Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Calling Out Conservative Hypocrisy

Andrew Coyne is on a roll:
I never cease to marvel at the blind partisanship of some of the commenters on this site. There doesn't seem to be anything Harper and Co. could do that could shake your faith: no budget so profligate, no promise so broken, no principle so abandoned, no pandering so overt, no Quebec strategy so failed, no rhetoric so inflammatory

"Faith" is a good choice, because there is a religious fervour to many within the hardcore Conservative base. Every party has their blind partisans, but the Tories stick out for their inability to offer any constructive criticism that actually questions policy or direction.

The blind loyalty is so absurd, nary a whisper about Harper's overt vote buying in Quebec. I even had one zealot commentator who actually had the nerve to say "the Liberal Party of Montreal", a childish reference, with no appreciation of irony. Where are all the howling Albertans screaming about preferential treatment? Where are the "alienated" screaming against central Canada? Where are all those fiscal conservatives demanding the government reign in spending? Where are the faithful who railed against the Martin attack ads because they were "unfair?

If I can find any positive in having to endure a Harper government, it probably has to do with destroying the ethical illusion that Conservatives embraced. All those years bashing the Liberals with pius indignation, contrasting their party as noble and accountable. Moral supremacy was a given, the Harper Conservatives were a principled bunch, who would keep promises and provide fair government. The realities of office have pierced the sanctimony, and Conservatives are now faced with their own shortcomings. As a matter of fact, the fall from the pedestal is more striking, given the holier than thou attitudes.

As the crickets chirp in Toryland, and the borg-like supporters make excuses and continue to flog that old Liberal horse, the hypocrisy becomes more striking.


Scotian said...

Coyne isn't the only one on a roll lately Steve V, you have been too. This is yet another excellent post from you that I find myself in complete agreement with (yes, I know, no big surprise given how much overlap we have in our views but still) and endorsing wholeheartedly. I call this faith based "reasoning"/politics/governing. Some people think that when I am saying that I only mean in the religious/spiritual sense, I do not. Although that can be included within it, what it truly means is those that act solely on belief even (especially!) when reality contradicts that belief. The rhetoric for example about how the Libs are in the pockets of terrorists/gay agenda/lobby/radical commies/etc, despite no hard evidence to support it. Or how they can deny that the CPC is directly responsible for the Grewal editing that made false criminal allegations about the Libs despite the absolutely conclusive evidence that supports it (as in from moment of recording until May 31 05 release by the CPC these recordings were solely in CPC hands) as an example of denying basic reality.

The Harper CPC is dangerous; it is this sort of delusionary thinking that makes me fight it so extensively. I am fine with people reaching different conclusions from the same facts; it is this belief within the Harper CPC that they are entitled to their own facts, that really freaks me out. I know exactly where that got the USA from the GOP, and it will happen here too if not stopped now. Part of the problem though is that many of these CPCers are cheerleading more than thinking clearly. They were so unhappy at being on the outs with a divided Right that now they are finally in the upper hand position they want what they feel is their due and really do not care how they get to it. While I can understand it I cannot excuse it. One of the most critical things for a representative democracy to be effective requires an informed, critical thinking electorate. However, the approach embraced by Harper and the CPC is directly opposite to that and is instead designed to appeal to folks via their emotions and thereby short circuit the actual serious examination of policies, records, and history of accomplishments (or lack thereof) by the electorate.

I find the degree of insulting the basic intelligence and awareness of the average Canadian citizen inherent in so much of what we hear from the CPC and Harper highly offensive. I suspect there are many others who feel that way as well, especially in the swing voter group which is a group that because it is not committed to a particular party actually will tend to pay that much more attention so they can decide for themselves. It does not usually win you friends and favours when you insult their intelligence and they notice that you are doing so. I think Harper and the CPC are feeding that weakness along with the many others they have with this approach of theirs, and I hope it comes back to hang them with politically next election. More, I hope Harper and the CPC take a serious hit next time out, perhaps then the CPC will dump Harper and his fellow Calgary School adherents and maybe the more traditional and Canadian rooted Conservativism will come to lead that party and finally remove this danger/threat we see from Harper and the Calgary School.

Steve V said...

