Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tempest In A Teapot

This is a throw down. A show down. Hell no, we can't slow down.

The departure of Monte McNaughton from the PCPO leadership race has set the stage for the final battle between Red and Blue Tories over the soul of the party.

And rest assured, my friends, it is going to be epic. Nobody needs to pretend to be nice to anyone else to try and pick up second ballot votes anymore. From today until the end, it is open war.

We haven't had a good old bloody civil war since Norm Sterling got booted from his riding back in 2011, and even that was just a microcosm of the festering, boiling hatred that exists between these two camps. Attempts by the party to prevent a province-wide outbreak are going to fail hilariously, because they are currently scrambling to figure out how to keep Patrick Brown and his increasingly radical band of malcontents from completing their hostile takeover. Getting the bad blood out is going to be a nice bit of stress relief, if not an exercise in image management.

Liberals, get your popcorn and your lawn chairs ready.

If you need a recap of what's at stake here, you clearly haven't been paying attention, but I'll do so anyway. In one corner stands the reserved and dignified Christine Elliott, in whose mouth butter would not melt. Not for her the aggressive, frat-boy posturing of those pretenders without the royal jelly who have been smashing the party to bits with their tomfoolery ever since that uncouth cad Mike Harris destroyed the PC standing in dear old Toronto. Yea and verily, she represents the majesty of a bygone age, the golden epoch of Bill Davis, where ne'er there was any of the "divisiveness" that plagues us in these dark times.

In the other stands the peacocking, marathon-running, short-dude-overcompensating Patrick Brown, who has assembled a collection of business leaders, former sports stars, social conservatives, and second and third generation Canadians all united by anger over the contemptuous way they've been treated by the old guard. Considerations such as whether Mr. Brown has a seat in Queen's Park or not or whether he has something resembling a plan for the province have taken a back seat to promising that he'll rip the guts out of the party, which might cause the progressive coalition that's stomped the PC's in the past few elections to shrink in terror, or it might just cause them to burst out laughing.

If we are to go by Christine's latest press release, however, Patrick's presumptuous politicking has not deterred her resolve, but rather put her in She Stoops To Conquer mode as she stoops to the kind of rhetoric that made Kathleen Wynne the Premier she is today, using words like "ideology", "rejection", "modern and inclusive", "outdated", and of course, "the politics of division." No more of the limp Big Blue Tent nonsense for Christine- if you support Patrick, you're responsible for the inevitable fifth election loss, plain and simple.

Now I'm going to make the same point I've been making since this thing began. While the difference between Red and Blue is crucially important for the 30 some odd percent of people who can be counted on to actually show up and vote for a conservative party, the rest of the world doesn't care. They see no daylight between Christine Elliott and Patrick Brown. The fact that the PC Party doesn't understand this will sink them a lot faster than Christine's brittleness or Patrick's obnoxiousness.

As far as the voting public are concerned, both want to destroy the public sector and cut 100,000 jobs and deport foreign workers and implement chain gangs and fund faith based schools and take Ontario backward, not forward. Both of them are Mike Harris. Both of them are going to be accused of having hidden agendas and be blamed for Walkerton and Ipperwash and the 407. Christine Elliott will try and fail to convince Ontarians that this isn't so. Patrick Brown will act as though it doesn't matter.

Neither of these responses are inspiring, but of the two, at least Brown doesn't try to pretend he's something that he isn't. We may very well lose the next election with him in charge, but at least he isn't peeing on the legs of the voters and telling them that it's raining. So there's your "endorsement", for what it's worth.

For my part, I'm not voting for either of these two, and I want their "social media" teams to take notice. I, and lots of other people who would be otherwise interested, am going to put my feet up and watch this sucker burn, and my conscience over the next few years is going to be as clean as a whistle.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Move Along, Nothing To See

So, everyone knows that there have been "shocking" "new" "revelations" from the father of Darcy Allan Sheppard that former OLP Attorney General Michael Bryant "killed" "his" "son", right? (Not sure how many quotation marks I need to avoid being sued here, so I figured better safe than sorry.)

Pretty much deafening silence from the right. PCPO, where are you? Hello?

No, on second thought, don't bother. This is perfectly consistent with everything we've seen before. Under no circumstances is this going to turn into a Dudley George situation, or even a Walkerton situation, no matter how hard the PCPO pushes, so they might as well save their energy. Just put it on the "growing list of scandals" that nobody reads and let it gather dust.

When ex-OLP cabmins are getting away with stuff like this, it's time to really, really stop blaming failures in leadership or messaging for election losses. The truth of the matter is, the voters are willing to let basically anything slide so long as they don't see another conservative government in Ontario.

So can we please, please stop pretending as though it makes a difference who leads the party, or how? We might as well just embrace the crazy, since the public isn't going to give us the benefit of the doubt either way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The New Rules

It's been said that a conservative is a liberal who was mugged by reality. Sometimes the liberal is too smug and arrogant to realize that he or she is now a conservative and it takes a few days to register, but them's the breaks in the new hierarchy of speech.

The right wing had better prepare for an influx of big-name liberal refugees who found out the hard way that they're not wanted anymore because they said the wrong stuff, and for the accompanying coma-inducing debate over whether we should water down the bloodline by granting these fops asylum.

The latest excommunique is the perpetually self-satisfied Bill Maher, who fell off the left-wing wagon in a big way this week when he felt that he just had to compare a former member of One Direction to the Boston Marathon bomber.

I never liked Maher, but I do feel a twinge of sympathy- not because I agree with the joke, which isn't funny- but because poor Bill has spent so much time getting smoke blown up his various orifices for being so bold as to make fun of conservatives, Christians, and conservative Christians in his own "unique" way that it's almost hard to blame him for being confused for thinking he did anything wrong here.

This is the guy who proved conclusively that it is possible to make a movie showing how dumb religious people are, call it "Religulous," get massively paid, and then continue to do this same routine for years while still getting massively paid. Poor bastard was never going to see it coming, was he?

Snarkoid lefty comedians like Maher, whose stock in trade is insulting people, are always the first people to unwittingly topple into the widening abyss of stuff you can't say. It happened to Dennis Miller. It happened to Stephen Colbert. It happened to Joan Rivers.

It's already trite to defend Maher's right to be offensive or to weigh in on whether the joke was racist or not racist. There's a bigger issue here, and that's that tired old white lefties like Maher honest-to-God believe that their progressive leanings are going to give them the same sort of free pass to say the kind of offensive stuff that Trevor Noah got away with.

Witness the spectacle of Patton Oswalt, for example, thinking that he's defending Noah by mocking people who are overly sensitive to "problematic humour", while also considering that Mr. Oswalt is a chubby middle aged white dude with a resemblance to Rob Ford who is guilty of dabbling in the saturated-in-whiteness nerd humour which is on the fast track to becoming "problematic" in its own right and you've got another one of these debacles waiting to happen. I give it five years before Oswalt misspeaks or misTweets and has to turn in his lefty card just like Maher did, and that's being charitable.

They are always horrified to find that the weapons they constructed to attack the privileged are now being used against them. Now it is Trevor Noah who gets a free pass while Bill Maher doesn't, but Mr. Noah has other strikes against him: He is a man, and he is straight, and as such his presence as the new Daily Show host is keeping women and non-straight people off TV, so you had damn well better believe that his time is coming. "First they came for the cisgendered white dudes, and I did not speak up because I was not a cisgendered white dude......"

