Sunday, 20 April 2008

Quotations of Chairman Harper

Stephen Harper's reputedly sharp intellect is like the mist that wafts up from a tray of melting ice cubes: it's an evanescence--an insubstantial product of specific environmental conditions. Thus, amid the backdrop of the dreary stupidity of our current political discourse, Harper--though blessed with all the charisma of rancid mayonnaise--often seems quite adequate, like a predatory, libertarian, slightly overweight but competent golf caddy.

One needs to pay close attention to what Harper actually says in order fully to appreciate the profound mediocrity of the man. Canada has, sadly, produced very few politicians whose words deserve a life beyond the immediate needs of the moment. Age upon age (as for ages to come), our Parliaments brim with two-bit lawyers, carbuncular sales reps, and middle-management technocrats who wouldn't know how to inspire incontinence in an over-fed infant. Harper is not the worst of these; he is merely one of them, as demonstrated by this collection of Harper quotations, compiled before the 2004 election.

Each quotation has its own special inanity, but some of them deserve special mention for the flamboyance of their incoherence. All of them make sense only in Harperland, that imaginary workers' paradise promised to us by the Great Helmsman and for which he has tirelessly striven since the Great Leap Backward two years ago. Let us arise, then, and go to Harperland--a vast stretch of fog-bound fenland where the laws of logic languish in perpetual suspension.


1)
"Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society…It is in fact totalitarianism".
In Harperland, the key tactic of dictatorial hegemony has always been to provide citizens full access to mechanisms of human rights remediation. This differs from our boring real world, where totalitarian regimes take away citizen access to human rights remediation.


2)
"Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be".
In Harperland, a nation can have many "national" governments. There, people are not bound by the reactionary need to see a "nation" as a unitary organism, bound by collectively experienced values and ambitions. There, all physical, biological and political laws obey the Chairman, so that nations comprised of politically autonomous, culturally disconnected entities are perfectly viable--even ideal. Similarly, Harperlanders do not consider the human body to be in optimum physical condition until it has had its limbs and head lopped off and become a "body" of six sovereign, decentralised bodies.


3)
"Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status…".

In Harperland, when a nation the Chairman despises proclaims pride in its authentic, internationally-recognised strengths, it is deemed to be "boasting", for only those nations with a faltering economy, a massive underclass, disgracefully few social services and an obscenely expensive military establishment have a legitimate right to feel proud.


4)
"...west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society."
In the Chairman's world, those who dare to challenge Harperthought can be dismissed as "unassimilated" ghetto-dwellers who don't quite belong. They are allowed to stay and live in Harperland, of course; they are people, after all. They're just ignorant, which is not a crime. Besides, they make good nannies and janitors.


5)
"I don't know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans".
Unlike normal men, the Chairman does not require facts before declaring war and putting men and women in harm's way. His intuition and strong connection to the stars and planets provide more guidance than a mere grounding in reality ever could.


6)
"Canada remains alienated from its allies, shut out of the reconstruction process to some degree, unable to influence events. There is no upside to the position Canada took."
In Harperland, avoiding Canadian casualties in a useless war is not considered an "upside". This is because, whenever Harperthought triumphs, the people are liberated from the bourgeois, mundane habit of valuing life and seeing its loss as a tragedy. Why, in Harperland, needless killing is hardly even seen as an awkwardness.


7)
"I am more comfortable with a more populist tradition of conservatism. "Toryism" has the historical context of hierarchy and elitism and is a different kind of political philosophy..."
The Chairman has redefined "populism" as the process of spending two decades wallowing in the lap of Big Oil or in the deep end of the public trough while labouring under the delusion that one has not become part of the "élite". The Chairman's own life has been faithful to this vision, and all who wish to follow him must do likewise.

What we've just seen is the way to wring the latent absurdity out of any piece of Harperspeak. It is not difficult. Merely take a sentence, and express, in your own words, what Harper is actually saying.

Feel free to try it at home.

17 comments:

lord omar said...

They would have had more success selling this bleak and narrow vision of Canada with Preston Manning at the helm. Thank the heavens for Stephen Harper.

Peter Burnet said...

You are good. Number four is particularly intriguing and should be passed to Rick Mercer for umm...commentary. I'm loving the image of all those Eastern Canadians and Asian immigrants secretly working together long into the night to figure out how to stay safely in their ghettos and avoid the yahoos around them.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Those of us who have been following and watching Harper since the early '80's know all of this - and more.

The role that Mulroney and Harper played in Uniting the Right was a mere justification for me to avoid the CPC.

