Archive for the ‘Socialism’ category

Venezuela seizes General Motors plant as property of the state

April 20, 2017

Venezuela seizes General Motors plant as property of the state, Hot Air, Jazz Shaw, April 20, 2017

This news broke overnight and it undoubtedly comes as a shock to anyone who hasn’t been paying to socialism in general and the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in particular. The government of Venezuela came in and seized control of the General Motors plant in the city of Valencia, taking over the property, assets and accounts. The automotive giant responded by saying that they were immediately halting operations. (CNN)

General Motors says it will immediately halt operations in Venezuela after its plant in the country was unexpectedly seized by authorities.

GM (GM) described the takeover as an “illegal judicial seizure of its assets.”

The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities.

“[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights,” it said in a statement.

GM’s Venezuelan operation was already pretty much at the point of stagnation. Productivity was approaching zero because their currency had collapsed and they couldn’t order parts to keep the lines running. Also, the domestic market for cars wasn’t exactly booming because their potential customers have money which is basically worthless and they’re mostly too busy looking for scraps of food to worry about a new set of wheels.

If nothing else, this incident will provide an enlightening, educational moment for the rest of the world. It’s a given that this is bad news for General Motors, for the workers there… let’s just say it. This is bad news for everyone except Maduro and his cronies. But it also serves to further pull away the mask, allowing the rest of the world to see what’s actually going on. So gather around, kids, because we’re not only seeing how socialism ends (and it always ends this way) but also how the socialist machinery operates through the various phases of its life cycle.

Originally, the government tolerates the presence of foreign manufacturing entities such as General Motors to fill needs they have which can’t be handled domestically. (GM has been there for roughly seven decades.) It’s not that the Venezuelan people are incapable of innovation or creation… there’s simply no motivation for them to strive for success. Anything they create simply becomes the property of the state anyway, so the hard working, innovative person doesn’t realize much more success than the guy who can barely keep his eyes open to show up for his job sweeping the sidewalk. There’s no point to being particularly innovative.

So companies such as GM are allowed to go to work. But once the system inevitably begins to implode, the tyrant in charge begins looking for new resources to grab. In the name of the socialist concept wherein everything “belongs to the people” he seizes the GM plant. They take the cars which are there to hand out to high ranking party officials and divide up the assets while demanding that the workers get back to producing automobiles. This is, of course, impossible because they don’t have the parts to do it and the people who actually know how to run things are fleeing.

These are the fruits of socialism. It’s a humanitarian disaster to be sure, but it’s also a teachable moment. Watch and learn.

The Left’s Shifting Overton Window

March 27, 2017

The Left’s Shifting Overton Window, Front Page MagazineBenny Huang, March 27, 2017

[The “Overton Window” represents the breadth of ideas that the public considers acceptable discourse superimposed over a spectrum ranging from far left to far right. At both ends of the spectrum lurk ideas that are literally “unthinkable.” As we inch closer to the Overton Window we find ideas that are merely “radical.” The first category contained within the Overton Window is “acceptable,” followed by “sensible,” then “popular,” and finally “policy.”

The goal of most progressive strategists has been to move that window so that previously unthinkable ideas become conceivable and eventually uncontroversial. People who don’t adopt the newly mainstreamed idea quickly enough are usually shamed into silence. If they refuse to keep quiet they are shunned by polite society and often lose their livelihoods because their old ideas have been pushed into “radical” and “unthinkable” territory.

**************************

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is prepared to go to the mat to prevent the construction of a wall on our southern border. The senator from New York is threatening to use all available options, including a government shut-down, to forestall three key provisions in the new budget: a deportation force, a border wall, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. 

Well, it’s good to know where Schumer draws his line in the sand. Anything that impedes the endless flow of undocumented Democrats he considers to be an act of war. 

