03.10.2018 03:30 PM

The new conservatives and values

From a few years back:

…as I argue in my book Fight The Right, the political brain is an emotional organ, not a rational one. On voting day, passion generally defeats reason. Values, as simplistic as they may seem to progressives, rule.

Values – that is, hopes, dreams, fears, the ineffable stuff of life – are deeply held, deeply emotional notions. Mountains of data make clear that conservatives are very good at values-based debates, and progressives usually are not.

Conservatives have achieved supremacy in the European Union, Canada and the United States – jurisdictions where the majority of voters identify themselves as progressive – by expertly dominating the values debate, whether the subject matter is class resentments or fighting terror. Progressives, meanwhile, too often become tongue tied when talking about values. They’re not good at it.

As a result, voters (even progressive ones) drift towards conservative politicians and parties because they equate urban, university-educated progressives’ (a) reluctance to talk about values with (b) having no values at all.


  1. Robert White says:

    The first leadership debate yielded candidate declarations of ‘faith’ where Granic Allen proclaimed to be Christian, Elliot claimed to be Anglican, Ford claimed to blow with the wind, and Mulroney claimed to be Roman Catholic.

    Ford won the first debate by declaring that his values blew with the political wind on an opportunistic basis. Ford did express his concerns that people were being cheated via the voting process so we know he does indeed have values, but he did not alienate anyone, or any one faith group, by remaining neutral with respect to the values he projected politically before winning the helm as opposition leader.

    If the fundamentalist Christians glam on to the PC Party it will destroy the PCs at the polls in October. Doug will play center-right politics in his messaging and that will not be the ticket that wins the helm. Wynne only needs to sail smoothly midstream whilst Ford snipes from the fringe.

    PCs have not been in government for umpteen years either.

  2. 7w8G says:

    It’s not that we view the left as having no values. It’s that we view the left as having too many values, values that conflict and cancel each other out.

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