Sunday, October 21, 2018

stephen harper's new buk

So, plodding dullard, pants-pissing coward, anti-democratic doofus, brazen hypocrite, overall incompetent, stephen harper has (in a desperate attempt to appear relevant) farted out a book of sorts.

It's called I'm Really Stupid Now (or something). In it, he apparently says that something he calls the global free-market economy has produced winners and losers and that these fucking losers are turning to extremists such as Donald Trump (on the right) and Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn (on the left).

Of the two extremes, harper says that he's more scared of the left. [Since harper is on "coward" mode full-time he's obviously terrified to the point of nausea and incontinence.] What is necessary to combat this extremism is to construct a "conservatism" that pays attention to working people's concerns.

I'll give Andrew Coyne a word-in here. (While I think Coyne's own political-economic theories are incredibly dangerous, he showed himself to be one of the more principled critics of harper's contemptuous treatment of Canada's parliamentary institutions, and he therefore has my respect.)

And yet the mind it reveals is not that of the subtle, sometimes rueful voice of experience he clearly wishes the reader to imagine. It is, rather, all too conventional, even banal. What are presented as iconoclastic insights, in which the rise of populism is explained in terms of the failings of conservatism — former Conservative prime minister breaks with decades of conservative orthodoxy! — are a mix of received wisdom and undergraduate shibboleths, many of them long debunked.

It was Jim Owen, guest-blogging at Dr. Dawg's who first hepped me to harper's sad effort. I'll quote a couple of sections wherein he, like Coyne, exposes harper for the banality that he is:

Apparently globalists are doing much better than localists, but in Mr. Harper’s argument this remains a hidden premise, which spares him the trouble of explaining it. How globalists came to be independent of the nation-state, and how exactly this confers invulnerability from the woes affecting localists, is left to our imagination. One supposes that perhaps they are wealthier, and that there might be a class conflict between a wealthy globalist elite and a dispossessed state-bound proletariat. Certainly Harper employs the claim, in explaining the West’s restive populism, that “incomes of working people have stagnated or even declined over the past quarter-century.” But, curiously for an economist, he does not clearly connect the growing wealth gap with the dominant form of economic activity in the West, that is to say, a capitalism that actively resists state regulation....It is a regrettable trait of ideological thinking to start with an answer, and then apply it to whatever problems one observes. Stephen Harper has correctly identified a growing class conflict between the well-to-do and “working people” — an idea he might have encountered in another form during his studies in economics — but has made the colossal blunder of failing to work from this observation towards a rational and unprejudiced course of action. Instead he clings to a set of “values” that must guide us, notwithstanding their suspicious resemblance to the very principles that he says got us into the mess in the first place: pro-market, pro-trade, pro-globalization, pro-immigration. More than this, he says that any unnamed alternatives would be “a big mistake” without offering any reasons why, at least in this excerpt....There is more to be said about this book excerpt. Its analysis of the Make America Great Again movement in terms of the international politics of Iraq and Afghanistan is regrettably shallow. According to Mr. Harper, these misadventures incurred “enormous human and financial costs…with very little success.” As a result, “global security deteriorated,” which fed the populist America-first movement. One longs to explore the failures of these initiatives, and to trace the concomitant deterioration of security, in order to learn what mistakes were made and how they might be prevented.

In short, harper has produced what could only be expected of him. A dully written set of shallow assertions about the state of the world and his wholly inadequate suggested solutions. Some people are evil geniuses. They're terrifying in their creativity and their practical accomplishments. Whereas others people, like stephen harper, are more like this small lump of foul-smelling evil sitting in the middle of the room. It's best when faced with a turd like stephen harper, to get a dustpan and a broom and sweep it up and toss it outside.

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