The cheerleaders seem to forgive principles for power, which is particularly funny, given the cries that the Liberals would do anything to cling to power.

BTW, Baird actually called Dion a "extreme centralizer". This is dangerous talk, because it paints loyalty for country as distastful. Baird also called Dion a "Ottawa politican". Which riding does Baird represent?? Oops.

knb said...

Baird also called Dion a "Ottawa politican". Which riding does Baird represent?? Oops.

That's the kind of thing I meant yesterday. They are giddy with power right now and they are bound to mess up. You cannot focus on trashing someone at all cost's without saying something stupid.

It's nice to see some sense coming from the right isn't it. I'm sure Coyne will not be the last to point out the nonsense. Anyone who has, and wants to maintain, any credibility would be foolish to do otherwise.

Steve V said...

"They are giddy with power right now and they are bound to mess up."

Maybe their arrogance will be their undoing. I really hope Baird keeps up the nonsense, particularly when he keeps telling reporters that he can't support the Clean Air Act because it is "weaker" than the original. Do they really think Canadians will buy this argument?

Jay said...

Don't forget when a member of the CPC stood up to answer a question by Garth Turner and instead of answering his question says "You are a floor crosser and should resign". From over the CPC memebrs shoulders you could see Wajid Khan and David Emerson. No one pointed it out on cbc or ctv as being hypocritical.

dalestreet said...

Yeah but Canadians aren't hearing about the Clean Air Act or the amendments made to it or why Baird thinks it's weaker, because the MSM isn't reporting on it in any detail. What is arguably one of the most important domestic political news stories is being passed over in favour of the Williams-Harper feud and the CPC-LPC ad battle that may or may not signal the election that no one wants and has been predicted by eveyone and their uncle since the last election ended.

Hell Steve, even you've not commented on the Act or the Amendments and the Environment is one of your favourite subjects normally.

Steve V said...

"Hell Steve, even you've not commented on the Act or the Amendments and the Environment is one of your favourite subjects normally."

Good point! I've commented on other sites, but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

I just left a rather extensive (even by my standards it was a lengthy comment) critique of the responses in the thread you linked to at AC's that I read through just a few minutes ago, it should be interesting to check back in a while and see what kind of fury I will have aimed at me for daring to refute many of their most cherished myths/beliefs. I thought I'd let you know so you can enjoy the spectacle.

Steve V said...

Thanks Scotian :)

Scotian said...

Steve V:

Thought you might find it of interest. I am not going to check back there for a couple of hours to give them some time to crap all over it, I want to see just how worked up and how delusionary the responses might be given what was already in that thread. I directly challenged several of the myths/beliefs in many of those comments so I expect some backlash. The thing of it is, Coyne is right in that post of his, this is exactly the same thing as the Martin cheerleaders and the Bush/GOP cheerleaders in the US, especially in the political online community.

I mean really, I wouldn't do what I do if I did not think this was a real problem, and ironically enough it is because of the American movement conservativism that I recognize just how serious the situation is. I have watched them develop since the mid 70s with increasing concern, especially for spillover effect into our own politics, and I was surprised by how long we were able to resist the worst of it until recently. I know not only the names of many of the major GOP operatives that Harper has consulted with over the last several years but I know what their functions within the GOP were and therefore what the expertise they would be imparting to Harper would be. I know the damage it has done to the American government infrastructure, and it is far more than has been revealed so far as bad as that already has been shown to be.

Consider for a moment that the Congress has only been doing oversight for 2 months under the Dems and in literally almost every single investigation they have found serious problems to scandal. I am also extremely troubled by what I have seen how the Bush Administration use their powers over the police/security and judicial/prosecutorial elements of government for purely partisan aims that are clearly not in keeping with American legal tradition, precedent, nor the American Constitution itself. These are the people Harper has learned from and emulates in part from agreement in ideological outlook (Straussians being Straussians after all) and this is what they were able to do in just six years. Imagine what Harper could do with a four year majority control with in many respects less oversight than existed for Bush in his first term. That is one of the reasons why the judicial committee changes made at the structural level and the alteration of the balance of power there worries/concerns me so much. I have seen where his teachers took this approach of correcting the so called problem of "activist liberal judges legislating from the bench" by appointing counter weights, except when there is no such problem those counterweights become the very problem for the judicial system they were supposedly fixing, just working to the advantage of conservatives. Funny how that works eh? (dust dry tone)

