11.08.2011 01:00 AM

In today’s Sun: of conservatives

So, what the hell is a conservative, anyway?

Good question. Hacks and flaks use the word all the time, these days ­ to describe political parties, to describe politicians, to describe someone’s position on the ideological spectrum. Because conservatives increasingly dominate our politics at all levels — federally, locally, and everywhere in between — the word gets used a lot.

But is it the right word? Are the people being called “conservative” (mainly by journalists, because journalists are in the shorthand business) truly “conservative?” Like I say, it’s a crucial question, because we indisputably live in a conservative era.

In Europe, for the first time in generations, conservative political parties tower over the landscape. David Cameron in Britain, Angela Merkel in Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Silvio Berlusconi in Italy — along with conservative dominance in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Belgium.

The European Union, its present economic predicament aside, has been a conservative union since 2005. One of the few socialists, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, quit this week.

96 Comments

  1. Adrian ZB says:

    What’s a conservative? “A Conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward” – FDR

  2. The Dude says:

    You can’t debate with conservatives anymore. It’s just name calling. Non-conservatives are just way too polite. Let’s stop pretending. Other than the people helping conservatives to get elected, conservatives are dumb. It’s that simple. Try and debate. You can’t. They’re dumb

    • smelter rat says:

      Haha! Good one Gord! Ezra yells over top of anyone who sits across from him. Hannity? Your’re kidding, right? Miller….maybe.

    • Ted says:

      You think Ezra Levant and Sean Hannity are prepared to debate? Have you actually ever watched them? Ezra always employs the tried and true pundit tactic of talking so much and over the others that you only ever get his opinion. How many SLAPP lawsuits has he launched? How many non-conservatives has he had on his show? Hannity is a more serious pundit, less of a joke, but also pretty much only has conservatives on his show whenever I used to bother to dial in. (Don’t know about Rutherford so I won’t assume; Miller I would expect would be open to debating in a fashion – he just likes to make quips and not really discuss or debate an issue – but I’ve never seen him put himself near someone with an opposing view.)

    • Ken says:

      Here’s Ezra Levant, masterdebater, in his glory:

      http://youtu.be/9-vek4Sx8wM

      • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

        Ezra would sooo make a great drag queen……hes bitchy enough…….

        • pomojen says:

          You might be confusing bitchiness with malice. In any case, I am pretty sure drag queens don’t want to be associated with the likes of Ezra, total drag that he is. 😉

    • Jon Powers says:

      And yet so many people continue to vote for Conservatives. Just think of all those stupid bigoted people out there among the unwashed masses, not voting Liberal. What is their problem? Good thing “Progressives” like The Dude are here to take us by the hand and lead the way.

    • The Doctor says:

      “Non-conservatives are just way too polite.”

      Apparently you haven’t met scot or smelter rat. Or Heather Malllick.

      • smelter rat says:

        I’m happy to be in that company. Actually I’m very polite, except when someone tries to feed me bullshit, claiming to want to have a civilized debate.

  3. Brendan Dawe says:

    Well, that depends on what you are conserving.

    Bob Rae mentioned last weekend in Victoria that the NDP is among the most ‘conservative’ parties there is, clinging to an old ideology, while one could argue that the true conservatives, those who seek to ‘reform the ill and conserve the good’ in society are today’s liberals in Canada and the United States (I believe that yarn is from Adlei Stevenson).

    That leaves the ‘conservatives’ as today’s pack of radicals, seeking to change everything, good or ill. Come around to that Canada that you won’t recognize when Harper’s done with it…

  4. Derek Pearce says:

    WK-wrong link, it goes to the slightly old CBC article. Anyhow, had many other drunken unkind things to say about contards but will reserve them for when I’m more sober. Just want to say that Harper is almost Mulroney-esque in his desire to not rock the boat. Which makes me uneasily happy enough. But I hope it pisses off the hard-cores as much as M himself did. Also– Happy Birthday to my 2 friends whom with we stayed out way too late into the night celebrating with!