But I’m old enough to remember when Chuck Schumer supported at least one of these budget items. In 2006, he and 25 other Democratic senators voted for the Secure Fence Act which would have built a double-layered fence on the US-Mexico border. The bill passed, by the way, and President Bush signed it into law. It wasn’t a close vote because it wasn’t particularly controversial. 

Now I’m sure that a persnickety liberal like Chuck Schumer would split hairs on this one. He voted for a fence, not a wall! That argument is a non-starter. Walls and fences are both barriers intended to keep people out so let’s not pretend that the difference between then and now is the type of barrier. What’s changed is that Chuck Schumer now supports endless and unlimited immigration with no distinction made between those who enter the country legally and those who don’t. He has likely learned that his party’s best interests are best served by diluting the voice of their actual constituents.

There is perhaps no better example than Chuck Schumer of how much this country has changed since the Bush years. Positions once held by a proud New York liberal are now considered reactionary. What happened? In short, the Overton Window has moved quickly and decisively leftward.

The Overton Window? What’s that? 

Glad you asked. I’m not talking about Glenn Beck’s boring novel but rather about its namesake: the handy mental model formulated by political scientist Joseph P. Overton. His window represents the breadth of ideas that the public considers acceptable discourse superimposed over a spectrum ranging from far left to far right. At both ends of the spectrum lurk ideas that are literally “unthinkable.” As we inch closer to the Overton Window we find ideas that are merely “radical.” The first category contained within the Overton Window is “acceptable,” followed by “sensible,” then “popular,” and finally “policy.”

The goal of most progressive strategists has been to move that window so that previously unthinkable ideas become conceivable and eventually uncontroversial. People who don’t adopt the newly mainstreamed idea quickly enough are usually shamed into silence. If they refuse to keep quiet they are shunned by polite society and often lose their livelihoods because their old ideas have been pushed into “radical” and “unthinkable” territory.

This is perhaps one reason the Left so despises the slippery slope argument—except when they employ it against their adversaries, of course. They want people to concentrate only on the issue as they narrowly define it without considering the principles at stake or the long-term ramifications. Who could have imagined, for example, that a little sensitivity toward racial issues would eventually lead to the stifling environment we find on college campuses today, in which it’s now considered a microaggression to say something as harmless as “I just believe the most qualified person should get the job”? That’s against the rules at the University of California, the largest university system in the country and a state school with an obligation to protects students’ free speech. Certainly no one foresaw this in the 1960s. We just thought we were telling racists—genuine racists—to shut up. What’s the next forbidden phrase? The Left doesn’t want you to ask. If people knew where this crazy train is going they’d demand to be let off.

But we should ask. What radical ideas will the Left be pushing in ten years? What unthinkable ideas will they champion in twenty? You can bet that they won’t admit to any of them now because the time isn’t right. That’s how this game is played.

For another example of the sliding Overton Window, consider Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, both Democrats who sought the presidential nomination of their party, one successfully and the other unsuccessfully. When conservatives called Obama a socialist throughout his presidency, the Left balked. “Don’t be ridiculous!” they said. “He’s no socialist.” This protégé of the radical anti-American CPUSA member Frank Marshall Davis, who openly bragged of hanging out with the Marxist professors on his college campus, who praised a Soviet-backed communist terrorist like Nelson Mandela, was absolutely the furthest thing from a socialist a person could possibly be—or so we were told.

But then along came Bernie Sanders who didn’t even bother to hide his socialism. Of course, he made the highly dubious claim that he preferred the Danish variety of socialism to the Latin American brand he championed earlier in his political career, but at least he was honest enough to use the “S” word. And suddenly there really was nothing wrong with being a socialist. Who knew that after eight years of fervently denying Obama’s socialism—as if it were a bad thing—that the party’s next rising star would be a self-described socialist?

Sanders might even have won the nomination of the Democratic Party if Hillary Clinton hadn’t stacked the deck against him. His loss can be attributed to a number of factors but an aversion to socialism among Democratic voters isn’t one of them. Six in ten Democratic primary voters think socialism “has a positive impact” on society. That’s because the Democratic Party is really just America’s socialist party by another name.

