May 12, 2016

Canada has too many “Quotation Mark ‘Conservatives’”

David MacKenzieRebel Columnist

I tend to mistrust a few aspects of contemporary society. Admittedly, one new trend that doesn’t help my over-all attitude is the rise of “conservatives” in quotation marks. 

You know who I mean — the conservatives who, strangely, find conservatism distasteful; the progressive conservatives who hide behind the admitted oxymoron, only to come out later as ostensibly no different than their progressivist peers.  

Do they have any idea of how demoralizing the phrase “no different” is? Salt is intended to be salty, is it not?

Perhaps it’s part of a broad cultural inclination: Republicans who aren’t very republican; Liberals who aren’t very liberal; individualists who are, actually, shameless slaves to what’s “trending” or are increasingly amenable to the power of the State.  

Duplicity is the new integrity. Or so it seems.

In any case, I highly mistrust the kind of conservatives who think that social conservatism is just a political liability in the way of their march to power. I don’t care. If the New Democratic Party is unabashedly willing to spend the next few years talking about the Leap Manifesto, a document so fundamentally utopian it could relegate them to political obscurity for decades, then why should conservatives be so self-loathing as to prohibit even conservative conversations before the conversations begin?

Late last week, the Rebel reported that Rona Ambrose personally intervened against a motion that would have allowed the Conservative Party of Canada to revisit its “no abortion legislation” policy. To review the situation, then, Canada has a Liberal and NDP party where everyone must officially be “pro-choice-of-death” whether they are or not. Across the “vast gulf” to the right, Canada also has a Conservative party where no one can officially speak about the pro-life philosophy, whether they are pro-life or not.

What, precisely, is the political difference between a statist Left and a statist Right, when an imposed silence rules the entire roost?

Are parties being unduly whipped into amorphous homogeneity, or just hen-pecked by radical feminist apparatchiks?

How many “conservative” apparatuses in Canada, federally or provincially, are actually vetting-out true conservatives because their ideas or long-lost statements are too media-risky or politically inconvenient? This vetting process — be it the decision of what gets discussed publicly or what person gets chosen for candidacy — is the single biggest threat to democracy in this country. And conservatives (of a sort) are as guilty of promoting that existential danger as any other ideological party.

When we deliberately narrow the field on the right, we actually help shift the political spectrum (and our choices) to the left.

If the safest conservative policies are now just sentimental affirmations of the liberal status quo, then I submit that such conservatism is of no account. Canadian conservatism should not be mere progressivism made palatable for more right-of-centre tummies. Unlike other political demographics in Canada, I think we’re unnecessarily afraid to be who we are.

The seeds of political fear, in fact, started long ago, if the Conservative Party’s eleven year prohibition on abortion discussion is any indication. But conservative self-loathing only seemed to accelerate as the decade progressed.

In Alberta, I believe, it became fully manifest with the 2012 media crucifixion of Allan Hunsperger, a former candidate of the Wildrose party, whose unpardonable sin was apparently blogging about hell and homosexuality in the same paragraph. It is a “mistake” that I willingly replicate here.

For the record, since the secular liberal media in Canada are notoriously clumsy when it comes to analyzing Biblical theology, let us review his situation more accurately. Allan Hunsperger’s blog was both fair and Biblically honest.  In the offending article, which (by the way) was publicly exposed by a progressive conservative in order to defeat a fellow conservative, Hunsperger sought to use parallelism for rhetorical purposes.

He highlighted the symmetry between the argument for innate homosexual orientation and the problem of innate sin in traditional Christian doctrine. He wasn’t separating his condition from other people’s. He was simply noting that if we all stay where we are (if we are not redeemed from our inherent sin) none of us will inherit the Kingdom of God. We will all be outside its gates — excluded inclusively.

Well, hell is, I suspect, a place of significant diversity.

And this is precisely why Hunsperger’s “infamous” quote read:

“You can live the way you were born, and if you die the way you were born, then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.”

