There is some speculation that Stephen Harper might use the economic downturn to fog over some ideologically driven cuts to government spending. These fears are not baseless: Harper has already axed a National Portrait Gallery, and during the election, he said some nasty and untrue things about artists. It's also no secret that the Tories hate the CBC, because they think it demonizes them. The fact that they're evil is what demonizes them.
So I read in the paper that the Liberals and the NDP fear the worst. Cuts to CBC funding is the most obvious example, but apparently, the Conservatives also want to privatize Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd.
However, one paragraph stuck in my mind this morning, even as I read it through a mild pot-Grey Cup hangover:
"I'm hopeful there will be some ideologically-driven, neo-conservative cuts to government," political scientist Tom Flanagan, a former chief of staff to Harper, said in an interview.I am, I fear, a foolishly optimistic person, because I am constantly surprised by the dishonesty and denial of those on the right. As the grand economic engine belches smoke and grinds to a halt, in no small part because of neo-conservative doctrines of deregulation and small, grotesquely expensive government, there are still men who want to see more of the same. This guy is a political scientist, so apparently he is supposed to be paying attention, and he appears to have missed most of the last eight years (or much, much longer, depending where you live).
Neoconservatism has destroyed much of South America. It shattered the dreams of the emerging South Africa. It consistently strips people of their rights, nations of their resources, and governments of their independence. It is an essentially racist doctrine, saying that Africans, Latinos and Asians must subsidize the North American way of life. Having gained a toehold in the US, it soon brought the financial system down. Getting a moderate endorsement up here in Canada, it resulted in tainted lunchmeat and the deaths of several people.
It is a bust, but men like Flanagan keep hoping to see it work. There are many shortcomings of conservative philosophy, but it's persistence in the face of reality is what is most discouraging.