The Left has been particularly successful in radically shifting the frame of acceptable discourse for three reasons. First, they have the media on their side to give them top cover. Second, they are masters of emotion-laden propaganda. And third, they recognize golden opportunities when they see them.

When Barack Obama came to power he recognized that an unpopular war and an economic collapse had left the American people stumbling and woozy. It was an opportune moment to remake society. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” said Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Emanuel’s maxim has been the Left’s unarticulated strategy for a long time. They recognize that in times of national tumult the electorate often grants to progressives plenty of latitude to enact their policy wish lists. Obama benefited from one of these moments when he entered the White House in 2009 with a cooperative Democratic Congress to work with. The road was wide open and Obama went pedal to the metal into territory that most Americans would have considered too far afield just a few years before.

Few presidents have changed the nation as fundamentally as Barack Obama—and not in a good way. Within his first two years he had made the ideas of Saul Alinsky look all-American. I would argue that only Franklin Roosevelt spearheaded a more complete American transformation and he had twelve years to do it. Now there was a man who knew how to move the Overton Window. FDR’s New Deal was considered radical when he proposed it and would have been unthinkable a generation before.

But there was still work to be done. Thirty years later, President Lyndon Johnson exploited America’s national grief over the Kennedy Assassination to push through the atrocious Great Society agenda. President Carter pushed the window further to the left in those disorienting days after Watergate and the Vietnam War.

We conservatives never really push it back, often because we’re afraid we’ll be accused of “turning back the clock.” We need to get over our fear of moving the Overton Window in the other direction for a change. With both houses of Congress and the White House now in conservative hands, there is no excuse not to reverse most of the horrid policies of the Obama years. While they’re at it, they ought to reverse the policies of the Carter, Johnson, and Roosevelt years too.

The collapse of the political left

December 8, 2016

The collapse of the political left, Washington ExaminerMichael Barone, December 7, 2016

Trump’s victory means the left can’t jam its policies down on the whole nation—and gives it the incentive to develop policies acceptable not only to its own base but with voters among whom it fell agonizingly short this year.

********************

It’s been a tough decade for the political left. Eight years ago a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming “The New New Deal.” A Newsweek cover announced  “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Now the cover story is different. Time has just announced, inevitably though a bit begrudgingly, that its Person of the Year for 2016 is Donald Trump. No mention of New Deals or socialism.

It’s not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they’d been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.

There was some empirical evidence in that direction as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Barack Obama was elected with 53 percent of the popular vote—more than any candidate since the 1980s—and Democrats had won congressional elections with similar majorities in 2006 and 2008.

Things look different now, and not just because Donald Trump was elected president. It has been clear that most voters have been rejecting big government policies, and not just in the United States but in most democratic nations around the world.

Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with modest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently most don’t.

The rejection was apparent in the 2010 and subsequent House elections; Republicans have now won House majorities in ten of the last 12 elections, leaving 2006 and 2008 as temporary aberrations. You didn’t hear Hillary Clinton campaign on the glories of Obamacare or the Iran nuclear deal, and her attack on “Trumped-up, trickle-down economics” didn’t strike any chords in the modest-income Midwest.

Republican success has been even greater in governor and state legislature elections, to the point that Democrats hold governorships and legislative control only in California, Hawaii, Delaware and Rhode Island. After eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats hold fewer elective offices than at any time since the 1920s.

Things look similar abroad. Britain’s Conservatives, returned to government in 2010, are in a commanding position over a left-lurching Labour party. France’s Socialist president, with single-digit approval, declined to run for a second term. European social democratic parties have been hemorrhaging votes, and got walloped in Sunday’s Italian referendum. In Latin America and Asia, the left is declining or on the defensive.

