Understanding the Tory War Room


“Whereas the left wing tends to attract bleeding hearts, the right-wing tends to attract jerks. Of course there are all sorts of fancy intellectual reasons why one might want to shrink government, reduce taxes, and curtail entitlement programs. Bu a lot of people support these policies simply because they don’t care about anybody but themselves. They are, in other words, self-interested jerks.”

Joseph Heath, Policy Options

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Understanding the Tory War Room

  1. And for some reason the jerks seem to impress otherwise perceptive journalists as being The Smartest People in The Whole World. Despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

  2. You’d think they’d be extremely careful about staffing the war room with people who aren’t liable to scare off the mainstream. You’d think.

  3. “Gold, Jerry! GOLD!”

    Actually, wrto the CPC, unadulterated wackos.

    Apparently Garth Turner has been stalked and harassed in his riding by some CPC-supporting dickwad(s?).

    There is a behavioural trend here, and it needs to be recognized and it needs to be stopped.


  4. I thought you ‘bleeding-heart’ lefties didn’t like stereotypes?

    But, good call, Mr. Potter, those of us of a ‘right-wing’ persuasion must all do penance. We share an ideology with a couple of rude guys after all.

  5. Andrew I think the line you left is also important:

    “Many even have a mean streak, which makes them respond to claims of victimization in a punitive rather then compassionate manner.”

    This may address Austin’s point.

    Even if you take the edge of Heath’s tone (and I don;t think you necessarily need to) you I think you still can find behavioural parallels.

    Like him or not, the nearly two year incessant attack on Dion reeks of Heath’s “punitive” predisposition, even if Dion is not claiming victimization.

    More often then not this attack has been on Dion’s departure from hegemonic norms of masculinity (e.g., slight physical appearance, nerdy-ness) shrouded in a thin veneer of being something more (e.g., whether he is a leader) as a means of delegitimizing his character and ultimately him. This approach not only has the convenience of not addressing matters of substance, but by virtue of delegitimizing him makes matter of substance irrelevant.

    While seemingly effective thus far, this is really unattractive politics.

  6. curious where Heath and Potter would place Warren Kinsella, Scott Reid et al in their continuum?

    partisan hacks is partisan hacks, across the spectrum.

  7. I noticed this at the Red Mile. Lots of titties around but no open alcohol allowed. And a guy was cheering “yeah, ‘cuz we’re white!”, and nobody batted an eye. Coming off 7 straight FT shifts with no sleep, a coworker in Cgy said to me: you know why I like Cgy? ‘cuz it’s a clean city”.
    Contrast that with the welcoming party times when the Canucks knocked off the Blues. Don’t have any such Jets parties to use as reference…
    In Scarborough I worked in a Muslim workplace and we all made fun of GWB. Good times.
    Not to dis Cgy, but I get why people call it a huge town. Who dumps garbage on a field goal kicker’s lawn?!

  8. Marty, I believe technically Kinsella is an example of “transferred jerkism.” A rare and alas! incurable condition. He and James Carville are among the few sufferers.

  9. You should add “knuckledraggers”, and might as well throw in “racists” to boot.

    Demonization of ideological foes is the left’s stock in trade.

    Here’s something I’ve noticed about so-called “progressives”:

    they’re incapable of seeing those who disagree with their worldview in anything other than hateful terms. The right disagrees with the left, but the left hates the right. Why?

    The left perceives itself as having the moral high ground. They, and they alone want to have a better world. Being against the left, is akin to not wanting a better world, or worse, wanting a worse world, in which people suffer. Of course conservatives too want to see a better world, they just think it can be accomplished in different ways. The left is convinced differences lie elsewhere – in malevolence.

    Self determined absolute moral authority results in the demonization of the the right. Thus the negative emotive terms regarding the scaaaary, cold, mean hidden Harper, or in terms of being “self interested jerks”.

    On the final point of “self-interest”, it’s funny because all of the left leaning friends I know still want to have a nice life for themselves, are just as materialistic as I am, like to take vacations, drive nice cars ect. In fact, many of the wealthiest people I know lean hard left. What other than “self interest” has allowed them to accumulate such wealth while people around the world suffer???? Do they drive the lexus out of altruism?

    Don’t worry, I don’t hate you. Your “self interested” purchase of the Lexus employed those who make its ball bearings, and enriched the average shareholder (perhaps an aging pensioner) who holds stock in the company.

    This holds true of the conservative Lexis owner, if you can believe it.

  10. Shrink government?

    doesn’t anyone check stats any more?

  11. Andrew Potter and Joseph Heath sure stirred the pot here. But what about that huge bulge in the middle of the bell curve?

    They’re not paying attention to us.