This is Biblical Theology 101 for Dummies. That the liberal culture and media didn’t get it, or didn’t want to, is a shameful indictment upon our collective intellectual laziness. As a direct consequence, not only was a decent soul emotionally mauled by the Canadian media, but an entire generation of social conservatives have seemingly become muted and further confined to the public margins, which is precisely what political and theological radicals love to see.

Tragically, this disgraceful situation was further compounded by a public cowardice among conservative Christian believers, who might have rallied against the obvious injustice and media crucifixion, but, given the ambiguity of a partisan campaign and the vulnerability of their Revenue Canada charitable numbers, did not.

Either that, or no one cared.  

Either way, we might remind ourselves that cowardice is another Biblical reason why some people will find themselves smelling sulphur somewhere near the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God help us.

In the spring days that followed four years ago, Allan Hunsperger suffered more than an electoral defeat. In some respects, his experience almost seemed to become a political metaphor for what not to do. Shame set in. Meanwhile, Hunsperger’s home was picketed, because (to their credit) at least sexual radicals act as if they really believe their ideology.

Now, there’s a new (old) idea. To permanently avoid those pesky quotation marks, perhaps “conservatives” should go and do likewise.     

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commented 2016-05-17 04:14:38 -0400
Sorry, that’s Allan Hunsperger. Knew I should have checked that before posting :/
commented 2016-05-17 04:13:14 -0400
Another good article, David Mackenzie, but as always, there are semantic issues and demographic issues. I am with you, a party that is not socially conservative is a party that I don’t wish to belong in. However, the question is, how many Conservative voters really are socially conservatives anymore and not just fiscal conservatives? Can social conservatives win in a democracy where, even though their opinion and argument may be right, the majority stands against it? Personally I am not into the labelling of parties (perhaps I am not interested in the party system whatsoever) and the traditions that go along with them as there is so much baggage and shifting of opinion that what is conservative, liberal and even democratic is based on the relative time and place as to make a debate about semantics almost more relevant than policy.
I am very glad that you brought up Allan Huntsberg, though. I missed out on it during the relevant election cycle, but when it came up in an article I was reading about “bozo eruptions” I decided to dig in. I was of course, totally disgusted and appalled at the media reaction to what is by-the-book loving and observant Christianity; no source of bigotry or ‘phobia’. This post was not even made in his capacity as a candidate, but rather from two years prior as a pastor. Hardly a bozo and definitely not an “eruption”. To think that real Christianity is so ostracized in this country (especially in this province where we have been labelled Bible-thumpers by stereotypers) these days saddens me. I followed Allan on Twitter immediately after reading about the pseudo-scandal. Real guys like him deserve praise and attention (though they’d probably direct it towards Christ ;) ).
commented 2016-05-16 12:34:42 -0400
Jay Kelly: Are we “pre forming” or performing?
commented 2016-05-14 16:16:02 -0400
Conservatives seem to have experience and have seen what the left sees as “progressive” is something done before and failed then, or seen groups and movements deviate from their original meaning.

Bilingualism was meant to be an act of INCLUSION (to service) to those who could not speak English, where not Bilingualism is being used as an action of EXCLUSION (to jobs) to those who can not speak French.

Civil RIghts,LGBT and Feminism was meant to achieve EQUALITY for minorities, LGBT and women, where not it is used to achieve PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT for these groups.

SInce there are a lot of elderly liberals who have experience and choose to live in the present and not the past, they would like to be part of a party that fight to end such exclusion and preferential treatment, and will not support a party that will not do this, foolishly because they are afraid of being called a bigot by foolish people living in the past or choosing to believe in groups on what they say and not what they do.
commented 2016-05-14 16:05:49 -0400
Jay Kelly – just as a “conservative” chooses to judge someone by what that do, and not what they say, or how they are acting today and not based on how they acted in the past, such “conservatives” judge the message on its content, not what language it is written in, the education of the person who wrote it, or how grammatically correct it is.
commented 2016-05-13 17:28:56 -0400
We have seen many of those faux conservatives. David Frum. Joe Clark. I thought we were done with them.
commented 2016-05-13 01:12:47 -0400
David MacKenzie does not like “those pesky quotation marks” and neither do I.