Overall history is not bending toward happy acceptance of ever-larger government at home. Nor toward submersion of national powers and identities into large and inherently undemocratic international organizations. The nation-state remains the focus of most peoples’ loyalties, and in a time of economic and cultural diffusion, as Yuval Levin argues in his recent book The Fractured Republic, big government policies designed for an age of centralization have become increasingly dysfunctional.

Barack Obama doesn’t seem to have noticed this, at least until some time between nine and ten o’clock election night. Shrewder center-left politicians who have shown they know how to win elections have. Bill Clinton urged his wife’s campaign managers to put her out in rural areas speaking to voters’ concerns. The thirty-something geniuses she installed in her trendy Brooklyn headquarters knew better.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking in Washington this week, said, “We have to pay attention to culture and identity,” and argued that in response to Islamist extremism, “Political correctness can’t get in the way.”

Such advice suggests that a sharp shift in current leftist strategy, which includes “identity politics” appeals to minorities at home and obeisance to the wisdom of supranational entities like the Paris climate changeconference and the European Union.

What’s missing in that is a concentration on the interests of one’s own citizenry. To the left that smacks of nationalism, which some seem to regard as only a baby step away from Nazism.

It’s not. The United States Constitution was designed to provide a framework in which rights are guaranteed and voters in states can choose policies in line with their different backgrounds and beliefs.

Trump’s victory means the left can’t jam its policies down on the whole nation—and gives it the incentive to develop policies acceptable not only to its own base but with voters among whom it fell agonizingly short this year.

America’s First Major Socialist Party Debuts in Philadelphia

July 30, 2016

America’s First Major Socialist Party Debuts in Philadelphia, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, July 29, 2016

(How different would Hillary be from the late lamented el Thugo down in Venezuela? He and his family got rich and his daughter remains the richest person there. El Thugo  was rotten to the core and his anointed successor, Maduro is, if that is possible, even worse. Should she become Obama’s successor, Hillary has much to look forward to. — DM)

soc party

Under cover of a sudden profusion of American flags (borrowed from city hall) and staged chants of “USA” ringing out on the final day, a new party was born in Philadelphia.

Gone are The Democrats.  Welcome, The Socialists.  

Okay, the Democratic Socialists, in deference to Bernie Sanders, whose party it is no matter who was giving the acceptance speech on Thursday. He held the whip hand and will continue to do so to keep his followers on the reservation.

And, yes, there have been more than a few socialist parties in America before – Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, etc. – but never has one of our two major political parties been taken over to such an extent, not even during the days of George McGovern or Jimmy Carter.

I wouldn’t go quite so far as Dan Greenfield, who wrote the following in a compelling column inFrontPage:

Sinclair Lewis famously said, “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”. More accurately, when Communism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. That’s what the Democratic National Convention was.

So far, as I see it, it’s still socialism.  Hillary Clinton (even under the spell of Bernie ) is closer to François Hollande or some other Eurocrat than she is to Chairman Mao.  But the situation is bad enough and likely to get worse, if she is elected.

Those who think that she will be the second coming of centrist Bill should have their heads examined – or at least watch the reruns of her speech.  Bill was asleep during it.  Call it self-preservation of mind or body, he couldn’t take it either way.  He knew what was coming and it wasn’t going to be a reprise of his most famous line – “The days of big government are over.”  Quite the contrary.  The days of big government are coming as never before.  So he shut his eyes, and not just from whatever health issue he may be harboring.

They should also reread Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, written during the rise of the National Socialist Party, for a clear analysis of why socialism inevitably turns totalitarian.

Which leads me to this:  Many of you think you have the luxury of debating whether Donald Trump is sufficiently conservative or is really a Republican or will carry out all the things he says he will (more of this in a moment).

Sorry, you don’t.  It’s five minutes to midnight for Western Civilization.  Europe, in case you haven’t noticed, is on the brink of going Islamic.  Twenty-five percent of French teenagers already are. Mohammed has been the most popular baby name in the UK for some time. (Thank God, they passed Brexit.) And Ms. Merkel, despite the constant carnage in her country, is doubling down on Middle Eastern immigration.

