Gen X at 40

Canada's Favorite Blog

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cm -

Sounds like a fabulous holiday. Enjoy!

I've always been fascinated by the coelacanth. And, of course, Cleveland rocks!

gr -

I notice, cm, the lack of childish triumph in reaching the comments first. You are a classy dame.

gorthos -

Eek.. I concur, thanks for nothing Norma..

David Janes -

Ah yes, the imaginary enemies that are stopping the true progressive state from emerging! Enemy #1: "norma". Gays, "the underclass" and women must all be awesomely happy and honored that they have your Ian Williams looking out for them, like a great white brother.

Alan -

Ah, the call of the phoney majoritarian, reminding us again that there was no plan, not agenda - social conservatism is all natural...just keep moving along...the reactionary social engineers know better what you need.

David Janes -

Own your failures. "Norma" was better at getting her ideas out there that Ian William's friends, nothing more, nothing less. Not that he and his friends provide a particularly compelling political message: you all suck, let me change you.

Alan -

One of the greatest successes of the implementation of the conservative agenda beginning in the 1950s but going back to the Evagelical revivalists of the 1930s is the insistence of "the natural order" of social conservatism, that there was no agenda. Sure Norma was great at getting her ideas out but one core aspect of those ideas is that they were not just her ideas, they are they way things really are. So it is both natural and in fact implied that reaction to the North American medievalists is required. Ian posting and others is merely doing exactly what Norma did, though Norma and others would deny it.

Ben (The Tiger) -

Not quite.

It's Vladimir Vladimirovich -- i.e. "Vladimir, son of Vladimir". Just means his dad was Vladimir, too.

More interesting, however, is the significance of his initials -- VVP.

This, in Russian, stands for "Valovoi vnutrennii produkt" (Russian for gross domestic product) - so people support VVP for a higher VVP. It's like if we had a president or PM named Gary Daniel Prescott -- vote for GDP for a higher GDP!

Alan -

I just made up that second Vlad thing. I had no idea.

David Janes -

You think that a 1950's conservative would recognize 2007 as a conservative era? I'm not sure about natural orders myself, but progressives strike me as an engine without a load, revving and whining (heh) faster and faster and faster because there's no real battles for them to fight anymore. We end up with the spectacle, for example, in Canada of gay marriage being trumpeted as being some sort of civil rights movement akin to freeing the slaves. In reality, it was a war over the nomenclature used for the tax status of homosexual couples, and which apparently gay people have little real interest in (there has been _1_ Canadian gay married this year in Ontario). Thus, it's hard to take this perpetual sense of outrage at everything seriously. It seems like the primary concern is about which team is in power or the "brand" -- substantially, it's difficult to tell the difference between Bush's domestic policies and Clinton's, or between Chretien and Harper [1]. Why? Because there's nothing substantial that anyone's willing to fight over anymore.

[1] except, unfortunately speaking as person who likes fiscal conservatism, the left seem to be more responsible with the piggy bank.

Alan -

<i>You think that a 1950's conservative would recognize 2007 as a conservative er</i>

In the southern US heartland, certainly, but that is not really the point is the movement not the success of the movement or the things outside of the movement like the liberal agenda. But your sidetracking is another key strategy of the conservative message.

David Janes -

Sorry, I thought we were chatting.

Alan -

We are so I am sorry if I was overly firm. I am not suggesting that you throw in the Golden Sombrero but I find the US conservative agenda in itself as a movement one of the most interesting things, one of the most successful waves of propaganda in modern history and far more interesting than the forces of modernity it fights against. I yapped more about it you will recall back in the day of the Moral Majorities posts.

David Janes -

But the US conservative movement is a sham, and I'm not sure why people don't see that. In the last 35 years, there's been only 12 years of democratic governance. The only substantial conservative reform that I can see accomplished in that period was done by Clinton, in cutting back on Welfare benefits. For all the yammering you hear about abortion in the states, it's weird that no one actually, like, _does_ something about it. The Republicans could have stacked the courts, proposed and passed constitutional amendments, so on and so forth. So what's left? Team Red and Team Blue compete to get in power and toss out pork to their constituents, while making comforting noises to their base and pretty well do nothing (again note that I'm talking domestic policy).

Alan -

The social movement and the political success at the state level is much more successful than at the national level and, given the US's placement of much more power at the local level, this is more important than in Canada. As part of my reading for the Beer blog, it is amazing how intrsive conservatives have made life in many states and, interestingly, it is craft brewers who are making in roads now. Communities in Tennessee, for example, have Beer Boards which separately enforece access to beer. You have five states that only allow beer under 3.2% or something. Pennsylvania has some of the nuttiest laws going - though they are relaxing since I wrote that. These are only examples, of course, of the broader success in asserting the conservative agenda as a matter that affects the lives on citizens in what would otherwise appear to be a free country.

David Janes -

Your point about states re: power is a good one, but since there's 50 of them one can pick one's flavor of rules fairly easily ;-)

Your comment brings up an interesting point: is prohibitionism a conservative movement? Historically, it was I think it's fair to say it was associated with progressives. The key word is MADD is "against" and I wouldn't call MADD a conservative organization (I may be wrong though). When I see rules for banning or regulating fun stuff (smoking, riding bikes without helmets, trying to make kids stop drinking pop and start eating broccoli) I don't particularly associate this "conservatives". As I think through more and more examples, I would say "banning stuff"ism is a cross-political spectrum activity.

