Render Unto Harper
We have a nasty bit of business afoot here in Canada, and that nasty bit of business strides the country under the name Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party and current Prime Minister of Canada.
Mr. Harper’s caesarism (or what Arabs would call “pharoahism”) is a growing concern in Canada, so much so that even the UK Guardian takes note, and has described his personal rule as signifying the end of “progressive Canada” and of Canadian social democracy. Mr. Harper’s post-modern conservative deconstruction of the liberal democratic state has been so extreme, in fact, that he has been cast as a veritable devil. And the reason he has to defend himself so aggressively against the popular perception of being a devil is, well, because he is Mephistophelian.
Render unto Harper that which is Harper’s, and unto God that which is God’s. For Harper is Harper and God is God and never the twain shall meet.
Maybe the most Mr. Harper will admit to is that he’s devilish. But even his socially-conservative Christian critics, such as Andrew Nikiforuk, believe Mr. Harper is too much beholden for his power to the Dark Side. Which raises the question whether Mr. Harper’s Christianism (let’s call it that) isn’t merely a cynical pose or might be, in fact, the publicly expressed piety of an abject sinner who feels inwardly that he’s in dire need of redemption and salvation from his own immoral, infernal, and nefarious impulses.
My guess is, that it’s a little of both. Mr. Harper’s cynical Christianism is part politics and part over-compensation for his demonic and Mephistophelian character (which some might call “Machiavellian” or, as columnist Lawrence Martin put it, like “Mussolini”).
Describing Mr. Harper (who is a chronic prevaricator and dissembler) as “the devil” or “Satan” or “The Anti-Christ” (they’ve all been used) might be a bit over the top, unless one considers cynical displays of Christianism for merely ideological and political ends to be anti-Christ (which it probably is) and Jesus used as another political prop and photo-op, but there’s no doubt that Harper’s personal political style oozes Mephistophelian cynicism.
The irony is, Mr. Harper’s cynicism seems to be directed mostly against his own “base” — his own supporters — more so than against his political critics and foes, because his faithful of the true faith are the ones who have been gullible enough to continue to believe his petty-minded dissembling and pretentiousness. Therein lies the irony of The Good Shepherd and his “new conservatism” — it’s precisely his faithful Flock of True Believers that he despises most for being so easily gulled and compromised and drawn along by his Mephistophelian wiles and snares.
But rather than describe Mr. Harper as “anti-Christ” or “Satan” or “the devil” (as even some of my small-c conservative acquaintances do), I would rather describe him as “a nasty piece of business” even though it amounts, in the end, to much the same thing.