  5. Derek Pearce says:

    Oh, I said he won’t rock the boat except for the Census thing. That is appalling and will now (sadly I’d say but good for Cons) become a football, where when an non C-gov is in power they’ll put it right, and then every time a C gov is elected they’ll put it wrong ad naseum– I’d love to be a scientist in the year 9235 where they’ll have to make do with gaps in the research record and sadly have to average it out over the periods of willfully missing data.

    • Pat says:

      …and the Auditor General thing. He willfully ignored the fact that the candidate they selected was not bilingual, when being bilingual is a requirement of the job and there were a number of bilingual candidates. Matthew Hayday, an old professor of mine, believes that this is a trial balloon for Harper – he is testing whether official languages is something Canadians are passionate about. You can check out his blog at http://pamplemoose.blogspot.com/. I’m not 100% sure if I agree with him, but I also wouldn’t be surprised. I think that this government operates by desensitization – they do small things to desensitize Canadians before they do big things that actually make an impact.

      They spend years publicly deriding the information provided to them by public servants, and when there is no uproar about the embarrassing way they had treated the public service, they begin to dismantle the census. Since they got through getting rid of the long-form without much popular resistance, they will probably scrap the voluntary thing they replaced it with, thus scoring political points for saving money, while reducing government’s ability to make competent decisions. And I refuse to acknowledge the “if there isn’t popular protest then it isn’t an important policy/program”. Since when do people know how government actually operates? How many people understand the positive contribution to government policy made by the long-form census information? How many people realize that many businesses rely on that information to remain competitive? If they don’t remain competitive they will be replaced with American, or European, or Asian substitutes, and while the consumer may benefit (slightly), the robustness of our economy will suffer.

    • Paul says:

      The “progressive” kool-aid has been drunk by so many in our society that it is now become the norm. We see it all the time: an office worker being told she can’t have a mug with a picture of Porky Pig on it because it “may offend Muslims,” a school banning Halloween, “the holidays” replacing Christmas, children’s sports abandoning the concept of winning and losing and the life lessons that teaches, an 11-year old boy raised by lesbian parents undergoing a sex-change. When does it end?

      Today’s rebel is a conservative.

      • Paul says:

        oops… wrong “reply” button clicked…

      • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

        So back to the glass ceiling for women, overt racism, gays and lesbians back in their closets, environmental protection out the window, no sex education in schools?……ah, the good ol’ days……the fifties…..

        Sorry bub, but we ain’t goin’……..

  6. Ted says:

    “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.”

    G.K. Chesterton, 1924

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  7. Ted says:

    It’s not a new question.

    “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.”

    G.K. Chesterton, 1924

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • Ted H says:

      “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration”

      Abraham Lincoln, Republican President

    • Ted says:

      Actually cited to him, but he is not the originator of the quotation. And it stands to reason: as you get older, you have more at risk from change.

      What is interesting though, is a recent trend of more seniors moving to the more progressive side of things.

      It is not the world that is becoming more mature and conservative. It is conservatives that are becoming more mature and less conservative.

      Conservatives have moved their own goalposts to the centre so more progressive liberal ideas have become accepted norm for conservatives (eg. Harper promising he would not let even a private members bill on abortion get passed or Harper and Bush and McCain campaigning on the need and positive good of corporate welfare and government stimulus). That’s why Harper has to keep such control and muzzles over his caucus and is scared of open mic with the public and the media.

    • Pat says:

      I’m pretty sure Churchill was referring to the social conscience of a liberal (attractive to younger folk) with the fiscal conscience of a conservative (now that I have money I want to keep it). I wouldn’t say that Harper prescribes to Churchill’s definition of conservatism – the reform mentality can hardly claim to be anything like traditional conservative. Besides, Harper has spent more money than any other PM… ever…

  8. DL says:

    Small correction. Denmark just through a conservative government and now has a social democratic government and Austria has a social democratic chancellor leading a “grand coalition”. Ireland and Iceland swung to the left in elections this year too.

  9. dave says:

    So that’s what Ezra was doing with the orange wig on? Debating the issues, intelligently?