People comment about different parties and movements and they misspell the party name and put it in quotation marks and suppose that they are being clever.

Rather, let us use proper punctuation and spelling and use the quotation marks only when they are necessary.

The Rebel is preforming a valuable service. It provides a forum where we may comment on serious issues which are not being discussed on legitimate media outlets. Let’s make good use of the resource we have.
commented 2016-05-12 23:30:22 -0400
It’s a thought provoking article, but I have a problem with it. I don’t agree that to be a conservative is to have a certain pre-determined point of view on any particular issue. To be a Conservative, yes, but to be conservative, not necessarily. I found that left wingers are much more likely to ignore evidence and logic, much more likely to follow their leaders’s lead on pretty much any issue. Trudeau’s talking points are the talking points of Liberals everywhere. Not a lot of New Democrats are going to express an opinion, publically, that opposes whatever Mulcair (or Jack, or Ed, or Alexa, or Tommy) would say. It’s conservatives that are more likely to disagree with any particular “official” party position of the Conservatives. Look at the hate Harper’s taken from conservatives for not gutting the CBC, for not taking better care of our veterans, and even for being such a butt head about pot (one issue conservatives overall are finally getting smart about). I say the definition of conservative is to be open to other ideas, to actually give them a run around the track before liking or discarding them, to apply some logic to issues instead of checking what the position of the party is and parroting that. Liberals are good at getting elected, but conservatives are better administrators because they’re less likely to govern from the political position. I also don’t believe that was true of Harper’s “Conservative” government, in my dealings with them they were just as rabidly protective of their political position as any Liberal government ever was. IMO, anyways. But the point is valid; as a voter I know I have a better chance of a moral government with Conservatives in power than anyone else. But your argument seems to be rooted in the idea that to be a conservative you have to be pro-life, and pro Christian, and somehow, vaguely anti – gay. That just isn’t the case. If, as a rational thinking Canadian taxpayer and voter, you look at the issue and decide that you are actually pro-choice, agnostic, and have the opinion that what you do in the bedroom is your business and not anyone elses’ you might not be a Conservative. But you could still be a conservative, because conservatives make up their minds from evidence based positions instead of consensus formed talking points. I think it’s pretty obvious from the election results that most of us are conservative, and we mostly voted for Harper not because he was a conservative or even because he was a Conservative. We mostly voted for him because he wasn’t Dion or a visiting Harvard professor. You want a rabid fan base? Think Trudeaumania, 1.0 or 2.0. Think Saint Jack. The closest we’ve ever come to that type of conservative leader was Mulroney, and he was boring! We don’t have rock star conservatives north of the border. Not yet, anyway, and I really hope we never do.
commented 2016-05-12 14:14:59 -0400
Enough with the labeling. Why do so many people desperately want to fit into one specific and well-defined category? The only label I can affix to myself is “free thinker”. I’m part of no team, ideology, religion, or party. Quotation marks or not.
commented 2016-05-12 12:08:14 -0400
david good article and i believe you’re right,what we are seeing now is some of those so called conservatives in order to get votes wanting to do the same things that the liberals are doing , which the true conservatives despise , i vote conservative ,but i don’t want to be forced to vote for a con that does the same stupid things turdo and his ilk are doing ,i want a choice from these wacko’s policies
commented 2016-05-12 11:59:06 -0400
Unfortunately these days, You have to be part of the Mob, or be destroyed by the Mob.
commented 2016-05-12 11:02:14 -0400
Great article and spot on! The notion that one can be a fiscal conservative yet socially progressive is schizophrenic. Thank you for pointing out the obvious, especially the cowardice of the Christian “conservatives” in Canada.
commented 2016-05-12 11:00:33 -0400
I mentioned this exact argument at a recent provincial party meeting. The party was unwilling to make any official stance on anything. I basically told everyone in the room that ‘than this party is no different than our ruling party’ and we may as well vote based on our favourite colour. The whole point of different parties is to have different points of view. This is what the left is trying to do. They are trying to bludgeon other believes/parties into a one party system like China…..oh wait socialism which leads to communism…so actually that isn’t all that far fetched.