Pay attention to this pattern, because this is what's going to trigger the final Armageddon battle between left and right- when the number of people who are being forced to their knees by the outrage outnumber those doing the forcing. See if it doesn't.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mr. Brown Turns Things Around

So just a short little update on this post, wherein I took Canadaland podcaster Jesse Brown to task over what I saw as unwillingness to engage conservatives on issues where their input might prove useful and might even cause the public to learn something.

I legitimately thought he wouldn't listen, and he did. I thought he wouldn't reach out to conservatives, and he did. And guess what? The response on Twitter and elsewhere, from otherwise skeptical conservatives, wasn't horrible!

And what have we learned? That when journalists engage conservatives as people instead of scary monsters with big teeth and sharp claws, you get good-ass debate and interesting stuff.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The News That's Fit To Print

On a dark and stormy night, evil, brooding Stephen Harper sits behind his castle walls, plotting his next attempt to twist the fabric of the virginal, paradisiacal Canadian landscape. Down below, the meek peasantry toils upon the soil, eking out just enough to feed their big-eyed kids, all of them paralyzed with fear of the Dark Lord who none of them voted for and who stole the election with robocalls despite only earning negative 27% of the popular vote. Lightning flashes as maniacal laughter emanates from within the keep! Oh, what horrors shall next be visited upon the undeserving public, who I must remind you all had nothing to do with Harper's reign of terror????

We are closing in on a decade of CPC government and if Harper's opposition doesn't believe every word of the paragraph I just wrote above, they believe some watered-down, slightly more realistic version of the same.

It has never occurred to Harper haters that they cannot defeat what they cannot understand. They can list for you the myriad sins of the Harper government. They can talk ad nauseam about how they invent policy on the fly, about how they are corroding our democracy, how they don't live up to their own principles, about how every word out of their mouths is a dirty stinking lie, and are continually stunned by how the vast majority of it sails right over the heads of the Canadian public. How is this happening? they wonder. How can he get away with it?

I have been listening to Jesse Brown's superlative Canadaland podcasts. I say "superlative" because his stuff is the best out there at this moment in time. For example he does a better job of exposing the CBC than Brian Lilley and the Rebel Media crew could ever hope to do.

Despite Brown's genuine attempt to look outside the box when it comes to the Canadian press, however he is so utterly trapped by the trappings of his profession that he runs into the same walls as all his other journalist buddies, even the ones he claims to be calling out.

You've gotta love a dissident journalist who's trying to break down barriers who books an interview with Ezra Levant just to be a badass, and instead of getting Ezra to spill his guts on what makes him tick, for his lead-off question he asks Ezra whether he actually believes any of the craaaaaaaazy stuff he speaks and writes, and then goes on to tackle the pressing issue of whether Ezra is a paid oil sands shill or not.

Unless I've completely lost the plot, journalists like Brown are supposed to be educators who do research and conduct interviews and ask questions with the intent of explaining to their readers exactly why politicians like Ford and Harper and Netanyahu exist and why a large enough segment of the population will vote for them and look to them for guidance.

Yet I have been listening to media heads babble for what seems like forever about the whys and hows of conservative thinking without bothering to treat the phenomenon with enough respect to explain it beyond arguing over Harper's "tactics" as if they are amateur theologians trying to understand the mind of God.

They come to, say, a Ford Fest, and stand absolutely agog staring at the line of people and the fact that it isn't just a bunch of crackers out to drink beer and sing The Maple Leaf Forever, and then file some column inches about internalized racism and why, oh why, don't poor people understand their own best interests?

Given this massive gulf between the stated intentions of fancy-pants journalists and what they actually do, it's really no surprise that they have figured out so very little about the conservatives they spend so much time venting their spleens about. I, and others, get the distinct impression that they don't want to figure out anything about conservatives that would advance the national discourse and actually tell us something useful about what goes on in Stephen Harper's brain.

There are two reasons for this that I can think of off the top of my head. First of all, Harper and Ford and whoever else are the villains that we all need. Despite what the social justice warriors tell you, Jesse Brown rolled out of his momma's womb with the same capacity for hatred as the rest of us, and when he saw that there was this guy Stephen Harper whom he could hate on all he wanted and call a racist with no repercussions, he went "Ho-yeah!" and joined right in.

But there's a bigger problem, and it speaks to the nature of journalism as a profession. You see, I don't expect Jesse Brown to read this, or take it seriously, because no matter how edgy he thinks he is, he's still a fancy-pants journalist, and fancy-pants journalists don't actually think that someone who didn't come up through their ranks is worth listening to, no matter how interesting or worthwhile the things they say or write are.

It's outside Jesse Brown's frame of reference, just like Harper and the CPC are out of his frame of reference, and that is why he finds himself in the state of bewilderment that he is and why he is reduced to babbling on air about Harper's tactics.

We live in a multicultural, provincial, segmented Canadaland wherein white and black, Jewish and not Jewish, anglo and franco, Muslim and Christian, Native and settler, are in a state of total and perpetual war with one another despite the very best intentions, in a lovely and very neat proof of the conservative way of thinking.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rush To Judgement

Conservatives in Canada are responding to Benjamin Netanyahu's victory this week with that special kind of vindicated, fervid glee they reserve for occasions where their deepest held convictions are proven right. The response is Ford-quality, ladies and gentlemen.

There are just too many things for the right to be excited about here. Bibi was written off by the Israeli establishment and pulled out the win anyway. Obama's day was pretty well ruined by the result. Netanyahu's sheer chutzpah, taking his election campaign to the floor of Congress, was entertaining. And then there's that other thing- the little bit about how the Israeli PM got his vote out. By terrifying them with the spectre of invading hordes.

And really: Is there a more bedrock conservative message than the one Netanyahu sent to voters? The message that says, "They mean us harm and want to take our stuff"?

Would that we in Canada, goes the unspoken wish amidst all this backslapping over an election on the other side of the planet, be able to speak so clearly, so truthfully, to this anxiety that everyone (and totally not just a tiny subset of conservatives, you guys) feels. Something like that was no doubt going through Larry Miller's mind when he bluntly told women who won't take off the niqab during a citizenship ceremony to stay they hell where they came from.

So-called moderates such as Christine Elliott can finesse this essential point as "socially compassionate fiscal conservatism" all they like, but what she's saying still isn't that far off. Despite her niceness, there's still the essential element of us vs. them. She may not believe the poor mean any harm, but the rich certainly can't go on paying for them forever.

Unfortunately, because these moderates are in a constant and futile struggle to keep themselves from making Larry Miller-style eruptions, they get into a state where they suppress everything they believe in favour of stuff other people said or thought of first. This is how you get a John Tory, and this is how the Christine Elliott campaign manages to go from criticizing Monte McNaughton for distracting from Liberal scandals to trying and failing to call out Patrick Brown on non-disclosure of donations in the space of a month.

They look like complete hypocrites, but the reality is a lot sadder: they can't even remember what they were thinking last month because they don't have any thoughts of their own. Rest assured, though, that underneath all the fear and confusion, a part of them will always be sympathetic to the Larry Millers and their keeping of the flame.