  10. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Interesting question.

    There was a report, I believe in a British newspaper, several years back about a study on the differences between “conservatives” and “liberals”. In essence what they found out was that conservatives were more self-reliant, more generous with their personal time and money with respect to charity, and more protective of individual freedoms. Conversely, liberals were more demanding upon the state to solve their problems. Liberals were found to be more likely to donate to some big and popular organization and count on them to handle charity for them, while conservatives act directly on a more personal level.

    In my own observations, conservatives tend to believe everyone is innocent until they break the law and that the law should deal with that transgression. Liberals, on the other hand, seem to think everyone is a potential lawbreaker looking for a place to happen, and thus we need lots of laws and regulations to curb mankind’s presumably evil propensities, real or imagined makes no difference, before they happen. (Think, f’rinstance, gun registry.)

    Conservatives are innately skeptical, who demand solid proof before leaping. Liberals tend to love a band wagons to jump on to combat the latest cause celeb du jour. Shoot first, ask questions later. (Think climate change/global warming.)

    Conservatives tend to think, if the damn thing ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Liberals seem to be into change for the mere sake of change.

    Conservatives expect individual responsibility. Liberals punt responsibility to the collective.

    Conservatives understand there are limits to what governments can accomplish. Liberals tend to think there’s no problem too big that can’t be solved by governments by just throwing truckloads of money, primarily borrowed, at it.

    Prime Minister Cameron was acutely on the money when he stated to our parliament that Europe, indeed the western world, is facing a massive “debt” crisis. Yes, the proverbial jig is basically up on eternally financing utopian ideals with borrowed coin. And “nanny” states are confronted with ultimate collapse of economies that no longer can even pay the interest tab on what has essentially been a quasi-socialist run-away train on a four to five decades long romp. The big problem in this is that hundreds of millions of people have been conditioned, deliberately or otherwise, to think they are entitled to some sort of free ride from their governments…and if they don’t get to keep it going, there’s going to be hell to pay!

    I’m pretty confident in speculating that there’s damn few “conservatives” hanging out in all those protest camps in downtown Washington, Toronto, wherever.

    I could go on and on…

    IMHO, and FWIW.

    • Ted H says:

      “conservatives tend to believe everyone is innocent until they break the law and that the law should deal with that transgression. Liberals, ….seem to think everyone is a potential lawbreaker…thus we need lots of laws and regulations to curb mankind’s presumably evil propensities, real or imagined makes no difference….”

      Well Al, this one seems to conflict with the harsher crime bill the Conservatives are currently pushing through the house, you know, the one meant to deal with “unreported crime” when every indicator suggests the crime rate is dropping.

    • Andrew says:

      Al in Cranbrook:

      I would agree that “conservatives” may think as you have posted. The problem is that “Conservatives” don’t think that way.

      The “Conservatives” that I know are typically self-reliant because they studied and worked hard to get a well paying job. They have saved their money and paid off their debts. They deserve their success.

      However they tend (not all) to be quite judgemental, self-centred and selfish people. They forget that they had great parents and family / friends who mentored them and provided a secure childhood and transition into adulthood. They forget that they often received an education that was subsidized by the state. They forget that they have doctors, nurses and other public servants that were educated by the state and paid by the state that makes life in our country so great. They typically think they did it “all on their own”. These folks are typically more tribal in their thinking. It is a “us versus them” thinking. They view the world in black and white terms when it is always a shade of grey.

      “Conservatives” presume a person is guilty of something because they are different and “not like me”. They are willing to punish severely even if that person may be innocent (e.g. death penalty”. They want to control women (e.g. abortion). They think single mothers are the cause of social breakdown but they never once ask “Where the heck is Dad?” They are threatened by gay people because… I really don’t know why! They respect science when it makes them healthier and grows better crops but when it threatens their stock portfolio they call it “junk science”. “Conservatives” don’t respect taxpayers any more than the other parties. Their track record says it all. No one can refute that. They are proponents of Big Government, just big in areas that differ from the other parties. They support subsidies for their constituents. They support corporate welfare.

