Corruption and the Harper Government
You may have noticed a pattern in recent posts. I suddenly switch from discussion of the psycho-dynamics of the Late Modern soul to current events. It’s a kind of surfacing, a way of keeping my balance, for I am, by nature, a very solitary beast. Still, I need to maintain occasional contact with the events of the day, even when showing how they reflect the very psycho-dynamics we’ve been discussing.
Does the corruption spreading outwards from the Harper government concern anyone but Canadians? After all, there aren’t many Canadians who read The Chrysalis anyway. My only response to that is that the decline of political standards isn’t unique to Canada, but is also symptomatic of the decay of the Modern Era more generally. I have not noticed much difference at all between the corrupt and defective political practices of the Canadian government and those of any other government currently in power.
The recent spate of resignations of cabinet ministers and Conservative backbenchers from “Team Harper” seem to prove the case, even if few have been willing to say what needs to be said — the Harper government is corrupt, and the tentacles of corruption are extending and spreading outwards from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) itself, and not “reaching into” it, as the usual churnalistic cliche goes. But few have had the courage to say so except, perhaps, the journalist Andrew Coyne,
“Secretive, controlling, manipulative, crude, autocratic, vicious, unprincipled, untrustworthy, paranoid … Even by the standards of Canadian politics, it’s quite the performance. We’ve had some thuggish or dishonest governments in the past, even some corrupt ones, but never one quite so determined to arouse the public’s hostility, to so little apparent purpose. Their policy legacy may prove short-lived, but it will be hard to erase the stamp of the Nasty Party.”
(Phew! That’s a relief. I thought I was the only one who had noticed.)
A case of misplaced loyalties and obediences: to whom or to what do Conservative Party members owe their loyalties? Is it to Mr. Harper? Or is it to the Conservative Party? Is it to Canada? Is it to their much ballyhooed (and usually faked) “principle”? Is it to truth, or is truth now “inconvenient”? The conservatives had best decide, because if Mr. Harper is allowed to sear his “brand” into — and impose the weight of his narcissism upon — the Conservative Party, then that Party will be out of power for a generation or longer because it will come to be known as the “Party of Stephen Harper” or “Team Harper” or, as Coyne calls it, “The Nasty Party” (and that sounds awful close to “Nazi Party” doesn’t it?).
The Conservative Party is due to have its Party Day and leadership review this fall. Conservatives had best decide by that time to whom or to what they owe their loyalties if they don’t owe it to the truth or to themselves. The tentacles of political corruption radiating out from the PMO are also reaching deep into the Conservative Party — the robocalls scandal, the Duffygate scandal, the black ops conducted against political opponents, contempt of Parliament, muzzling of public servants and assigning party “minders” to scientists to ensure they stay politically correct, intimidation of NGOs and environmental groups and attacks on free speech, (unless it’s conservative “free speech”), rule by propaganda and “perception management” (euphemistically called “managing the optics”), deceit and concealment disguised behind the rhetoric of “transparency & accountability”, “a culture of lying”, as Mr. Coyne calls it; attempts to subvert the checks and balances on the exercise of power; and now, today, suggestions of interference with a police investigation, and the revelation that the PMO is keeping an “enemies list” a la Richard Nixon.
Personally, I am no Conservative, and I especially despise so-called “new conservatism” as a perversion, a pretense of “revolutionary conservatism” that is nothing but a euphemism for reaction and a smokescreen for “reactionary” — another species of contemporary nihilism; a conservatism that conserves nothing at all. It isn’t even conservationist. The “new conservative” is an Orc through and through.
But I realise that any democracy needs to maintain a healthy conservatism — an intelligent conservatism — as a counter-balance for an excess of progressive or liberal zeal. Nonetheless, what we have today is neither. This so-called “new conservatism” is neither healthy nor is it the least intelligent. It is a diseased conservatism masquerading as a “principled conservatism” that it ain’t. Not a bit. That is mere rhetoric and empty sloganeering, even if it is, sadly, the effective propaganda of “managing the optics” and “controlling the message”. Canadian conservatism is infected, literally crown to root — leader to party base — with the rot of double-talk, double-think, and double-standards. It deserves to perish, actually, as its ideology is no more than a pastiche of self-contradictory dogmas designed to disguise its manifold hypocrisies, its degeneracy, its lack of integrity, and indeed, its complete absence of scruple or “principle”.
The “new conservatism” is basically the very thing it claims outwardly to despise, but which it inwardly is — a “post-modern” conservatism, a pastiche and a facade of pretenses. And as such, it is itself an outgrowth — a cancerous outgrowth — of the culture of narcissism.
There. I feel much better already.