26 November 2005

It Begins . . .
This is excerpted from an email that a colleague sent me this morning, written by Stephen MacKinnon, the National Director of the Liberal Party:
For the Bloc, the election of a Stephen Harper government with them holding the balance of power is the ultimate “winning condition”. For they know that Stephen Harper’s neo-conservative agenda is the very antithesis of Quebeckers’ views. They, too, call all Liberals “corrupt” in the most McCarthyite way, to mask the fact that they have no policies that represent a positive vision of Quebec’s place in Canada.

Wow. That's spectacular. They referred to Harper's boys as "neo-conservatives." I can categorically tell you that this is as false a label as I've ever seen.If anything they are neo-liberals. "The idea that the market should be allowedto make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State shouldvoluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should begiven total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given muchless rather than more social protection." -- Susan George, "A Short History ofNeo-liberalism: Twenty Years of Elite Economics and Emerging Opportunities forStructural Change.
The fundamental characteristics of the neo-cons include anti-communism; skepticism about the efficacy of international institutions; a preoccupationwith the concept of the 'political' as producing unending conflict; anendorsement of 'natural right' as the foundation for domestic institutions;the belief that 'virtue,' as well as self-interest, matters in political life; a repugnance toward the relativism in modern liberal society; a marked skepticism about the potential for the physical and social sciences to fundamentally ameliorate the human condition; a pronounced anti-egalitarian stance; and a deep wariness about utopian political projects. -- Michael C. Desch, "What Would Strauss Do?"
Does anybody here believe that Harper runs around contemplating these kinds of issues? No, and here's why. He's too busy focusing on the practical issues of Canadian governance and reducing government intervention in the Canadian economy and the everyday lives of Canadians. Neoconservatism is something that has evolved into the exclusive domain of American foreign policy practictioners; to be sure, there are a few Canadians who indeed are neo-cons, but the politics of American Empire is not something that Stephen Harper has time to deal with. The times may change, but apparently the idea of misrepresenting Stephen Harper as the bogey-man have not.

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