Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rightwing haters. . . .

Frankly it is nice that the Right-wing is slowly being exposed for what they really are, mean-spirited and incompetent. The events in Norway are unspeakable and tragic beyond imagination, but they are a very direct result of the rightwing ideology of hate that has been fostered for the past generation. Though many rightwingers attempt to gild their anti-muslim, anti-immigration, and anti-multi-cultural viewpoints with reasonable discourse, at the heart of these feelings, which rightwingers everywhere have cultivated, is a fundamentally hateful and intolerant viewpoint.

At a less tragic, and more prosaic, level, recent events on the political scene have finally begun to expose the ridiculous myth that the rightwing is 'fiscally responsible.' It is taken a long time for people to actually begin to come to grips with this at a public level, but it is finally happening. We had to watch governments like those of Reagan, Thatcher, Mulroney, Bush, and Harper for people to begin to wake-up but it has definitely started.

I think the myth of fiscal responsibility in the rightwing comes from a very basic dilemma which has gradually become more clear as the global economy has changed and more pressure is put on the public purse in Western nations. It is not that rightwingers don't want to be fiscally responsible per se that has been a problem. Rather the difficulty exists for them at a different level. The rightwing has an agenda by which they want to expand the wealth of the rich and the corporations and one of the primary modes to achieve this end is to lower the corporate tax rates and taxes on the rich. In order to make this a saleable policy they have had to continually make a public claim that they know to be entirely false, that lower taxes on corporations and the rich will actually increase government revenue and improve the economic situation for everyone. This is simply false, and always has been. Not a single credible study suggests that this claim is true, in fact quite the opposite. By pursuing these policies the right only succeeds in lowering government revenue. As a result of shrinking revenue the right is then forced to cut social services to make up the differences, an idea they essentially don't mind since it undermines the position of the poor and vulnerable and further strengthens the power of the rich. But here is where the dilemma really kicks in - the right, like everyone, relies on elections to maintain power and if they cut too much, particularly from the elderly, they will not get reelected. And it is just too difficult in the final analysis to cut enough to make up for the shrinking revenue situation that they have created. Thus rightwing government continually destroy public finances in the process. It is not that they don't have the stomach to completely cut social services, it is just that they know they cannot get reelected if they do. When you actually get almost all rightwingers to be honest in private they uniformly admit that they don't believe in universal public education or health care, for example, but they would never admit that publicly because their portion of the vote would be reduced to less than ten percent.

In other words, the right is financially irresponsible because the combination of their ideology and electoral politics forces them to be. But the continual repetition of this scenario is finally making the reality of rightwing irresponsibility more clear to people. The only thing that has maintained the rightwing at all is more or less total domination of the media which sells the falsehoods of fiscal responsibility nonstop.

Hate and irresponsibility are the hallmarks of the right. Listen any day to your local rightwing radio call in show and you will hear rightwingers peddling their hate, ignorance, and lies relentlessly. They will condemn the Charter and Rights, condemn immigration, condemn non-christians, condemn the laws which attempt to protect the vulnerable, and condemn multi-culturalism. Meanwhile they will promote a huge and blatant lie that reducing corporate taxes will increase government revenue while their parties bankrupt nations full of millionnaires. But the lies will not stand for much longer as tragedies of their hate become more clear in poverty, wretchedness, and the barrel of a gun.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Standing for something. . . .

It seems that nowadays Political Parties stand for as little as possible, at least at the public level. Just look at the recent victory of the Harper Conservatives, they have consistently attempted to run on nothing, as though they are the Seinfeld of the political arena. The Liberal Party of Canada has also tried to stand for little, though I must give them credit, when Martin ran for Prime Minister he actually had some important platform issues not least of which were the Kelowna Accord, Universal Childcare, and the defence of gay marriage. Unfortunately when Dion attempted to stand for something in an election (the Green Shift) he lost badly. Similarly, John Tory here in Ontario lost an election on one issue alone - the funding of religious schools. In the States the Democratic Party has been running on nothing Since McGovern lost while trying to end the war in Indo-China. Barack Obama ran on some vague cheerleader's platform that said "Yes We Can," but what exactly "we can" do was never clear. And since he won it has become pretty clear that anything that we thought Obama might have stood for, he didn't.

The right-wing in Canada has become much like the right-wing in the US - it exists on vague notions of economic competence (entirely belied by the facts), strong military (totally belied, again, by their complete lack of support for veterans.), and calling all their opponents terrorist sympathizers and communists. Meanwhile what they really stand for is the total destruction of democracy, the gutting of all social programs, and the effort to make sure that the majority of Canadians become poorer and will eventually not be able to afford a privatized education and health system. Only, like real cowards, they will never say what they actually stand for in the public arena.

The only national party that now stands for anything is the NDP, though I sat that with only qualified support because that party too has become increasingly vague about their ideals. But at the very least the NDP stands for protecting universal health, education, and protection of those who are most vulnerable. Of course, many Canadians still buy the mainstream spin that the NDP is a radical socialist party that would instantly nationalize all industry, but those who pay attention know better. But then people are remarkably foolish as they constantly display in their attacks on Unions. So much of what we enjoy in our society from universal education and health, to the forty hour work week and legislation that protects workers and consumers, we owe in large part to Union activists. Furthermore, as wages in Western nations have stagnated in the past generation they have done so in direct correlation with the decline of union membership. Unions are certainly not perfect, but they actually stand for something, and that is the improvement of people's lives and living conditions.

My prediction is that people and political groups will continue to avoid standing for anything meaningful until the Conservative agenda is successful enough to make it clear that all they care about is the rich and when the majority have lost their rights, their incomes, their decent homes, and everything else, then the struggle will have to begin all over. One day people will suddenly wake up and think 'Wow, how did we let them turn back the clock to the 19th century??"