Saturday, February 24, 2007

Confession: Am I a Conservative? UPDATED

Over the past couple years I have developed my political and personal beliefs. About three years ago I voted for NDP and in the 2004 federal election I voted for the Liberals, because I thought Stephen Harper was 'scary'. Thankfully I've seen the light and become more critical of what my professors and the media tells me to think. I still think the current Liberals (both Federal and provincial) are not fit to run our country/province. However, I'm beginning to wonder where my place is in the political ideological spectrum. I will explain my beliefs.

As indicated on the right in my profile I'm pro-same-sex marriage and against the death penalty. I don't believe in the death penalty because I think it goes against the whole philosophy of law. It's wrong to kill, but when we kill you it's okay: this just doesn't make any sense.

I'm pro-SSM but at the same time, I also believe in freedom of religion. Tolerance and respect are a two way street. If religious people are supposed to be "tolerant" of gay couples wanting to marry, then the GLT community should be respectful of people who hold beliefs about marriage being between one man and one woman. But therein lies a fundamental problem. While, I would argue that religion does not own the word 'marriage', but when 'rights' conflict, gay rights will always trump religious rights. I've written a long 30 page paper on this topic, and can't do justice to it in this short blog entry.

As for other political topics, I'm on the fence whether I'm pro-life/choice. I don't like when it's done as a form of birth control, and I am appalled that Canada does not have any abortions laws (especially 3rd trimester abortions), but at the same time, if I got pregnant today (over 5 years ago) I can't honestly say that I wouldn't consider an abortion. At the same time I argue against the created "women's reproductive rights". If we want men involved, and since they are a part of the creation of a baby, then it can't just be a one-sided 'right', even if women are the carriers.

I hate feminists as I have previously blogged about.

As for the environment: while the environment is important we should leave as less of a footprint as possible on this earth, I believe that the Church of Kyotology and their zenmasters Gore and Suzuki are just as susceptible to influences of money just as oil companies are. I'm also not sold on the 'science' that backs it up man-made global warming. Many of my fellow bloggers have done a great job of pointing to the holes in this new mass "crisis".

Somehow in all of this, 'The Sky is Falling' we have forgotten other very important issues: Health Care. On less controversial political topics like health care, I also have strong opinions. Thanks to the left: Tommy Douglas and our health care system have become national icons, and anyone who dare question universal health care is un-Canadian. But many fail to realize that Canada was not the first to have universal health care, that it's not the best in the world, and it's going to collapse in the next twenty years if changes are not implemented because of our aging population. I also despise it when people refer to changing our health care system to assume it to be "American-style health care". The American system is not a free-market system, it is actually very regulated, but at the same time the American health care system is the most expensive and ineffective of all the Western nations. If this topic interests you check out three books by David Gratzer. The truth is, health care will be a crisis because of our aging population and changes will have to be made that will include private health care. The sooner 'private' stops becoming a bad word in political discourse, the sooner we can take action.

The problem is, in an election or unstable minority parliament if Harper were to talk about private two-tired health care and how Kyoto is a fantasy, he will lose the next election. As Kim Campbell once said, "An election is no time to discuss serious issues".

In terms of economic policy, I understand the importance of understanding the economy and how it works. I actually believe that economics should be a mandatory course for students to graduate high school. I get really fired up when colleagues, and professors spew crap about how the world should be, but have no understanding of how the world works. Not that I have all the answers, but I'll give an example. My student union, who I work for but who doesn't speak to me, are always protesting something. The beef I take is the push for $10 minimum wage. These tree-hugging hippies can't even understand basic math. They profess on how they hate the evil multi-national corporations, but don't understand that $10/hr min. wage gives puts out the small businessman (I mean....businessperson....*hurl*) and actually gives more. I'll illustrate. Let's say a small business employs 10 employees, and extra 1$/hour for 10 full time workers in 1 year is $20,000! To a big corporation, that's pennies, to a small business owner that's a fortune. But somehow my hippie colleagues can't figure this out. And don't get me started with the constructed statistic of women's $0.71 of a man's $1.00...

I believe in universal education, but I believe that post-secondary education is a privilege and not a right, and that tuition fees should not be lowered.

I could go on about other issues like the military etc... But the problem is, in the Canadian political spectrum, with more and more parties moving to the left the conservatives have almost become the centre party, almost but not quite.

However, according to some of my fellow bloggers, I'm not a true conservative because of some of the issues in which what I believe. So where do I belong?

According to Michael Adams in this book, I am a moderate progressive swing voter in terms of US politics (see the last chapter in his book).

