Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
May 31, 2003
Let's get Harper's label right
Yank off religious fundamentalist, redneck tag
On the Other Hand
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Liberal attack ads released this month targeting Conservative leader Stephen Harper are the overture to what promises to be one of the nastiest federal election campaigns in Canadian history.
One great irony is that Harper is nothing remotely resembling the religious fundamentalist redneck right-winger the Grits are attempting to paint him as. Being a religious fundamentalist redneck right-winger myself, I ought to know. Harper is more accurately categorized as a neo-conservative moderate.
Can conservative traditionalists and liberal humanists coexist harmoniously in the same society? I'm skeptical. With both categories increasingly regarding each other as moral lepers over issues like abortion and gay marriage, it seems that the best we can hope for is tense detente. The likelihood is something much uglier, as we are about to see.
For example, the federal Grits commissioned a pre-election poll asking Ontario voters if they would be more or less likely to vote Conservative if they knew that the Tory Party had been "taken over by evangelical Christians" - an obvious attempt to demonize the Conservatives as a bunch of scary religious extremists (at least in liberal reckoning) This escalation of aggressive anti-conservative, anti-Christian rhetoric does not augur well for peaceful coexistence.
The fundamental problem is that these conflicts of worldview and moral conviction are irreconcilable. When one believes that an unborn child is a human being, it is impossible to respect the view that abortion is "a private decision between a woman and her doctor." When one believes that homosexual orientation is a psychological/adaptive anomaly and that acting it out is morally inadequate, it is impossible to respect the notion that same-sex marriage is an acceptable social innovation.
When one believes that original sin renders inherent human moral improvement impossible, it is impossible to accept the construct of moral progress through history. It is also abundantly evident that liberal humanists harbour no respect for traditionalist convictions.
My point is that no reasonable ground for compromise exists on these issues. Those who suppose such ground exists are merely apathetic - deciding not to decide, which some might naively propose as a workable solution to the culture wars. However, "I don't care" is hardly a noble or commendable stance on serious moral issues, and "live and let live" falls by default on the side of permissiveness rather than restraint, and therefore is really passive assent to liberalism - not "neutrality."
"Live and let live" simply doesn't work for traditionalists, especially on issues like abortion where it amounts to "live and let die." Neither are liberal humanists inclined to "live and let live" when it comes to traditionalists asserting or even defending their convictions in the public square.
Opposition to abortion is "sexism" and "oppression," and resisting the homosexual political agenda is "discrimination" and "hatred" - not to be tolerated by "enlightened society."
With either polarity regarding the other's position with contempt and loathing, there is no common ground upon which to re-establish social harmony. The tension is philosophical. Traditionalists believe moral authority resides in God's created order or in natural law.
For liberal secular humanists, the phenomenon of well-educated and intelligent people deliberately opposing policies and theories the liberal/left regards as promoting the unequivocal common good amounts to an intellectual puzzle at best, and more likely a moral outrage.
For conservative traditionalists, those who advocate systematic infanticide (abortion) and sexual libertinism (homo or hetero) are moral corruptors and wreckers of all that is good and wholesome in society. No reconciling synergy of this dialectic is possible.
So where does that leave us? At best in a continued standoff, but that seems less and less likely to be sustainable. Liberal humanists, currently holding the levers of power, are increasingly bold in using human rights commissions and activist courts as blunt instruments with which to bludgeon their ideological opponents.
Liberals of course believe that once society becomes universally "educated and enlightened," the "chains of tradition" will fall away and earthly paradise will flower. Not in a million years, folks.
Past experiments in libertine decadence have crashed and burned, and this one will too, leaving timeless, objective order to reassert itself as it always has. In the meantime, it won't be pleasant or pretty.
Liberal-humanist, pan-sexual, multicultural "utopia" will inevitably self-destruct under its own weight of erroneous ideological baggage and consequential social distempers. Alas, the self-styled engineers of a brave new world will drag the rest of us down with them.
The irony, as I said at the beginning of these musings, is that Stephen Harper and the new Conservative Party are a lot closer to being small-l liberal secular humanists than they are conservative traditionalists. I personally think that's unfortunate, but it does make the Liberal Party's campaign caricature of Harper egregiously false accusation.
Letter to the Editor - 06/14/04