The tension between the confused and muddled moderates and the clear and unapologetic Principled Conservatives is an old story, but the point is moot. Canada is not Israel, and there is no group of radicalized minorities openly calling for the country's destruction anywhere to be found within our borders. As such, searching for a group of voters that will rush to the voting booths to protect "Canadian values" when they are deemed to be under attack is a little like searching for Bigfoot.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon conservatives of all shapes and sizes to get it through their heads that unless rockets are raining down upon Canadian cities the way they do upon Israeli cities, or unless the garbage isn't being picked up for weeks on end the way it was that fateful summer in Toronto, or unless women are being executed in broad daylight on Boxing Day, you're not going to get a positive response from the public at large when you tell women wearing a niqab during a citizenship ceremony to go back where they came from. 

Now this does not mean that we will never get to a point where comments like Miller's enjoy widespread support. In the face of a possible Justin Trudeau government, continual decline of the provinces under Liberal-friendly regimes, and further "retributive" attacks by ISIS and their allies within Canada for the crime of just existing, the mood amongst Canadian voters will begin to resemble that of Israeli voters, and that of voters around the world who are tired of the insiders running the show at their expense.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Knock Down, Drag Out

The last time there was an anonymous gossip account that said mean things about the PC Party of Ontario, I got really mad instead of doing what I should have done, which was think about why these things exist, and of course the reason why they exist is because there is a huge, huge demand for PC Party of Ontario people beating on each other and an equally huge supply of PCPO people willing to beat on each other. 

When an anonymous Tweeter suddenly finds themselves in possession of difficult-to-justify material, it tends to upset pretensions by leadership candidates and spokespeople that the PC Party is a viable and united centrist alternative that won't alienate Toronto. Somehow, some way, this information got out, and if we were as united as we would like everyone to believe, it wouldn't have. 

What's the point of pretending otherwise? We really would rather slam each other than slam the Liberals. Hence the eagerness with which the party piled on Monte McNaughton yesterday for his comments to the Premier. 

Supposedly the problem is that Monte's comments distracted the party from staying on Wynne's tail about the ever increasing scandal burden (even though, as I've said before, the scandalmongering is itself a distraction from the PC Party of Ontario's ongoing internal issues), but if you accept that explanation, then how does stopping to dissociate yourself from Monte keep the focus on the OLP and their bad behaviour? 

Then I have to wonder: Where were these people before and during Rob Ford's mayoralty? When Doug Ford was being tapped, then not tapped, then tapped again as a possible PC candidate even as he was detonating some good-sized PR bombs of his own, did these same people get as outraged? No, because back then, the Fords could WIN (until they didn't win).  

Then, of course, the PCPO brain trust is perfectly willing to let McNaughton continue as a candidate and more importantly, take the money he's bringing into he party without too much hand-wringing. 

Christine Elliott could theoretically go before the people and say that Monte McNaughton and his people have no place in a party being led by her, but there is no possible world in which that happens, because she's building "the big blue tent" and she isn't quite sure whether people opposed to the sex-ed curriculum belong inside or outside of that tent. 

The fact is, too many PCPO people want to win, and win now, and they're willing to take any number of shortcuts to get there, and the voters can see right through that. How's that for "serving some realness?" 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Old Adventures Of New Christine

In a couple of days, the Protest to Stop or Revise Ontario SEX ED curriculum will make its presence felt on the lawn of Queen's Park. I'm told it's going to be a big day for parent advocacy, and parents are going to be fired up. 

But you probably knew all that already. I want to talk today about something more important: Unless what I'm being told proves untrue, Christine Elliott will be in attendance at this rally. 

As you know, I have not been a fan of CJE as of late. Specifically because her talk about listening to the grassroots is just that: talk. She and her coterie of advisors, the same advisors who engineered four straight election losses, know that they have to make sympathetic noises in order to attract votes before May.

Christine's crew would just love to tell the parents involved in Tuesday's protest to go take a walk, because they believe that far-right stances like opposing the sex-ed curriculum killed the party. They like using this excuse because they don't like having to take a firm stance of their own, or come up with a actual plan that would give voters confidence in their ability to run the province instead of a list of talking points.  

But since the protest organizers are calling for the head of PC Education Critic Garfield Dunlop for speaking in favour of the curriculum, Christine has been dispatched to the rally to pre-empt this threat to her leadership. At this rally she will say things she doesn't believe, that the parents don't believe, and that lots of her own people who want the party cleansed of wacky so-cons don't believe.

Now I may not be voting for Christine under any circumstances, and as such her organizers have no obligation to pay attention to me. But I would caution them to to remember that waffling on the gas plants was what gave the Liberals the ability to say, "The PC's would have cancelled the plants too", and that yelling about the HST for years without telling people what they'd do instead convinced absolutely no one.

If that doesn't rattle their bones, they might consider the embarrassing photo of her at this rally, standing beside Dr. Charles McVety or someone like that, appearing on a piece of Liberal literature with HIDDEN AGENDA?!?!?!??!?! in enormous letters underneath.

In short, there is no reason for her to bother with this silly pretense. There are two perfectly good PC Party leadership candidates with much better bona fides in attendance already, and Christine would be a far more credible candidate if she spoke truth to power. Everyone could go home happy.

It could be so easy if everyone concerned would just stay in their lanes and forget about the political oneupsmanship, for the sake of the children.

UPDATE: Credit is always given where credit is due, and Christine did indeed back off. Now all she has to do is avoid all the other pitfalls in a similar fashion and she might not lose a general election!

Friday, February 20, 2015

We (Unfortunately) Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

Our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, was a drunk. It's an established fact that we're somehow reluctant to talk about, because we're Canadians and it's embarrassing.

I don't know why we find it embarrassing, though, because Sir John A. himself sure didn't. Like every great Canadian leader, he cut through the veil of keeping-up-appearances crap that blankets this country like a fog, and informed the crowd that they would rather have John A. drunk than George Brown sober, and shortly after that they found out that that's what they did want.

John A. was a Conservative, but he was one of those old school conservatives who didn't care for the Americans too much, and since then our establishment has been doing everything it can to elect and re-elect Liberal governments and their ideological fellow-travellers who will keep the government dollars flowing to all the right people. Given half a chance, no matter how corrupt the governing party is, they will gleefully participate in the stomping of an opposition leader or the outright ousting of a Prime Minister or Premier that's veered too far off the rails.

They would rather have corrupt Liberals than honest Conservatives, who are always somehow found out to not be honest Conservatives because they made some error or typo or were not ideologically consistent 10 years ago or said something that annoyed somebody.

When the Toronto Star, then, writes editorials saying that Justin Trudeau is running out of second chances and that Kathleen's Wynne's assistant-thingy needs to step down over the latest scandal or whatever, Conservatives should not be putting up their feet and chillaxing. The Toronto Star is doing this to ease their mightily overworked consciences. Their columnist says Trudeau is running out of second chances, which means he still has a few, or a lot.

Nor should they be doing fist pumps when Michael Colle is a crankypants about Eve Adams, because Michael Colle's utility to the provincial Liberals is that he holds a seat in midtown Toronto, and if he didn't have that seat he wouldn't be able to get his phone calls returned. Until Trudeau and Wynne are dead-which is to say, defeated on election day and having resigned, they are not dead.

I get it. It's nice to think that you will get a fair shake and that all sins are equal even though they're Liberals and you're not. But that isn't the case, my friends. You know it and I know it.