Will I vote Liberal one day in the future? Perhaps, but certainly not today. I'm not a political sciences student, so I don't know all the theories about liberalism, conservatism and the whole big and small letter L/l C/c. But, where Canadian federal politics stand, I am definitely Conservative (big C intended).

UPDATE: Thanks to one of my commentators, I did the political compass quiz and here's where I stand. Thanks for all your comments :-)

16 Comments:

Blogger Kitchener Conservative said...

Great post!

Only you can answer what conservative means to you, no one has the monopoly on what it is.

Fri Feb 23, 07:01:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Shades of Clarity said...

Wether conservative or liberal it is important that you keep an open mind and think for yourself. Politics is never black and white as the mainstream parties would have you believe, shades of all kinds are the norm.
You never have to commit yourself to one side or the other just watch, listen, learn and separate out the partisanship to get the message.

Sat Feb 24, 12:01:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than worry about what you are, try looking at what you believe and the inconsistancies in every one of your positions. Life is never black and white but until you formulate a comprehensive set of right and wrong values you will twist in the wind wondering where you belong. Don't worry about it. Life has a funny way of solidifying these values whether you want them or not. It is just much more satisfying if you are aware of the process as you realize the foolishness of youth as you gently forgo it in order to gain true wisdom.

Sat Feb 24, 12:50:00 AM EST  
Blogger ddrfreak said...

Being "conservative" means something different to each one of us. It doesn't mean that you’re "for" one policy or another; it means that you believe that Stephen Harper is the best man to lead this great country.
I will admit, I really struggled after the 2006 election with my political beliefs, and I thought maybe I belonged in the Liberal Party due to my SSM beliefs as well as my inability to find a difference between Harper and Martin.
Then Dion was elected and I realized not only as a Conservative, but as a Canadian, that we must never let this man come to power in Canada, because all that is down that road is deficit and despair.
Conservatives are all different, we have libertarians, social conservatives, red Tories, westerners, and just pure blue Tories, but we all find common ground in one place: Were NOT liberals :)

Sat Feb 24, 01:07:00 AM EST  
Blogger hunter said...

I can understand your confusion, no-one fits exactly into one political party. You talk mainly of social issues like SSM and abortion, those are usually determined by how religious you might be, not by your political views. You need to look at which party supports your most important issues. For me, I don't mind SSM, but I am against abortion. So, I seem Liberal with SSM, but Conservative with abortion. Of the 2 issues, I could really care less about SSM, but I care deeply about abortion.

You never mention balanced budgets, smaller government, more control for provinces, all the things fiscal Conservatives like to talk about, because that is front of mind for them.

Liberals talk about the big tent, but when it comes right down to it, it's really the Conservatives that have the biggest tent, we attract not only social Conservatives like you, but fiscal Conservatives and others as well. Sometimes we have so many factions, it's hard to keep track of them all, it's also hard to label yourself a Conservative, because we come in all colours. So, if you are concerned about the individual, and helping them, but not by money alone, if you want to achieve success for yourself, you are probably a Conservative.

I'm lucky, I have no doubt that I am Conservative, it's in my bones. It's not a political party to me, it's a way to live my life.

Sat Feb 24, 01:50:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I my self have gone throgh evolutions and many changes trough out the years. So I can see where you are coming from I my self once consider myself to be on the very far left to now being quite right wing. For me it was more about learning about my self than actuall policy. As someone has all ready said the conservative party is a big tent party and your views for the most part fit in well on the fiscal point of veiw. And your social views are not as uncommon in the conservative party as they were before.

Sat Feb 24, 07:47:00 AM EST  
Anonymous M. Grégoire said...

There are two major routes to modern conservatism: libertarianism, and traditionalism.

Libertarians uphold the ideals of personal freedom. This is generally based upon a respect for the transcendent importance of the individual; government is inherently coercive, ordering us to do this or forbidding us to do that, or taking our money (limiting our own choices) to give to goals we don't necessarily support. There is also the pragmatic argument that, given $100, you are more likely to know how to spend it to benefit yourself and your family than some government far off in Ottawa.

The traditionalists are sceptical about the power of reason to reveal the good life. The great crimes of recent history have occurred when groups make a totem of "the nation", or "equality", or even "liberty", taking one big idea and then trying to make the world conform to it. The traditionalists think that this is highly dangerous due to the complexity of human affairs and the fallibility of human nature, and so what has worked in our past is our best guide to how we should make our choices for the future; insteading of trying to shape the world around our ideas, we should cautiously shape our ideas based upon the world. Radical changes are to be avoided, except perhaps to undo recent radical changes.

