Thursday, June 30, 2005

In Response

I have received a pretty massive response to my last post, in which I explained my personal split from the Tory party--well, massive for me, at any rate. 21 comments as of Thursday night! Who the heck do you guys think I am, Mike Brock?

I'd like to respond, in a way, to some of the thoughts my interlocutors have offered.

Pace Occam, I will not soon reach a tipping point about Canada. I do not believe this country is too far gone. I do not believe that the Liberals have some kind of mystical grip on the country's greeblies. I believe that Ontarians and Atlantickers are, frankly, foolishly biased in favour of the Liberal Party, but I also believe that they are open to alternatives. For me to reach my tipping point about Canada, I would have to see a "Conservative Party" (or reasonable facsimile thereof) which presented a reasonable platform in a reasonable way for at least two consecutive election cycles, only to lose to a visibly corrupt or evil Liberal Party. In my view this has happened once in the last 20 years: 2004. It is not about to happen in 2006, because even if Martin does hold the election he has "promised", and even if he wins, it will not be against the kind of Conservative foe that I describe above. And Occam, how can I honestly give up hope for Canadian democracy when I still have hope for the Iraqi version?

Other commenters accuse me of falling prey to the bias of the CBC, or to the spin of the Liberal Party. Please note: this is utter bullshit. I never--never--believe the CBC. Never. I haven't trusted the CBC to present a fair account of the news once in my entire life. I wouldn't believe the CBC if they said the sun rises in the east. The CBC can go to hell. And the Liberal Party? Holy smokes, Batman, grant me some respect. If you honestly believe that I have split from the Tories because the fucking Liberal Party told me so, then I would simply remind you of the importance of taking the exact amount it says on the little bottle you got from the happy man in the short white coat. No more. No less. And don't forget to take your naps!

One commenter suggested I could have "saved some bandwidth" if in lieu of my longwinded diatribe I had written instead "Stephen Harper is scaaaaaary." I find this disappointing for two reasons. First, I tried to present a coherent argument, starting from principles and moving towards conclusions, with at least one tangent and a handful of observations. I attempted to address counterarguments before they were made. I tried to make a case. "Harper is scary" is not an argument, it's an eructation. It also happens to be wrong--which is the second disappointment with this scary idea. Harper isn't scary. Frankly Martin and Layton are a whole lot more scary, because of their committed opposition to freedom in health care. [Note to commenter MemeWarrior: I do not believe Martin/Layton are engaged in a conspiracy to kill me. I just don't think The Survival Of Me matters as much to them as does The Survival Of Medicare...] Harper doesn't frighten me. He just doesn't offer any reason I should vote for him. As the Flea noted today,
If the Conservative party was opposed to same-sex marriage but were planning to fight the next election on the principle of personal liberty [...], defense of the West against fundamentalism [...] or the principle of less intrusive government and the rights of religious minorities including those religious minorities in favour of same-sex marriage [...] then I would have to carefully balance one party policy against the dangers of continued one-party government and the inevitable risk of corruption such an arrangement brings.

Too bad that Conservative party does not exist.
Harper's not scary. He's just irrelevant. Why would I vote for him?

In the last couple of months, Stephen Harper has focused on two issues: (1) gay marriage is wrong, and (2) the Liberals are corrupt. He has also made a number of smaller points, most of which amount to: (3) anything the Liberals promise, we'll deliver. So if I support the CPC, I ought to do it because I don't want gays to be legally permitted to marry one another, because I prefer a little less corruption, and because I want all the Liberals' spending promises kept.

On the first point, Harper is wrong: morally, politically, and legally. You may offer that this is only my opinion. Just so.

On the second point, Harper offers no plan or proposal that would act to prevent this kind of corruption. His only point appears to be "we're better people than they are". Frankly I believe this is partly true: I believe Harper and Solberg are more honest than Martin and Goodale. I believe the CPC would not take kickbacks--at least, not at first. But all governments become corrupt over time. What would you do, Stephen? What are your proposals? Silence from the gallery.

On the third point, I do not want the Liberals' promises kept. I want them repudiated. Why should I support a leader who says he'll do everything Jack Layton wants Martin to do? It's laughable. I used to think Joe Clark was an idiot for his socialist leanings. I should suddenly think it's okay just because it's coming from Harper instead?

One commenter returned more than once to her sorrow over where Canada has gone. I, too, am sad. I do not take my repudiation of the Tories lightly or with any happiness. I first joined the PCs in 1989. I joined the RPC in 1993, and the CA shortly after it was formed. My CPC membership card arrived in 2004. I am a sincere believer in capitalism and liberty. I cannot tolerate the idiotic and sophomoric leftism of the Liberals and the NDP. I cannot imagine myself, even now, casting a ballot for the Liberals. I certainly do not plan to. But I am not some sort of zombie supporter of the Tory party either, willing to accept any foolishness or any wrong so long as it is carried out under a blue banner. I have my limits.

My limit is this: no matter how corrupt the Liberals are, no matter how much they steal and lie, I will not vote for the Tory party so long as it is committed to repealing equal marriage. Will not.

I am furious that the Tories have brought me to this point. Even a week ago, I believed I was doing the right thing: I could hold my nose and vote Tory, because their anti-gay obsession was sure to fail, and their putative "conservative" policies were eminently desirable. But in the last 24 hours I realized: there are no "conservative" policies--at least, there are no policies that Harper et al want to talk about. All they want to talk about is how gay marriage is wrong. I would be ashamed of myself if my vote were the single vote that put Harper into 24 Sussex, given that the only thing we can know for sure that he would do with his power would be to revoke equal marriage. Tell me truthfully: do we know for sure that he would cut taxes? Raise military spending? Rip up Kyoto? Abolish the CRTC? Disband the Wheat Board? No way, no how. For my money, that stuff all seems negotiable--all except for gay marriage.

I'm sad too.

Maybe Jay Currie is right. Maybe
the CPC has to have its [anti-gay-marriage] spasm and get that out of its system by being massively repudiated by urban Canada in the next election. I am sad that this will mean another Liberal government, hopefully a minority, but the cranks and bigots have to have their day before we can move on to the creation of a fiscally conservative, socially libertarian political party which will reach out to all Canadians.

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