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The dilemma of hypermodernity and problems of left/right (Part Two)

By Mark Wegierski
web posted November 17, 2008

The conventional right in Canada, now represented by the Conservative Party, leaves much to be desired, as a party claiming to represent the country. It may be remembered that the Reform Party, often unfairly condemned as a “far right” party, had sharply repudiated what is now already itself a very attenuated concept of "the two founding peoples of Canada" (i.e., the French and the English) in the name of individualism. This could have been seen as part of a decidedly antiquated anti-French (anti-Québec) strategy, and also presumably a desperate attempt to undercut the "group-rights" of the new, gender and minority-based "new social movements". In its "Statement of Principles", the Reform Party had a whole raft of constitutional proposals which would have further Americanized Canada's political system, which is probably the last obstacle to a wholly amalgamated North America (amounting to the end of Canadian independence). The Reform Party had declared itself as wildly pro-free-enterprise (whatever that may mean today), pro-American, and pro-global free trade. It could be suggested that the Reform Party had generally preferred to argue for Enlightenment positions, to try to strengthen individualism at the expense of the gender and minority-based "new social movements" (i.e., to seek to dissolve them purely into individuals) -- as opposed to arguing for more authentic collective or communal principles.

One should not take the current-day Conservative Party of Canada, with its focus mostly on tax cuts and budget cuts, as the best that the right can offer today. In fact, the cutting-edge thought of those persons said to be on the right today is rather closer to social democracy, or at least making an argument for the better aspects of social democracy, while discarding the worse. At its best, the right argues for a situated community, an authentic sense of meaning and belonging, which then serves as a real and plausible rationale for the welfare-state. The fact is that social democracy is in retreat today, under the pressure of globalizing and Americanizing hyper-capitalism. The true right would argue that the best defence of the welfare-state would be its ultimate rootedness in what must to a considerable extent be a commonly-held national culture, which allows for a true sense of the common good. Immigration is not a natural process: it is the product of the ongoing uprooting of peoples by the transnational corporations in search of cheap labor pools, as well as of diverse strife in the South caused by the stresses engendered by "McWorld". Immigration into Western societies is a profoundly unsettling force, subversive of rooted identities and cultures, which only strengthens the transnational corporations, as well as the administrative regime. It could be argued that the offer of massive, meaningful, truly extensive aid to “the South” can only be made when “the South” mobilizes to fight its overpopulation, and no longer expects that ever larger numbers of its people can simply move north.

There also seems to be no point in upholding various grotesque abuses of the welfare-state. The fact is that the 21st century will demand effective rationing of increasingly-precious resources, and that societies such as Canada's should start getting into the habit of living within increasingly limited means. It is possible that an excessively generous welfare-system simply corrupts people; as well as sometimes engendering the very problems it is supposed to solve. One question that is rarely raised is just how much is spent on the administrators of programs, as opposed to the amount of help a given needy person receives. Would it be possible to find out what the ratio actually is? Given this context, a so-called guaranteed annual income – which would presumably greatly reduce the costs of administration -- might be a more efficacious way of helping the truly needy.

It could also be pointed out that people today have little understanding of just how grinding, for example, the poverty in Europe or even Canada was, a mere half-century ago. People had to work hard, learn to save money, and cope somehow, without any of the benefits of an engorged welfare-state. It was in such times that state-sponsored medical insurance was a true boon to hard-working, decent people. If the effective collapse of the current welfare-system is virtually inevitable with spending at current levels, one would prefer to see a reduced welfare-state that delivered essentials to having no welfare-state at all. The fiscal collapse of the government (brought about by its fiscal imprudence) is precisely what the transnational corporations are hoping for -- giving them the opportunity to undermine the allegiances of the people to a supposedly "manifestly inefficient and bankrupt state", and to then exercise virtually unlimited control -- for example, by buying up Ontario Hydro (the major provincial utility company) and other government facilities at firesale prices. And people as a whole can be induced to make real sacrifices only for that which they deem to be worthy, noble, and part of their common good, as opposed to the involuntary rationalizations shoved down their throats by "the global marketplace".

Beyond the exigencies of immediate politics, the true right would envision a saner, greener, less hurried world, in which situated and rooted communities could live at peace with one another. This whole program might be termed "the re-greening of the Earth." However, the dull roar of New Class propaganda drowns out even the most dulcet voices hearkening to a better world than the one that exists today. The intellectually-honest and more independent-minded left -- when looking for some way out of the quagmire of the current consumptionist commodity culture and of policies of perpetual war – should not ignore the arguments of the serious and thoughtful right. ESR

Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.






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