the guy. But I think I get what you mean Mound.

The fact that he's a lousy prime minister, and that his political beliefs differ wildly from my own just don't stir up any hatred. I hate his so-called vision (or lack thereof) for Canada, and I don't think he's half the leader that St├ęphane Dion is, but I can't find it in my heart to hate the man.

Dame said...

This should be in print and hand out everywhere as excellent assesment of Harper and his 'Party" It Reallty tells what needs to Know when it comes to the next election Time.

I myself HATE only a handful political Figures and Harper is Number One!!!

And it is the most Constant feel with me since he is on the stages of political life.
Actually I Thing he has a morbid psyche .

Susan said...

Great post!! - it helped renew my hope, but those of us that think this way - and we are many - do not have a strong enough voice, even with blogs - great idea to send the links to MPs - what happened to Politics having a blog segment? too political?

Anonymous said...

What I can't stand is a the way in which the looney left keeps preaching as to how they are the guardians of 'Canadian values". This is the problem with all the Nanny State lovers; they seem to feel they hold proprietary rights to what is defined as 'Canadian values".
During the recent Albetra election campaign, a socialist moderator asked one of the candidates how he felt being the lone 'far right' (her words) candidate in a field of moderates. His answer illuminated the idiocy of the 'far left' self-cetered philosophy. "Im not the far right candidate", he replied. "I'm the only moderate in a field of far left opponents."

The Mound of Sound said...

Just a few responses. Powell Lucas with his neo-con lexicon of "Nanny State" and "looney left" is illustrative of his group that so freely accuses others of hate. Powell, we're not the guardians of Canadian values but we do respect them. Study upon study has demonstrated the firmly held centrist value of Canadians and they depart markedly from those of the far right. Sorry pal but that's true.

Like Wilson and that anonymouse, you people focus on a supposed hatred of Harper but utterly ignore the substantive basis of this whole post.

Given that you voice no exception to the larger issues raised in this item I'll take it you agree. See, there is common ground after all.

WesternGrit said...

To Powell Lucas:

Yeah, I can't stand the "looney left" either. Have no use for the NDP - except as a balance to your "reactionary right".

Apparently (not to sound "elitist" or anything) you've never seen the inside of a poli-sci classroom... heck maybe not even grade 10 social studies... Because, if you had, you'd know how the Canadian political spectrum breaks down... NDP/Greens on the left of center. Progressive Conservatives slightly center-right, and Reform/Alliance/Conservatives to the right of the PCs. Liberals "hug the center". We are moderates to both sides. Taking the best of both worlds, and using our conscience to affect the best blend of the two (progressive social policy, and good fiscal management).

That was your "civics" lesson for the day. Perhaps if your neoCon friends succeed in Americanizing this great country enough, they'll put "civics" in every high school curriculum - like the US. Perhaps then, people like yourselves would understand the difference between right, left, and CENTER.

Peace out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys, you just made my point. According to Mound, mine is a neo-con lexicon but his comments re "right wing idelogues" or "would-be-republicans" is, of course, not some radical neo-Marxist lexicon. As I said, only the left thinks it holds the patent on righteousness.
As for Grit, yeah I have been inside a political science classroom. One term was enough. I was constantly at odds with my instructor who mouthed every tired, worn out platitude of left wing dogma. Like most of his ilk he would brook no contradiction without flying into a rage. However, most of my political instruction has come from a lifetime of watching all the brain dead social engineering schemes foisted on the public by everyone from Lester Pierson through John Kennedy to Lyndon Johnson and Pierre Trudeau. All that ever came from them was a restriction on my freedoms and a picking of my pocket to enrich the crooks who make a creer from scamming poorly thought out government schemes. You may think Liberals represent the centre of the political spectrum but I'll give you odds this is not a view shared by anyone who has been mugged by some underaged gang or lost a loved one to a teenage criminal only to have the Liberal constructed criminal justice system turn them loose with the usual hug-a-thug mentality.

The Mound of Sound said...

No Powell Lucas, we made none of your points except, perhaps, in your skewed mind. You must have had an unusual poli-sci prof because I've never met one yet given to flying into a rage and I doubt you're the type of intellect that could provoke that sort of response in anyone. Tell me, please, in what way did John Kennedy restrict your freedoms or Lester Pearson? Or is that just more empty nonsense seeking to create a point? I can't speak for someone mugged by an underaged gang but I'm sure you can. You're an angry, bitter guy, Powell but I'm sure the many disappointments life so plainly has brought your way were more your own doing than anything any liberal coined.

LeDaro said...

"..restriction on my freedoms.."

Sure, Powell lucas. Are we free now under Bush and Harper? Torture and then wiretapping ordinary citizens all over the place. What about Iraq and Afghanistan? You will say that these two (Bush and Harper) brought freedom there too. C’mon now.

WesternGrit said...

Again Powell, you confuse center with left. I've been robbed, been assaulted a few times (won't go to those bars again), and a victim of a conservative (he was) white collar criminal. The Canadian system worked all of it out - and we're still 10% safer than in the US (which has stricter laws in some cases) - we have 10 times less violent crime PER CAPITA.

I now understand the source of your anger, and your conservatism. You are a victim - or know a victim - of crime. Victims of crime react to their experience in different ways. Some choose anger. Some choose understanding. Some choose to attempt to rehabilitate the perp. It is pretty clear that you have bought into the Conservative ideal lock stock and barrel.

Aggressive punishment regimes have been instituted around the world. It is arguable that they increase crime. The typical criminal - knowing he could get the death penalty, or a harsh sentence tends to do anything possible to avoid punishment - including worse crimes. While we need to do some work within our prison system, we also need to work on sending petty thieves to jail and having them turn into murderers while serving time (peer influence, etc.).

I feel for your experiences, but still think that you're getting Canada's political scene all wrong. Anger fuels derision and division, and lack of understanding usually fuels the flames.

You mention how you think the "left" thinks it holds a patent on righteousness. I agree, and I'll add that it's not just the left, but the other extreme - the right - as well. Ideologues of all types actually. I'm just glad we Liberals are in the center, and can create a compromise between you two extremes.

Sucks to be you (but you guys wouldn't figure that out on your own). Don't be too angry or jaded - not good for your blood pressure. Another benefit of being a "moderate" is really being less angry all the time. We just like to take these verbal jabs from time to time. Good mental exercise.


Mike said...

"I'll give you odds this is not a view shared by anyone who has been mugged by some underaged gang or lost a loved one to a teenage criminal only to have the Liberal constructed criminal justice system turn them loose with the usual hug-a-thug mentality."

Well, I guess that means you attract angry victims instead of reasonable, clear thinking individuals. Also the numbers of such people have decreased dramatically since the crime rate, including the murder rate and youth crime rate, have dropped steadily since 1990 and are at the lowest level in 30 years.

But leave it conservative ideologue to try to use tragedy and emotions for political gain.

And before you say it, I'm not a Liberal, nor have I ever been. I'm a libertarian and a market anarchist. And you are an authoritarian asshole.

Anonymous said...

Hoo-ee! some of those westerners/neoconks really get riled by disputation. What I hate about Stevie Harpoon is that he makes Lyin' Brian Muldoon look better and I hate it when shit looks like pudding