The Shotgun Blog
Monday, June 29, 2009
The Ontario PC Party goes 'right' but that isn't enough
The Toronto Star and other Liberals have delighted in the last couple months in accusing the PC Ontario Party of 'moving to the right.' Perhaps this is an accurate description, though it doesn't have the negative connotation that the Star seems to think that it does. Christine Elliott was hailed as the moderate candidate and she was promoting massive tax cuts in the form of a flat tax. That is to say, the moderate candidate was 'right' of Stephen Harper.
Tim Hudak has definitely claimed the mantle of 'blue Tory.' He has invoked Mike Harris time and time again. Which is a remarkable change from the previous leader (who once introduced Bill Davis as the greatest living Premier). Indeed if the results of this election tells us anything it is that the grassroots desire a more conservative party.
I despise labels such as 'right' and 'left.' They are the tools of dim witted journalists and intellectually lazy academics. I try to avoid using such terms as much as I can, though I admit I am sometimes trapped into the habit and ease of simplifying political discourse into a two dimensional spectrum.
So it is not enough for me to say you are 'right wing' or to invoke Mike Harris or Ronald Reagan as your personal heroes. We don't need a 'right winger' we need someone who is dedicated to shrinking government, cutting taxes, and desisting the constant state interference in our personal choices. If you want to call that 'right wing' then so be it, but you can't just say it you have to do it.
That is my message to Tim Hudak, the new leader of PC Party of Ontario.
Anyone who has been reading my posts know that I wasn't a fan of his candidacy. I found his rhetoric to be disheartening and many of his policies were adaptations of Harperian big government ideas. But now I think that I will reserve judgement. I want to see how he acts as Leader of the Opposition and which of his policies make it pass the cutting board.
My vote has to be earned, but I do hope that Mr. Hudak earns it.
"I despise labels such as 'right' and 'left.' They are the tools of dim witted journalists and intellectually lazy academics."
"So it is not enough for me to say you are 'right wing' or to invoke Mike Harris or Ronald Reagan as your personal heroes. We don't need a 'right winger' we need someone who is dedicated to shrinking government, cutting taxes, and desisting the constant state interference in our personal choices."
The last item on your list is particularly interesting, as it was once traditionally regarded as a typical postion of the so-called 'left', especially when it comes to sexual liberty, the free speech debates of the mid 20th century (including debates over obscenity laws and freedom from forcing children to pledge allegiance), and the main battles for civil rights in the 1950s and 60s.
In the early 21st century, there are more people who self-identify as 'left' or 'liberal' who take a different view of free speech and more people whom self-identify as 'right' or 'conservative' who oppose free speech restrictions. Furthermore, in federal governments, 'liberals' have balanced budgets and 'conservatives' run up deficits. Terms like 'left' and 'right' are not only lazy, they really don't mean a whole lot. You are right that the true test is what you specifically stand for, and where standing for it means doing something to promote it.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-06-29 9:30:19 AM
Indeed, terms such as Left and Right in politics have become meaningless, mainly due to the hijacking of language by the Left. The so-called Right failed in allowing this and allowing the Left to disassociate itself from its historical track record. Being labelled a right-wing party is now incorrectly associated with the Nazis, who were in fact left-wing, while buying Mao's Little Red Book or wearing a Che t-shirt is considered cool. It is imperative to stress and to keep in public view the true track-record of the Left.
FC, like many, seems to confuse classical liberalism with the Left. It is however true that the term liberalism to-day has no relation to the original liberalism. We most certainly agree that due to all the confusion and misuse of labels, it is better to find other ways of describing the different policies and forms of government. If only the MSM would do the same.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-29 11:12:47 AM
Good point Alain. Classic liberalism is now considered to be an extreme right wing ideology ... something which would traumatized the liberals 150 years ago.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-29 11:54:14 AM
"Indeed, terms such as Left and Right in politics have become meaningless, mainly due to the hijacking of language by the Left."
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I bet Alain does not see how he completely contradicted himself here.
"FC, like many, seems to confuse classical liberalism with the Left."
No, I don't. Since I do not apply the term 'left' to anyone in my reply, it makes no sense to say that I have misapplied the term. Nice try, dumb dumb.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-06-29 11:55:44 AM
I just thought of an interesting question. Does anyone know the origin of the 'right' and 'left' terms? They seem such a huge part of our discourses but I have no idea where it comes from.
Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-06-29 12:13:27 PM
The liberals used to sit on the left side and the conservatives on the right side of the French parliament around the time of the revolution.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-29 12:22:33 PM
Charles is right. It's also interesting to note, that the laissez-faire liberal Frederic Bastiat sat on the left of the French Assembly as did mutualist anarchist Pierre Proudhon.
Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-06-29 12:40:33 PM
Nice critique on the left and right Hugh. We need more liberty godammit! I'm opposed to liberals and conservatives--the left and right.
Posted by: Patrick | 2009-06-29 2:47:47 PM
Thank you so much for this post. Really nice.
Posted by: Band t-shirts | 2009-06-30 12:50:28 AM
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