Hillary Clinton intends to do the same thing here – in the name of human rights, naturally, when, needless to say, it’s about votes.  Economically, if she passes even a third of her proposals, our country will be so far in debt we may never find a way out, ratifying all of Hayek’s predictions as we all become slaves to a desperate state.

Pessimistic, sure.  But we can stop it.  This is a surprisingly winnable election if we pull together.

So for reassurance, let me tell one story from the Republican Convention. It was, as anyone watching television knows, a mostly uninformative event, as virtually all conventions are.  But I did go to a luncheon panel on the economy held by Freedom Works.  Larry Kudlow was the moderator.  I forget everyone on it, but it was a distinguished panel of conservative economists including Stephen Moore and a man named Harold Hamm I had never heard of.  My bad.  It turns out Hamm had more to do with the immediate revival, such as it is, of the US economy than anybody – he is the king of fracking, the developer of the Bakken formation and someone with a net worth at least double Trump’s and closer to George Soros’.

All of the panelist had worked closely, some one-on-one, with Trump on his tax plan, This plan is quite in the mainstream of conservative economic policy with lower, simplified rates across the board, particularly for businesses, which Trump puts at 15%.  (It currently starts at 39%.) Republicans have been calling for this reduction for years to bring our corporations home and generate jobs.

Anyway, midway into the panel, Kudlow asked a question on everybody’s mind – and probably yours too.  Larry wanted to know if the panelists thought Trump would go through with it, if Donald was, to put it bluntly, for real.

The panelists were all emphatic in saying Trump would.  They also gave him high marks for listening, of all things.

Now I know you can rationalize this a lot of ways.  Rich and powerful as these men were, they clearly wanted to be advisers to a man who could be the most powerful in the world.  So factor that in.  And factor in that I have been supporting Trump for a while.  But then ask yourself if you would rather have Hillary…. and socialism.

And I’m not even going to get into the Supreme Court.

No Canada

June 12, 2016

No Canada, PJ MediaDavid Solway, June 11, 2016

(Europe? Obama’s America? Leading or following into the abyss? –DM)

burning_toronto_canada_police_car_banner_6-6-16-1.sized-770x415xcToronto police car torched during the G20 protest on June 26, 2010. Photo by arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber  may have been tactless when he spoke of the “stupidity of the American voter,” but I suspect he might have trotted out the same insult had he surveyed the West in general or the Canadian electoral scene in particular. After all, Canada, a comparatively peaceable country that regards itself as an “honest broker” in international affairs and a beacon of cultural—and multicultural—enlightenment, is fundamentally no different from other Western countries marching down the Hayek Highway. I have written before of the collective foolishness of a presumably educated nation installing a majority Liberal government to manage its affairs despite the readily available evidence of the social and economic malaise that left/liberal politics have inflicted on Western democracies. A cursory reconnaissance of the U.S., the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and others should have sounded a clear warning to Canadians, or at any rate to anyone still capable of cerebral functioning.

But no. We fell for the media hatefest against the Conservative party and its leader Stephen Harper, while subscribing to our own version of “hope and change” as represented by the jejune and deceptive Justin Trudeau and his troupe of trendy mediocrities strutting on the national stage. How could we have travelled this route? As David Mamet points out in The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, we “reject any request for information about the actual mechanics of this ‘Change,’ by referring to ‘Hope’.” Unfortunately, hope is not a policy or a platform, and it is certainly not an expression of a practicable future. It should come as no surprise, then, that electoral promises have been duly and rapidly broken in favor of vanity projects and that a host of destructive policies have been legislated, or are about to be legislated. To take a number of examples:

