Gods of the Copybook Headings: We Are All Red Tories Now
Thursday, June 07, 2007
It seems the Harris-style conservatism has been put on the back burner to return to the old fashioned Davis-style moderate stance. Although I'd rather have John Tory as premier instead of McWimpy, it seems that the political differences now between the Liberals and PC's are far and few between. The key reason why the PCs ran Ontario for nearly half a century uninterrupted was due to being in power during the long economic boom period after WWII. People are less reluctant to change governments when economic times are good. Thus, it wasn't until the economic downturn in the 1980's that the PCs lost power. This stranglehold on power could have just has easily been the Liberals instead of the PCs: it was just luck that the PCs were in power when the boom period began.However, I'd have to disagree with the article's point of view that the Ontario Liberals were voted in 2003 because they were the "default" choice. The Liberals have only governed Ontario for 9 of the last 65 years. Basically, the only times they are voted in is when voters are either sick of the PCs or the economy isn't doing well.
the old fashioned Davis-style moderate stanceThere was nothing moderate about exploding the size of Ontario's government, the size of its debt and its tax rates. If the policies seemed benign at the time it's only because Davis was not able to destroy the province's huge industrial capacity in such a short time. Bob Rae would get most of the blame for that, though of course the final act is still being played out.Mike Harris seemed terribly rude because he actually wouldn't acknowledge that money grows on trees and that the government is everybody's Daddy. Shame on him, the nasty so-and-so, and please give us back our utterly bankrupt and hollow - but oh so comforting - illusions.Publius gets near the nub of the problem here:Without an intellectual program of what government could and should do, there was no way of arguing how big or small government should be.That's right. There is absolutely no logical argument for big government at all, or for any sized government. Once you step off the intellectual plank with the assumption that all people are bad - except when they wear badges of office backed up by a police force and army - then any argument for bigger and bigger government will win. And has won, and continues winning. Mike Harris barely held back the growth of government and the enfeeblement of private citizens, and this only happened because the Province ran into a brick wall of interest payments versus income. Fast forward a few years in which the currency has been significantly devalued (thanks to the magic of central banking) and POOF! even though everyone is poorer, less productively employed, has even lower savings and less hope for the future than before, the goal line has been moved once again and government has resumed its expansion.The only correct argument is that government is bad and more government is mo' badder than less government. Therefore every attempt to expand government must be resisted and every opportunity to decrease government must be seized. If you get sucked into the position that "OK government is good, but HOW BIG should it be to make it great", then you've lost. If government is good, then you must have as much of it as possible. If freedom is good, then government is its enemy.
You can't have freedom without a government. This doesn't mean that you should have BIG government. Just a government that does the right thing.
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