Not your father's conservatives

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A number of bloggers have posted about the outrage being expressed by Canada's socially conservative set at the induction of Henry Morgentaler into the Order of Canada. I thought Conservative MP Ken Epp's remarks were particularly notable:

Epp also questioned the objectivity of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin as head of the Order of Canada advisory council. "Is she now totally out of impartiality because of the fact she has weighed into this?"

The Jurist says it quite succinctly.
...the Cons' message is once again centred on inflammatory and patently ridiculous arguments against the fairness and impartiality of independent bodies.

They never miss a chance to undermine the institutions of government that aren't bound to render absolute obedience to their ideology. They're not small 'c' conservatives, they're extremists.

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On top of the silly suggestion that no judge can fairly consider a case related to anything else that has ever happened in the judge's life (and the inadvertent revelation that Epp expects his own Bill C-484 to be before the court one day, where it would certainly be struck down, although let's hope it never gets out of the Commons), it's clear that the Cons just plain don't get the role of the courts in a democracy.

Justice may be blind, in the sense that she's not supposed to be discriminating among the individuals who come before her, but she isn't supposed to be mindless. There are basic principles and structures that judges are responsible for defending in a democracy, however a raw majority vote might go, and equality is one of the most basic.

The Cons are still playing on Canadians' sense of fairness to insinuate that there is "a debate" that needs to take place on women's reproductive freedom (although they never admit that that is the issue), and that it is somehow wrong that we have "no legislation" concerning abortion. Hogwash. We don't need a debate on women's reproductive freedom any more than we need a debate on slavery, and there already is an overriding document speaking to both. It's called the Charter -- see the equality provisions therein. That's your legislation, guys. And that will be the law that our Supreme Court will uphold, whatever sleazy rhetorical tricks Ken Epp and his ilk try to play in the media.

It's because of this right-wing radicalism that it sets my teeth on edge to hear anyone refer to today's Conservatives as "Tories." Uh, no. The old Tories, I could at least have some respect for (at least in retrospect; I'm honestly not sure how much I had at the time. But then I was a snotty young thing. Shocking, I know).

It's snicker-inducing to use the words "Epp" and "intellectual" in the same sentence, but I suspect Epp's intellectual hero would be someone like the USian Supreme Antonia Scalia, a thug in black robes who once said, in a debate with a Canadian judge, something very close to "Democracy means the rule of the majority, period."

Indeed, 'lance. I always make it a point to say "Cons" instead of Tories, and (gently) correct anyone who uses the term that used to refer to folks like Flora MacDonald, Robert Stanfield and Joe Clarke.

Skdadl says "Hogwash". Too right. I saw a comparison of abortion rates by country lately (wish I could remember where, sorry). Wherever it was it was more recent than the Guttmacher study of 2006 (?). Anyway, Canada, with no federal laws on abortion, had an even lower rate than most of Europe, where there are laws but mostly reasonable ones, and far far better than places like Brazil which have extremely restrictive ones. (The difference, probably, is access to birth control.)

Which raises the question of how putting in place any law, even a reasonable one, would improve a situation that's quite obviously working?

The answer, I think, is that those who insist on such a law aren't interested in "improving" anything.

I found that newspapers use the word "Tories" less and less and "Conservatives" more and more as time has gone on.

Maybe it's just me...

The answer, I think, is that those who insist on such a law aren't interested in "improving" anything.

In this, as in so many ways, the results don't interest them except that they get to condemn those who disobey. The law must conform to the ideology and if the result is the opposite to what you'd think they want, it isn't important.

Somewhere in this evening's news is a report that the U.S., after years of its War On (Some) Drugs, has among the highest rates of illegal drug use in the world. Do you think that will have any impact on the Harper government's chosen direction?

Indeed, Cons and every subgroup of them are addicted to bad results in so many policy areas. If they couldn't get failure with the policies they push, they'd have to find new ones. For nearly all of them, what they need is actually some form of division--haves vs. have-nots, morally pure vs. morally impure, witch hunters vs. witch hunted or if you prefer police state creators vs. police state victims. For all of these the object is to create sides and then make sure theirs is fully in control, for the "other" to be losing so that they can more definitely be winning.
So on contraception, the "morality" squad want to create laws to create and underline the construction of immorality for those who don't think as they do, and the police-staters are happy to go along with anything that will give them excuses to crack down on someone--anyone. The more of the population that can be considered lawbreakers if they feel like looking, the better they like it. The haves know that none of this stuff is going to get enforced on *them*--look at the way the rich and famous have their drug habits all over the tabloids and go publicly into rehab with no legal problems, while poor folk get years in the slammer for a joint--so it helps sharpen the division between haves and have-nots and gives one more way of keeping down the proles. Lots of their policies have this kind of amazing synergy, which works because while the different Con subgroups want stuff in different areas, what they want ultimately boils down to the same thing: Control through division and denunciation of the other.

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This page contains a single entry by pogge published on July 2, 2008 1:42 PM.

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