Thursday, July 22, 2010
Stephen Harper, the Census, and the Libertarians
I'm pretty sure that most Canadians don't remember what happened on the night of March 12, 2009, when Stephen Harper addressed the Con hordes at a Manning Centre conference.
Just like I'm sure I'll never forget it.
Because when he screamed "Freedom, Family, Faith !!!" I knew things would never be the same again. I called it the night the mask fell off. The night the Amerikan religious right came to Canada.
But something else happened that night, that I believe explains Stephen Harper's bizarre decision to gut the census better than anything else I've read so far.
Because he didn't just embrace the Christianists, he launched a blistering attack on his Libertarian supporters.
It was an odd message. In reality, libertarians are a mixed bag of people who roughly favour free markets, less government and greater individual freedom than we have now. Exactly how many libertarians exist in Canada, how many call themselves conservatives, or vote Conservative, isn’t known. But there can be no doubt that some core of conservative support comes from people who hold some libertarian views and favour smaller government.
An attack that left them reeling.
The treatment to classical liberals and libertarians--of which I consider myself--was nothing short of stunning. The condescension was literally dripping from his mouth. Was this his response to the disillusionment that libertarians across the country have had to his government and it’s policies of late? If it was, it did not build any bridges. Rather, it burnt them right down.
Since then these Libertarians have been further disillusioned by the Harper government's failure to abolish the Human Rights Commissions they hate so much. And the way the Cons have been spending money like hogs.
So I think this desperate census move, like the move to kill the gun registry, is probably just an attempt to lure them back into the fold. Harper may have thought he could do without them. But he can read the polls.
This is cold comfort for both Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper. While the Liberals continue to trail, the Conservatives are still far off the majority mark.
And I know that everything Stephen Harper does is aimed at securing a majority, everything is political, and with those kind of numbers every vote counts.
So after reading all kinds of theories about why our tin pot dictator decided to gut the census. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Libertarian angle, because who else would this move appeal to?
Surprised too because the two best known Libertarian politicians in North America are Ron Paul and his son Rand...the hero of the Tea Party movement. And they are ALWAYS attacking the census.
Which allows us to frame the census story for maximum political advantage by boiling it down to this:
To appeal to a small part of his squalid base, Stephen Harper was prepared to shroud our country in the darkness of ignorance, ignore the common good, draw on his inner demons,and turn Canada into a Tea Bagger Nation.
Which is why I like what Charlie Angus says here.
The Conservatives, he said, are importing the anti-census language of the "fringe" of the U.S. Republican Party and the Tea Party movement to attack an "extremely credible" organization.
"This is a manufactured crisis to play to a partisan base," Angus said.
Because it fits into a narrative that could KILL the Cons. Where we are the Canadians and they are the Teabaggers.
Yup. When you want to defeat your enemy, first you must KNOW him.
Or if you prefer....when you chase a bunny.
Make sure it's the right one...