The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Liberalism – The National Pathology

Posted on August 31, 2010

There are a few things about wealth in this country that we should get our collective head around. The first is that we are more vulnerable to it. From the beginning of time people craved riches but understood that it was never likely to be theirs.   Liberal economics turned all that on its head, and in Canada most people have achieved a standard of living thought impossible only a few decades previous.  The average kitchen that cost $9,000 in 1958 now costs almost $60,000.  In the U.S., the number of vehicles owned between 1969 and the late ‘90s grew by a phenomenal 144%.  More staggering yet is that this figure represents twice the growth of the number of drivers.  In 2003, the U.S. Department…

Liberalism – The National Mirror

Posted on August 30, 2010

Heading into our last few posts on liberalism, it’s time to determine how people of liberal temperament can apply themselves to some of the significant challenges mentioned in earlier posts. For one thing, how do liberals re-engage with a society a little long in the tooth in its entitlements and wealth – the comfortable?  Since the beginnings of liberalism it has been assumed that the more citizens can share in the wealth, the more generous and outward-looking they will become.  For a time it was true.  The expansion of wealth in liberal states led to the dynamic growth of the middle-class we witnessed for decades. What many failed to consider was the phenomenal increase of what modern psychologists call “the narcissism problem.”  Rather than…

Liberalism – Sidebar #4

Posted on August 27, 2010

There are those occasions when liberals are required to put down their policy books and consultations and brace themselves for a fight.  Like most political persuasions, liberals have governed and fought in wars and proven their worth.  Liberalism’s very birthing process involved the struggle against tyranny, excessive moralism, economic monopoly and ideological authoritarianism. It goes against my nature, but I believe the time has arrived for liberals in numerous camps across this country to rise up against what governance and the public space has become.  My background has helped me to seek accommodation with political foes across the aisle.  Moreover, the privilege of working with those conservatives that are progressive has been both instructive and personally empowering. But I refuse to accept the ideological…

Liberalism – The New War of 1812

Posted on August 26, 2010

At some point along the way, Karl Rove invaded Canada.  As George W. Bush’s key political strategist, Rove introduced a new kind of politics based on dominance over consensus or compromise.  His forceful incursion into the political domain directly challenged a common understanding that had dominated much of twentieth century politics. In closely guarded documents sent to the more ardent faction of the Republican Party, Rove reasoned that liberal democracies had established a pattern of fair-mindedness, respected reciprocity, or trust in viable procedure. Because of such traits, liberalism was the primary choice of the “middle.”  But Rove reasoned that as citizens became more empowered under small “l” liberal progress, they also were becoming more detached and distracted.  The decline in voter turnout was a…

Liberalism – Dumbed-down Nation

Posted on August 25, 2010

Speaking to his old Alma Mater, John Kennedy went straight to the heart of liberalism, or rather its mind:  “Liberalism respects man’s most important right: the right to think for himself.  It does not seek to control his mind but leaves him free to use his rational faculties to the best of his ability.”  Applied liberalism means free minds.  Kennedy was a pretty smart guy, but he understood that even a free mind could be curtailed by stupidity, and, sad to say, modern liberalism can be crucified by it. Seriously, there aren’t many Canadians who believe climate change is a joke, but despite all we know and see in changing weather patterns and environmental decay, we continue to act as though we aren’t sure. …