No 138 Posted by fw, March 22, 2011
This morning, I received the following heads-up email from my friend, Marjorie.
I highly recommend a newly published and timely book, Rogue in Power: Why Stephen Harper is remaking Canada by stealth by Christian Nadeau, a professor at Universite de Montreal who teaches philosophy and political ethics. Our copy arrived today and I’ve only put it down to write to you.
It is a study in applied political philosophy — applied to the Harper Conservatives. What is unique and useful about it is his systematic analysis of the Harper agenda which point to ways to counter this agenda and the urgency to do so.
He makes clear that Harper conservatism as embodied in the new Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) is a far-right ideology, disconnected from the solid centre-right party known as the Progressive Conservative Party — something that key members of the latter recognized in not joining the CPC.
The book is available from online book vendors for as little as $16.57.
Excerpts from Rogue in Power —
Of the 9 excerpts that Marjorie has selected, here are the 4 that concern me most of all —
The Conservatives are shaping our institutions in such a way that they can no longer serve all of Canadian society, but only Conservative principles and ideas. Soon we won’t need Harper to ensure our programs and institutions follow a conservative course. There will be no other option, no matter which party is in power. Other parties will in fact be discouraged from trying to set another course, and our institutions will no longer be able to keep the spirit of our democracy alive.
They seek to return to an idealized distant past, perhaps, but their goal is nevertheless to completely change the country’s framework and organization. They will fight tooth and nail for their principles, which they want to embed permanently in our society. This push for change is unacceptable because it seriously threatens what makes democracy possible; it goes against the kind of pluralism that we should seek to establish in our political institutions. This is the main reason why the fight against the Conservatives should start with an in-depth analysis of their stated intentions and motivations. To protect our institutions and maintain a pluralistic and democratic state, we need to understand what threatens us today.
Harper’s “liberal” logic follows a very curious course: while he would claim to be working to get government off the people’s backs, he would have the state take on increasing powers in deciding what is good for citizens.
We are outraged because we recognize in their actions a well-planned and organized attack on justice and democracy as we have understood them to date.
Here are Marjorie’s other selected excerpts —
What I do in this book is examine the world of Canadian politics critically, using an (applied) philosophical lens. More specifically, I focus on the Conservatives’ policies and actions as well as on the ideals that motivated them. I think the primary danger represented by the Conservatives lies in their profound belief in certain ideas and values and in their willingness to impose those ideas and values on Canadians.
The problem is that the Conservatives’ political convictions push them to the point where they dismantle our institutions or render them virtually useless.
Therefore my goal has been to write a critical essay on the thought and policies of the Conservatives in recent years. If the title focuses on Stephen Harper, it is because he represents a major rupture in conservative discourse from the inception of the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance up to the formation of the Conservative Party of Canada as we know it today.
It is a movement that aims to dismantle the progressive values that have prevailed over the last forty years, one after another, and to substitute the values of a new right-wing conservative worldview.
I show how the Harper government has, slowly but surely, overhauled the country’s institutions so that the Conservatives have the maximum possible room to manoeuvre in terms of citizens’ rights and security, freedom of conscience, and social justice.
My closing thought: Are there a sufficient number of responsibly informed Canadians out there in hockey land to mount a successful STOP HARPER campaign in the upcoming election? As for Ignatieff’s Liberals? — maybe the best that can be said is that, at present, they do not appear to be as morally and ethically challenged as HARPER’S BULLIES. Of course, that may be related to the fact that they are not in power. Power corrupts.