Four elections in which the PCs had it in the bag and then really really didn't for one reason or another are proof enough of that, or maybe we could recall the many, many times where the appointed guardians of the public trust, be they B.C. Liberals, PC Party of Alberta, or Manitoba NDP- or, for the sake of consistency, the Quebec Liberals, who had been found guilty of corruption- were all but dead and then miraculously came back to life because suddenly some errors mattered more than others.

You think Harper has the next election won? You think Canadians are solidly behind the mission against ISIS? You'd better pray, for all the right reasons as well as the wrong ones, that they don't capture a Canadian soldier and broadcast the execution, because as soon as that happens all the air is going out of that balloon very very quickly.

You think Harper is solid on the economy and Joe Oliver is a hero for slaying the deficit? You'd better hope, when the budget comes down, that there are no hidden holes, because the Star, for all their protestations about Trudeau, will find it and go full-on Crazy Town for weeks about it.

Think Wynne's in hot water over this Sudbury sleaze? Please. They won the riding, and there won't be any byelections for a while, and if it gets too loud all she has to do is ask for another meeting with Stephen Harper or fret publicly about how she hopes he doesn't hate Ontario. If she's really pissed she'll mention something about Deb Hutton getting a payout, or Ipperwash, or Walkerton, or SOMETHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED DECADES AGO.

Down south and worldwide, the big story is always, "Look at the conservative doing something stupid" instead of a focus on how Obama is ruining things or how a certain religion does, unfortunately, play a disproportionate role in terrorism. But even if they were putting a focus on that stuff, that's no reason to forget about the Crusades! Or slavery! That was a thing!

Liberal bias is a fact, not a theory, and the proof is in which balls everyone lets go by, not which ones they hit. Every conservative worth a second thought knows that the deck is stacked against them, and yet, nobody on the right side of the aisle can get it through their heads that it is never time to let it all hang out. The Republicans won midterm elections for the House and the Senate? The Quebec Liberals are embracing austerity? Harper won a majority? Ford's Mayor of Toronto? Big woopity doo, doesn't matter. Progressives will shrug it right off and come right back, because they want all of the marbles and we're content with just some.

Trudeau should not even be in the picture at this point. He should never have come close to the picture. He is everything the left hates: a white, privileged, cisgendered wealthy male with good looks and an unhealthy relationship with power and control. He's a less interesting version of Christian Grey, but you had best believe that the progressives are going to show up for him on E Day in significant numbers no matter what- the only question is, will those numbers be significant enough?

I hate to say it, but it looks like us independent, rebel-minded conservatives are going to have to become unthinking robots ourselves, unquestioningly obeying those above us, if we are ever going to really change the culture and stop the endless advance of progressivism into our lives.

Monday, February 16, 2015

60 Revolutions Per Minute

Today, because I'm really bored with this stupid leadership race, I would like to outline the process by which the PC Party of Ontario manage uprisings of one sort or another. They've had to get very good at doing this, as it comes with the territory.

To begin with, whether you're a PCPO rank and file member or the most powerful person in the party, you most likely share a characteristic of the late and unlamented Sun News- you think that just because you're not the corrupt and dirty Liberals, you deserve everyone's unquestioned support. You do not have to do a good job- you just kind of have to be....there?....and everything will kind of just fall into place.

The base doesn't really want to be involved in driving the party (though they really like complaining about how the party is run), and the party brass doesn't really feel like working too hard to get people involved (because the less complainers they have to manage, the better). So we're on cruise control for 90% of the time here.

This is how you end up with a campaign like Christine Elliott's, and really, a leadership race like the one we're having right now. The PCPO should not be able to handle all the requests for memberships and donations with the way the Liberals are driving this province into the ditch, but why would people be actively trying to build the party when people are just kind of gravitating towards Christine without her really doing anything? Who's going to stop her from not really giving a crap about the grassroots, or not really building a Big Blue Tent? Not the PCPO base, that's for sure.

So, not really much has to happen until the party, which has been on cruise control, blows it massively (as it often does). Then the gears start turning, because then people start getting pissed off.

First, those responsible for such debacles usually pen op-eds saying that they are proud to have been involved in the debacle in question, that nobody foresaw the particular result, that everyone else had advantages that they didn't, and that the bitter, jaded, and clearly very wrong individuals who think differently are entitled to their untrue and incorrect opinions. 

Then we have public complain sessions which are done not for the purpose of identifying any actual problems, but to give members a chance to spout off so they don't actually get together and start plotting the removal of the party elders. 

Then we arrive at a solution that is not a solution at all, but merely sets the stage for an even bigger screwup that "nobody could have foreseen". 

The most current "solution" is the one being pushed by the Christine Elliott campaign, which, not so coincidentally, is the campaign that most of these establishment folks are working on. Basically, we, the PCPO, have to put a nicer face on the party and stop saying mean things about the Liberal government. We lost in June because we looked critical, snarly and mean and we alienated Toronto.

Before that the solution was that we were light on policy and that we needed a bunch of white papers that nobody read or cared about.

Before that, the solution was that we needed a tougher, more boldly conservative vision because the Liberal lite vision we'd offered people in 2007 opened us up for criticism on funding faith based schools. So as you can see, we've come full circle.

This holding pattern has served the party mandarins well since 2003 because the base is too busy being angry about scandals and hating the Liberals to realize they're being led around by the nose. So when there is an attempt to throw the bums out, it usually fizzles because a) it's not very well organized, because the organizers of the attempt to purge the party think they will receive medals just for showing up, and b) everyone suddenly becomes really concerned about looking like a divided party and fighting in public.

The fact that the other two campaigns are doing as well as they are shows that there are lots of conservatives who want change, even if it is just for change's sake. The party elders, of course, have decided to dismiss them as disloyal reactionaries who want to blow up the party. It's nice that people are getting mad enough to loudly demand change, but the fact that they want to kill the other half of the party doesn't make them any better than the people at the top now who are pretending they don't exist.

The solution is to have a party leadership that is really interested bringing in disaffected conservatives, not just having them spout off or saying, "We need to consult the grassroots before we announce stupid policies that make us lose elections" and then not really doing it.

But that's hard

Friday, February 13, 2015

Black Hole Sun

What can I say about the death of Sun News that I haven't said a million times before about other topics?

-The Canadian Right is not interested in delivering quality product- they think people will ignore the massive gaping holes in their credibility just because they're daring to be different

-Principled Conservatives who cried aloud for a right wing alternative had their chance and blew it, just like they always do

-You're not fooling anyone with your idiotic talking points- people can SEE you're losing

-If people are saying bad stuff about you, they're probably right

-Random yelling about conservative Outrages of the Day does not make for compelling viewing, nor does it make for a narrative. Having an actual goal for the conservative movement in this country to achieve and rally towards would be nice, but that's reaching wayyyyy too far

Hmmmm, there's got to be something new.....Oh, I know!

-Stop posting selfies of your favourite Sun News moments!

Sun News has failed, and right wingers are celebrating. Celebrating what a wild, fun ride it was! How proud they were to appear on a network that was laughed at and derided as a cheap imitation of Fox News from Day 1. Nobody wants to talk about what went wrong.

So, of course, I will.

Sun News did, often, get it right. They did say what nobody else wanted to say.

