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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Our Libertarian Socialism

In his extraordinary reflections in Chapter VI of Democracy in America, which is worth reading at least once a year, Alexis de Tocqueville wonders what sort of “despotism” is in store for the newly-emerging democracies of the Western world. Despotism? Why, surely this strikes us as a strange fear when we have been taught that democracy is the proper response to despotism, and not one of its types. But he begins by observing that “no sovereign has ever lived in former ages, so absolute or so powerful as to undertake to administer by his own agency all the parts of a great empire,” and while former rulers had great power, it touched very few, it neglected the masses, and the myriad details of social and private life, work, and occupation were practically and properly beyond the ruler’s control. But de Tocqueville observed that in a democratic system, where the emphasis is on envy and equality, everything is muted. Men are restrained in their vices, he wrote, but also in their virtues. He was not afraid, he said, that citizens in democracies “will meet with tyrants in their rulers, but rather with guardians.” His great fear was not physical terror or despotism, but what he called “administrative despotism.” Below I reproduce his most important words on this topic, verbatim.

“The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasure with which they glut their lives … Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood … It provides for their security … manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulate the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?  … The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

“After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

“I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.

“Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions: they want to be led, and they wish to remain free. As they cannot destroy either the one or the other of these contrary propensities, they strive to satisfy them both at once. They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives them a respite: they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians… the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master and then relapse into it again …” 

“The democratic nations that have introduced freedom into their political constitution at the very time when they were augmenting the despotism of their administrative constitution have been led into strange paradoxes. To manage those minor affairs in which good sense is all that is wanted, the people are held to be unequal to the task; but when the government of the country is at stake, the people are vested with immense powers; they are alternately made the playthings of their ruler, and his masters - more than kings, and less then men … No one will ever believe that a liberal, wise, and energetic government can spring from the suffrages of a subservient people.”

cross-posted at www.williamgairdner.com

Posted by williamgairdner on March 28, 2006 | Permalink


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Where on earth did you come up with the term Libertarian Socialism?

As you (should) know, libertarianism is the complete opposite of socialism.

(Conservatism, with its collectivist tendencies, resembles socialism much more than libertarianism.)

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 8:10:06 AM

"Administrative Despotism" in Canada.

de Tocqueville: a "Seer".


"Unlawful Possession Of Laying Hens"
http://newsfeed.recorder.ca/cgi-bin/LiveIQue.acgi$rec=17372 ^ | Friday, March 24, 2006 | NICK GARDINER

Posted on 03/27/2006 2:00:18 PM PST by UncleShred

"Unlawful Possession Of Laying Hens"

Egg farmer stands his ground in raid


Staff Writer

SHANLY -- A 10-hour standoff between federal food inspectors and a local egg farmer backed by 40 landowners ended Thursday evening when thousands of confiscated eggs and chickens - many dead or dying after going hours without ventilation or water - were released back to the owner.

Inspectors who raided the County Road 21 farm near the Grenville-Dundas County border allege Shawn Carmichael, owner of Carmichael Poultry Farm at 317 County Road 21, had been selling ungraded or improperly graded eggs and lacked proper registration for his operation.

But investigators were prevented from taking the confiscated property away and had to settle instead with dozens of bird carcasses and a carton of eggs to use as evidence. + more

Posted by: maz2 | 2006-03-28 8:14:43 AM


Were you dropped on your head as a baby? It is important to know where you received your brainwashing, cleverly disguised as a history lesson, so no more are exposed to it. Scary.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 8:54:19 AM

Where I think all of us screw up is around the word “equality”. Tocqueville understood the problem and wrote about it long before Liberals and Democrats arrived on the scene as the despots ready to bribe us with our own money.

Libertarians and conservatives see equality as:
Equality of opportunity and individualism.

Whereas socialists see it as:
Equality of outcome.
Socialists would be happy as equal slaves rather than face the competition of unequal outcomes. An example would be:
Equality of bad Health Care trumps
good Health Care for most and
great Health Care for some.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-03-28 9:05:16 AM

Listen to Lowell Green tie his brain in knots trying to tell people that the "supply management" is good, but "strong-arm enforcement" is bad.


Personally, I don't think there is any other way to enforce an egg quota system unless you confiscate the violators' chickens at gunpoint. As the Chinese say, "Kill the rooster to scare the monkey".

