Thursday, December 30, 2004

Conservatives and Canada

A while ago when I was bloggless, there was a bit of a flurry of accusations by the more Liberal blogs that "Conservatives" hated Canada. Of course the Conservative blogsphere responded "do not." There were some intelligent posts in response to the charge, but the accusation that Conservatives are all a lot of Canada haters who wish they lived in the US is fairly silly. I'm not entirely certain that the accusation deserves a reply, as one could simply state that "Liberals and Ndpers are a bunch of hippies who hate Canada and desperately wish they were part of the EU".

However, given that at the political level Liberals decide to accuse Conservatives of being too American and we don't respond with something equally childish by accusing them of being too European perhaps responding is warranted.

Firstly, as Harper pointed out on the campaign trail "you don't have to be a Liberal to be a Canadian." The tendency among Liberals to identify their own personal political beliefs as the country is rather fradulent. The current political direction of the country isn't the country given that it can be reversed and altered. A country has to be seen in a more corporate fashion as it really is a mixture of present, past and future. If one looks only at the now and the nost so distant past your examining a snap shot in the life of a country and gaining a distorted picture.

Secondly, wrapping yourself in the flag really isn't a very convincing argument. If you disagree with someone's policies say why and offer a counter argument. Simply stating that's their "too American" and "unCanadian" really doesn't do that. Its a jingoistic response to a proposed policy. If politics is a war of ideas simply attempting to smear the otherside as unpatriotic is intellectually bankrupt and vulgar.

Thirdly, what are Conservatives proposing that is "American"? Is being more active and credible in our foreign policy exclusively an American notion? Have not the British, the Australians and any other influential nation done as much? Are freer markets an exclusively American notion? It certainly wasn't developed by Americans, rather by Italians, the French, and Scottish and English enlightenment figures. Perhaps its the Conservatives support of Israel in the middle east - is that "American"? I would hope failing to support anti-Semetism is not an exclusively American virtue.

Policy preferences transcend nationality, you can't simply label them as being associated with any one nation. Nor is relatively free markets, internalional intervention or individualism exclusively "American" ideas or policies.

Furthermore, Conservatives obviously care a great deal about the country. We toil away at trying to make this country what we consider to be a better place. That alone implies some measure of concern for the nation as a whole. We disagree with the government quite frequently, but on the other hand you can disaprove of the actions or some aspects of many people and things you care about. If you buy a car intent on restoring it, you obviously don't hate the car but care for it enough to wish to restore it from a broken down form. Similarly parents don't hate their child if they attempt to urge them to mend their ways when they are lazing about living in their basement and doing nothing but smoking pot.


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