But when you started watching Sun News for more than 10 minutes at a time, you found yourself stranded in downtown asshole-ville. You would come for, say, a segment about the curtailment of free speech at a university, and then you would be expected to stay for someone concerned about abortions. You would come for an analysis of a provincial election, and then be expected to stay for someone talking about U.S. politics. You would come for an expose of misspending on reserves, and then be expected to sit through a bunch of white guys denying white privilege exists.

This is why people would share clips instead of continuously watching the network. Nobody wants 24 hours of ranting.

But if you have your heart set on 24 hours of ranting, then you might as well open your floodgates to everyone who has a bone to pick with the system. This would be the daily struggles of everyone who has had a bad experience with the health care system, who had their business closed due to out of control laws, people who are struggling to pay the bills because their hydro bill has skyrocketed. Imagine how much interest there could have been if everyone had been allowed equal time on Sun News and could see themselves on TV. Imagine if they had allowed actual comments and phone calls from viewers.

Oh, but suddenly Sun News has to have standards. We've got to give the Ethical Oil stuff its time (when it has no relevance to anyone outside Alberta, sorry not sorry), and we've got to give plenty of time to whining about the CBC and for Brian Lilley to plug his book, and we've got to give Adam Giambrone his spot as well for some reason, and generally we've got to decide at the beginning of each day what we're going to pretend to be righteously indignated about instead of listening to our viewers and letting them decide what they want to see. 

This is the infamous Margie Gillis clip. I've watched it several times. It's not that Krista Erickson is yelling at a member of the Arts Community, because Margie Gillis was obviously prepared for that. It's that Erickson is engaging in BAAAAAD ACTING. AHHHH. I AM ANGRY. LOOK AT HOW MAD I AM ABOUT THE WASTE AND THE MONEY BEING WASTED. RAWR. RAWWWWR!!!!

And that's when Sun News was at its worst. Forced, awkward, boardroom-approved crap like this, meant to press our outrage buttons, on a channel that's supposed to be authentic and raw. It doesn't work. The cardboard sets don't work, the constant haranguing for mandatory carriage doesn't work, the talking points at the bottom of the screen telling us what to think don't work, and the billionaire owner who happens to be a separatist running a network big on rah-rah support the troops Go Canada Go patriotism really doesn't work.

It's a miracle that it lasted as long as it did.  I have no doubt that they'll try to bring it back, and make all of the same mistakes as they did the first time around.

Monday, February 9, 2015

All About Eve

One of the big underreported stories of the last year, which had probably more relevance for the political world than anyone will ever know, was #Gamergate.

I'll summarize it in three sentences for those of you who missed it: 
-Feminist Anita Sarkeesian said video games reinforced sexism and made people who played video games more likely to have unconscious hatred of women (because, again, hatred is not natural) 
-The video gaming section of the Internet took it personally, exploded in stupid-angry denial and in some cases threatened Sarkeesian personally with lots of sexist abuse and violence instead of responding to her (debatable) points
-Because there was a lot of sexist abuse and violence threatened, it proved Sarkeesian's point better than she could have ever proven it herself. 

I can't prove whether Sarkeesian and her crew of feminists knew the gaming section of the Internet was going to erupt in rage and prove her point. I did know, however, that when Eve Adams crossed the floor there would be an extremely predictable and quite similar rage-offering, wherein Adams would be called a bimbo, a crazy lady with too much makeup, an opportunist backstabbing woman, and lots of other unprintable things that for whatever reason focused on her being a woman instead of the utter hollowness and disingenuity of her reasons for crossing the floor. 

This may be difficult to understand, but the chuckleheads on Facebook and Twitter who think they are advancing the CPC cause by saying these things about Adams are doing Trudeau's work for him. 

All they had to do was keep their mouths shut and let Trudeau and Adams embarrass themselves at that disaster of a press conference. There was an inordinate amount of fail up there already and if they hadn't turned Adams into a victim the LPC wouldn't have had a leg to stand on. Liberal staffers were gagging on this latest poison pill they were forced to swallow. 

But no. You fools are so frightened of Trudeau that you just cannot restrain yourselves. And so the Liberals rallied around Adams instead of rejecting her, and the completely reasonable and logical case to be made for saying "WTF?" to Eve Adams the instant Liberal went right out the window. Trudeau lives to fight another day, Adams gets to play the wounded gazelle, and conservatives get rope a doped yet again. 

Trudeau being a complete ninny doesn't give conservatives the green light to start flinging their poop everywhere and hoping nobody notices. I pray that this gets remembered come election time, or else the CPC will be looking at opposition for long, long while. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Measure Of Central Tendency

All this week, I have been holding my breath waiting....hoping....praying for the backlash from the left against Justin Trudeau for supporting Harper's anti-terrorism bill.

We've seen Junior drop bombs on his own troops before. Denying open nominations. Decoupling the Senate caucus. Putting Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews into limbo.

But this? This goes against the very grain of Liberalism as it currently stands. And nobody within the Liberal party seems to care. Not only that, but none of the social justice warriors outside the Liberal party seem to care.

Coming off the heels of the Charlie Hebdo killings, where the left loudly and proudly blamed the racist French for the violence, this is a startling turn. I'm at a loss for how to reconcile it, especially when we have Liberal MP's saying aloud that Harper is to blame for ISIS targeting Canadians and when Obama ignores the elephant in the room in favour of the Crusades and slavery at a prayer breakfast.

The CPC have long since declared Trudeau dead. They look at polls, at by-election results, and the like. What they're not looking at is how Trudeau's own supporters are behaving, and what the rest of the left are saying. They consider these people to be marginal.

Even in the wake of the recent municipal and provincial elections, they do not understand that how the left feels about how authentically progressive a candidate is means a lot more for an electoral result than any of their vaunted "messaging". If your opponent's campaign is self-destructing, that doesn't make you a genius (though they would, naturally, very much prefer to take credit).

The Liberals do understand this at some level, because they dispatch one of their sycophants in the Huffington Post to condescend to NDP voters on the subject of how Mulcair's middle class tax credit helps the rich instead of the poor and downtrodden. They did the same thing to tremendous effect in the provincial election, and I could see the NDP implosion coming a mile away. Then Olivia Chow did the same thing to herself in the municipal election, and the outcry from leftists was loud and insistent and, most importantly, fatal.

For Trudeau, or Mulcair, to go down in flames, this is what needs to happen. The left must engage in a fit of self-immolation, which must be public enough that the party elders can't keep a lid on it.

Until this final piece of the puzzle falls into place, Trudeau is not dead.

Now there is another and much more terrifying possibility. Because of his lineage, and because of the desperation the Liberal Party of Canada is in, it might very well be that Trudeau's supporters will follow him no matter where or how he leads them. And if this is true, the CPC is toast.

When I see Muslim groups denouncing Harper for his comments and ignoring the fact that Trudeau has signed on to a piece of Harper's legislation that many on the left have written off as another method of targeting Muslims, I get the uneasy sense that it really is all about #StoppingHarper. That the left in this country will become an unthinking mass of robots determined to vote Liberal, blind to Trudeau's real and very dangerous flaws, to say nothing of his lack of progressive credibility.

As terrifying as this is to write, the future of this country depends on how good the left is at sucking a golf ball through a garden hose.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Banana Split Lady

Christine Elliott, and a significant portion of the PCPO membership, believes that she can convince Ontarians that the PCPO is progressive and acceptable and something you don't have to be terrified of. She and her supporters think it is possible to win the province by putting a nicer face on the party.