I don't brand Harper an Americaphile because it is politically useful, I do it because it is what he clearly is and has been for the last 2 decades. I watched him since the late 80s, I know most of what I do from watching it contemporaneously and paying attention at the time. I don't need anyone to tell me about it, nor do I need someone trying to argue I have been brainwashed to think this, I am far from that poor a critical thinker. I have my own blind spots and limitations but unlike many of my critics I am aware of them and do what I can to compensate for them, including through the use of trusted friends to tell me when they see it in action. I know what it is Harper is playing with, and it is entirely possible he does not believe it can do all that much damage (giving him the benefit of the doubt here) especially in his capable hands. Me, I would see that as hubris and being willing to gamble the future of this nation's survival for no better reason than to gain additional power. Sorry, not going to work for me, nor am I going to sit quietly and say nothing.

What bites is that I have so little stamina/reserves so I have to be careful how much I do, that is my limiting factor. It is why I tend to prefer to comment at other peoples blogs instead of my own, it is hard for me to post frequently enough, consistently enough, and long enough to build a reasonably wide/large readership (at least without joining an aggregator, something I am unwilling to do so long as I have that choice) while by leaving comments at blogs that do have that level readership I am getting what I know out. I am just glad there are so many progressive bloggers out there that appear to value my rather lengthy tomes/commentaries; otherwise I would be toiling in far greater obscurity than I already am...:)

Steve V said...


Why don't you join Progblogs, there is no affiliation required?

Scotian said...

Steve V:

The one problem I have with aggregators is that you run the risk of either offending someone with your comments that shares the aggregator with you or someone on the aggregator says something I am not comfortable being associated with even to that extent. I gave PB some thought a while back but reluctantly decided against it, same as with the non-partisan bloggers one as well. It is not just a matter of political differences for me, I am a bit on the old fashioned side of things, especially where personal honour is concerned, which I find leaves me a bit of a oddity in the online world.

Besides, if I am good enough to get anywhere then over time with my various commenting elsewhere as well as periodic postings at Saundrie should be enough. If I manage to make it in this environment I think I would prefer doing it the hard way, I know rather foolish but I am a bit quirky in some respects, just ask my wife...:)

There are a lot of people out there that are better at quickly finding, linking, and posting new material. My strengths lie more in pattern analysis and data synthesis, basically taking things in and letting myself notice the patterns less obvious. In many cases I do that more like how one looks for planets in other star systems by looking for the gravitational effect on the star itself instead of actually seeing the planet. Indirect observational analysis is a particular knack of mine, ironically enough because of my severe ADHD and how I learned to work with and around it. It is one of the main reasons why my comments tend to be so lengthy too; I literally think in such a densely packed manner, I do not know any other way. Granted, I could take additional time and edit myself, but then I would likely double or more the time each comment takes, and even with my typing speed being what it is these comments take some time to put together, especially as I am formulating them as I am typing.

So I keep to myself and while I have a very small readership at Saundrie I do know that many of my comments are seen very widely as I do well in the Canadian progressive blogosphere as well as in the American one at a couple of prominent sites, including FDL. In some ways I like doing the comments side more because not only am I disseminating my thoughts more widely I also tend to help advance debate/discussion at a lot of places when I do, and that is rewarding as well. I am not in this for glory or fame, I am in this because I feel the need and I like to think I might have something useful to contribute. Given the way I tend to really get under the skin of many on the right it would seem I have some good reason to think that too...:)

Well, that’s my answer, I know it probably seems foolish, but there you go...*quirky grin*

knb said...

Pardon me for butting in, but Scotian, you've spoken of this: Indirect observational analysis is a particular knack of mine, ironically enough because of my severe ADHD and how I learned to work with and around it, before and I'm so intrigued.

At some point I'd like to be able to explore it a bit more. I've e-mailed RT and Steve on occasion and have no way of knowing if they still have my address, but if you're ever in the mood to discuss that further, perhaps you could go through them.

Again, apologies for sticking in my oar.

Scotian said...