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2006-03-28 9:06:18 AM

Great reference on the failure of democracy in the absence of libertarian (political philosophy of freedom) constitutional principles. Johan is correct, the title is an oxymoron.

Too many Conservatives confuse libertarian with libertine - a person without moral restraint.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2006-03-28 9:33:41 AM

Try to write something with a content next time.

John Chittick,
Yes, in fact there way too many people having no clue whatsoever about the history and meaning of political (and other) terms.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 10:50:53 AM


I don't have a problem with you pointing out the mincing of the meaning between Liberal and Libertarian, I can even respect that, but when you associate conservatism with collectivism, and furthermore to socialism, that's when you come off sounding like a complete ass.

By the way, I will write whatever the hell I want.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 11:04:29 AM

M. de Tocqueville reads like Nietzsche on the Last Man. I appreciate the comment on "envy" being a defining feature, such that "equality" means "make equal" rather than treat equals equally. When people ask me to explain a counterintuitive Canadian law, I simply advice them to think how it can be explained in terms of envy. Always works, as the healthcare comment above demonstrates.

What frustrates the left-mentality is elite, embodied skill/knowledge, that may only be acquired through a master-apprentice relationship that involves coaching and drilling. It takes work to become skilled and performance cannot easily be measured, both of which are anathema to unions and the current teacher-think. "Drill and kill" they say of math, but fail to produce strong mathematicians--because you cannot impart math skill through talk-teaching, explaining concepts, discussion groups or more funding. Elite skills subvert the envy-culture, since poeple cannot be equalized through government policy.

Posted by: murray | 2006-03-28 11:06:12 AM


Anybody with a the slightest political and historical knowledge understands that there are certain similarities between conservatism and socialism.

Instead of God there is Marx & Lenin, instead of the King there is the Party.

In both cases the people are servants to the Country/Collective, which is governed by the King/Party, in turn inspired by God/Marx.

Of course, some modern conservatives have borrowed some of the central tenets of liberalism (such as the focus on the individual and freedom of expression).

For your further reading pleasure:

"Conservatism, .. in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism" (Hayek)

"A Frothy Mixture of Collectivism and Conservatism" (http://www.reason.com/rauch/090605.shtml)

"But a communitarian ethos permeates conservatism. Nisbet views atomistic individualism as a negative force in society because 'Individualism has resulted in masses of normless, unattached, insecure individuals..'"
"[Nisbet] defines community as the 'product .. of collective fulfillment of internal objectives, and of the experience of living under codes of authority..'"

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 11:53:49 AM


It would be more accurate to say that both socialism and social-conservatism have a tendancy to government intervention. This intervention is very different though.

The socialists (to paraphrase and ad to what that idiot Trudeau stated) wants the government out of the bedrooms of the nation - but into their wallets. They want economic intervention.

The social-conservatives want the government out of your wallet but into your bedroom. In other words, they want intervention on social issues. They want morality legislated.

Libertarians want the government out of your bedroom AND out of your wallet. They don't want government intervention in their lives at all.

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-03-28 11:59:37 AM

I could cut and paste from 20 different sites to argue and dispel every one of your points.

But, I will simply stand by my first post.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 12:03:32 PM


What a wonderful world, if only there were more libertarians around!

Where does one find a credible and effective libertarian voice in the Canadian political debate?

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 12:05:44 PM


I could cut and paste from 20 different sites arguing that Elvis is still alive...

In your first post, the only thing I notice is a lack of any argument at all. Aside from insults, you said nothing. Stand by that if you like.

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-03-28 12:14:15 PM


I should have pointed out my post was directed at Johan, not you.

If you were expecting more, sorry to disappoint you. This guy has posted before and can never get his point across without taking a shot at conservatives. His definition of conservatives mirrors the past and present Liberal party, not conservatism.

As a conservative I resent being compared to "collective socialism". That is not what I am about as is any modern conservative. When challenged on it he simply cut and pasted some theories by god knows who to support his claim.

It is asinine as it is now up to the conservatives to try and rescue this country from years of Liberal socialism, or collective socialism, despised by conservatives.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 12:39:40 PM

I can certainly see why a conservative of any stripe would resent being compared to a socialist...

I didn't know you guys had a history and just read the first post (which was an insult without any reference to put it into context.)

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-03-28 12:50:26 PM

What "this guy" is taking a shot at is the tendency of many current Canadian conservatives ignore (or are ignorant about) the fact that their ideology (at its best) is pure classical liberalism.

