The meaning of Harper conservatism -

The meaning of Harper conservatism


Mark Shlodice argues for libertarianism as the defining motivation of Stephen Harper’s side.

Although Canadian academics and journalists have devoted some attention to this conservative network, I believe that it has been covered either superficially, or in a manner that has overemphasized its evangelical or fundamentalist Christian basis. For instance, Marci McDonald’s 2010 book, The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, envisions a crypto-fundamentalist conspiracy at the heart of Canadian conservatism. Instead, empirical evidence suggests that the Canadian conservative organizational network is biased toward libertarianism and free-market economics. An examination of conservative funders, think-tanks, pressure groups, and media outlets shows how far this network has been developed in Canada. Interconnections within the network can be illustrated by those conservative activists who hold leadership positions in various organizations.

Darrell Bricker says Mr. Harper’s coalition is more durable than Brian Mulroney’s. Susan Delacourt says Conservatives aren’t yet winning the ethnic vote.


The meaning of Harper conservatism

  1. Apparently Mr Shlodice is unaware there are Christian Libertarians, and Libertarian Christians.

    In any case, none of this is Canadian conservatism. It is American teabaggery.

  2. “Mark Shlodice argues for libertarianism as the defining motivation of Stephen Harper’s side.”

    Wherry – what are you doing ….. my blood pressure doesn’t need to jolt so early in day. Think of your readers, please. 

    I don’t even know where to start with Sholdice – why am I not surprised to learn that he’s studying here in Guelph – but Harper has increased the size of government considerably – and decreased our freedoms – and that’s not libertarianism. Not remotely. 

    There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them ~ George Orwell

    • Amen to that!!

    • I believe the standard CPC response to this is:
      “He can’t help it, he’s tied in because of this minority governme… uh.. ”

      At least, that’s what I was hearing them parrot a lot before the election, and of course I was pointing out all the evidence to the contrary, but apparantly precedent has no meaning to these people.

      Of course, now it’s not precedence, it’s evidence. And they’re still dancing around and saying things like how he had to do it to ensure representation.

      If it wasn’t quite so revolting, the contortions these people go through to avoid confronting the obvious are astounding.

      • You are preaching to choir. I have been listening to so-called Conservatives flap their gums about how they just had to increase government – and take away my freedoms – for twenty years but I should be thankful because it would be even worse if other side was in power. 

        What makes this argument even more annoying now is that former Reform types – people who used to be bothered by Con inaction and started a whole new party because of it – are now parroting the old arguments they use to detest.

  3. Harper may once have been a Christian fundamentalist and/or a libertarian, but his current behaviour tells a different story.

    “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” — attributed to George Santayana.

    • For fundies, the end justifies the means.

  4. On the face of it i have to agree with those on the blog who are arguing Harper either isn’t or has abandoned whatever libertarian instincts he ever had [ the core of Coyne’s take on him]. So, while interesting and certainly a wake up call to centre centre lefties[ liberals in particular] to get up off their laurels, smell the roses and the coffee, and roll up those sleeves and get to WORK, [gottta love those hackneyed mixed metaphors] i say the author misses the mark. There’s even an upbraiding Harper gave to con libertarians floating around Macleans here somewhere or other.[ Wells?] Harper sold his soul for power – he’s become a liberal – in the worse sense of the word. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say he realizes he has to govern like a mushy liberal while pulling all the levers of power he can in the darkest corners he can find, in order to turn the ship around[ as he sees it]. All he’s going to achieve is bad liberalism and worse libertarianism. I don’t share his faith in incrementalism. The country is changing him – not the other way around at all. Trudeau once wrote that every conservative leader worth his salt eventually winds up a liberal – although i doubt that he had someone like SH in mind when he wrote that – or maybe he knew something i don’t?
    Much of my attachment to liberal govt’s wanes when liberal ideals and policies and its purveyors no longer have the courage of their convictions and the drive and will, faith, whatever to be radical enough to pursue them.
    True libertarians evry where have my sympathies; i can see how you suffer every bit as much under Harper’s regime, as a convicted true liberal such as myself.

  5. .
    The Government of Harper is about free-market economics, efficiency-theory, Deming’s industrial quality-control theory applied to social systems, and the like. 
    ‘Libertarianism’, as a lexeme, is used as suits the above principles: if the word turns someone’s crank, it’s useful. Etymologically, it was associated with European socially-conscious movements, as Noam Chomsky has ably demonstrated, but Ayn Rand deconstructed it, and it was reconstructed in the twisted form we have it today. But that has nothing to with anything today. “I’m really a libertarian…” is suitable for someone who wants to sound as inoffensive as possible, and conservative bell-wethers don and divest themselves with the label as fast a chameleon can change colour.
    For authoritarian governments around the world, Mr. Harper’s program must seem a role model, they must certainly be taking notes. What they cannot duplicate is his disarmingly innocuous visage. You just cannot believe underneath lies the soulless machinery of a Terminator.

    • What is worse is though? – “I am really a libertarian” or  “I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal”

    • Also, you seem very focused on deconstructing the right-wing voter.  Are all left-wing voters (such as those who voted for the NDP) completely aware/educated on the origins of their party and its platform? Do they debate the flaws of Das Kapital and the rise of the New Left in 60s France. Do they carefully consider state capitalism before heading off to vote?
      Is that how Ruth Ellen Brosseau was elected?

  6. I think the scary truth for the left in Canada is that Harper is now presiding over what may be called the Big Blue Tent. His base consists of Libertarians, Fundamentalist Christians, Families, Golfers, Bowlers, Small Business Persons, and even people who drive sports cars.

    • There you go calling him ‘scary’ again.

  7. Another exercise in apologetics.  Embrace the Corporatism, baby.  Embrace it.

  8. Only one thing scares me more than religious fundamentalists:  Randian fundamentalists.