The above video shows the fall of Robert Muldoon in 1984, as the Prime Minister of New Zealand. After a long meeting with a backbencher, who threatened to vote with the opposition over nuclear-free legislation, Muldoon called a snap election. But with the early use of videotape, he was caught in an obviously inebriated condition, and that image would contribute to his fall.
David Lange would rise to power, and he in turn would choose Roger Douglas as his minister of Finance, a man who would turn the country inside out and upside down; with a series of cuts and massive deregulation.
Roger Douglas was not really a follower of Leo Strauss, though his policies were in line with the Chicago School of Economics. It would probably be more accurate to call him a Libertarian, fashioned after the political philosophy of Frederic Bastiat. He believed in the freedom and responsibility of the individual, and not the cradle to grave responsibility of government to look after it's citizens.
If he borrowed anything from Leo Strauss, it was the necessity of deception.
Not only did Strauss have few qualms about using deception in politics, he saw it as a necessity. While professing deep respect for American democracy, Strauss believed that societies should be hierarchical – divided between an elite who should lead, and the masses who should follow. (1)
Though the Labour Party of Roger Douglas was definitely left-wing, once elected it took a sharp right turn. Douglas would later advise:
"... beware the risks of candid disclosure before a fickle electorate, strike quickly once in power, define a total agenda, establish the essential control agencies, move simultaneously on a variety of policy fronts, embed the reforms as deeply as possible in legal and market channels so as to prevent early reversal, keep your nerve when faced with popular or electoral resistance and allow the programme to do its work." (2)
Stephen Harper learned how to avoid the risks of candid disclosure before a fickle electorate by 2006. It wasn't enough to just erroneously have people believe that he was Tory, to cash in on a 150 year old tradition. He had to keep his future plans from the public.
His electoral platform was more consistent with conservative principles, and he no longer spoke of things that spooked Canadians, that got him in trouble during the 2004 election campaign.
Things like the Belgian model he wanted to adopt, that divided Canadians along cultural lines, instead of by provinces. Two-tier health care was also left off, though he has been steadily moving in that direction.
And he, like Lange and Douglas, had the added bonus of capitalizing on a scandal. In fact a poll taken soon after his 2006 victory, revealed that the majority of people who voted for the Reform-Conservative Party, did so not because of their policies, but to punish the Liberals.
Who knew they could very well end up punishing themselves.
Roger Douglas would be a big influence on our neoconservative government, but the results of his slash and burn policies were devastating for the average New Zealander :
A lot of people got very rich, but more became horribly poor.
The man who would destroy that protectionist shield was Lange's Finance Minister Roger Douglas, a diminutive, dogged accountant who unleashed free-market policies with such pace that they blindsided most New Zealanders — including Lange. Douglas floated the New Zealand dollar, wooed foreign banks, wiped away controls on credit, foreign-exchange transactions and import tariffs.
The once sacrosanct farmers lost their state subsidies. The effect was akin to a department-store-sale-day stampede. Masses seized the early — and oftentimes false — fruits of Douglas' promarket policies. More than 40% of all adults ended up owning shares on the back of newly available credit; many in fresh and often questionable enterprises. (3)
Saskatchewan political economist, Dr. John Warnock, travelled to New Zealand to study the effects of what New Zealanders dubbed 'Rogernomics.' The figures tell a story of devastation - a word used by New Zealand's own agricultural minister to describe the state of agriculture in four years after the 'reforms': A 40 per cent drop in farm income; a 50 per cent drop in the value of farm land; a policy of paying 3,000 farmers incentives of $ 45,000 to leave and the suggestion that another 15,000 (out of 79,000) should follow them.
Unemployment, which had been at 4 per cent before Douglas's reforms, jumped to over 12 per cent in just over a year and is still increasing.
"Douglas completely eliminated regional development grants and subsidies to rural services. Says Warnock, 'They had things like subsidized petroleum - regardless of where you were the price was the same - subsidized train service, bus service, airport service. They privatized all these things and the prices immediately skyrocketed.' A massive de-population of the countryside resulted, and approximately 40,000 New Zealanders per year have since left the country for Australia to find work since 'restructuring' took effect.
This should give you a glimpse into how Canada will look, once Harper's agenda is fully realized. So many things have already been done behind our backs. Many irrevocable.
1. Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception, Jim Lobe, May 19, 2003
2. "The New Zealand Experiment: A Canadian Perspective", By Peter Clancy, Electronic Journal of Radical Organizational Theory, June 1996.
3. 50 Years in the South Pacific, 1979-1989 David Lange, Time Magazine, By Bernard Lagan, October 29, 2009
4. Preston Manning and the Reform Party. Author: Murray Dobbin Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing 1992 ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, pg. 113-114