At the same time, these "conservatives" (deliberately or due to ignorance):
- confuse Liberals with liberals
- confuse liberalism with socialism

At times, "this guy" will also take shots at traditional, religious, moral, and/or big state conservatives.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 12:54:43 PM

Semantics. It just isn't worth arguing about.

We know that in Europe a liberal means small government and in N.America the opposite. The word conservative here isn't really conservative in the sense that they are Whigs tied to the old feudal system. We start from the same general place if we use language in the common usage rather than try to pull out the Webster's and argue definitions.

Arguing semantics out of context isn't useful. Language evolves. When you want to say classical liberalism, you have to include the word classical when using the term in N.A. That's just the way it is. Arguing the point is tilting at windmills.

I'm not trying to join your fight, just point out that if you use a different definition of words than other people you aren't speaking the same language and will interprete the same point differently. Accept common usage and save yourself much grief...

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-03-28 1:08:48 PM

Conservatives and libertarians have lots in common though,

starting with a hope to reduce the size of govt, and the taxes by allowing people fiscal freedom to choose their own methods of dealing with problems. (how they spend their money or deal with their own property)

Warwick I liked your precise thumbnail sketch of the differences between liberal and conservatives along with libertarianism.

I've always mentally divided the conservative camp into:

fiscal conservatives (libertarians who came in via reduction of tax and size of govt)

and the moral conservatives, who have an interest in promoting and maintaining a particular moral social structure.

I prefer to sit in the libertarian side of the conservative camp, feeling that morality is something that comes from within a person, and their belief system.

It can't be legislated or pushed at people who don't have the mindset to abide by it.

Like taxes, you need a large chunk of people willing to abide by the "rules" in order to have the rules and taxes work.

Where morality can and should be legislated is in the area of rights and freedoms.

As in my right to swing my fist, ends shortly before your nose begins.

Do all that you promised, and Don't encroach on anyone else.

Those are the basic 2 laws that Richard Maybury talks of in his excellent little book "Whatever happened to justice?".

In it he argues that any just society, comes down to these basics. One covers torts and business law and property rights, and the other covers criminal acts that remove other's rights.

The libertarian point of view is that if you look after the individuals rights, and deal with any infringements on other's rights that things pretty much work themselves out without a lot of tax dollars and an army of civil servants bearing volumes of rules and regs that no person could ever hope to know.

(Remember the old saying, "ignorance of the is no excuse for breaking it"-- but maybe with officialdom and the regulations occupying city blocks, it's become impossible to really "know" the laws)

The libertarian wants to put people back in charge of their own lives for better or worse, and leaves their interior moral shape and fiber between them and their God.

Which in the long run, probably means that some will be as bad as they want (but if they infringe on others rights and freedoms can be dealt with) and others as good as they want.

It will restore balance by allowing natural benefits to accrue to the hardworking, who can share or not as they see fit to the less fortunate.

And for the truly evil, such a balance means they bear the costs of their behaviour fully, and that is a deterrent to others.

and for the unfortunate, there is the old Victorian concept of the deserving poor, and the undeserving.

If people were forced to rely on charity for help, a lot of them might have to change their behaviour. Instead of a welfare cheque handed out freely without question, there would be a lot more demands for the able bodied to shift themselves or suffer the consequence.

The truly unfortunate, would rely on charity, but there would always be charity, as there is even now, in a welfare state.

Only this time, the dollars given come from someone who knows them and their situation, rather than a faceless tax redistribution of wealth without regard for whether the welfare dollar is going to someone who should be encouraged to change their ways.

After all, when financial incentives are applied, suddenly having babies early out of wedlock, not finishing school, using drugs, or marrying too young becomes really unappealing.

It is shown for the quick road to poverty that it is.

And the advantages of remaining single, celibate, marrying later after finishing an education, and working hard THEN producing children, becomes the way to prosperity and health.

Letting money dictate terms to people and leaving them to figure it all out comes down to the same thing in the end. Good people prosper, and bad people don't. Unfortunate people have to rely on charity, but good people have always given to charity. This time, it bypasses welfare's blind giving to any and all without regard to welfare dollars making things worse for a lot of people.

Long way of saying, I think libertarianism has a point, and I like it.

Posted by: Canadian freedoms fan | 2006-03-28 1:25:47 PM

If all conservatives (in North America) would be classical liberals (more or less), then I agree that, sure, let's use term conservatism (over here).