They are wrong.

It isn't her fault. I truly believe that she is a kind, socially progressive, and caring person who is just tired of scandals and waste and doesn't think we can go on spending forever. But unfortunately, the people of Ontario who aren't active party members don't see that when they look at her. They see her as another Mike Harris.

The reason why the people of Sudbury just put the PCPO candidate behind the independent candidate in yesterday's byelection, and the reason why the rest of the province is still blaming Mike Harris for everything wrong with the province decades after the fact, and the reason why they don't appear to care about the endlessly sleazy behaviour of the OLP is because they have an organic dislike of the PC Party of Ontario. They don't care who's leading it. They're not interested in how bad the Liberals are.

The Liberals will, without shame, tell Ontarians that Christine has a hidden agenda. They will run ads saying that under a Christine Elliott government, nurses will be fired and schools will be closed and inspectors will be fired. They will link her to Hudak because she happened to be deputy leader. They will ask why she hasn't purged the party of right-leaning elements, why she took the endorsement from Doug Ford, why she was seen within 10 kilometres of a gathering of the Ontario Landowners. If she votes against the Liberals on any money-spending measure, they will question her commitment to being as progressive as she says she is.

In short, they will ask what right she has to criticize this government when she herself is not perfect.

Tim Hudak, for all his faults, knew the Liberals were going to do all this to him and he didn't care. He assumed Ontarians wouldn't fall for the Liberal distractions, and he also assumed that nobody was going to question him or his party when they did do something egregious, but at least he wasn't kept up nights when the Liberals were mean to him.

Christine, on the other hand, will do everything she can to prove how progressive she is. She will loudly deny the accusations against her, and in doing so, will only prove the Liberals right.

This is because an astonishing number of people believe that if you say you are a thing, then there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that you are that thing. If a person has to say, for example, that they are not racist, then they are the world's biggest racist. If a person says they are nice, they are not nice, because they should never have to say that out loud. If you have money and someone else has less money, you should be giving that money to that other person without having to be asked. You must be above suspicion, or else you are just as bad as everyone else if not worse.

Because the PCPO is in some measure a conservative party, it is comprised of bad people. That's what Ontarians believe. So putting a nicer face on a party of bad people is just going to piss the voters off because they will interpret that as us thinking they're too dumb to see that the PCPO are, in fact, bad people. This is a far bigger problem than the problem of whether Christine is ideologically pure enough, because enough conservatives will go along with her anyway because they have no other option.

Stephen Harper, Rob Ford, and Mike Harris are three conservatives who have won elections with the full knowledge that people hated them, and were reasonably comfortable with that fact. They were and are violently partisan, held and hold views that horrified people, and did and do things that shocked the nation while in power. They are reviled. They are villains.

As far as I know, however, they have never gone on TV and told people they are nice and relatable.

The next conservative Premier of the Province will have understood that you can't get elected trying to be something you're not.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The PCPO/NDPirates Who Don't Do Anything

It's not so much that the people who are supposedly trying to stop Kathleen Wynne from driving this province further and further into the ground are doing a bad job (although they certainly are doing a bad job). 

The problem is that they have convinced themselves that they are doing a good job. That is why they fail, and continue to fail. 

This byelection was particularly instructive in that respect because there is no half-truth that can be told in the aftermath that makes the opposition parties look good. There is no spin that can be put on these results. It simply is what it is, and what it is is that Kathleen Wynne can do whatever the hell she pleases with zero consequences, having just proved that not only are the haters totally wrong, but they are singularly useless as well. Their "opposition" amounts to sitting around waiting for the voters to "send the government a message" because nobody could possibly be voting for this government. After all, nobody they talk to is voting Liberal. 

And so, the NDP (and the PCPO, to a far lesser extent because they are a non-entity up in Sudbury, but I could have written the same thing about them in any other case) spent the last few weeks (not really) trying to convince Sudburians that the objectionable way in which Kathleen Wynne poached Glenn Thibeault was a reason to vote for another party and to reject the Liberal goodies that were being dangled seductively.

They failed spectacularly because everyone knows what Glenn Thibeault figured out: that if you want to go anywhere politically, you hitch your wagon to Kathleen Wynne's Liberals, scandals be damned. You don't mount principled opposition to all parties like Andrew Olivier did, either, because ain't nobody got time for that. 

The fact that the Liberals are untouchable is by this point entirely obvious to everyone except the opposition. At this very moment party workers are struggling for answers, open mouthed in shock. There was a poll- there is always a poll- that showed the Liberals were "neck-and-neck" with (insert-non-Liberal-party-Party-here) right before the byelection. Hours before the polls closed, the Liberals were found guilty (again?) of corruption by the OPP. How could ANYBODY be voting for these Liberals?

Then someone comes along and says, "Because you guys are expecting the government to just fall into your laps? Because you're lazy?"

And oh, the horror. Oh, the anger. How dare you imply that anything less than 127% was given, in Sudbury, and in the last four general elections? So the complainers are taken out behind the barn and shot and we go right ahead derping along about scandals that nobody cares about.

Well, I don't know about you, but I think it's time to start pointing the finger at ourselves, because pointing the finger at the Liberals isn't working. They are still winning seats despite Glenn Thibeault, a hospital worker strike, and a pedophile in charge of creating a curriculum for preschoolers on top of all of the other mismanagement, scandals, waste, general poor governance and all the rest of it.

When your opponent is daring you to hit them and you still can't do it, that's not their fault- it's yours.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Shadow Knows

Like some other bloggers you might read, I was also in attendance at last week's Mark Steyn book signing at the Bay and Bloor Indigo. I didn't get a front row seat- I stood at the sidelines, in the shadows.  

As these other writers note, it was a case study: articulate, wordy, and prescient author calls attention to things that are desperately wrong with society, and the peacemaking, bridge-building, empathic, centrist elites pulls the veil right back over what has been revealed. There, in the soft light of the Manulife Centre, the central tension of what we do was exposed for all to see, if only for a moment, before Heather Reisman smoothed it over.  

And yet Steyn, to his credit, was able to pierce the veil by exposing the flaw inherent in Reisman's calls for tolerance. "A society, that is prepared to tolerate extreme intolerance in the name of liberalism, has signed its own death warrant"- this, of course, struck a chord with Reisman because she and all the others who cannot bring themselves to accept the existence of evil know that we are right. In the dark corners of her mind, she feels the same fear of the Other that all humans feel.  

She cannot allow herself to acknowledge that fear. None of them can, because they prize social acceptability over all. But the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men (and women, and transpeople, and two-spirited individuals, etc. etc.....)

Ignorance of the darkness, the looming threat- be it a refusal to accept the corruption of a Liberal government at Queen's Park, soft-pedalling the threat posed by Justin Trudeau on the part of CPC staffers grown complacent, or the attempt to normalize the loss of speech caused by the Charlie Hebdo killings- leads inevitably to disaster. It is the same covering of the truth by the polite segment of society in every case, every time.  

The left can be counted on to acknowledge the place of ugliness and darkness in society, as something to be fought against. In this, they are closer to the truth than the dead weight centre represented by Reisman. But they see this darkness as unnatural. They believe that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and general dislike of the Other is the result of invisible conspiracies by the powerful perpetrated against the powerless as opposed to natural, basic feelings felt by everyone. 

