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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Politics of Religious Nationalism: Taking us Down a Dangerous Path

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
'War is always at the most unrestrained when religion vests it with holy purpose.' Michael Ignatieff - Warrior's Honour
In light of our recent rejection by the United Nations, it's time to revisit Harper's foreign policy from his ideological perspective.

I'm doing a separate posting on those who influenced his early political thought. People like Peter Brimelow, Paul Fromm, Donovan Carter, Stan Waters, Peter Worthington, etc., all militantly anti-Communist, which made them viscerally anti-Liberalism.

But while the UN snub is bad for Canada's image, it might play right into Stephen Harper's hands. He will no longer have to pretend to support this international body, and can now focus on his long term plans, as dictated by the Religious Right.

Author Marci MacDonald had sat in on a meeting of the Civitas Society where Stephen Harper gave a speech:
... he outlined plans for a broad new party coalition that would ensure a lasting hold on power. The only route, he argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or “neo-cons,” as they’d become known, but on what he called “theo-cons”—those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence ... Arguing that the party had to come up with tough, principled stands on everything from parents’ right to spank their children to putting “hard power” behind the country’s foreign-policy commitments ..." (1)
"Hard power" behind our "foreign-policy commitments".

Funny. I don't remember him campaigning on that.

In Alfred Rosenberg's book, "Mythology of the Twentieth Century", he also outlines a plan to combine religion with fierce nationalism and foreign policy (from above newspaper clipping, May 30, 1938).
"The religion of Jesus was undoubtedly the preaching of love, but a German religious movement which wishes to develop into a people's church must declare that it unconditionally subordinates the ideal of neighborly love to the idea of national honor."
"The essential condition of all German instruction is the acknowledgment of the fact that Christianity did not bring us civilization but that Christianity owes its enduring values to the German character."

The official "philosophy," as the Times points out, if it means anything means that the millions of Nazi soldiers, the millions of workers in the "Labor Front" are now having their minds made over, after a thousand years of painful history, to accommodate a special Nazi religion.
A broad coalition vested with a holy purpose.

And before you think this is hyperbole, as Lawrence Martin points out in new book Harperland:
His devotion to the war effort and the revitalization of the armed forces were part of an effort to shape a Tory patriotism, one predicated on symbols and traditions .... He had progressed since the days of his Alberta-centric regional thinking. Now he was sounding like he wanted to build a firewall around the entire country.
And that's what he's been doing. Isolating Canada, while attempting to build a nationalistic, militaristic nation, not unlike the vision outlined for Germany, by Alfred Rosenberg in 1938.

And as Martin reminds us, Stephen Harper does not like the "soft power" we've become, but views our foreign policy as a "clash of civilizations", rather than as "one big family" living peacefully. And the Religious Right, Armageddon crowd have given him their full support, because they cannot feel the rapture until the world is rid of Communism once and for all.

You can hear their guru, Tim Lehaye, describe it to Rachel Maddow. In fact this entire segment sounds like our current government. But she explains how communism is a battle cry to the Religious Right. And Stephen Harper is allowing them to dictate our "clash of civilizations".

And back to the 1938 newspaper article:
It seems to be definitely anti-Christian in principle. But it is more. Stripped of non-essentials, what Herr Rosenberg means by substituting "neighborly love" with "national honor" is the displacement of civilized orderliness by an aggressive fanaticism. There is something rather childish in these attempts to deliberately divert the stream of historic culture. But when adults in power indulge in it, the farcial side of it is overshadowed by the tragic and the dangerous.
Pay attention people.

There are some very good columns on Canada' fall from grace since Stephen Harper decided to put "hard power" into our foreign policy to appease the theocons. He once wanted to build a firewall around Alberta, and now he is building that"wall" around us.

1. Harper's U.N. debacle shows how his disrespect for foreign affairs was noticed, By Yves Engler, October 18, 2010
In a stunning international rebuke, Stephen Harper's government lost its bid for a U.N. Security Council seat last week. The vote in New York was the world's response to a Canadian foreign policy designed to please the most reactionary, short-sighted sectors of the Conservative Party's base -- evangelical Christian Zionists, extreme right-wing Jews, Islamophobes, the military-industrial-academic-complex, mining and oil executives and old Cold-Warriors.
2. With the glory days of Pearson’s internationalist foreign policy behind us, Canada needs a new brand, By Daryl Copeland Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, U of T, Mark News, October 16, 2010
Policy? Capacity? Leadership? Any way you cut it, this is a signal moment for Canada, and a full assessment will take time and require concerted analytical attention. In that respect, it is unfortunate that the dramatic resolution of the Chilean mining disaster came on the same day as the UN elections. In Canada, that human interest mega-tale immediately bumped the Security Council story from top place in the news cycle on Oct. 12. As coverage this week of the rescue’s aftermath has continued to dominate the media, attention to the implications for Canada of its repudiated candidacy has waned. That’s too bad, because there remains much to consider and reflect upon. It seems to me that a larger and longer-term consequence of the defeat may reside in the impact on Canada’s image and reputation, expressed in terms of both how others see us and how we see ourselves.
Copeland also cites the unprecedented control on communications, as knee capping any serious bid.

3. Why the World Doesn't Like Canada's New image: Harper’s aggressive foreign policy is the reason Canada was denied a UNSC seat, By Saeed Rahnema Professor, political science, York University; media commentator on the Middle East, The Mark News, October 15, 2010
Despite significant lobbying efforts to get a seat on the powerful UN Security Council, Canada failed to receive the backing of two-thirds of the UN General Assembly. Canada withdrew its bid after coming behind Portugal in the second ballot. It was disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, that Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurence Cannon blamed this failure on Michael Ignatieff’s lack of support. In reality, Stephen Harper’s government has no one to blame but itself and its misguided foreign policy.
Canada has never been an aggressive nation, and I'm pretty sure that had Stephen Harper campaigned on a "clash of civilizations", he would never have been elected.


The Politics of Contempt: The Nixon-Harper Ticket

The Politics of Hate: Where Will it Lead?

The Politics of Conceit: "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better"

The Politics of Opportunity: Election Tampering

The Politics of Jabberwocky: As Canada Plummets Down the Rabbit Hole

The Politics of Ballyhoo: David Emerson and the Soft on Sovereignty Trade Deal


1. Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada’s religious right, Walrus Magazine, October 2006)

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