Alan -

Ramming history into a conservative/progressive dichotomy is not useful or practical. It was certainly a reform movement in the sense that booze holes were part of the whole situation that plagued cities along with lack of sewers and child labour, etc. But it was also a product of the ruling conservative elite as the Victorian movement was class-based, booze was the disease of the working classes, hurting productivity, etc. It also mixes with conservative evangelicalism and social reformers in the early 1900s before the law comes into being. But there was no question that alcohol (like sexy paintings in 1600s severely conservative Spain I learned on TVO last night) in practice and even sometimes in law was to be enjoyed by the betters but kept from the workers. Control of the taverns but not home consumption, for example, or control of gin but not wine.

David Janes -

I can draw a straight line between what you're calling conservatives and today's progressives. I'm not sure at what point we cut off history and I do understand that labels only have certain utility. I'm laughing at (i.e. with you) about 17th century Spanish porn; what's the difference betwen that and palace-dwelling Leonardo di Caprio taking a private jet to a concert to tell me I need to cut back?

Alan -

Seeing as I see both conservative and progressive as not a coherent dichotomy but a popular front for hidden agendas of those promoting their popularization for their individual benefit, these are questions I do not have to concern myself with particularly. The 16th century nudes of puritan Catholics in Spain and the drunken funders of prohibitionists are merely illustrations of hypocricy and folly inherent in the human condition.

David Janes -

I don't know if people's agendas are that hidden. I'm just depressingly coming to the conclusions that people don't think much about what they believe in.

Have a cool weekend.

Alan -

I would but I just heard that the air conditioner stopped working. Likely just a fuse blown. Why do I have a fuse box in the 21st century? I need a breaker panel.

David Janes -

Don't let your insurance company know -- they'll make you take it out.

Alan -

THey checked the house over when we bought last year but I am as inclinded to remove it and have a mod-ren one installed. I like breakers. I fear fuses. Please refer to my feelings about the furnace for background.

Gorthos -

I prefer fuses because when something blows, I like to be able to say "its the fuse" and repair it by replacing said fuse. With a breaker you never really know what the hell caused the problem...

Our breaker box is accessible by tevelling the length of our house through the basement, entering the unlit sump cubby wit ha flashlight, straddling said sump-hole and guessing what switch means what, because invariably, someone has messed with my flashlights and the batteries are dim..

David Janes -

Interesting. Our breaker box is also over the sump pump. Design pattern or do builders want to kill us all.

On a personal note, I never saw a breaker box before I moved to Toronto in 1991. Welcome to the future.

Alan -

It was just the fuse. And apparently I bought a service package a year minus ten days ago so the visit was FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Jay Currie -

I just moved into a new (thank God) place which has no less than three breaker panels. It is an old gate house that my landlord extended and then extended again which leads to the surfeit of breakers.

The old conservative/progressive trope makes no sense at all presently. In effect, the old time conservatives were all for class systems and the denial of the franchise while the progressives were agin: those arguments are over. Now the fight is between what amounts to a progressive/conservative notion of stasis (cf. the NDP) and a more libertarian idea of freedom and progress.

Part of the progressive conservative alliance fights on the basis of a decent wage for the working class, the libertarians would like to see the "working class" abolished as a concept and as a real description. Another part wants to screw the working class by demanding Kyoto compliance while still another is happy to put the knives in by demanding equal outcomes for gay women of colour of the Islamic persuasion. Still more want elections to turn on how fast the Canadian Army can sing Kumbaya in Kandahar. Sadly, in Canada, we have four parties dedicated to various flavours of the progressive conservative Kool-Aid and no libertarian party pointing out that Kool-Aid rots your teeth.

The Grits are silent because, as global warming arches over the shark, they've no idea what to do next. The Tories, when not practicing their media skills, are as baffled as the Grits. The NDP has a delightful time driving itself into a tizzy of irrelevance as its talking points are stolen by the Grits. The BQ simply lies on the beach and enjoys the fun. Hell of a way to run a country...or is that nation...or nations(s).

Tragically, the Tories will emerge from their retreat with the earnest desire to "do something" and it may not matter very much what. The Liberals will be against it and Smilin' jack will claim to have thought of it first. The BQ will ask, quite reasonably, "what's in it for Quebec?" The dance will continue; all will have prizes, none a majority.

David Janes -

Don't you feel like less of a man for calling a guy to come in to fix a fuse though? ;-) Personally, it doesn't bother me: I'm totally metrosexual when it comes to letting other people fix stuff, BBQing and other male activities.

(response to Jay later, lots o' stuff there)

Alan -

I have a theory about manliness. I can put a 16 lb shot put 24 feet without spin of shuffle, without moving my feet. Everything else is a job that someone else can do for a good wage. I like being a hirer of talent. People say why did I pay for someone to shingle my roof. I say because I can and, by the way, did you notice all the lines are straight up there? I hire skilled tradesman because I am not skilled. I would have put a nickle behind the dead fuse and been happy.