However, mixed in with liberal conservatives, we have a whole bunch of e.g. religious and moral conservatives, which, apart from their recent and partial conversion to free markets, have little in common with classical liberalism.

Such "elements" make it hard to argue free trade, freedom of association and CRTC deregulation, without being countered with "well, what about evolution, abortion and gay marriage".

Thus it is in order to clarify my positions that I insist to use the term liberal, as opposed to conservative and Liberal.

But I might follow your advise and use the term "classical liberalism".

Btw, in Europe classical liberals use the term "neo-liberal", a term which doesn't seem to be known in North America.

Why and how did we end up with these Orwellian definitions of liberalism and conservatism?

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 1:31:42 PM


That has been my point exactly. The Libertarian, as Johan describes himself has much in common with conservatism.

He castigates conservatism and says it has much in common to collective socialism, clearly something that stems from the left, and mirrors, if anything Liberalism as we know it.

Clearly the modern conservative has more in common with libertarianism than anything else offered in Canada or the western world.

I pointed this out to him on another thread and still he continues to castigate conservatism. His choice, I just think he is wrong.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 1:44:13 PM

Um, guys, Libertarianism and Socialism were never being equated.


When de Tocqueville wrote "Our contemporaries are constantly excited by two conflicting passions: they want to be led, and they wish to remain free" he was pointing to conflicting desires. He said of his contemporaries that they try to satisfy both "contrary propensities" -- being led, and being free -- at once, and that it is untenable to do so.

It's helpful to read a post before commenting.

Posted by: EBD | 2006-03-28 1:53:19 PM

Seems to be a lot of bickering over definitions. The common strain I perceive among those in the "conservative" tent today is a predeliction to allow and require greater self-reliance (including in ethical matters), but with more severe sanction when the privilege is abused. Those in the "liberal" tent, on the other hand, have a predeliction for government to micromanage with advance regulation, with less emphasis on sanction for the wrong itself (apart from sanctions for violating the regulation, which would not be a wrong, apart from the enactment of the regulation itself).

Hayek is generally considered to be an ultra-conservative. The market principle that macro-phenomena "emerge" from distributed agents following rules and exchanging information locally (an exponential order of information exchnages), is intrinsically more adaptive and productive than top-down control (which has merely a linear order of information exchanges). Marx, to his credit, understood this, but he believed the efficiency of markets would erode wages. That is, he accepted the emergence principle but thought the implication were bad. Hayek accepted the emergence principle and thought the implications were good. I see more in the liberal camp accepting emergence (given the growing abundance of scientific support for it), so this dimension no longer as clearly delineates the divide between liberal and conservative.

Any policitcal philosophy that is not both strongly collectivist and individualistic is folly, to my mind. Great individuals need a strong collective in order to become great. Robust collectives need great individuals. Which end of the spectrum gets emphasized depends in which direction government has swung too far. Thus Nietzsche, a collectivist at heart, wrote to emphasize the needs for cultivating great individuals, because of what he perceived as the trend toward levelling forces of democracy-envy--the Last Man.

Posted by: murray | 2006-03-28 3:46:40 PM

Suggesting that all self-identified conservatives are libertarian by definition is both propagandistic and factually wrong. Suggesting that all totalitarianism is leftist by definition is both tautological and factually wrong.

Clearly there are people who self-identify as conservative, who are afforded that status by others, *and* who are collectivists. Social conservatives are collectivist -- you can't have social conservatism as a political ideology without supporting government intervention in individuals' private affairs. So which is it, Warwick? Either social conservatives aren't "real" conservatives and shouldn't be afforded such status, or you should stop pretending that conservatism can be equated with individualism/libertarianism as a given. I'm sure it's nice and self-affirming to pretend that there's one true conservatism and everyone's on the same team, but it just isn't so.

(For the record, I'd argue that most of the self-professed individualists on the Shotgun aren't: their libertarianism extends only until it protects something they don't like, like homosexuality or porn, from government intervention. Then it's "hooray for the state!")

deepblue, do you really not know of Friedrich Hayek? And you call yourself a modern conservative? Go do some research before you embarrass yourself any further. Freedom of speech means that we have to allow everyone a voice -- even the redneck trash -- but that doesn't mean we have to let grotesque ignorance like yours pass without comment.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-28 3:58:15 PM

Oh Oh... another drive by moonbatting. By a self absorbed Torontonian no less.

