Thursday, July 23, 2015

Harper is No Conservative. In His Black Soul, He's a Mangy Junkyard Dog Posing as a Conservative.

Richard Benyon, a Tory MP and former environment minister under David Cameron, writes that Tony Abbott is no Conservative.  By Mr. Benyon's standards, neither is Steve Harper.

Mr. Benyon wrote an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, in which he called out the Australian prime minister for rescinding the country's carbon tax, pulling government support for renewable energy and increasing his nation's exposure to climate risks.

Abbott's dismissal of climate science and his belief that Australia must choose between economic growth and tackling climate change speak to a distorted vision of what it means to be a conservative.

True conservative values include distaste for over-regulation and enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism. But they also include a respect for sound science and economics, a belief in protecting the natural world and a responsibility to do the best for the biggest possible number of one's citizens.

The first leader of any major nation to call for a United Nations treaty on climate change was Margaret Thatcher – Britain's greatest postwar Prime Minister and a standard bearer for the political right.

As a scientist she saw the threat posed by climate change. But she also believed in a vision of economic growth that went beyond the immediate interests of major corporations: "We must have continued economic growth in order to generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment. But it must be growth which does not plunder the planet today and leave our children to deal with the consequences tomorrow."

Benyon may have written that Abbott "distorted" what it means to be a conservative but I'm betting in the first draft he used "perverted."  For that's what our own Sideshow Steve has done.  He's perverted conservatism in Canada, raised his hind leg and pissed all over anything Edmund Burke would have recognized as conservative.


Lorne said...

Coincidentally, Mound, I just got back from getting my haircut, and I was discussing the same thing with my barber about the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party; the secret of their 40-year-reign was an absence of rabid ideology, a governing from the middle, if you will, that is totally absent in the party's current incarnation both provincially and federally. Where did it all start to go wrong, Mound?

Toby said...

I'm always puzzled that Conservatives, of any stripe, never seem to know what the word conservative means. Is there some pride among Conservative circles in never consulting a dictionary?

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Lorne - I think a good deal of the problem is the toxic combination of Harper's neoliberalism and the craven decision of the Liberals, but especially, the NDP to abandon the Left. By not defending the centre-left/left the opposition parties lent credibility to Harper's extremism.

Could you imagine Junior's father supporting C-51? That stands as a testament to the moral collapse of the left and center in Canadian politics. Remember, Elizabeth May stood alone in opposing C-51 from the outset. Mulcair, as usual, had to wait until he discovered which way the winds were blowing.

Purple library guy said...

"But they also include a respect for sound science and economics, a belief in protecting the natural world and a responsibility to do the best for the biggest possible number of one's citizens."--say what? No they don't. Especially not the last one. I suppose conservatism isn't theoretically incompatible with protecting the natural world or respecting sound science. And as to sound economics, well that's rather assuming what you're trying to prove; to my mind Conservative economics are by definition not sound, but that depends on what an economy is supposed to be for. If the point is to make a few billionaires at everyone else's expense, then OK, sound economics.

But that last thing, do the best for the biggest number?! No. Conservatism has always been a project for benefiting elites, it is inherently contradictory to the notion of doing the best for the greatest number. The farthest they're ever willing to go is allowing (in theory at least) "opportunity", so that the biggest number can have the chance to join the small elite that does well, and everyone who fails to get there will "deserve" their fate due to their lack of skill at climbing over bodies on their way up.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Toby. The philosophical patron saint of conservatism is, of course, Edmund Burke and he would be appalled at what Abbott and Harper have done in the name of conservatism. Burke prescribed a clear environmentalist path for conservatism which Thatcher echoed when climate change surfaced as a threat. Harper and Abbott are apostate. Hmm - didn't apostacy once fetch a one way trip to the burning stake?

the salamander said...

.. Mound.. I try more and more to be very accurate in describing or creating analogies re Stephen Harper. Partly due to my environmental & nature interests, I try to avoid connecting him and his evangel feebs to the usual suspect species.
Its left me using parasites & bottom feeders primarily.. though I have used the word 'rabid' on occasion

Realistically tho.. it works for me.. I do see Stephen Harper et al as parasites.. partisan political dangerous
and lamprey eels or sea lice seem to fit the bill.. clamping onto healthy creatures & sucking them dry.

How 'Public Servants' are allowed to be parasites stumps me..

Election promises are discarded and the ideology of Stephen Harper & Ray Novak
with chirping from Laureen, a chinchilla and Jenni Byrne.. become 'Canada's Values'
ie standing with Israel, Ukraine, the Chinese economy, Republican election operatives
trashing disabled military vets, First Nation, Environment - Climate
flooding Canada with TFW's Temporary Foreign Workers
employing deceit, secrecy, obstruction, denial as SOP Standing Operating Procedure
flunking or lying about basic Procurement & Services re Coast Guard & Armed Forces

I'm often forced to tell folks.. name any single file or Ministry
most of which Harper is re-naming.. and show me a success !
Its impossible.. failure on every single file.. a staggering reality
Its as if Canada outsourced being Prime Minister to Donald Trump
the level of bullshit and failure and arrogance..

Anyway.. that's my rant for today.. & my current mantra
As always, your essays are read carefully & much appreciated
Will update & follow you as this summer moves along & into fall
and Canadians are allowed to know when 'their' election might be held, if at all

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, Sal. For all his longevity, Harper is the least-accomplished prime minister certainly in the post-war era.

It's no coincidence that Harper has never fought an election on his record, never. His very survival has depended on always seizing the campaign narrative, always turning it into a referendum on the "other guy" and always undermining confidence in his opponent. That way he has never had to defend his record or present a coherent policy platform. To the extent that policy enters a Harper campaign, it's usually some throwaway ideas injected in the final week or two of the campaign. They are indeed throwaways as they're fairly quickly forgotten after it's over.

It's why I have no confidence in Justin. His promise to not go negative simply allows Harper a free hand to go negative on Trudeau and to telling effect. Between that and his feckless support of C-51, I don't see Junior as fit to govern. Sadly, I don't have much more confidence in Tommy Angry Beard either.

I appreciate how you can roll off Harper's litany of sins and his unindicted co-conspirators.

I suspect Harper or another just like him will be with us for some time unless the Liberals become centrist again and either the NDP or some new party emerges to hold and defend the Left. Right now with all the parties shifting to the right, the political spectrum is being narrowed to the point of irrelevance to the disaffected voting public. By drawing Trudeau and Mulcair ever closer, it's easy for Harper to hide behind them, his actions appear that much less offensive, less egregious.

Anonymous said...

You're giving junkyard dogs a bad name by equating them with Harper Mound. Harper is more like a miniature poodle who hides in a closet, or Senator Stewart-Olsen's purse, when he feels threatened.

Owen Gray said...

It's amazing how Harper's incompetence triumphs -- even as economic and environmental disaster stares us in the face.

Anonymous said...

Here's an actual book on what an ACTUAL modern Burkean Conservative would look like.

Anonymous said...

Anyong said.....Add to the list the International Human Rights Group's condemnation of Canada's treatment of First Nations yesterday. We are way down the list and it is a first for Canada since we became a country.