The waters of politics have become seemingly very muddy in recent years. The traditional terms that people used to rely on like ‘progressive,’ ‘radical,’ and ‘conservative,’ seem less clear than they once did. I started thinking about this because of Sarah Palin’s statement that Canada should dismantle its public health-care system. You see, people who would traditionally be considered ‘conservative’ have tried to portray themselves as somehow ‘radical’ or ‘progressive’ by claiming that they are the ones with new ideas and they don’t want to rely on the old political notions. This is, of course, a ridiculous claim if your so-called ‘new’ ideas are just a return to the past. It is not, in other words, progressive to want to eliminate the gains that radicals brought us through generations of struggle. This would be like the Bourbons in France claiming that they were ‘radicals’ because they wanted to bring back the divine right of kings after the fall of Napoleon. Radicals, you see, seek to preserve the rights and privileges that we have gained and push forward to new and better ones. This is why the political term ‘conservative’ was never very meaningful; most conservatives want to dismantle the gains that we have made in workers’ rights, healthcare, human-rights, social welfare, etc. This is particularly true of the present government in Canada which came to power with what was essentially a ‘secret agenda’ to dismantle every element of responsible government that they possibly could. That is why that haven’t minded running up the country’s largest deficit in history; because they know that it will give them, or future governments, the excuse they need to eliminate social spending, including health-care. And to top that they even want to dismantle other areas of responsible government like freedom of information, the rule of law, ministerial accountability, etc. And since they really want to destroy government and society as we know it, calling them conservative is certainly something of a misnomer. Those who we commonly call conservatives are really just people who want to bring back a time when money and power were what really mattered; when those who were most vulnerable had little or no chance to live decent lives. In other words, they want to return to the law of the jungle or the idea that might makes right. We should, therefore, properly refer to ‘conservatives’ as ‘regressives’ because they want the human species to regress to a more primitive form. As ‘progressives’ we want to see a society in which everyone lives a decent life and everyone has a chance to excel. We don’t think that just because you are born with a ‘disability’ or born a woman or a person of color, or born in the wrong part of town, it should be difficult for you to do well in life. In other words, we want the human species to evolve beyond the law of the jungle to a higher state where compassion, cooperation, and care are the laws to which our society adheres. This is what our political struggle is all about and the reason why we will continue to be the true torchbearers of ‘radicalism.’
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