  12. Kody,

    While it is true that lefties often go overboard in the evil motives they attribute to those on the right I think it is an exaggeration to call deamonization their “stock in trade.” This suggests it is conscious and is their main motive and that simply isn’t so. Those on the left tend to get involved because of a sense of moral obligation and a desire to pursue what they percieve to be just (thus those who oppose them are immoral in their view). This may also be true of many on the right but in my experience many right wingers become involved to achieve what they percieve as very pragmatic goals through the establishment of some sort of order that reasonates with them. Thus, those who oppose them are percieved as obstructionist, soft minded or pathetic. I guess what I’m saying is that both sides deamonize eachother (I know because I have been on both sides of this fence) and no side can claim it is their “stock in trade.” That being said, I think it would be accurate to say that the Right has been a tad more guilty of the deamonization thing during the past few years under Harper (accusations of anti-semitism, sympathy with pedophiles, sympathy with the Taliban and terrorists etc…)

  13. RyanD – don’t bother ‘debating’ kody. There are a few on the right who speak only in absolutes and stereotypes and have no intent or desire to discuss anything.

    Some people enjoy closing their mind and fortifying their beliefs. the world can only be black and white and allowing any compromise would be seen as a defeat.

    While others would see compromise and establishing common ground as progress and, dare I say it, democratic.

    It would appear that the current Neoconservatives have the same entrenched attitude and view any compromise or dissenting opinion as an attack, which demands an attack in return.

    Rhetoric, lack of substance and abuse in ad hominem attacks can be justified through the defending of ones beliefs. Which is easier than processing, analysis and discussing other points of views.

  14. ‘While it is true that lefties often go overboard in the evil motives they attribute to those on the right I think it is an exaggeration to call deamonization their “stock in trade.”’

    Its an unfortunate consequence of dealing with the gifted class.

  15. it is important to realize that while not all traditionally ‘right-wing’ positions are based on hate, conserative politicians have adopted and played them up to suit their needs. When a party makes political hay by opposing gay rights, for instance, they absolutely run the risk that people are going to view all their other ideas as just as hate-filled.

  16. Divides the world into “The Left” and “The Right”? Check.

    Ascribes personality attributes at a stroke to members of “The Left” and “The Right”? Check.

    States that one side is a bunch of angry, socially mal-adjusted jackasses while the other is a group of beautiful, intelligent, and selfless souls? Check.

    I think I have Crazy Political Commentator Bingo.

  17. When a party makes political hay by opposing gay rights, for instance, they absolutely run the risk that people are going to view all their other ideas as just as hate-filled.

    Right on. A party can support equal rights for gay partners, but please reserve the term “marriage” as a union of man and woman. Feel the hate.

    Seems to me ol’ Joe Heath’s comments earn him the “jerk” title quite nicely.

    And, GtL, bang on! If this is what an incredibly shrinking government looks like, stop the world, I want to get off…

  18. And I wonder what Heath is. I love how lefties are so sure of their superiority which makes it ok, in their mind, to accuse everyone who doesn’t agree with them to be sexist, racist … the list goes on and on.

    It doesn’t seem to matter to those on the left that their ideology has lead to more death, destruction and mayhem than any other political system in the past 100 years.

    As someone wrote above, I assume it was Kody, most of us have the same goals in mind but we disagree on how to get there. People on the right love freedom and many became right-wing because they were born poor and didn’t want to stay that way.

    What’s the definition of a marxist? Someone who loves humanity in groups of one million or more (and kills them in groups of ten million or more)

  19. Actually, I agree. This is precisely why so many people are hostile to “the right wing” – it’s because there’s enough assholes in the movement to stain the group as a whole. It does a disservice to the philosophical reasons for being a conservative/libertarian.

    On the other hand, I know plenty of left-wing assholes too. I think assholery is pretty much post-partisan.

  20. I admit that I would prefer a smaller government because I am afraid that all those bureacrats will look for something to do and hassle me when I am just trying to go about my daily life non-violently.

    I also approve of a social safety net, I just don’t think the way the left-leaning parties want to implement social services is optimal, and often times has done more harm than good both socially and economically.

    I guess the counter critique is that the left seems to gather support largely from people who make their living on the public purse. So largely they just know which side one’s bread is buttered on.

  21. A party can support equal rights for gay partners, but please reserve the term “marriage” as a union of man and woman. Feel the hate.

    Indeed. It would be like saying it’s OK to call Jews second class citizens, as long as second class citizens get all the rights of regular citizens.

  22. “please reserve the term “marriage” as a union of man and woman”

    what the heck for? we’ve pounded “cross” into submission.

  23. Mike T., I’ve always been looking for a good sound-bite method to explain that distinction to some people I know, but never was able to come up with something that goes directly to the point like that. Thanks!

  24. Four-dimensional ultraviolet chess.

    Versus tiddleywinks.

    So I’m told.

  25. I would love to see an example where people who identify themselves on the political left, resort to intimidation to achieve their political end.

    We have an example right now with Garth Turner in Halton for the right.

    jwl? kody? Maybe you can help, since you see yourselves as the vanguard against the “left”, as witnessed by your persecution and victimization complex.