When the various segments of the left proclaim that they are bathing in male tears, shouting "die cis scum", calling for wealth redistribution through government action or saying racism against white people does not exist, it is the same unwillingness to look at the truth, to accept that these thoughts come from the same dark places as anything that issues forth from the right side of the spectrum. No amount of education, of validation of feelings, of common ground or of striving for intersectionality can ever fully beat back the darkness. 

It is with us everywhere, and the only cure is too look into the shadows and confront, to accept, what is there without fear, to constantly remind ourselves that we are human despite our best intentions and our best actions. 

The spectre of hate and intolerance will haunt us forever. Fight it, but acknowledge its power, and your own lack of power in the times that you fail. 

Ah, but no. You will throw it back in our faces and say, "I don't believe." You will hide in your safe spaces. You will judge and cast us out. Again, the supposedly tolerant will reveal their own intolerance. Predictable. All too predictable. All too human! 

And so the cycle continues. Plenty followed by war, boom followed by bust, empires declining only to be replaced by new empires. This is the story, the only story, told and retold a thousand different times.    

Just wait and see. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two Tears In A Bucket

Why am I, a privileged minority living in the West, upset about the Charlie Hebdo killings yet not upset (not as upset?) about 2000 Nigerians dead at the hands of Boko Haram?

Why do I think it's brave to publish a Mohammed cartoon yet I don't endorse the publication of Carlos Latuff's bordering on anti-Semitic cartoons?

Whenever the left is confronted with something that they have to acknowledge, like the anger over the Charlie Hebdo killings, they dismiss it by finding an inconsistency. Conservatives aren't really fiscal hawks because conservatives somewhere aren't fiscal hawks. Conservatives are racist because they saw something racist on Fox News. Mike Harris did a thing, so we will never never never never vote PC. When a conservative somewhere drops the ball, everything every conservative says or has said is forever wrong.

Here's the problem, though: I (and Mike Harris) cannot have completely consistent position on anything, because I'm not a robot. I, like everyone, subdivide humanity into friendlies and threats. What's the bigger threat to me? What's the bigger benefit to me? These are questions that people, including judgy leftists on Twitter, ask themselves.

I would love to have as much empathy for autistic transgender otherkin who use "ze" and "zim" pronouns as I do for people who look like me. Unfortunately, when ISIS says, "I want you dead because you exist," I believe them. When my paycheque shrinks or when my commute time increases because Kathleen Wynne can't manage a province properly, it affects me personally and it makes me less likely to like her and less likely to think about the problems of autistic transgender otherkin besides.

Leftists ascribe this to the dehumanizing effects of capitalism, because doing that is easy. It's much harder to ask themselves if they can separate capitalists from capitalism, and hate one without hating the other in a love the sinner but hate the sin sort of way. If dudes don't think building a building with a one-to-one ratio of male to female bathrooms reinforces sexism, and it is known (if you are a leftist) that this sort of blind spot is unconscious, then it should be a simple exercise in logic to understand that yelling at the dudes is counterproductive, because they don't know what they did. Yet the yelling and the bathing in male tears continues unabated.

Why is this? It is because leftists and right wingers like me are both people, deciding what is most beneficial and what is most threatening to us. Not being particularly good myself with edged weapons or guns, I like to use my writing skills to defend myself against ISIS, or at least make myself believe that I'm doing that, and the leftists are focused on potty parity. The heart wants what it wants. That's the conservative position, and it is totally unacceptable to leftists who are suddenly not OK with differences of opinion when it comes to stuff they're emotionally invested in. That's why they're busy pointing out all of the things that are worse than Charlie Hebdo cartoonists being murdered. In an ideal world they would admit that they just don't care as much about the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists the same way I admit that I find it hard to care that much about some stuff, but.....

The experiments of the left are doomed to fail because it is impossible for anyone to be totally sympathetic to every single random concern out there. We can file this under the heading of "Uncomfortably True Conservative Truths." Being empathetic to the concerns of people you don't know is really, really hard. It requires (as per the leftists) lots and lots of education, and even then you are at risk of making social errors and being destroyed. Wait a second....that sounds like a pretty conservative worldview as well, what with the world being a threatening place and people needing to be on guard about those threats. Dammit.

Hmmmm....right, OK. It has to do with privilege. See, if I point out problems in the Muslim world, I'm criticizing an a underprivileged minority. So who's supposed to fix these problems? Muslims? No, I can't ask Muslims to fix their own problems because that's victim blaming. I and other privileged people need to fix the problems I'm.... not supposed to be pointing out....yeesh...

Now how the hell do I do that? Reassure Muslims that I stand with them and don't condone a backlash against them? No, because when ordinary Australians started the #illridewithyou hashtag after the Sydney cafe attacks, that just perpetuated racism against Muslims because it's patronizing. Well yeah...I'm not a fan of hashtag activism either. How about world leaders and the Pope speaking out against a backlash? Yeah, that's nice....but what about all the other things these people are doing wrong, like marching in a parade with the leaders of oppressive regimes, or not endorsing same sex marriage?!?! So we're back to square one with the good stuff not mattering because of all the other bad stuff. Which kind of makes you question the need to reach out in the first place.....which is something a conservative would say! Not again!!!

Why does everything these people do prove the correctness of the conservative worldview?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chained Reaction

Last week, because the conservative movement most emphatically does not exist, we were forced to ask questions that should never have had to be asked. We asked things like, "In some insane possible world, could murder be a response to being offended by things? Could this somehow be a thing that people do? Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?" 

The thought of having to spend one millisecond considering being killed amongst the possible responses to saying things caused grievous and irreparable damage to what remained of my sanity, and so I took the plunge headlong into the writings of the neo-reactionary movement- something I've been avoiding for weeks. 

You may have even heard of this so-called Dark Enlightenment and how it's the next big thing in conservative politics even though it's a massive stretch to call them conservatives and they'd probably punch you in the mouth for calling them that. The movement defies easy categorization (of course) but it's a mix-and-match of various going concerns in out and around the conservative movement. Men's Rights Activism. Pissed off #Gamergaters. People who use scientific graphs to explain racial differences in IQ. Transhumanists (people who think the human body is a cage and want to be Johnny Depp in Transcendence). People who want closed borders. People who want open access to the Internet for everyone. Christian apologetics. The Thoreau-ians who just want to withdraw from society that always seem to gravitate to movements like this. Women who don't think feminism speaks for them. I, and most likely you, like one or two of these things sometimes, don't like others, and don't understand the rest. 

They like to write long-ass blogposts trying to explain themselves and how all of the above is supposed to fit together and how modern democracy has failed and we need to set up a system of pseudoautonomous benevolent dictatorships that stop trying to advance a society that apparently doesn't want to be advanced. There's something called "The Cathedral" which is basically Kathleen Wynne's ultimate political fantasy and all the stuff we don't like and which they oppose. 

Looking at it all, I felt exactly the same way I've felt at hundreds of pub sittings and breakout policy sessions (oh, how I hate that phrase) where everyone tries to figure out some common ground but mostly it devolves into arguments about what people consider themselves to be. "I consider myself a libertarian with anarchist leanings!" "Well I consider myself a social conservative who wants weed legalized!" "Well, I consider myself a Red Tory who wants free porn, supports the monarchy and concealed carry laws, and wants the LCBO abolished!"

