Stephen Harper: The Man Who Put the “Con” in “Conservative”

Fresh on the heels of the controversial bill C-23 to undermine democracy, but entitled “Fair Elections Act,” comes bill S-4, “The Digital Privacy Act” which critics say does the exact opposite of what the bill’s name purports to do.

This has become something of a repeat pattern with the Harper government and with the public conversation more generally. Everything comes wearing a mask. Everything misrepresents itself as something it’s not. Everything lies in an age of brands and branding and perception management.

In short, everything is a con-job. It’s as if the Harper government has lifted the plot from Orwell’s 1984 as their own programme for exercising and maintaining their grip on power. Because there’s always something controversial in a bill, call it the exact opposite of what you intend by the new law and no one will see the subversive intent of the bill.

That practice reflects Mr. Harper’s Jekyll and Hyde personality itself — publicly pose as a “libertarian” concerned about creeping statism, but implement an authoritarian programme and agenda behind the “brand”. Create a smokescreen and a diversion so that few will perceive (or will invariably misconstrue) the real aims and motives.

The question is: Can such a society long survive the con of living on the “genuine imitation” of images, mirages, hallucinations — built upon brands, “truthiness”, and walking amongst shadows and spectres?

The answer is: No.  It’s delusion. It’s nihilism. Everything lies and misrepresents itself in the culture of narcissism.



4 responses to “Stephen Harper: The Man Who Put the “Con” in “Conservative””

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Just noticed moments ago that The Globe & Mail and its columnists came out with another attack on the Harper government’s “Fair Elections Act”. I wouldn’t exactly call them “scathing attacks”, but it has got some legs. For anyone interested in observing Canada’s democracy disintegrate

  2. LittleBigMan says :

    “Everything comes wearing a mask.”

    The notion of a “mask” did pop into my mind as I was reading the articles to which you have linked. Although, I was thinking to myself that there’s a great deal of voluntary self- unmasking going on, given that the corporate-state has begun to realize that it really doesn’t need to hide its intensions anymore.

    “Taken together [Bill S-4 & Bill S-4 Canada], the two bills create a “stunning” framework that allows virtually any organization to collect data from telecom firms, while protecting the telecoms from accountability, Geist argues.” – Daniel Tencer of Huff Post

    So, it’s official. In the formerly known democracies of the West, the power to control the lives of the people is being handed over to corporations, aided by spineless government officials who are hell bent on having the biggest bank account possible before they become worm food. What a petrifying ambition to have in this mysteriously and poetically beautiful life. What an ignominious bunch!

    Putting this in the context of everything else we have been talking about, I see this same proclivity for being ignominious in myself, too, only that I have been able to hold it under control rather than let it loose like Mr. Harper & Company have. We human beings are a curious bunch. We always have to be on guard for the flesh we wear is weak even at its peak.

    “About 40 per cent of eligible Canadians don’t even vote.” – Jeffrey Simpson of The Globe & Mail.

    Wow! That’s substantial. It seems to me that trend has got to change if Canadians are to confront corporate puppets like Harper et al. in the future.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Voter participation (or non-participation) rates in the electoral democracies is pretty much at the same level. Just a couple of decades ago, Canada had one of the highest levels of voter participation. That has collapsed recently, with non-participation rates hitting new highs.

      All sorts or reasons have been cited for the decline — apathy, disillusionment, demoralisation, laziness, contempt for politics, or even as passive expression of contentment with the status quo (so that non-voting is actually portrayed as a vote of confidence). Probably all are true to some extent.

      But the decline in participation rates is affecting all the democracies (except, perhaps, Australia where voting is mandatory).

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “except, perhaps, Australia where voting is mandatory.”

        I didn’t know that. In my view, that’s a good law. Speaking of the candidates in the United States, they have been a big disappointment for the most part. I think Ross Perot was worth a try – at least for one term that is. So was Ron Paul. Alas, we will never know what it would’ve been like with them as the commander in chief.

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