There is a lot of confusion over the new conservative movement, and what it all means.
I suppose the first thing you need to understand, is that they are not conservative at all. They've simply hijacked the old conservative parties, and rebranded them into a radical movement, while exploiting the comfortable name recognition.
I came across a poster on-line the other day, that read:
Liberals Love People
Conservatives Love Money
Neoconservatives Love Power.
All of that is true, I suppose; but it's what neoconservatives are willing to do to gain power, and what they will do once they have it, that makes it, in the words of Edward Abbey above: Evil as Hell!
Starving the Beast and Understanding the Principles of Neoconservatism:
There was an op-ed piece in the New York Times yesterday by Paul Krugman, that discusses one of the ideals of the neoconservative parties. He calls it starving the beast, a popular term when describing this movement.
O.K., the beast is starving. Now what? ... For readers who don’t know what I’m talking about: ever since Reagan, the G.O.P. has been run by people who want a much smaller government. In the famous words of the activist Grover Norquist, conservatives want to get the government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
In the video with this link, you will hear Reform-Conservative Patrick Brown discussing how Stephen Harper will not allow economic growth, but is committed to removing the government's involvement in our lives. What does that mean?
It means that they want to remove government from most aspects of our lives, including important programs like public health care and public education.
Yet polls have consistently shown that Canadians want those things, and other social programs to remain intact, and in fact would like them to be improved upon. So how do they meet their goals, when they run contra to ours? Krugman explains:
The idea — propounded by many members of the conservative intelligentsia, from Alan Greenspan to Irving Kristol — was basically that sympathetic politicians should engage in a game of bait and switch. Rather than proposing unpopular spending cuts, Republicans [conservatives] would push through popular tax cuts, with the deliberate intention of worsening the government’s fiscal position. Spending cuts could then be sold as a necessity rather than a choice, the only way to eliminate an unsustainable budget deficit.
The Harper government has already starved the beast with cuts to the GST, excessive corporate tax cuts and over spending during good times (remember that they inherited a thirteen billion dollar surplus, yet we were already in a deficit before the economic crisis hit.
The timing of the recession couldn't be better for them, as economists Philip DeMont and Eugene Lang explain that running big deficits while squeezing revenue is a way of reaching goal of smaller government.
So the next time someone calls the Harper government 'conservative', remind them that they are not conservative but neoconservative, and there is a HUGE difference.
A new conventional wisdom has emerged. The Harper government has been labelled moderate, centrist – even "liberal." ... The Harperites have lost their way, abandoned their guiding philosophy, sold out to those soft-headed, big government political parties for which deficits are regarded as a normal part of governing.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Harper government has, in fact, remained very true to its ideology. But that ideology is not "conservative." Rather, it is "neoconservative," and this makes a big difference on the question of deficits and fiscal policy.
For neoconservatives – the denomination that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s – balanced budgets are not a first-order priority. The overriding objective is to cut taxes; balancing the books comes a distant second or even third on the to-do list.
I Was Right, I Was Right, I Was Right ... Damn, I Was Right. Sigh.
Harper's Concern is Not the Economy But How to Keep From Blinking
Jim Flaherty Made a Right Mess of Things This Time
We've Been Neo-Conned When We Should Have Been Punked
Stephen Harper, Leo Strauss and Stating the Case Against Democracy
Can Stephen Harper Continue to Control the Ignorant Masses?
Stephen Harper, Social Darwinism and the Pioneer Fund
Conservative MP Patrick Brown Admits That Harper Will Not Encourage Economic Growth
Neo-Conservatism is Failing Canada and Failing us Badly
Why Did Harper Sit on Almost 2 Billion Dollars For Social Housing?
Neo-Conservatism Leaves us Swimming in a Sea of Red Ink
A Great Idea to Fight Neo-Conservatism and Restore Democracy in Canada