Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Harper v Canada

I'm late to this party as Alison and Buckdog have already noted this amazing Guardian piece by Dimitry Anastakis and Jeet Heer:

The historian Garry Wills once observed that Richard Nixon wanted to be president not to govern the nation but to undermine the government. The Nixon presidency was one long counterinsurgency campaign against key American institutions like the courts, the FBI, the state department and the CIA. Harper has the same basic approach to politics: attack not just political foes but the very institutions that make governing possible. The state for Nixon and Harper exists not as an instrument of policy making but as an alien force to be subdued.

Canadians have never had a prime minister who has literally made his career attacking and undermining the legitimacy of Canadian institutions.

Until now.

Tom Flanagan has bragged about the same tendency in the Harper government's deliberate impoverishment of the federal government and I blogged about how expecting good government from movement conservatives is really just missing the point.


Anonymous said...

Being a Libertarian and, at the same time, being against someone who attacks government institutions is a trick worthy of Harry Houdini. Libertarians despise government institutions and the smothering influence they have on the rights of an individual to choose his/her own path in life. Governments and their incumbent institutions thrive on the contrivance and imposition of rules and regulations, usually concocted under the influence of lobbyists or special interest advocacy groups. Most government institutions are anathema to libertarians.

Cliff said...

Missed the 'lefty' part of the 'lefty libertarian' description in my profile huh?

Being a rational actor and believing that simply removing the power of government entirely would simply remove all restrictions on the wealthy and powerful my libertarianism is perhaps a bit more nuanced than yours.

In a heavily populated post-industrial society believing all our problems can be solved by removing the state's power and leaving no restrictions on the power of big business for example, simply invites a society of all against all where the weak are trod under by the strong.

But that's sort of your point isn't it? Scratch a classical libertarian and you'll more often than not find a casual sadist and proud believer in the ethos of 'Fuck you Jack, I've got mine.'

If the only viable alternative right wing libertarians can offer to statism is corporatism, than no thanks. I prefer a balancing of evils that limits the power of both.

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