We know what "team" you are on moron. Your version of liberalism has interfered with nearly every persons private affairs, as well as stealing them blind.

Anyone who can support that and call other people ignorant borders on absurd. But then I would expect nothing less from you.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 5:19:38 PM

It never ceases to amaze me that you can completely miss the subtext of what I write, hitting you squarely between the eyes like a 2x4, and still think that just because I disagree with you I must be a leftist.

Since you obviously have the reading comprehension of a ten-year-old, I will explain it to you in terms that even a ten-year-old can understand:

* I'm not a Liberal. I might be a classical liberal in the British sense, but not the North American sense.

* When I criticize self-identified conservatives for promoting collectivist, authoritarian ideologies, I don't do it because I believe in left-wing collectivism. I do it because I believe collectivist, authoritarian ideologies are bad. You don't get a free pass just because you call yourself a conservative, and you don't get a free pass just because you want to use authoritarianism to promote interests traditionally identified as conservative. Either you believe in the liberty of the individual from the undue interference of the state, or you don't. If you don't, at least have the stones to admit as much rather than hiding behind Orwellian religious doublespeak. This nonsense where you (the generic "you") complain about overbearing government one minute and then call for more government authority the next is dishonest, and condemning dishonesty doesn't make one leftist.

* When I criticize Ezra and the Shotgun for howling about Liberal corruption and then throwing their anniversary party in the home of a man indicted for eight counts of criminal fraud, it's not because I like the Liberals. It's because I think the Liberals suck, and cavorting with people who are just as corrupt as the Liberals makes Ezra and his supporters hypocrites. Likewise, I don't criticize the Liberals for corruption just because I'm trying to support my "team" and they're on the other team, which seems to be the motive of some people around here; I criticize the Liberals because they're corrupt and corruption is bad, no matter who you are. If corruption is bad, then it's bad whether the perpetrators self-identify as conservative or liberal. Any other belief is hypocritical and dishonest.

* The idea you seem to hold -- that there are two political camps in Canadian society, and you must hold to all the tenets and support all of the self-identified members of one or you belong to the other by default -- is imbecilic. Accordingly, you are an imbecile.

* I don't critique Canadian conservatism because I'm left-wing. I critique it because I believe it could be the best political option for Canada if only the so-con retards and redneck trash could be purged from its ranks.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-28 6:09:42 PM

I’ve spent the last few decades working to feed the collectivists my taxes, so pardon me if I'm not well read enough to get the semantics right.

However I would say that the positions taken by either liberal or conservative social values couldn’t be supported without the involvement of the state. That’s why, as a society, it’s important to have a democratic consensus on values and not just the squeaky wheels of special interest groups getting their way.

Also even with a consensus, that consensus could change again overtime, the pendulum swings. For example, the word “marriage” wasn’t dealt with by the SC because the Charter didn’t make it clear what to do, so Parliament for once had to actually legislate versus hide behind the robes. Throughout the process PMPM continually lied about the issue and the MSM didn’t call him on it when he kept saying, “the Charter says blah blah blah”. So the public was misled by Martin and therefore we don’t really know if SSM has been truly tested as value endorsed by a majority Canadians or not. I think Paul Martin was what Tocqueville called an “administrative despot”.

I happen to be a social liberal and I hope SSM gets left alone. But I disagree with the undemocratic process we went through to arrive at this value decision. Either way on this liberal or conservative social issue, the state needs to be involved. That’s why libertarians tend to treat ideology more like a hobby than a quest for power because by definition they could never organize a consensus on a position.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-03-28 6:12:34 PM

I can't really argue with much of what you write, nomdenet. I wouldn't really consider myself an "ideologically pure" libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. It's more about first principles and trying to maintain some level of consistency.

That said, I don't think it's relevant whether Canadian society as a whole endorses SSM as a value. For me, the test is simple: does SSM infringe on anyone else's rights or security in a tangible way? I don't mean injuring your delicate sensibilities, I mean actually impose on a third-party individual in a demonstrable manner. If the answer is "no" then regulating one's choice of marital partners constitutes an unreasonable extension of state power. It's collectivist social engineering, pure and simple.