      I am not defending the other parties but I think “Conservatives” need to look in the mirror more often. As the saying goes, “People in glass houses…”.

      • Ted H says:

        It takes a village to raise a millionaire, or something like that. Conservatives and corporations eschew taxes but someone who owns a trucking company or uses the trucking company to ship their widgets to market drives on the highways that my taxes helped pay for. Sure, their taxes helped pay for it too but they make money daily from the existence of the infrastructure that millions of others paid for.

        “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society” – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

      • Andrew says:

        That is why I think conservatives and Conservatives are very different folks.

    • Ted says:

      With respect Al in Cranbrook, there are too many inaccuracies, verifiable inaccuracies, and too many way-too-broad generalizations to bother going through them all.

      I’ve read too many “studies” and “surveys” and “polls” showing whatever it is the author wants it to show to trust any blog commenter’s summary of some unlinked to poll that was done some unknown where at some unknown time to give this particular summary any worth.

      For example, you won’t find anyone more self-reliant and libertarian than far left anarchists, and you won’t find anyone more desiring of controlling behaviour and limiting liberty and freedoms than a religious conservative (eg. $700,000 fines and changing the way live TV programs are broadcastfor showing a milisecond of a naked nipple from 700 feet away in a giant open stadium).

      The reality is no one has ever made it on their own. And no one who ever thought the state was the be-all end-all was ever successful.

      I just think the whole left-right dichotomy is bogus to begin with.

      Most of the people I know may describe themselves one way or another, but when it comes down to the details, they are all over the map, issue by issue. When you ask people issue by issue, in Canada, they all tend to be far more liberal leaning than they ever admit to in terms of party support or political leanings.

      Your “nanny state” is what everyone used to know as the “social safety net” and it is just as responsible for the economic growth and peace & order of Canada and the US as free markets. Just as the free market can have it negative impact by going too far, so too can the social safety net. But their importance to our current standards of living cannot be understated, though it frequently is.

  11. kre8tv says:

    I found myself asking the same question after watching a panel discussion last night on TV. It’s increasingly hard to define political leanings anymore. What I look for instead is the agenda. Some claim to be conservatives but demonstrate no real interest in governing, in making choices or solving problems. They’re only interested in gathering an audience and the influence that comes with that. They’re after the ones who will readily engage in kooky talk about how their opponents are socialists or whatnot. Others have an agenda of making good choices (good insofar as they see them that way) to actually solve problems. We don’t have enough of those kind of conservatives anymore. Come to think of it, that might also be true of liberals, too.

  12. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Want to add one more observation…

    Conservatives are increasingly fed up with “experts”, be they economists, scientists with ideological axes to grind, or wanna-be do-gooders on crusades usually based on some “expert’s” ideas about what mankind needs to do next to save itself from itself.

    Liberals, on the other hand, seem to see mankind as some sort of flock of pretty much dumb ass sheep that apparently need to be herded by “experts” and “professionals”.

    There’s certainly a role for “experts”…but not to the point that it trumps individual good common sense into the into the dirt at every turn of the way.

    • Ted says:

      See we see that differently.

      I would say that liberals say their ideas are not the answer to ever problem and we should therefore research the facts and seek out the most pragmatic solution that actually works, regardless of ideology or conventional wisdom.

      I would say that conservatives don’t like the conclusions that facts, evidence, research, testing, science reach, so they reject them, preferring to go with an ideology disconnected with reality.

      • smelter rat says:

        Conservatives simply make up their own facts. E.G Tulk.

        • ed says:

          Actually, I’d like you to prove that comment you made earlier about conservatives being way more generous than liberals. That sounds like a made-up fact. No citing the Fraser Institute or Heritage Foundation now!

  13. TIm Shoults says:

    Uh, the link is going to your CBC piece Warren.

  14. Ted H says:

    Maybe conservatives can’t help being what they are, logical debate will have no effect.