Then of course there's the multiple marketing fails and bizarre codespeak, hallmarks of any good right-wing movement. Nobody seems to have pointed out, for example, that the central metaphor- The Cathedral- doesn't make any sense. What is so Cathedralish about a group of social terrorists who want to kill you because you don't validate their feelings? An out of control bureaucracy with no idea what it's doing to the people it's trying to help calls to mind an image of a Blind Idiot God, but these guys went with something pretty like "The Cathedral" to describe their hated enemies.  

But the biggest problem with the neoreactionary movement is the same problem with the libertarian movement, with the objectivist movement, with the conservative movement, with any of these silly non-movements, is that the things it considers to be important and the things normal people consider to be important are almost entirely separate. 

You know what isn't completely separate from the things normal people consider to be important? Beyonce's performance at the VMA's where she had FEMINIST in big letters behind her. 

One word. One image. No 3,742 word blogpost, no lecture on the principles of liberty, no Atlas Shrugged

This is the reason why the culture moves inexorably to the left. This is why we have to censor ourselves when talking about Charlie Hebdo. It's not because of a conspiracy. It's not because of the liberal media. It's not because of "The Cathedral." 

It's because of big frogs in a small pond, crabs in a bucket, cocoonery. 

Everyone here is interested in proving how much smarter they are than everyone else. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

You Can't Change The Direction Of The Wind, But You Can Adjust The Sales

"Conservative movement." More and more, I think that statement is a contradiction in terms.

Not the first part. There are plenty of self-styled conservatives out there. The problem is with the second word. What is happening cannot be called "movement."

Movements have direction, and they move continuously in that direction. This is why the left is so successful. They want to do things like transform society to the point that we look weird and scary to everyone else, and they know exactly how to do that- by imposing their collective will on the rest of us.  

Meanwhile, conservatives spend so much time being down that anything else looks like up to them. I have always hated this tendency of right wingers to act like horny high schoolers, looking for that one moment where someone will look past how pathetic they are and take them seriously.

This is why so-called Principled Conservatives, who might even be otherwise intelligent individuals, still believe against all evidence to the contrary that Kathleen Wynne will somehow realize that she can't spend money forever and say "My God, what have I done?" instead of realizing that she is deliberately crashing the economy because she prizes people's feelings over actual fiscal realities. 

It's also why, for four years, these same people forgave whatever Rob Ford did "so long as he cuts my taxes", and why we have a PC Party of Ontario leadership race where Team Nicey-Nice are currently the prospective frontrunners. 

In all three cases Conservatives are so grateful that they aren't being ignored that they are ignoring the massive truck-sized problem in favour of something completely beside the point, which is the 100% no-fail method I use for determining when something terrible is about to happen. 

I'm coming back to the Danielle Smith defection for just a moment (another outrage which has become old news because the conservative movement cannot walk and chew gum at the same time), to remind everyone of the reason she gave for why she did it. In her warped mind, she had done everything she had set out to do, which was apparently getting Jim Prentice to pretend like he cared about balancing the budget. Once Prentice stopped treating the Wild Rose with Redfordian contempt, well, that's it then. The government was actually doing something that resembled listening, and that meant the show was over and there was no need to pay lip service to this ridiculous notion about being a movement. 

It looks increasingly like the whole point of the Wild Rose, or the PC Party of Ontario, or the Manning Centre, or any of the other unaffiliated, out-of-power, barely there conservative "movements" is to make big, stinky tantrums about crankish non-issues under the pretense of "holding the government's feet to the fire." If you can get your big, stinky tantrum on Sun News or in the National Post or on some held-together-with-tape-and-popsicle-sticks conservative news site so that people will give you a few donations for your trouble, you've basically won the lottery. That's about as much as your poor little abused mind can handle for the next few months.

And now, with all this preamble in mind, let's get to the point. As you all know, 12 French journalists were murdered because violent and stupid individuals took exception to Mohammed being mocked in cartoon form. And even though the usual gang of idiots vilified the MSM for jumping on the #JeSuisCharlie bandwagon, I think an equally good case can be made for the fact that the conservative media decided they were going to have themselves a great, huge, Category-5 big stinky tantrum instead of taking the legitimate anger felt by everyone who wasn't a committed social justice warrior over the attack on Charlie Hebdo and building a movement that would answer the very valid question that was, "What the hell are we doing to send a message to these murderers that they'd better not try it again?" 

Or maybe the conservative movement would rather they tried it again. It makes for great ratings on Sun News. Ezra and Mark Steyn can get really fired up, Rush can have a great rant, and for a couple of days people will actually not be overtly hostile to the idea of freedom of speech. Quick! Let's ask for donations to "keep the fight alive" before everyone forgets about Charlie Hebdo and starts talking about the Kardashians again! 

Meanwhile the social justice warriors, undeterred and (comparably) unconcerned about donations, got on their Twitters and Tumblrs and stuck to their guns.

No, Islam is not the problem- anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe is the problem.

No, freedom of speech is not what we should be talking about- instead we should be talking about that NAACP office that was bombed on the same day.

No, Charlie Hebdo was not actually a bastion of free speech- they fired a guy for being an anti-Semite. Also, double standards about free speech exist, apparently, so the whole argument in favour of it is invalid. 

My favourite of these was how the same people who will tear you to shreds for implying that a woman who was assaulted was asking for it because of the way she dressed were saying that well, nobody's condoning murder or anything, but maybe the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists shouldn't have been so darn racist if they didn't want trouble.

Think about for a minute, because the social justice warriors won't- you must understand that their movement is moving so fast that they have no time. 

And so, when Charlie Hebdo published its next issue, it should have not surprised anyone that the opinions of everyone that mattered lined up with those of the social justice warriors, and news outlets showed the magazine with the cover duly blurred out (if they showed it at all). The end result was, no, the consequences for speech should not include being murdered except yes they kind of do now.Terrorists win!

But that's OK, because the marginal right wingers who did publish the cartoons can be proud of themselves for winning a moral victory which isn't a victory at all, and they can ask their base for more donations, which is really all you can do, isn't it? 

Once upon a time, I had the privilege to hear Patrick Muttart, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, tell a story about the 2004 federal election. The story goes that some brilliant strategist had the idea that Harper would fly above what I think was the Toronto waterfront in a helicopter before landing and making an announcement. And when Harper did land and spoke to reporters, the first question they asked him was about abortion. The second question was about abortion. The third, fourth, and fifth questions were about abortion. It was, as Muttart memorably described it, "a press conference about abortion with a helicopter blade turning slowly in the background." 

That's the conservative movement a decade ago, and, majority government nothwithstanding, that's the conservative movement now. Stuck in one place. Aimless. Getting asked awkward questions about issues we can't and don't win on, having no response. 

In some pocket dimension, possibly his own personal hell, Harper is standing there still with reporters asking him if he would keep women from terminating their pregnancies instead of asking whether the Liberals were mostly corrupt, slightly corrupt, or all the way corrupt, as that ridiculous helicopter blade twirls in an endless circle.

And that's why the Charlie Hebdo killings were not the wake-up call the conservative media so fervently hoped they'd be. They sit around waiting for the moment when people say enough is enough. While they sit, a lot more people are going to die, and a lot more donations are going to be made.