Why does the media hold back so much? THAT is the question ...

ch said...

Good column and thanks for the link to the quotes.

Why does the media hold back so much? THAT is the question ...

I agree. Well, Sun media and CTV seem to share Harper's outlook, but Harper is certainly no friend to the rest. In the early days, I liked to think they were holding back for an election but, by now, they must be believing their own spin.

Ti-Guy said...

What we've just seen is the way to wring the latent absurdity out of any piece of Harperspeak. It is not difficult. Merely take a sentence, and express, in your own words, what Harper is actually saying.

"How dare you? How dare you communicate something as dangerous as this to the masses? Are you some kind of class traitor? Check yourself!"

/Jeffery Simpson

"Oh, come on. It can't be that easy, can it? I refuse to find my husb...I mean Harper...that obvious."

/Don Martin

Sir Francis said...

I'm loving the image of all those Eastern Canadians and Asian immigrants secretly working together long into the night to figure out how to stay safely in their ghettos...

Perhaps one of my Albertan readers could tell me how to get to Edmonton's "Newfietown". I'd like to know where to enjoy authentic Maritime cuisine next time I'm in the city.

Aeneas, you're in Edmonton now. Ever taken a wrong turn in the car and ended up in an Eastern ghetto? Is there a special ghetto for Manitobans or are you folks willing to assimilate?

Red Tory said...

“Conservative” supporters are usually quick to point out that these are all old quotes and, therefore, are completely irrelevant. At the same time, they like to remind people that Dion once dallied with Marxism and was a separatist. It’s all part of the wonderful double-standard that applies in Bizzaro Wor… err, I mean Harperland.

Peter Burnet said...

SF:

I'm yours for life. Of course I completely disagree with you on the Americans, Europe and everything to do with saving civilization as we know it, but how refreshing to finally meet someone who doesn't give a sh-t about Western alienation.

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

kudo's for the good post.

Of course I don't really agree with much of it, but I agree its worth the expose and discussion.

You said:

"...like a predatory, libertarian, slightly overweight but competent golf caddy."

Nasty! The worst is that we haven'; even met and you are describing ME.

Tomm

knb said...

SF, this post is so well done that I didn't whether know to laugh or cry. (I laughed a bit I confess.)

The only exception I take is this phrase,

5)

"I don't know all the facts on Iraq, but I think we should work closely with the Americans".

Unlike normal men

I know he's a man and perhaps that is how you
postured that point, but most of us were normal in that time and opposed, even women.

The point is well taken though.

Really well done.

Ti-Guy said...

“Conservative” supporters are usually quick to point out that these are all old quotes and, therefore, are completely irrelevant.

What's amazing about these quotes was that they were so irrational at the time. They weren't simply interpretations of reality; they represented delusional thinking.

Of course, they can be irrelevant now, since we have two years of fresher ones. I hope they get trotted out in the next election. Nothing condemns Harper more and reveals his sociopathy more clearly than his own words.

Sir Francis said...

Conservative” supporters are usually quick to point out that these are all old quotes and, therefore, are completely irrelevant.

Absolutely. And if they were ever to come across a four-year-old interview in which Jack Layton says, "Actually, Al-Qaeda are pretty cool," they would be more than happy to let sleeping dogs lie...

Harper has not retracted a single word of any of the quotations I listed, and there is no reason not to believe that they represent deeply held beliefs--which he has every right in the world to hold, in spite of their patent lunacy.

Aeneas the Younger said...

Harper left the PC Party in the early mid 1980's because it was not sufficiently "American," or "Reaganite" enough for his taste.

How do I know this?

I was there.

Sir Francis said...

...how refreshing to finally meet someone who doesn't give a sh-t about Western alienation.

Yes, it is unfortunate that such a large regional chunk of our nation seems stuck in a stage of political puberty, and it's even more unfortunate that so many Canadians seem to think it cute, as if the sight of a middle-aged man sporting an orange day-glo mohawk could be cute...

By the way, don't feel the need to censor yourself. As I'm sure you've noticed, this is not a G-rated blog; it's PG, at best. Our discussions are not intended for children, though the odd (very odd) Blogging Tory has been known to stop by.

Sir Francis said...

The worst is that we haven'; even met and you are describing ME.

Do you mean the "golf caddy" part, or all of it? :)

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

I'm afraid, its all pretty much me. The overweight, the libertarian, predatory, and I would make a damn good caddy.

Tomm

The Trusty Tory said...

I will continue to stop by, don't you worry! ;)