    “Scans revealed that the liberal students tended to have a larger region of the brain that processes conflicting information. That, say the authors, might make for tolerance to uncertainty in more liberal views.

    The conservatives tended to have a larger part of the brain that processes fear and identifies threats. As a result of these structural differences, liberals may be more efficient at managing conflicting information, while conservatives may be more efficient at recognizing threats”

  15. JamesHalifax says:

    You will note….the troubled economies, are mainly from countries with a history of enacting socialist policy eh?

    Coincidence? I think not….

    If a country wants to pisz away it’s wealth through ill thought out distribution of income….it reaps what it sows. If Jack Layton’s NDP had been running Canada for the last 15 years….we’d be in the same position as Greece.

    • Ted H says:

      I disagree. If Conservatives had been running Canada for the last 15 years we would be in a more serious economic condition. The Liberals paid down the deficit, the Conservatives ran it up again, even before the 2008 crash. The USA has had more Republican presidents than Democrat, since the 1950’s and the government is collecting less revenue now than in the 1950’s. There was a Democratic interlude with Bill Clinton, he left a trillion dollar surplus that George W promptly pissed away.

      A long history of too much conservative economic policy is the problem in the US. Too much military spending, too many tax cuts for the rich and for corporations. A shift of the tax burden a middle class that is no longer there, that has been hollowed out by globalization, transfer of industrial jobs to the third world and China, and by anti-labour policies favouring corporations and the wealthy. As the saying goes, “There are two kinds of Conservatives, millionaires and suckers.”

    • Andrew says:

      Like GWB running the US for 8 years to create the financial mess they are in?

  16. AmandaM says:

    What I would like to know is what the Conservative end-game is. What is it that Conservatives want Canada, and perhaps the world, to look like? What do they dream of? Zero taxation? Zero government, leading to zero social services, and “do what you want as long as you’re not hurting anyone else or others’ property”? How do they conceive of the nation and the world?

    I don’t know what Conservatives stand for anymore. All I see is issues management and protecting turf. I’d like to know more about what they are working toward as opposed to the daily political grind – that’s just inside baseball. Someone, please, tell me.

    • Ted says:

      Laffer has been generally rejected by economists for nearly a decade now. Just not enough real life data to support it and too much real life data that contradicts it.

      • Ted says:

        Exactly Scot.

        Specifically, it was an invention of a conservative Wall Street Journal writer, Jude Wanniski, “after a 1974 afternoon meeting between Laffer, Wanniski, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and his deputy press secretary Grace-Marie Arnett”.

  17. Philip says:

    Conservatives define themselves through an angry simplicity which admits no nuance. Things must either be Good or Evil. Good must always be celebrated and Evil must always be attacked. For my personal experience with Conservatives the definitions of Good and Evil are completely situational.

    • The Doctor says:

      You don’t think a lot of left-wing people see the world the same way? Black vs. White? Good vs. Evil? Evil capitalists in black top hats, curly pencil-thin moustaches, rubbing their greedy hands together? Apparently you haven’t visited an Occupy encampment lately.

      • Philip says:

        Took the subway done to the park the other day. Brought a homemade vegetarian chili pot and some old sweaters and winter jacks we weren’t using. Talked to a couple of folks and didn’t get the impression of completely closed minds. Mostly just pissed at an economic system that has thrown both the working and middle class overboard a long time ago.

        In my opinion, the worst sort of progressive person to run into is the Conspiracy Theorist. Can’t stand them. Not everything is caused by a shadowy government agency with no name. I guess it all balances out in the end, we have conspiracy flakes and you have Mr. Tulk.

  18. Kevin says:

    Interesting TED talk on the moral roots of conservatives and liberals:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

  19. Curtis in Calgary says:

    Conservatism isn’t a political approach. It’s a diagnosis.

  20. Alex says:

    In Russia these days the conservatives are the KPRF – Kommunist Party of Russian Federation. Some perspective.

  21. Ted H says:

    Very good discussion today, maybe tomorrow Warren can ask ” What is a Liberal?”

