Harperland: The Politics of Control

The new book by Lawrence Martin "Harperland: The Politics of Control" is based on the notion that "hatred for his opponents" is what drives this Prime Minister. Although Conservatives are already up in arms, Martin’s thesis is primarily backed up by Conservative sources, fancy that. 

I’ve held this belief for some time, and I’ve articulated it here in the past. Martin uses "hatred", which is similar to my view that Harper, and more broadly, the reformer group he led, was always more about negativity, what they were against, than any real commitment to substantial change. If you look at almost every policy position, the starting point seems to be an expression of what is wrong, something to rail against, more angst than vision. The entire status quo was the enemy, the Liberals a lightning rod for a rebellion against entrenched interests. 

In practice, Harper has betrayed almost all of his former supposed beliefs. In addition, his merry band of ideologues have compromised all the former core tenets, whether it be egalitarian democracy, transparency, entitlement, etc- you name it, one can point to a tinge of sheer hypocrisy. The fact Harper has so quickly ignored the supposed philosophy, confirms to me that it was always an inherent negativism that drove him, rather than the superficial presentation. Harper only wants to tear down, disband, undermine, question, divide, there is little where one can point to a positivity. 

If you review Harper’s ascendency, you see writings and speeches littered with a profound dislike for almost all of Canada’s institutions. Everything the enemy, which has become plainly obvious now that Harper has practical power. It’s this bizarre "anti" disposition that causes unnecessary confrontations, where none need exist. Harper wants to destroy things, the Liberals a symbol for that deep seeded motivation. This is why Harper’s "conservatism" departs from other manifestations, because it lacks balance, it lacks a positive horizon. Without something to attack, there is nothing really there, there is no passion or warped conviction. On the foreign policy front, it’s always stark, because we need to have an enemy, so we can rally behind an ally. We don’t like certain initiatives, but we don’t offer alternatives, all energy is merely spend obstructing or stopping. 

Step back and look for an overarching theme, and you see that most of the policies or positions are reacting to something already in place, in a decidedly pessimistic fashion. I firmly believe, if Harper had nothing to dislike or decry, he would have little impetus or inspiration to achieve anything. Harper needs a THEM, and his entire career has been based on this rudimentary construct. 

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