Fwd: This Sums it Up
- ---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
conservatism. He called me for my thoughts. And I, in
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
not - who so much as hesitates in his or her belief in
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
"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
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
bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen. But I
vehemently disagree with
feminist contention that no natural differences exist
I am even more strenuously opposed to state-imposed
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
the tip of a legislator's pen, and never will.
Revenge, sure. Women
hard done by men can use the power of the state to
Ditto racial equality.
So-con! Sexist! Dinosaur!
I find abortion repugnant, as an act. I would not
outlaw it, though,
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
refuse to gloss over the medical and social evidence
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
them pay for it?), I am branded a so-con, a threat to
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.
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
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
consequences on behalf of the "victims." (Although the
state has a
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
activists find affirmation there, at the expense of my
association or property.
Mostly I want the state and those people who disagree
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
somewhere is behaving in an objectionable manner. And
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
off tele: (780) 429-5267
fax: (780) 429-5500 (requires a cover page)
cell: (780) 916-0719
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!