That's the kind of double standard I'm talking about. If you say you're against collectivist social engineering, then it doesn't magically become okay just because it's trying to engineer a social outcome you happen to like. If you dig on collectivist social engineering, then have the decency and honesty to be up front about the fact! At least the hard-lefties are honest about what they want, and so you can just shoot them down on principle. The so-con is perfidious, he uses the language of liberty and individual choice to mask a collectivist agenda. That's why, when people like Russ Kuykendall promote the idea of strategic alliance between so-cons and libertarians, I want to puke.

That doesn't mean I don't believe there's a place for the state. I think that place is in providing for a common infrastructure for all citizens: good roads, communications, schools and hospitals (which doesn't mean I'm opposed to private-sector involvement in health care), as well as capable police and military services and the provision of law and order. But those laws should serve to promote and protect each individual member of society, not some amorphous "collective" defined by bureaucrats and special interest groups.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-28 7:12:01 PM

Freedom is a bi-product of being your own boss and being responsible for your own decisions. A government that enables the citizens of a country to OWN property (make the rules of conduct themselves for their own property eg. if a farmer wants to raise pigs the SOCIAL pressure from his neighbours must be the reason he contains the stink, not the gumment). Education must be out of state control and the people who teach must be forced by parents, not the state, to be competent or loose their jobs. No person is part of a 'collective', we are all unique 'pieces of work', some excellent specimens, some not so good. BTW, Democracy, as defined by Webster is ' the concept of a society being socially and politically equal' (everyone gets to vote and no one is a "Sir", a "Baron" (Baroness), 'King' or 'Queen' etc. by accident of birth - economic status is up to individuals in a Democracy; 'Communism is a society that attempts to make all people economically equal . IMHO a Republic does the best job of serving a freeborn citizens. Rome had a 'free' society a lot longer than Athens.
As for Libertarians, Socialists and Conservatives, this illustrates the differences IMO: Libertarians smoke in a room full of big-shots, Conservatives go outside or stay at home, Liberals pretend they don't smoke and NEVER smoke in public, Dippers smoke dope but not tobacco unless they are talking to Union people - if Dippers and Liberals DO smoke tobacco they bore you FOR HOURS with their 'experiencing excruciating pain trying to quit'. That has been my experience and like deep blue, I will stand by my post.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-03-28 7:29:45 PM

Like deepblue, it's easy for you to stand by nonsense when nonsense is all you ever post.

Riddle me this, Jema: if social pressure is sufficient to restrain unpleasant behaviours that inconvenience one's neighbours, then why do you insist on legal regulation of marriage? I'm not sure you can make a case that the state has less of an interest in protecting a community from an unwelcome pig farmer than from two men who want to avail themselves of legal marriage.

I'm not surprised that you're against public education either. It's been my experience that ignorant rednecks have the most to fear from an educated populace.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-28 7:52:56 PM

>I don't critique Canadian conservatism because I'm left-wing. I critique it because I believe it could be the best political option for Canada if only the so-con retards and redneck trash could be purged from its ranks.<

Even with my tenth grade reading skills I can see the bigotry and hatred for the west dripping from that comment.

But I expected it, as I do the flecks of spittle running down you chin as you frantically explain how you can ignore the corruption and support a party completely devoid of morality, while you admit the conservative principles are possibly the best way to govern this country, if only they would get rid of those damn westerners.

Of all the nerve, seeing that only Torontonians have been given the divine right to rule this country.

Memo to bigot, there really is only two governing standards adopted in Canada, get that splinter out of your over bearing ass, pick a side and stick with it.

You and your ilk condemn this country to absolute mediocrity and failure because you are "afraid" the so-cons and "redneck trash" might take away your precious social rights.

If you are so superior to us good old western boys, why do you fear us so much, and resort to name calling?

And you call me an imbecile? You are a sickening individual, a hate filled bigot, and a shining example of the kind of person that is holding this country back.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 8:01:31 PM

- If one reads the posts here, it is actually you who 'started'.
- It would also be good if you read a persons post before commenting on it. E.g. Jim states "I think the Liberals suck" after which you write "[Jim] support[s] a party of corruption" (i.e. the Liberals). It doesn't make sense, does it?
- Please explain what the principles are behind your version of conservatism. Individualist or collectivist? Free trade or protectionism? Social conservative or liberal? What is the fundamental role of the state? Is floor crossing ok or is it not ok? Etc. Maybe you are a closet liberal...

