Well, we can now confidently announce that the Liberal Party has hit the lowest point of its long and occasionally illustrious history. As most of the bloggers who have earned my respect are at least nominal supporters of that party, I thought it appropriate to offer my condolences and share a few thoughts, not in attenuation of the disaster (for there can be no attenuation of it), but in elucidation of it.
From the time of its Reform and True Grit beginnings, the Liberal Party has advanced its naïve post-Enlightenment utopianism and arid Utilitarianism by way of many extraordinary leaders--some of them renowned for their intellectual rigor (Robert Baldwin, Edward Blake), others for their gentle humanity and integrity (Laurier, Pearson, St. Laurent), and others for their cold, calculating ruthlessness (King, Trudeau).
Stephane Dion will no doubt be remembered primarily as a "nice guy", unless some other as-yet undiscovered virtue supersedes what has so far been his only claim to eminence. This is why Stephen Harper will win the next election--not because he is a better person, nor because he has better ideas (or any ideas), nor because he makes a better prime minister. Stephen Harper will win because he is an asshole.
Paul Martin was not an asshole. Joe Clark was not an asshole. Pierre Trudeau was an asshole. Mackenzie King was an asshole. Brian Mulroney was an asshole. Yes, being a good politician is very important for those who wish to win, but being an asshole is absolutely vital. Not only is Stephane Dion not an asshole, but he is up against one of the most pluperfect assholes this nation has ever produced (and will ever produce). Stephen Harper is an asshole's asshole.
St. Paul asserted that "Satan is the lord of this world". We watch sadly as the works of evil men prosper, while those of good men come to nought. Yeats offered his famous lament: "the best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity". The world, you see, is designed for assholes. Fortunately for Stephen Harper, he is a lord among assholes.
When he emerged red and bawling from the amniotic Eden of his mother's womb, Stephen Harper was an asshole. While he memorised the alphabet and the Periodic Table, he was an asshole. When he kissed his first girl (as a graduate student, no doubt), he was an asshole. When, his mundane strivings at an end, he at last leaps into the Great Infinite Darkness, he will do so as an utter, unalloyed, unmitigated asshole. Stephen Harper may have only a Masters in Economics, but he has a PhD in being an asshole.
As you and I sleep, Stephen Harper meditates ways to perfect being an asshole. When you and I are eating, he is husbanding his resources for the sake of magnifying his capacity to be an asshole. He is the Platonic Form of the asshole. He is not just an assshole; he is Asshole in its pure plenary Ideality. Harper is the Heideggerian coming-into-being of assholicity. He is the Foucauldian episteme which makes possible the very concept of "asshole". He is the arché-asshole; the proto-asshole. Before Moses, before Adam, before the Lord's breath swept over the dark and formless void, Stephen Harper had begun being an asshole.
He is the distilled spirit of asshole--its quintessence. Every syllable of Harper's every word is an aria sung in unison by a thousand mezzo soprano assholes. He's the tenor in his very own asshole operetta. T.S. Eliot once wrote that "the worlds revolve like ancient women gathering fuel in vacant lots". He was wrong. The worlds revolve like Stephen Harper gathering fuel in vacant lots. Why? Because Harper is an asshole.
Stephen Harper brings out the worst in me. He brings out the worst in everybody, because he's an asshole. He will beat Stephane Dion, badly. Because he is an asshole, and assholes are the lords of this world.