Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Another Great Wine Find | Main | McGuinty's MMA Flip-flop a Way of Securing Pan Am Stadium for Hamilton? »

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Harper the Tyrant (ii)

Elisabeth May claims that the Conservatives are dangerous to democracy. Unfortunately I wasn’t there for her speech and the only MSM report I could find about the speech is this Sun article. From this article it appears that she thinks that Canada’s democracy is under threat because elected officials are directing policy against the advice of unelected officials.

Somehow I don’t think Ms. May understands what democracy means.

She could argue that the independence of some officials has come under threat. But that is hardly a democratic value. This is just another absurd hyperbole of an attack against the government that serves to do nothing but undermine the credibility of the attacker. It is reminiscent of comments by a Liberal MP earlier in the summer calling Stephen Harper a tyrant.

At the same time there are plenty of valid complaints that can be made against the Conservatives. This piece by Andrew Coyne accusing them of being anti-intellectual is a good example. So why do so many opponents of the government feel compelled to make such silly remarks?

Mr. Harper is not a tyrant and he is not a threat to democracy. He may be a bad Prime Minister though, so let’s talk about that instead.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on August 22, 2010 | Permalink


He's a demagogue, the exact opposite of a dictator or tyrant. He gives the people what they want - good and hard. He says things he knows to be untrue to people he knows to be knaves.

The buck stops with the people, to a certain degree. Is Harper the problem, or democracy as currently constituted a problem? Here we've got a guy who wrote his thesis on why Keynes is bunk and who left Reform because it went populist instead of conservative trying to tell us with a straight face that he's saving the country by flinging bags of cash all over the place. He knows better, do the people?

Not re-appointing a bureaucrat to a term position or sending a unilingual bureaucrat on language training is business as usual in the real world of the federal government, not the basis of a hysterical and ignorant uprising.

The question of sovereignty arises: did Harper even have a choice regarding the stimulus? Every other OECD country did it and it seems we are now co-ordinating fiscal policy thorugh the G8. We shouldn't; those countries have very different situations than Canada and fiscal policy should be set by Canadians. We didn't elect the G8 to tell us how to spend our own tax dollars. Again, if Harper were a dictator he would tell the G8 and IMF and World Bank to pound sand if they told him to run a $50 billion deficit to stimulate an economy which was and is still growing. This is global plutocracy if not an usurping of Canadian sovereignty.

Plutocrat or demagogue, either works for Harper. Dictator or tyrant is ridiculous, he leads a minority government for eff's sake. I'm not happy about Harper's fiscal record bu imagine a bug-eyed absurdity like May in cabinet with the socialist coalition.

Posted by: Ucluet | 2010-08-22 8:14:55 AM

Mr. Harper is governing the country his way, as an elected official of a democratic country. PM Harper is head of a minority government that can fall any time the opposition votes non-confidence. That's as democratic as it gets, if you don't like that the PM is still PM, you can run for office with your own great ideas.

Posted by: Darrell | 2010-08-22 12:52:13 PM

Well said, Ucluet. I will only add that Harper must strive to ensure Lizzy continues to dazzle the feeble minded to pull support from the Lib/NDP braintrust (for no seats) as it leverages Harper into (feux) power to rule as a Lib. What a system!

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-08-22 1:51:13 PM

excellent point, Ucluet.

i'll add a digressive rant. in the end (and we're getting close to it), democracy is indeed two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch. pure democracy gives the people the right to expropriate my property. all the different variations of "democracy" (a meaningless non-term, owned by everybody) lead to mob rule.

...Harper is pandering to our propensity to follow the easy path, and simultaneously, has over his term, introduced unnecessary statist legislation that wasn't pushed by Opposition parties and interests.

...if only my property rights, free speech and gun rights were constitutionally protected from the government, the courts and democracy itself.

...i can dream.

Posted by: Shel | 2010-08-22 4:56:35 PM

Since when is being anti-intellectual the same thing as being anti-democratic? Universities are not democratic institutions. You say what the professor wants to hear or he fails you, for any reason or no reason, in spite of the astronomical sums you pay to be there and the fact that he is theoretically your servant, not you his. Once they are tenured, they can act with near-absolute impunity, no matter how many students or faculty are opposed.

Furthermore, government is not the place for intellectualism in the first place. Government is expected to do things, not discuss things, and intellectuals like Ignatieff are fundamentally disposed to the latter. Ignatieff may be better educated and even smarter, but there is little question that Harper is a better statesman. Chrétien was uncouth and boorish, but he was successful because he was also a good statesman.

Examples of recent PMs who were intellectuals, on the other hand, include Pierre Trudeau and Paul Martin. The former turned the country into a political pizza governed largely by nine unelected judges, while the latter swiftly earned the unflattering sobriquet “Mr. Dithers” for his startlingly consistent inconsistency. So much for democracy. No, Hugh, it is better for the intellectuals (and everyone else) if they stay at university.

The fact that such an incredible furore has erupted over something as mundane as a census form shows just how well things are running in Canada. Whenever there are no crises to report, the media inevitably manufactures a mountain from a molehill, just to give itself something to do. The same can be said to a large degree about the chattering classes as a whole. And frankly, I think Harper has the right idea about both groups. They’re parasites and leeches.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-22 5:34:49 PM

Hey Hugh where is Matthew Johnston these days as I never see him post for months?? Is he still with the WS?

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-08-22 9:14:47 PM

Shane I'm not sure if you are trying to imply that I am saying being anti-intellectual is being the same as being inti-democratic. Because I said nothing of the sort.

I agree with you that intellectuals don't always make good leaders. In fact many qualities that make for good intellectuals make for bad statesman. Though there are examples where such people have been great leaders, such as Wilfrid Laurier.

But that doesn't really adress my point. The point I was making (actually the point that Mr. Coyne was making) is that you don't have to be an intellectual to respect the opinion of intellectuals. Reagan surrounded himself with many Ph.Ds and listened carefully to expert advice. Also being intellectual is not inherently leftist.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-08-23 4:22:48 AM

No, Hugh, you don't have to be an intellectual to appreciate intellectualism, any more than you have to be a musician to appreciate music. However, this fact is, in itself, irrelevant to the measure of a statesman. It is a matter of public record that the current generation of intellectuals is intractably and unrepentantly Leftist, being a relic of 1960s campus activism. And I assume it's a corollary that if intellectualism is not inherently Leftist, then which intellectuals you choose to listen to is at least as important as choosing whether to listen at all.

In any case, as others have ably demonstrated, Harper is no tyrant. He has neither the manner nor the majority; he merely has a prickly attitude towards the media, which chattering-class solipsism notwithstanding, does NOT amount to the same thing. Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien are actually much more deserving of the title, and the voters rewarded both with multiple majorities.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-08-23 6:53:46 AM

Hey Hugh where is Matthew Johnston these days as I never see him post for months?? Is he still with the WS?

Posted by: Merle Terlesky | 2010-08-23 9:26:38 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.