Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thoughts on the demise of a rag

There's a meme emerging, that we'll all be sorry someday that we won't have the Western Standard to kick around any more. That with so little independent media in Western Canada especially, the silencing of any such lone voice diminishes us all.

I must respectfully disagree, I come not to praise Ezra, but... you get the idea.

My undeniable schadenfreude over the Standard closing it's doors stems not as much from glee at watching an unpleasant magazine run by an unpleasant person go under, although that's good stuff, but from the delightful irony of watching a particularly wonderful display of market forces in action.

In the marketplace of ideas, Ezra Levant's idiosyncratic quasi-libertarian Neo-Conservative authority worship (What kind of libertarian defends and minimizes rather than condemns the kind of things that happened to Maher Arar? What kind of libertarian looks at that set of facts and picks the government's side?) and reactionary scapegoating and fear-mongering is not a successful business model.

You can't keep a magazine afloat, even in Western Canada on these ideas. I submit that this is very good news. Ezra Levant has done us the great good service, alongside of the editorial staff of the shrinking, sinking National Post, of showing us the real support base for this set of ideological ideas arranged in this specific fashion.

It is an utterly toxic set of political and philosophical motifs; reactionary religious extremism, economic ideas that make a virtue of selfishness and call for virtually complete abandonment of any kind of social contract - and wading only shallowly into the swamp of the Standard's shotgun blog, deeply, unabashedly racist at it's core.

This is a political philosophy Americans are already beginning to decisively turn on - take a look at the US poll projections based on age, region and ethnicity some time. America, pending some kind of complete disaster, is about to turn sharply to the left in harsh counter-reaction to the utter failure of movement conservatism as a coherent philosophy or functioning ideology.

Not surprisingly it does even worse in Canada, even in the supposed right wing utopia of Alberta. Even Maclean's has clearly sniffed the change in the wind, recently portraying George Bush as Saddam Husein on their cover.

Which is to say, by the harsh rules of the market Ezra Levant professes so much adoration for, harsh unequivocal judgment was passed on the ideas behind the Western Standard.

In Canada, the invisible hand is apparently a left hand.

2 comments:

Alison said...

Go, Cliff!

I would have a lot more respect for libertarians of Ezra's ilk if more of them had the grace to acknowledge the other invisible hand - the invisible hand of the public contract which carries them to third base so they can make that last dash to homeplate and claim it as their own personal victory. What they claim as a virtue is really just a childish sort of ethical blindspot, a limited imagination for social justice.

Matthew The Astrologer said...

Many righties despise teaching Darwin in the schools, but love the notion of a free market where the fittest products and ideas survive... except when it's one of their pets going extinct.

Congratulations, Western Standard: you were the T-Rex that proves us tree shrews right, in time...

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