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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"...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.
"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.
"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.
"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.