Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I Believe we Can Prevent Dead People From Rising

I'm trying to put all of my work together on the neoconservative movement, it's origins and where we could be headed.

The Libertarian ideas stem in part from the 19th century politician/philosopher/economist Frederic Bastiat, who believed in individual freedoms, especially in the market place.

The Montreal Economic Institute, former home of Reform-Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, base many of their theories on Bastiat, where there is no nation, only individuals, who are actually diminished to the role of 'consumer'.

Margaret Thatcher, who was also a neo-con free marketeer, once said "there is no such thing as society".

Notions like sovereignty, democracy and nationalism, are direct threats to neoconservatism.

However, as much as it would appear that these theories have gained ground, I also believe that, or at least hope that, they might be about to self destruct. And I don't see this happening necessarily because of the efforts of my generation, but because of the views of our youth.

Many in the media dismissed Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, as just a bunch of college kids, who would soon get bored and move on to something else.

However, a survey done of the group, revealed that more than half of us are over 40, settled and politically active. And 87% of us vote.

But it is not the over 40 who influence the direction we are going. The founder of the group, Christopher White is a university student in his 20's, and has very clear ideas about what a democracy should like.

In fact, reading university papers and comments from the 'pups', I've discovered that they are more politically engaged than we think. They may feel disenfranchised by the status quo on Parliament Hill, but they are very concerned with issues like global warming, social justice and government waste.

Their views are not reflective of the views of our current government.

Stephen Harper always polls better when he pretends to be Liberal, but if anyone assumes that he is moving to the centre politically; they couldn't be more wrong. In fact he's right on track. According to economists Eugene Lang and Philip DeMont:

A new conventional wisdom has emerged. The Harper government has been labelled moderate, centrist – even "liberal." This characterization is due entirely to the large fiscal deficits that have emerged on the Harper watch – $56 billion next year alone – deficits the government admits with a shrug will extend for several years.

No self-respecting conservative government could tolerate such profligacy, or so goes the critique. 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.

...So don't be fooled. There is nothing "liberal" about the Harper government's fiscal and economic policy. They remain true to their ideological roots, and can walk proudly in the footsteps of trailblazers like Ronald Reagan.

There was an excellent article in the Varsity newspaper, that while the author still doesn't understand the difference between conservatism and neoconservativism, he does reveal the priorities of his generation. In discussing Flaherty's 'plans':

There’s a real logic to this kind of policy—it’s predicated on a particular notion of “growth” which it assumes happens from the top down and not from the bottom up. The only problem is that “growth,” of this kind usually relegates its benefits to a select few, while doing nothing to combat deficits or fund social programs to help those who really suffer during a recession.

The article then goes into the anthem flap to deflect attention, the detainee issue and prorogation. They are definitely paying attention, and viewing Canadian politics based on a shared vision of their parent's view of Canada; not Reform ideology.

Dead economists like Frederic Bastiat and Friedrich Hayek, can stay buried.

I think we're going to be alright.


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