  • By introducing Bill C-14, the Liberals have reified their advocacy for physician-assisted dying, depriving doctors and health professionals of moral choice on the issue. Claiming a “deep respect” for Parliament, they have nevertheless imposed substantial limits on debating time.
  • Trudeau is eager to engineer a change to our “first past the post” electoral system, replacing it with one of a wide variety of possible reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation and online voting. The proposed reforms, based on vote transferability and leftist coalitions, would both introduce an element of needless complexity into the electoral process and, in Canada’s multiparty system, which leans collectively to the left, virtually ensure a permanent Liberal majority. A transformation this vast should require a national referendum, but Trudeau’s minister of Democratic Institutions—a label straight out of Orwell—cites a Twitter hashtag #electoralreform as sufficient reason to sidestep a plebiscite. The 30-year-old, out-of-her-depth, Afghan-born, newly created Minister Maryam Monsef is hostile to referenda because they supposedly exclude the “marginalized.” As National Postcolumnist Rex Murphy comments, “Evidently, women, people of color, the disabled—build your own list—are allergic to voting in a referendum.” But she is merely doing the bidding of her leader, who intends to strike a committee, in which Canada’s one conservative party will be outnumbered 9 to 3 by left-oriented parties, to determine the best way to implement what is nothing less than a political coup. The Liberals have recently shown signs of relenting on the referendum issue, but the situation reveals their arrogant disregard of the people they presumably answer to.
  • The Liberals deny that they inherited a balanced budget from the previous Conservative government and have now projected a $30 billion debt, sure to increase in the future, that will serve not only as a fiscal drain on the present but as an economic drogue on generations to come.
  • Trudeau eliminated selective income splitting for families, a measure ostensibly intended to deprivilege the “wealthy” and thus burnish the party’s popular image, but obviously designed to work against the traditional family structure by making it more costly to sustain the stay-at-home wife/mother arrangement. Cost, however, is not a personal consideration for Trudeau, as it happens, heir to a multi-million dollar trust fund. The nannies looking after his children will soak the Canadian taxpayer $100,000 per annum. Indeed, when he visited Washington to confer with Obama, he was accompanied by a 44-member entourage consisting of celebrities, fundraisers, in-laws and, of course, the nannies, at taxpayers’ expense.
  • Trudeau has enthusiastically endorsed the feminist agenda and established a gender-balanced cabinet, irrespective of merit or competence. The embarrassing spectacle that Chrystia Freeland, minister of International Trade, made of herself o Bill Maher’s show is no accident. We can expect more of such sophomoric ineptitude in the years ahead. A government that eschews proven or demonstrable talent in favor of gender parity, much like our current universities, and hires or appoints on the basis of sex is monstrously irresponsible.
  • To strengthen their “social justice” credentials as the party for the times, the Liberals, who long ago jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon, have, additionally, projected Bill C-16 providing for an up to two-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of fomenting “hate propaganda” against transgenders. The word “hate” clearly furnishes enormous latitude for interpretation and renders critical discourse problematic and even dangerous, now that the Criminal Code is about to be amended. It seems that freedom of expression contracts with every new piece of social legislation, by no means astonishing in a country whose left/liberal Supreme Court has already pronounced that truth is no defense in cases where offense is given to marginalized groups or individuals.
  • No less damaging, Trudeau’s well-documented sympathy for Islam has resulted in the importation of many thousands of so-called “Syrian” refugees, all improperly vetted, who will swell the welfare rolls, glut an already grossly dysfunctional single-payer medical network, further disrupt a progressively concessionary educational system, and create more social havoc in the form of Sharia ghettoes and eruptions of Muslim-inspired violence. Bet on it. As Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah reports in the Toronto Sun, Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell accused him of lying and of Islamophobia (!) when Fatah testified to the Senate about Canadian mosques that feature seditious preaching against secular democracy, about Israel as “useless garbage,” and about the necessity of spilling blood. “While this was unfolding,” he continues, the Trudeau government “had authorized a $200,000 grant to a southern Ontario mosque with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In moving decisively to the left and bringing in programs that will inevitably fray the economic fabric of the country while diluting its traditional substance, Trudeau boasts that “Canada is back”—a slogan, Murphy writes, “that’s saccharine and weirdly jingoistic at the same time,” as if his election were “a victory, not for [the] party—which it was—but for the country itself.” Such hubris is both typical and unforgivable.