No apologies needed, I will consider it. I hope you do not mind if I take some time to think on that, as that would mean exposing a fair amount more about myself than I generally make it a practice to do in the online world. It is being overly cautious, but I prefer to keep a lot of my more private information offline and to when I can speak to someone. So that is why the hesitation, it is nothing personal. Indeed, if I was not already fairly comfortable with you I would not even be willing to consider it at all. Unfortunately I have been on the receiving end of more than a few harassments because of my opinionated nature in my life, it has left me cautious, especially in an environment where I have no way to gauge a person's feel from their sense of presence, be it voice or in person.

I have never been much of a letter writer (I bet you find that one a surprise, but it is true) be it e-mail or snail mail, so I have actually not exchanged emails with any of my fellow Canadian bloggers as of yet. I have been considering changing that practice in the not too distant future though and if I do then I will be more than inclined to share what I can with you. I am curious though, what is it you are particularly serious about? The ADHD, the adaptation, or the fact I had to become adept at indirect observations because of it? If it the last of those three that much I can give you now.

As I think I have mentioned at liberal catnip's in the past I was born essentially with no perceptual filters and with the sensory perceptions of a mild autistic on top of the more usual AADHD characteristics. This left me having to deal with data streams far too dense and well "hot" to the touch to work with a lot of the time while growing up, so I had to learn how to instead of looking at things directly looking around them and gauging their presence and natures by the effects around them. I was atypical in two ways for my level ADHD, I taught myself to read at age six and went full bore from then on in both fiction and nonfiction, and I was non-violent physically except when truly cornered when I would turn the opposite. However, none of us realized I had the sensory sensitivity problems of a mild autistic, back then they didn't realize how much crossover can occur between closely related neurological disorders like ADHD, Tourettes and Autism. It wasn't until my early 20s that I finally got that piece of the puzzle, and it went a long way to explaining why I had troubles explaining why some things always felt far more intense to me than it did to everyone around me. I had a rep as a sensitive child/person to begin with, but none of us realized it was well outside of the norm for that concept.

If it is too painful to look at something directly because of the intense light, you look elsewhere for other signs of the presence of the star/event in question. Now, while that method itself is crude because I have that in my mind as much as for looking at what is there when I combine the two methods I can get some fairly good perceptions/insights going. Most people tend to use one or the other primarily from what I can tell, and mostly more looking at what they can see instead of what they cannot, or even considering whether that there is anything there that they cannot see to begin with. Sometimes it is being able to sense that which cannot be directly perceived that is the most valuable element in a solid intuition/hunch IMHO, and that is something many people just do not seem to think of automatically if they even do at all. Like all methods of reasoning it has its weaknesses and flaws, but I am serious, when you combine the two into a natural dual consideration of things it is amazing how many more patterns start to become obvious at the less superficial levels of an event or events.

The downside for me was that it took until my late 20s or so before I could get very good at using the direct approach, and while the indirect approach can get you more in the end it also tends to need more information to start with than the other. There are other limitations which I am not going to go into now, but I hope this has been of some us in the meantime, and if/when I start e-mailing other bloggers I will certainly be willing to add you to the list, ok?

knb said...

Fair enough Scotian. Of your three questions/points, they all intrigue me, and thank you for your insight into the third.

I suppose I'm seeing what you have revealed in myself and would like to explore it. You said, I have no way to gauge a person's feel from their sense of presence, be it voice or in person.

That would be the antithesis of me, though I sense something in you that is the same as me.

I'm not comfortable here, discussing such things, thus my request.

Whenever, you feel comfortable or not. I've just witnessed over time, someone in you who seems to sense people in the same way I do and I'm curious. catnip has my address for sure, so if the mood strikes. If not, I respect that as well.

BTW, I challenge you, :). I'm the worst letter writer and I'm embarrassed by it.

Thank you for your answer.

Scotian said...


You have me somewhat interested. If you let lc know that if I ask her to send me your e-mail via the addy on my id that it is ok to do so you may hear from me sooner than you may think. You have managed to pique my curiosity enough.

knb said...

scotian I'll do that, but only once things calm down for her. Thanks

Scotian said...


Agreed, let lc get settled first, just once you have passed it along let me know on a thread we are in together if you can so I am aware of it, ok?

knb said...

Will do Scotian.