  22. Ted says:

    I don’t know what newspapers you are reading, but clearly the ink is still wet and you are inhaling too much of it.

    Freer trade? Canada is forging ahead, but the US and Europe and Russia are clamping down.

    Feer labour markets? Even here that is a struggle. Try to go get a job in Europe or the US and you’ll see how much freer labour markets are.

    The collapse of the “entitlement politic”? Where are you seeing that? I just saw the Conservative Party of Canada reform and extend EI, promise to increase health transfers, grant every parent $100 per month, etc. without cutting one single thread of the safety net, though they sabre rattle about it all of the time.

    At the same time, I saw the logic of markets throw millions out of work while rewarding executives with billions in bonuses after running the economy into the ground and taking trillions in bailouts.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big believer in free markets. But I believe in it with eyes wide open. And no rose coloured glasses.

    • Ted says:

      Correct me if I am wrong, but European healthcare is not in trouble the way US and Canada are.

      What I remember from GWB is his fight to protect steel subsidies and agricultural subsidies and fighting Canadian softwood lumber (and winning when Harper bent over for him).

      I don’t buy the “pass the buck” mentality of most ideologically strict conservatives, the whole notion that “he would have done X, if it wasn’t for the damn [fill in the blank – opposition parties, unions, etc.]”. GWB owed nothing to the unions so I really don’t buy that. My view of Republicans vs Democrats is mostly from a “what’s best for Canada” POV and not conservative-liberal/who I would vote for, so I’m pretty non-partisan in saying I don’t think Republicans, as a party, have been much better with freer trade or corporate subsidies or any of that.

      And Republicans lead the charge against migrant workers and outsourcing to Mexican and Indian workers and immigration of any kind even skilled labour.

  23. Marc L says:

    What really gets me reading through this thread is how many self-described “progressives” who are supposed to be oh-so-civilized and respectful of others’ views, compared to those doctrinary, rigid, conservatives, engage in name calling and insults to the same extent as those they criticize. Conservatives are ignorant, dumb, bigoted “contards”. What exactly makes Liberals think you’re morally superior to conservatives? Some of you are just as bad.

    • Jon Powers says:

      As the saying goes, a bigot or racist is defined as someone who is winning an argument with a liberal. Some of them like to throw insults around as they claim to be oh so “progressive”. Most of them, however, are pretty good people who just happen to have different views than I do.

    • JStanton says:

      … thanks for the intro gord. To Marc’s point, progressives are longer willing to turn the other cheek. Generations of Conservative dirty tricks and self-interest at the cost of our people and our country have taught us that Conservatives can’t be reasoned with because they are not individuals with free will, but rather pack animals predisposed to follow whatever their alpha-leader decides, not matter the psychosis. So, forget about debate; certainly I, and most mature progressives I know, won’t waste our time debating you.

      As for “morally superior” – obviously progressives are, because morality/humanism is the basis of our world view, whereas Conservatives just want to have stuff, and to prevent others from getting any. What a sad bunch you are.

      There you go gord; is this what you wanted?

      .

      • Pete says:

        And Gord you provide good fairy tale stuff as part of our daily humor intake.

        You must also be a great tory because as we all know……………tories are liars and liars are tories

      • Marc L says:

        Wow! What more can I say??? So you ARE morally superior. You have just proven my point with such eloquence….
        Just for the record, I’m not a Conservative. I like Conservative economics but not social policy. But hey, another trait of people like you is to view those who do not fit your rigid mold as the enemy — another so-called Conservative trait that you criticize. As I said, it’s not the same.

  24. dave says:

    We live in a capitalist system.
    Conservatives figure that the capitalist system is of divine design, that property should be private, particularly for the wealthy, and that accumulation of wealth by the wealthy is a natural way of life. They figure that the state exists to protect this system, and conservatives in power tend to accelerate the accumulation of wealth and property by the very wealthy. They figure that any state that allows wealth to stay with the commons is carrying out an artificial redistribution of wealth that throws the whole system out of kilter.

