In the beginning, there was sin.
Attraction to sin, falling to sin, resisting sin, redemption from sin – this theme shows up in the first chapters of the Bible, and weaves its way throughout both holy and secular literature from time immemorial.
The most powerful categorization of human sin has been with us for more than 1400 years now, since Pope Gregory settled on the official list of what have become known as "The Seven Deadly Sins" in 590 AD, and since Dante immortalized them in his Divine Comedy in 1320.
Today, I just call the list “the modern lib-left electoral playbook.”
As I’ve pondered the past few days how the Liberal Party and their leftist allies managed to convince Canadians to vote out their solid, dependable, successful Prime Minister, and replace him with a puppet clown, it occurred to me that all elements of their campaign were an appeal to the worst aspects of human character, to man’s fatal attraction to sin. I suddenly felt like Brad Pitt in Seven, solving the crimes of a serial killer as I pieced together the deadly trail.
The most obvious sin they employed to their advantage was Wrath. Their “ABH” (Anyone But Harper) campaign depended on whipping people up into a frenzy over perceived scandals. “You can’t vote for him, it’s been one scandal after another”, was the message pounded into Canadians by the Liberals, NDP and the Media Party. What were the scandals? About halfway through the campaign, I asked a left-leaning friend which scandals bothered him about Harper. “Duffy”, he responded. I asked, what about Duffy bothered him, since Duffy was fired by Harper and the taxpayers’ weren’t out any money? He really didn’t know. Then I asked which other scandals were on the list. He didn’t have an answer. But it certainly made him feel good to have “Duffy!”, an object with which to justify the anti-Harper wrath that made him feel good.
Another obvious one was Sloth. The Conservatives thought that the Liberals’ open promotion of marijuana (the official substance of the sloth lifestyle) would backfire, and attacked them on it. Little did they know, the Liberals were using the human attraction to the sin of sloth to their advantage. In their lust for power, the left found this a very useful tactic in attracting those suffering from suburban ennui, the same attraction that made the HBO series Breaking Bad a monster sensation among average, hard-working suburban adults in the past decade.
Speaking of Lust, the Liberals certainly got it right by nominating Justin Trudeau as their candidate. I’ve heard the words “I’d do him” come up in many casual conversations between women over the past few years. Justin never shied away from showing himself off half-dressed in a boxing ring, stripteasing for charity, kissing another man’s bride on her wedding day, and featuring himself as the main event of a “Ladies Night” fundraiser. Wouldn’t you know it, the day after he’s elected Prime Minister, he’s already been crowned a “PILF”, proving that while there’s no accounting for taste, there’s also no underestimating the sin of Lust as a motivator.
Envy is a cornerstone of leftism itself, and campaigning against “the 1%” has already become a socialist cliché. Yet there he was, employing Occupy rhetoric as leader of a supposedly centrist party, preying also on envy and the Greed impulse by convincing average middle-class people that you’ll make their lives better by somehow taking away from the demonized “rich”. As it goes with Envy, it’s not only about getting something; we all know there’s no gain for the middle class in taking away from the rich. It’s about punishing those you resent for being more successful than you. The Liberals proved this has pull far beyond far-left circles.
On the topic of economics, most of us conservatives mocked the Liberals’ open touting of promised annual deficits of at least $10 billion over the next three years. Yet if we knew they were using the Seven Deadly Sins as their playbook, we would have realized the Liberals were appealing to the attraction of Gluttony. They were putting into people’s mind the vision of an orgy of shopping and spending. You want a bridge – you get a bridge! You want an airport – you get an airport! You want to stay on EI – you get to stay on EI! The visions of gluttonous spending clouded the good sense of many otherwise fiscally-prudent voters.
Finally, we get to the most deadly of all sins, Pride. This one occurred to me when I was trying to square a very strange circle last week. I was listening to a radio interview with one of Canada’s top pollsters, who could not explain a seemingly strange dichotomy in his results. He said that in every poll he and his colleagues had conducted, around 80% of Canadians agreed with Stephen Harper on the niqab issue, while at the same time, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had gained significantly in the polls since the niqab became an issue.
I finally figured it out: the left has discovered the path to turning any social issue on its head, by convincing people that taking their side makes you morally superior, thus appealing to your attraction to vanity and pride. It has worked on capital punishment for first-degree murderers; it has worked on aborting babies; and it is now working on Islamic culture, which is being sold as just another piece of our multicultural mosaic. Covering your face with a mask in a public ceremony? “Well, maybe you don’t do it yourself…but if you accept it, you get to join our morally-superior club.”
Pride, as the saying goes, comes before the fall, and the Liberals exploitation of voters’ attraction to Wrath, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Greed, Gluttony and Pride in their effective campaign to take back the federal government has probably moved us a lot closer to a real Canadian fall.
Appealing to the self-destructive sin-attracted side of human character is something that has worked for them, and seems to come quite naturally to Liberals – it seems to bring them great pride. We as conservatives need to figure out a way to work around this evil trick. Perhaps it is to make sure that, with every policy and slogan, we make an emotional appeal only to the highest of human ideals. Indeed, there is a mirror image to the lib-left strategy that we can employ. They're called "The Seven Holy Virtues."
If the Liberals get their way on the proud plans they have for Canada, the fall is certainly on its way. Which will lead to my column topic when that time comes: how Liberals plan to escort us through our inevitable destination: The Nine Circles of Hell.