As we all know, one of the primary problems with social and political reform is that those who resist it are driven by powerful egos and are convinced in almost all matters of life that they are correct in their judgments and that anyone who opposes them must be naive and/or stupid. Those who resist reform, who oppose the extension of democracy and the increase in generalized social interests, live in a constant state of irony because they accept major parts of society that were once considered radical and foolish by their political predecessors who would have rejected them as foolish and naïve. Yet they accept these ideas while being convinced that while reforms toward greater social education and health, more worker’s rights and reduction of power for the wealthiest class were fine in the past we have now reached the de facto ‘end of history’ and further reforms will end in total disaster. The conservatives told us that any system of minimum wage would make capitalism explode in total destruction. They told us that women voting would end society. Etc. Etc. Thus conservatives are people who accept radical ideas a hundred years after the rest of us understood them.
But the present class of ‘neo-liberal’ conservatives are much worse than traditional conservatives. A conservative like Edmund Burke, who is often considered the intellectual founder of Toryism, argued that social changes happen slowly through the gradual change in society. He understood at some level the powerful in society had an important social responsibility to society as a whole. Noblesse oblige, if you will. Modern Conservatives like Harper have a whole different M.O. They actually want to turn society backwards to a time when health and education was not universal but was the pleasure of those who could afford it. They want to take away the rights to collective bargaining and legislated safer workplaces. Harper and his ilk would like to take us back to a time when money and class made the decisions about whether some got a decent education or had decent housing. And they believe these things because they are driven by an extreme ego illness that convinces them that they are naturally part of the privileged class by dint of their A-Type personalities and that in a society of extreme inequality they will be somewhere near the top of the heap. This is why Harper never actually talks to average Canadians; he imagines himself as some kind of king who is complete beyond association with such commoners. And when people disagree with Harper or his ministers they get belligerent because they can’t believe that someone has the gall to disagree with them, their opinions must a priori be correct because they are the privileged ones. Thus the Conservatives never actually have a political discourse. They just deride and marginalize everyone else because no one deserve respect except those who agree with them.
This is the poison that has infected the Canadian political system, and democracy itself will be in danger until it has been purged.