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Fwd: This Sums it Up

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  • Tom Smith
    ... Edmonton Journal, September 1, 2000 Me a so-con? Not Really. By Lorne Gunter Forty years ago I would have been called a liberal. Today, I m a conservative,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2000
      ---forwarded commentary---
      Edmonton Journal, September 1, 2000

      Me a so-con? Not Really.

      By Lorne Gunter

      Forty years ago I would have been called a liberal.
      Today, I'm a
      conservative, and a social conservative to boot.

      I wear the label with pride. But truth be told, it's
      not exactly "me."

      A columnist of my acquaintance was asked by Maclean's
      to define
      conservatism. He called me for my thoughts. And I, in
      turn, thought
      might like to peer over my shoulder at my answer.

      The label actually says more about modern liberals
      than it does about
      so-called social conservatives.

      In most cases, it is a label given to one by liberals.
      And one really
      to do only one thing to get it: Refuse to worship at
      the altar of
      government. (It helps to go to church regularly, too.
      That makes one
      suspicious in liberal circles.)

      But in truth, liberals are ready to slang just about
      anyone -
      church-goer or
      not - who so much as hesitates in his or her belief in
      the unmitigated

      nobility of government and its infinite ability to
      solve all problems
      social, cultural, fiscal, medical, interpersonal,

      Back in the budget-cutting '90s, liberals called such
      heretics "neo-cons." With the ascension of Stockwell
      Day, they're now
      "so-cons." No matter. The liberals don't fully
      understand either term.
      intent of the slur is not to inform public debate,
      anyway, but to
      it, to censor disapproval of the state before it gets

      So what if the label is a broad brush? Liberals would
      call their
      "lilly-livered, yellow-bellied, sons of one-eyed
      prairie dogs" it they

      thought it would achieve their ends.

      One need not be racist or sexist, homophobic or
      heartless to be called
      any or
      all of these, either. One need only question the
      wisdom of state
      for bigotry, sexism, gay rights and poverty.

      I don't believe women are inferior, or that their only
      place is
      bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen. But I
      vehemently disagree with
      feminist contention that no natural differences exist
      between the
      sexes. And
      I am even more strenuously opposed to state-imposed
      sameness, to
      efforts to diminish the family, to employment equity,
      and to judicial
      favouritism toward women in marital disputes.

      True equality, meaningful equality between men and
      women has never
      come from
      the tip of a legislator's pen, and never will.
      Revenge, sure. Women
      who feel
      hard done by men can use the power of the state to
      retribution. But
      not respect.

      Ditto racial equality.

      So-con! Sexist! Dinosaur!

      I find abortion repugnant, as an act. I would not
      outlaw it, though,
      at least
      not before a broad-based social consensus develops
      that abortion is as
      as murder, rape and robbery.

      However, because I will do my bit to promote such a
      consensus, because
      refuse to gloss over the medical and social evidence
      against abortion,
      because I would end state funding for the procedure
      (Feminists love to
      abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor.
      So why doesn't
      one of
      them pay for it?), I am branded a so-con, a threat to
      democracy and

      I favour reasonably robust immigration, but only in
      the absence of the

      welfare state and official multiculturalism. I'm
      prepared to let
      large numbers move into Canada, but only if they
      commit to contribute

      I object not to immigration, but to the state
      manipulation of it to
      re-engineer society and redistribute incomes.

      Racist! Xenophobe!

      Porn on the Internet? I wouldn't regulate it. But I
      suspect a lot of
      would, not because of their respect for women's
      dignity, although that
      be their pretext, but because the regulating would
      permit an expansion
      the state.

      Strip shows, peep shows, recreational drugs, gambling,
      I wouldn't ban any of them. But I won't pretend such
      vices carry no
      consequences, and I won't agree the state has a role
      in mitigating
      consequences on behalf of the "victims." (Although the
      state has a
      role in
      controlling the criminal activities around the edges
      of these vices.)

      I would never knowingly discriminate against gays. But
      I deeply resent
      state or the courts telling me I must reorder my life
      or my community
      so gay
      activists find affirmation there, at the expense of my
      freedom of
      association or property.

      Mostly I want the state and those people who disagree
      with my
      lifestyle to
      leave me alone. In return, I promise to leave them
      alone to do as they
      in the privacy of their own lives.
      In my youth, that's what liberalism meant.

      Yet modern liberals cannot leave others alone. They
      always fear
      somewhere is behaving in an objectionable manner. And
      since they
      cannot be
      everywhere at once, they increasingly rely on the
      coercive power of
      state to enforce the norms they favour.

      If it's so-con to oppose that, I'm in.

      Lorne Gunter, Columnist
      The Edmonton Journal
      P.O. Box 2421
      Edmonton AB CANADA
      T5J 2S6
      off tele: (780) 429-5267
      fax: (780) 429-5500 (requires a cover page)
      cell: (780) 916-0719


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