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 8:21:42 PM

It's quite funny that those such as Jim who want to force everybody else to redefine historic institutions make the case that those who refuse to be bullied by his like are bullies. The Libertarian view, apparently, according to JiT, is that special interest groups are entitled to redefine words and institutions. In defense of this position, he states that laws should not serve some special interest group. No kidding.

My view as a practical libertarian is that in a country where any person or group is free to coin their own terms and to create their own institutions, a demand that others alter their cherished institutions, under threat of whining, seems awfully instrusive.

Oh, and hey, JiT, the arrogance of your name calling, and your -- as far as I can tell -- laughably unentitled rank-pulling has got you on your back foot, about to land on your ass. When you call your interlocutors here "ignorant rednecks", reminding us all of what a very, very special place Toronto considers itself to be, it's not working for you. See that train headed west? It's heading to where the future is. I encourage you to stay right where you are. Keep sending us your inane tone-poem tributes to some moribund beantown delusions, though. We all need to be reminded of what went wrong with this country, before it started to turn around.

Posted by: EBD | 2006-03-28 8:37:16 PM

( sorry this is too long, but i don't have time to condense it)

Jim in Toronto, again we’re on the same side with the SSM value, but you say, “the test is simple”. Easy for us to say because we won. But I know classical liberal atheists (as opposed to religious right rednecks) that are dead set against gays using the word “marriage”. They are fine with gay civil unions and spousal benefits and so on, but the word “marriage” really bothers them. It’s not just a “delicate sensibility”. Do we just tell them “ get over it”? No. Because it’s their societal value, who am I to socially engineer them out of it. It should simply a yes or no to using the word “marriage”. Maybe it should be a referendum; it’s visceral, emotional, messy, just like democracy always is. Yes it’s even “perfidious”.

In a market-state that we live in, with very little nation-state sovereignty left; then other than societal values, what else is important? Why hang together if we don’t have a true consensus on values? That’s why the Muslims disrespect us; we’ve diluted ourselves to the squeaky wheels.

IMHO the process of being seen to be democratic on societal values is critical to Canada’s future, it IS our future. We were not seen to be fair on SSM and that is not even fair to gays. Paul Martin, the “despot administrator” killed another value.

Libertarians are going to have to make some compromises, just like you and I do everyday, with politics, our wives, the kids, the job etc.
Libertarians are dreamers. But I still want them to vote Conservative, because if libertarians take us from 36% to 40% we get a majority and that’s power and without power ideology is just a hobby. Without power we may as well be “dippers smoking dope”.

So compromise is key. As a Christian, social-liberal I’ll put up with:
Russ the so-con and I’ll put up with ET the atheist because I want their conservative votes.
Also, because I agree with more about them than I disagree. I can live with the differences I have with Russ and ET but I can’t take another decade of Dipper/Liberal central planners.

Once we get rid of the socialists for a decade, then maybe I’ll tell Russ I don’t’ want to be hangin' out with so-cons and I’ll tell ET that I don’t like atheists and Jim we can see if we can agree to start our own party … ;> )

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-03-28 8:42:01 PM

Don't feed the trolls - they are looking for 'free' ideas that they can claim came out of their own thick heads. Think of all the ideas that the Liberanos/Dippers stole from the Reform Party and then claimed ownership because some 'told to' Liberano or Dipper introduced it in the House of Commons. Recall is the latest stollen idea.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-03-28 8:45:05 PM

I suspect many, perhaps most, libertarian leaning people (incl atheists) would gladly vote CPC. I probably will.

But without a doubt it depends on the perceived influence of the religious and social conservatives. Deep down there is conflict between the two (classical liberalism, conservatism), but as long as the focus is on economics, taxes, free trade, deregulation and so on, things are ok.

Unfortunately, that Emerson thing as cast a small shadow on CPC (at least for me), but that might past.

So, we'll see what the first budget looks like...

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 9:36:40 PM

>- It would also be good if you read a persons post before commenting on it. E.g. Jim states "I think the Liberals suck" after which you write "[Jim] support[s] a party of corruption" (i.e. the Liberals). It doesn't make sense, does it?<

Johan, ask him who he voted for, I know who he didn't vote for, then call me the hypocrite.

The point is he supported a party he knows sucks, simply because he doesn't like the fact there are western people in the present conservative party.

As did many from that bastion of tolerance, Toronto. I am not going to debate you back and forth on the finer points of Liberal verses Liberation verses Conservative. It is moot.

You seem reasonable at times, on another day perhaps that is a debate worth having. Unless you are hateful bigot like him. If so, then be gone.