Perhaps what is no less troubling is that the cultural sycophancy practiced by the Liberals has now infected the Conservative party, which, despite its objection to Liberal spending and dubious policy initiatives, has, under interim leader Rona Ambrose, slotted the same-sex marriage plank into its party platform. “I think our party got a little more Canadian today,’ Calgary MP Michelle Rempel said after the convention vote. Indeed it did, and that’s a real shame. The Conservatives didn’t stop there. Ambrose has suddenly discovered that she too is a fan of legislation to prohibit criticism of transgenderism; “who you love, how you identify,” she pontificates, “should never be cause for fear or anxiety.” Interestingly, when the Daily Caller asked if she would then support or approve of pedophilia, no reply was forthcoming. By striving to emulate the Liberals as a matter of crass and misguided expedience—as if the Liberal base comprising the general run of leftists, Muslims, aboriginals, journalists, talking heads, environmentalists and global warmists, colonies of indoctrinated students and the entitlement crowd will gratefully change their voting habits—the Conservative party has betrayed its principles and its core constituency.

The real problem, however, is not the political party or the leader in question, but the intellectual laxity of the electorate. Canadians, who have always preened themselves on their moral and intellectual superiority to Americans, in reality merely ape the customs and usages of their neighbors to the south, generally a decade or so later. Mutatis mutandis, we would have flocked to the polling stations to vote for an Obama, a Hillary or a Bernie. The Donald would have been anathema.

Admittedly, there is a rather more modest Trump-like figure on the conservative scene who seems interested in running for the leadership of the party with a view to the 2019 federal election, namely, successful businessman and TV personality Kevin O’Leary. (See CBC’s Dragons’ Den and ABC’s Shark Tank.) Responding to questions about a potential leadership bid, O’Leary said he was not prepared to sit in perpetual Opposition, preferring to wait until he sees whether the party is willing to jettison the political hacks who led it to defeat. “I’m proud of the country,” he continued, but “I’m depressed that it’s not competitive and I see so much incompetence, mediocrity and stupidity when it comes to managing it and I’m just tired of it.” Like Trump, O’Leary is nothing if not confident. “One way or another,” he says, “I’m going to figure out how to fix it.” But in the present narcoleptic milieu his prospects are probably slight.

Ten years hence the country may wake up, as innumerable U.S. citizens appear to be doing today. This is assuming we still have a country that is anything like the country we used to have. Given an oppressive direct and indirect tax structure, the proliferation of “hate speech” laws, the discursive ravages of political correctness, the faux “social justice” agenda, the malignant influence of feminism on business, government, the courts and the academy, the ongoing inroads of Islam into the body politic and the culture at large, the faddish convictions of the intellectual and artistic communities swimming with the brackish tides, and the flaccid surrender of the public to these toxic developments—including the reluctance to seek out and process reliable information, as Mamet intimated—the issue is alarmingly moot.

To arrive at reasonably dependable insights for one’s political thinking, one needs to distrust any single media outlet and take the time to review multiple sources in order to factor out feasible assumptions in making political choices. It takes work, civic dedication and the willingness to pay attention. Laziness is not an option. A rudimentary knowledge of history is also essential. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in a January 6, 1816 letter to Colonel Charles Yancey: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.” This is true not only of the American republic but of any democratic nation, and Canada is no exception. Lacking a vigilant and enlightened citizenry, there can only be worse to come.

Decree by government decree, the ship of state is listing ever further portside, abetted by the shifting weight to the left of a lumpen public. This is how a once-proud nation must eventually founder. Captivated by a liberal/socialist media consortium and unwilling to do our homework, we have become increasingly sanctimonious and uninformed, denizens of Gruberland. Even hockey may not save us.