Friday, October 17, 2008

Obligatory Election Post

As a market anarchist, libertarian and free market advocate (and the real free market, not the crony capitalism and state capitalism most people today try to pass off as the free market) I found little except mild entertainment in this election.

As a former NDP party hack, who worked in an election or two, I still have an appreciation for how our system works (or rather doesn't work). Here are my observations as an outsider with no horse in the race:


Thank you so much for an completely unnecessary $200 million election which changed little. I'm sure glad you broke your own fixed election date law in order to call it. Such fiscal prudence. Funny how you can come up with that kind of money for a frivolous election called so you didn't have to run one during a recession, but you still can't come up with money to build a school for the kids in Atawapiskat. But I guess since you guys are already hiding a $20 billion deficit, I can somewhat understand. I mean, this is Jim Flaherty, he has a history of doing this kind of thing.

And what was your first act the day after your election? Release a "6 point plan" that is nearly identical to the Liberal's "5 point plan" that, during the election, you guys panned as an example of Dion "panicking". How very Pierre Trudeau of you all:

Trudeau later (in October 1975) instituted wage and price controls, something which he had mocked Progressive Conservative Party leader Robert Stanfield for proposing during the election campaign a year earlier.

If the above isn't enough to convince that Stephane Dion is this generation's Robert Stanfield - a smart, genuine leader with interesting ideas who could never get elected Prime Minister - than I don't know what will. Dion's ATV gaffe near the end of the election last week is his "Stanfield football picture", his defining moment of "image politics". Like Stanfield, it doesn't matter how many pictures there were of him catching the football, or, in Dion's case, answering the question well in other contexts, the image that remains to this day is of a frail, nerdy Stanfield NOT catching that ball. The image of Dion will, for a long time be his inability to understand the question and get a do over. Yes, I could barely understand the question, but the image is important, sadly, not the reality.

Dion never connected with his own base it seems causing life long Liberals to either not vote or vote for the Conservatives. This is what caused the lose of seats in Ontario, not the damn traitorous NDP not supporting you against Harper. Case in point (and purely anecdotal, but still revealing) my wife only voted Liberal in this election because the candidate was an old high school teacher. She told me she would have voted Conservative if he hadn't been the candidate, despite the fact she hates Pierre Poilievre, because she feels its her duty to vote and she will not vote Liberal if Dion is the leader. Her parents were similar - they actually voted for John Baird, because they feared losing their income splitting in a Liberal Green shift and similarly don't like Dion.

They all told me they would have voted Liberal if either Bob Rae or Michael Ignatief were leader. Take that for what it is worth.

Bottom line is the Liberal brand is not enough to over come Dion's poor image and inability to connect with the electorate. The Liberals will simply not form a government with Dion as the leader. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can fix it. You can fix it by replacing Dion or changing Dion's image radically - and that may require a course of steroids and him punching out Jason Kenney at a press conference (not a bad idea actually).

Or you can continue to blame the NDP and a conspiracy involving Mike Duffy and Robert Fife for your woes. Your choice.

And that's not even mentioning the poorly run, uninspiring campaign.


A well run but entirely predictable campaign. And I found that the party of principle I once belonged to is gone. So while its understandable that you dismiss a candidate for exposing himself to teenage girls, dismissing candidates for once being part owner of a store that sold marijuana seeds when it has been the party's policy to at least decriminalize pot for years seems more than a bit hypocritical. All style and no substance.

Oh boy and when faced with economic hardship the answer is...roll back corporate tax cuts. Is there a problem in this country that can't be solved by "rolling back corporate tax cuts"? Seems to me this is merely the flip side of the Conservative "there is no problem in this country that can't be solved BY reducing corporate taxes" coin.

Maybe some fresh ideas beyond the "roll back corporate tax cuts" mantra next time, mkay?

And in this slightly changed Parliament you now hold the balance of power, something you didn't last time around. So when the Conservatives come calling, I hope you stand your ground on such things as refusing to pass legislation throwing 14-year-olds in jail for life and other draconian measures they will certainly propose.

I'm not holding my breathe.


Lizzy May did great in the debate, but sadly was unable to get a seat, either her own or for someone else. Of course most Canadians still think of the Greens as a one issue party, so perhaps you ought to really spread the news about your other platform stands. I think your ideas around health care are interesting...try focusing on that.

But what has this really shown? That by lying, smearing and manipulating people, the party that gets 37% of the votes of the 59% of the electorate the voted can now rule us all with "legitimacy" because the broken method of "democracy" ran its course.

Me? I don't really care.

I don't care what silly laws and regulations Harper tries to pass because I will simply ignore and disobey any that I do not explicitly agree to follow. Meaning I will rip MP3, copy DVD and do whatever the hell I want with the media I have purchased. Meaning I will go out of my way to refuse to pay taxes to support a war I do not agree with. Meaning I will defend and support abortion providers, underground if necessary, no matter what.

I don't care if Dion stays or goes, because I will never vote Liberal. But if any Liberals have any intellectual honesty, they should consider their own faults and the observations I made, rather than playing the victim.

I have said it before and it bears repeating at this time as a reminder of what is possible, from Henry David Thoreau's On Civil Disobedience:

"I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least";and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient."

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At 4:17 PM, Blogger Greg said...

You'll have to pardon my confusion, but how do you put together a demand for a government that "governs not at all" with a desire for public education for anything (i.e. as in Atawapiskat)?

I think everyone should get a completely kick-ass education entirely on the government dime, but your libertarian/anarchist/socialist stance confuses me.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Mike said...


I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy of a government that claimed building a school for kids in Atiwapiskat was too expensive, even when they have a legal and fiduciary obligation to do so after more than a century of claiming to need to "take care of" natives, then dropping $290 million on an unwanted and unneeded election for partisan political advantage without a thought.

That's the problem with governments - they never act in our interests (or the kids in Atawapiskat) but in their own. I think people ought to get free education as well, but I submit it can be done without a central state that claims sole responsibility for delivery, then fails to do so. What alternative do you have?

The Federal Government, which used its coercive monopoly on violence to force natives into the reserve system, into a cycle of dependence by destroying their culture over decades, which has set itself up as the sole means for these people to get a school, cries poverty and not enough cash as the reason it won't build it. This after nearly a decade of surpluses.

Then it turns around and spends $290 million on an election (about 10 Atiwapsikat schools) or $25 billion on banks who took to many risks (because the Feds would bail them out).

And this is the system I'm supposed to believe in and keep supporting to fix it? If only we had the right people in charge of the monopoly of violence?

Sorry, I think people would happily donate money freely to build and staff a school in Atiwapiskat. i thin the people in that community ought to be free to get the funding anyway they see fit, or to leave and live elsewhere. Right now they can't, without losing their reserve benefits (that would be the cycle of dependence).

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Stanfield.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Mike said...


Thanks Anon, fixed....only took three days to notice.



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