I am more into the reality of what we have to choose from now, not some dream party perfect for everyone. That is an impossibility.

That clearly at this point in time is the Conservative party, the mindless support of the party that had led this country to the brink of disaster, simply shows these people for what they are.

As do this guys posts. He at last revealed what I have known of him in the past, a petty little man with a chip on his shoulder, or better yet a splinter up his ass, towards the west.

And I have spent enough time on a hateful, waste of skin like him.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-28 9:45:23 PM

You seem a little upset yourself. Chill.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2006-03-28 10:03:03 PM

Sorry for the lateness of my reply, but I have the audacity to actually hold down a paying job and sometimes it's more important than commenting on a message board...


Again, can't argue with most of what you write. While I personally do think that getting hung up over the semantics of the word "marriage" is a case of delicate sensibilities and I would just tell them to get over it, I also have long maintained that politically it was a bad idea to insist on using that word (I think you and I have discussed this before). Of course it's easy for me to say, as I have no emotional attachment to the issue -- for me it's merely a case of wanting less government regulation of everyone's lives. It's always easier to tell other people not to care about something when they're passionate about it and you're not so much...

As for pragmatism vs principle, you've hit on the biggest reason why I'm no longer involved in party politics. Still, I'd argue that a Canada where Mullah Russ runs the show isn't an improvement on Dithers' Canada -- you still have a nanny state, it's just that now the nanny is less corrupt (maybe) and more authoritarian. And frankly, money comes and goes so I'm lucky enough to feel less infringed upon by Libs' grasping fingers in my pocket, than the prospect of losing even more freedom to the religious fundamentalists' Orwellian doublespeak concept of "freedom." If the real problem is too much government regulation and control, then you don't make common cause with people who think there are things that need more government regulation and control. No electoral outcome makes that alliance palatable to me. You are, of course, entitled to disagree.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-30 2:25:27 PM


You can define "marriage" however you like for your own personal uses. The Catholic Church for a long time considered only a duly performed Catholic marriage to be "real" marriage, and a lot of Catholics still feel that way. Just like the Catholic Church doesn't get to dictate whose marriages should be "real" marriages under the law, neither should you and I. Conversely, just like I'm not going to change Catholics' opinion on whether non-Catholic marriages are "real," I don't really care about changing your opinion on whether SSM is "real." All I care about is keeping the state out of making choices for grownups.

If you really think that gay people calling what they have "marriage" affects your own marriage in any substantive way, you need to stop worrying so much about other people's lives and start worrying about your own.

As for the "future," if you're really so desperate to absorb Ontario's economic detritus then you're welcome to it. After all, we've been taking on the detritus of western and eastern Canada for decades.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-30 2:34:34 PM


You are clueless. If there are only two political options and you have to accept them whole cloth, then how do you explain Libs who are for state intervention AND against SSM? What about Conservatives who think Canada's abortion laws are just peachy as they are... or who think there should actually be significant restrictions on abortion? After all, if there only two choices then these kinds of inconsistencies shouldn't exist, right?

If there are only two political options, why do they invite four leaders to the debates? Why does Jim Harris want an invite too? Why were there so many names on my ballot? Get a clue. Your ignorance, and that of your co-rednecks, is a blight on the political landscape of this country.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-30 2:40:54 PM


The next idea we hear from a Reformist that is both original AND worth listening to, will be the first.

Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2006-03-30 2:42:40 PM

Jim in Toronto,

Your intolerant stupidity is a blight anywhere.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-30 3:01:54 PM

By the way, if we need any more useless Torontonian bleatings, we will pull your chain.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-30 3:21:22 PM

Thank -you deepblue. People like Jim are poorly educated and have lived in a 'safe' bubble of state nannism for so long that they cannot wrap their thick heads around a good idea, never mind attept to implement it! Helpless people are the product of the Liberano/Dipper re-running old commy type ideas year after year until state nannism is all some people know. The west revolted and sent some people to Rottawa with some 'can do' knowledge. Those people HELPED the Liberanos stay in power because the bumpkins from the city stole their ideas and took credit for thinking up something on their own - besides how to fill their own bank accounts with the brain dead taxpayers money. Jim we don't need wierdos with wild ideas 'of their own' in the gumment - we need practical people and we've finally elected some. You might have to think now and that would be good for you.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-03-30 8:02:03 PM

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