The routes of libertarianism and traditionalism don't always lead to the same end. But for most practical political issues they do, since Canada even fifty years ago was a much freer country than it is now. And, more theoretically, traditionalists are sympathetic to freedom because it gives scope for individuals to develop personal virtue and doesn't tend to promote vice. The weakness of libertarianism is that it is a philosophy of government, but it doesn't really answer the big questions of what individuals ought to do with their freedom; traditionalists can suggest some answers.

If you feel that you basically agree with either of these two philosophies, then you are at heart a conservative. Even if you disagree with both, you may still find that the Conservative Party is the best political entity at this time to bring about the policies you support.

Sat Feb 24, 09:10:00 AM EST  
Anonymous RC said...

A lot of people find this test to be pretty good:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/

Sat Feb 24, 09:23:00 AM EST  
Blogger Toronto Tory said...

Your views don't sound all that different from my own, and I couldn't see myself voting for any party other than the Conservative party.

Sat Feb 24, 09:56:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great questions, great post. One problem that I have is with the concept of "gay rights". I don't believe in gay rights, I believe in human rights.

Sat Feb 24, 11:25:00 AM EST  
Blogger odie441 said...

WOW....What a great post. If more people would actually sit down and think their political views through like you did, a Conservative majority landslide would ensue. Thank you for sharing your views with us. I have even learned a few things about myself from reading it.

Sat Feb 24, 12:24:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jarrett said...

:) It's a tribute to your intellectual honesty and self-awareness that you would still question something like this when I never considered you anything other than a Conservative...

... and I say this based on our MSN convos and things like that as well.

BTW, your political compass result is just a more restrained version of mine ;)

Sat Feb 24, 02:19:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who agrees with 100% of the party's policies they vote for? I'd bet very few. That's how a democracy works though, because we can all find a place where we agree with our most important issues, and respect the values and persona of the leader of the political party we choose to place our vote with.

My values are Canadian, and I believe those are Conservative values, unlike what the Liberals try to say.

It's pretty simple when it comes down to it. Trust, integrity, action, consistency, thoughtfulness, caring....while at the same time realizing that every human being is imperfect.

I'm not "for" ssm but I appreciated the free vote that was put forth in the House. Democracy spoke....hopefully, for now. However, I can live with the outcome, because it was a free vote, and because the Prime Minister kept his promise to hold it.

I like it when promises are kept.

Sat Feb 24, 02:36:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Deepthinker said...

Hey,

You are at the exact same spot as I on the compass and I have no quams about being Conservative! Do not worry about where exactly you stand as long as you believe MORE in our policies than the others than that is all that counts.

Sat Feb 24, 02:46:00 PM EST  
Blogger Nicol DuMoulin said...

This is a wonderfully written post. I think what it really comes down to, is that you are a complex human being who defies labels.

Amen to that.

I think anyone who only identifies themselves as a 'liberal' or 'conservative' or 'libertarian' ultimately will see the world through too narrow a splinter and will wind up going through many contradictions and inconsistencies.

How can a 'progressive' be for free speech and also for political correctness, the greatest form of censorship in our lifetime?

How can someone who is 'pro-life' not put equal emphasis on poverty and AIDS in Africa?

I think you are finding out you are just a complex person. Nothing at all wrong with that. You are genuinely tolerant and thoughtful. If only more bloggers on the left and right were such.

I do think SSM is an issue that comes from such a polarized place to begin with that it can only yield disasterous results. The attacks on freedom of religion have already begun (Knights of Columbus, marriage commisioners fired, the Kempling case) and one academic literary publication has already stated that the battle to take away the tax-free charitable status of churches will be next. Sadly, we know who will win.

But I know your views and respect you.

I do think modern conservatism is being redefined as we speak, partially due to necessity and partially due to the fact that for so many years the left has succeeded in moving the center further left.

I do not think too many people agree 100% with the party of their choice. One friend of mine is staunchly NDP but has serious reservations about the whole legalization of drug culture that they tend to stand for.

I have another friend who votes liberal that can't stand the left flank/neo-marxist wing of the party.

I, myself vote conservative but believe in socialized medicine and see the necessity for unions. I am also in the arts community and have no problems with depictions of sex and violence in the arts/film so long as it serves a narrative purpose. That puts me at odds with many in the religious community.

I think you are on a genuinely thoughtful journey and I look forward to continuing to read your thoughts.

All the best.

Thu Mar 01, 09:02:00 AM EST  
Blogger Jordan Alcock said...

Glad to help out - Very well written piece, and an issue that I've seen quite a few times before. Enjoy the blog, it's on my daily read list now!

Mon Mar 05, 06:42:00 PM EST  

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