  26. Lord Bob,

    Try adding “takes someones comments completely out of context.” to your list. I used generalizations because I have neither the time nor space to write a 30 page essay explaining the nuanced distinctions in political belief that exist in this country. How you read “maladjusted jackasses” or “selfless souls” into what I wrote is a complete mystery. The terms left and right were being thrown around in absolute terms during comments so I spoke to the terminology that was being used. I was describing general impressions of how people often percieve things, thus the use of terms such as “tend to,” and “in my experience.” If you had paid attention you would also have noticed that I mentioned having experienced being on both sides of the political spectrum (an experience that is ongoing for me depending on the issue). Instead of nitpicking posts to slag people maybe you should just stick to Bingo.

  27. Being a jerk is always a matter of scale. Being rude or dismissive of someone’s hair-brained conclusion as to what as led to a specific minor outrage is one thing, but dismissing a grave injustice as so much whining is quite another.

    I have the heart of a lefty but the head of a righty. I can feel sympathy for other people’s anguish, or anger or frustration or minor dyspepsia, but there’s only so much I can do personally to help. Understanding one’s own limitations is key to realising how much anyone should get worked up about someone’s plight.

    I’ve completely run out of patience for jerks though. This culture has become alarmingly adolescent,and jerks are ubiquitous. Our politicians are jerks, our religious leader are jerks, our celebrities are jerks, our economic elite are jerks and our journalists are jerks.

  28. No, Heath has it all wrong.

    Righties want to ESCAPE the jerks. It is the jerks that want to confiscate the money of hard-working families to pay for opera houses, junkets to Europe, sponsorship scandals, nuclear power plants that never work, and all kinds of other abuses.

    Jerks are the ones who want to rob their neighbours. Righties don’t mind paying taxes for things that are actually beneficial.

    Studies have shown it is the righties that acutally give more to charity. So who are the jersk?

    From an article by Frank Brieaddy:

    Arthur C. Brooks , the child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

    In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives — from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services — make conservatives more generous than liberals.

    The book, titled “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism” (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.

  29. SF- Any study of charity donations by a particular group is bound to be a bit suspect. Consider that people with more disposable income tend to favour the right (I am, of course speaking generally here). Thus, they may have a much greater ability to give to charity. The right also tends to be more closely associated with main stream religion and thus there may be more solicitation or connections to charitable organizations with ties to the religious organizations (this is not suggesting religious people give more, only that religious infrastructures often include ties to charity groups). Also, there are many people of any political stripe who might either use their charitable contributions as a tool to boast or, conversely who might not be willing to discuss that they give or the amount. To be honest I distrust any study that claims any really specific knowledge of people’s charitable habits. All in all I think people from all over the spectrum are equally capable of giving. As much as politics can seem all encompasing there is a lot more to people than just what part of the political spectrum they fall on.

  30. RyanD, you are right about how giving people can be. But righties are giving of their own money. Lefties are very giving of everyone else’s.

  31. RyanD, you are right about how giving people can be. But righties are giving of their own money. Lefties are very giving of everyone else’s.

    Didn’t this nonsense lose its explanatory value long ago? Given the recent, very costly bail-outs of financial institutions by a very right wing American administration and given the 20 billion in pre-election goodies by a right wing Canadian administration skating perilously close to deficit spending, it seems rather absurd at this juncture.

  32. Look a little deeper into the stats, sf.

    I believe you’ll find that most of the conservative donations are accounted for by donations to the church they belong to.

    While still generous, it does take on a bit of a different meaning in that context. It’s rather like donating to your favorite political party. Still generous, but the person doing it isn’t doing it out of charity so much as the idea that they’ll hopefully get something good out of it themselves.

  33. Didn’t this nonsense lose its explanatory value long ago?

    Nope, you’ve just chosen to confuse the collectivist examples you cite as being consistent with right-wingery. They aren’t.

  34. “I guess the counter critique is that the left seems to gather support largely from people who make their living on the public purse. So largely they just know which side one’s bread is buttered on.”

    Ironic. Ten oil CEOs probably command more salary than all the welfare rolls in Canada. Yet they serve an American ideology that is succesfully destroying the planet for those who won’t be dead in thirty years, and government costs such market failures; education, police/fire, healthcare (not in USA), daycare (okay we’re last in OECD even though it encourages Righty employment), army (Americans use Haliburton)….
    But I’m beginning to be won over by the ideology of human extinction, minus the special exemption for the rich. A part of me is seriously considering learning how to sequence genes and forecast what future machinery will be @home projects. Maybe Conservatives are right and the left should stay competitive?
    It comes down to ROI and S.Harper’s flawed arguments might hold ground in Cuba (assuming no embargo) or Venezuala; his last round of tax-cuts came at the expense of Kyoto (or some alternative) and daycare. Bad economics after about 5 years, really good until then. Should the left be parasitic like Conservatives (PCs seemed fine though).

  35. I’d just like to point out that while much of right-wing charitable giving is going to said right-wing taxpayer’s own church or church sponsored charity, said right-wing (pay with my own money) taxpayer has no problem with including those charitable receipts for a government tax credit. Not a handout to be sure since it only reduces tax otherwise payable, but a perfectly legal and effective way to pay less than one’s fair share by supporting one’s own personal interest. Like a hobby. And a nice way to fudge the statistics to show right-wing generosity.

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