I am a bit of a question mark person — still figuring things out, straddling the fence, not holding strong and hard political ideologies. At heart, I think I am what in Canada used to be called a Progressive Conservative. In my way of thinking, conservatives are careful people who look before they leap and who are fiscally responsible. Progressives have a modicum of social conscience; they have some commitment to fairness and opportunity and don't wish to leave the less advantaged too far in the dust. So, I have always thought it a pretty good thing to be a progressive conservative.
A number of years ago, our provincial Progressive Conservative party was hijacked by the neo cons. The neo cons borrowed money to pay for tax cuts. They made sure that the common person experienced a little, and I do mean a little, tax relief — at first. In other words, they bought the masses cheaply, with their own money, in order to offer much more generous portions for the well-heeled. They did a lot of other brash, non-cautious things, which don't bear elucidation here and now.
This is the new conservatism: a type a radicalism which is neither progressive nor conservative in my opinion. This is what I cannot be. I cannot, for example, be supportive of leaders who claim to be Conservative or Christian or Christian Conservatives but who are itching to wage war, itching so badly that they cannot wait for consensus or fact-finding, itching so badly that they construct false justification for their actions.
I say that, however, to illustrate, at least in part, why I cannot identify with what I see to be a new, mean-spirited, self-righteous conservatism that has divided that great country to the south and now threatens its northern neighbour. I resent the new conservatism, which I believe is neither genuine nor conservative. I resent it for it tends to force me into the liberal camp, where I don't necessarily fit with total comfort.
So it is that I was somewhat surprised to read Mel's blog today. I was surprised to find that she feels judged and condemned by liberals. This is her experience, and it must, therefore, be true. It is not my experience, however. For the past few years, it is my experience that it is the new conservatives who are the strident ideologues. It is they who have, by and large, co-opted the mass media. To me, they are the ones who are smug with trite answers and self-righteous pomposity.
Now, that's just me and my interpretation. That's how I see it as a former and, I believe, genuine conservative who has been pushed to the other side. Do liberals fight back? Of course! But it is my rather pedestrian opinion that they do fight back, that they do not carry the offensive.
That's just my take on a difficult and divisive topic. Part of the difficulty is that I write from a Canadian perspective, and within that context, an Ontario perspective. I write as one who has been governed by a provincial neo con regime. It was regime that thrived on division rather than consensus. It honoured doctors but relegated nurses. It supported cops but vilified and trod upon teachers. It toadied to the rich but kicked the poor. I write from that particular context, and, therefore, find Mel's personal perceptions to be foreign to me.
So, here's what I am beginning to think.
I am beginning to speculate that, like me, there are a lot of moderates who have been pushed into one camp or the other. Do you think it possible that Moderate Mel is reacting to liberals on one extreme fringe and that Moderate Anvilcloud is reacting to conservatives on the other extreme fringe? Do you think that Moderate Mel and Moderate Anvilcloud may, in point of fact, have more in common with each other than they might have with the extremists in each of their own camps?
That's what I have to offer to the discussion. What about you?