    Liberals figure pretty much the same, except that they figure that allowing some wealth to stay with the commons does not throw the system out of kilter, but rather smooths out the extreme effects of capitalism, and, for the most part, saves the system from any real analysis or criticism – or challenge. They also think that leaving wealth to the commons is artificial redistribution, but figure that they can keep the system in balance by some minimal redistribution. Liberals figure that social justice can be achieved within the capitalist system, if the state involves itself in the redistribution of wealth.

    Socialists figure that wealth comes primarily from the commons, and that the accumulation of property and wealth by the very rich is an artificial redistribution of that wealth. Socialists see Conservative and Liberal controlled states as aggravating that artificial redistribution, Conservatives aggravating the inequities more than Liberals usually do. Socialists believe that social justice is possible in the capitalist system by governing so as to keep the commons wealth largely with the commons. Socialists believe that they can stand up to capitalists peacefully – that capitalists surely would not use violence to enable their accumulation of as much wealth as possible.

    • The Doctor says:

      “Socialists believe that they can stand up to capitalists peacefully”

      I guess that means that Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the Red Brigades et al. were not socialists..

      • dave says:

        I should have said democratic socialists.

        A list like yours allows people to avoid thinking about the violence that capitalism uses to maintain itself.

        • Marc L says:

          Because of course, Socialism does not use violence to maintain itself. Noooooooooo…of course not. Guess what…every society since the dawn of time has used violence to maintain itself. And your Socialist paradise will be no different.

          • dave says:

            I remember a peculiar thing from the 1960’s – surprised me then, still does. A conservative senator from Iowa, a Republican, I think his surname might have been Harris. He showed some exasperation with characters who kept nattering about reducing government and letting free enterprise step in, because free enterprise is efficient, and government is not. This Republican senator stated that he wished there were a state in USA where they would do away with governmtent, and all the free enterprise ideologues could go there and run their free enterprises. It made me think about places around the planet where there is minimum government presence, and are, therefore, free enterprise paradises.

            (I think that same Republican also expressed a lot of doubts about USA making war on the Vietnamese people. Things change over the decades.)

    • dave says:

      Sometimes I think that those Bible thumpers like John Ball, Wat Tyler, John Wyclif and the Lollards were on to something. Our common wealth that we are born into is the air, water, sub soil, soil, flora and fauna, our experience and traditions, our family and community institutions. History shows this common wealth constantly being privatized. Priesthoods did it; in Wyclif and Tyler’s time; the nobility did it; today, capitalists seeks to commodify and privatize for themselves everything, and to enrich themselves in doing so.
      If rich people want everyone to be rich, putting in as little as they do, and taking out as much as they do, we need some more planets

    • smelter rat says:

      Uh huh. Who would tend the estate in your perfect world?

    • JStanton says:

      That’s silly gord. Of course they don’t. Rich people want everyone else to be poor, because the poor-er everyone else is, the richer they become.

      Don’t you grasp even basic economics??

      .

      • The Doctor says:

        So I’m curious — what’s the cutoff line income-wise in Canada at which you become rich and therefore start wanting everyone else to be poor?

        $50,000 a year?
        $100,000 a year?

        Do tell.

        • JStanton says:

          … Conservatives believe they are wealthy, regardless of income, merely temporarily short of funds. That’s why they consistently support things like lower taxes for those with higher incomes, because they believe it will benefit them, regardless of the fact that it results in them paying higher taxes. “Cognitive dissonance” and “Conservative” are synonymous.

          And that’s why we don’t take them seriously.

          .

        • The Doctor says:

          Way to not answer the question.

      • Marc L says:

        I grasp basic economics. And what you are saying is nonsensical.

  25. Pedro says:

    capitalist, socialist, trotskyist…
    A conservative doesn’t ever let anyone, even with the most advanced degree, tell themself, how much one can work and earn in a day.
    Only those other than capitalists count the hours in a day.
    All the rest is window dressing.
    Spend some time wondering how the color of your eyes makes a difference when you answer question in an interview!
    Have fun Occupiers!
    See you at the interviews!

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