Search This Blog

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Friedrich Von Hayek Must be Barred From Canada

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

I realize that Friedrich Von Hayek died in 1992, but he is one of the "scholars" who helped to draft neoconservative theory.

In Lawrence Martin's book Harperland, he states that he spoke with Harper insiders about Leo Strauss, deemed the primary neoconservative theorist, and they denied that Stephen Harper had ever read him. I'm not surprised. A bit too deep, though he does ascribe to his theory of "hidden messages". Calculated ambiguity, taught at neocon schools everywhere. Orwellian with a twist.

However, Harper's boys do suggest that their boss is an avid reader and follower of Friedrich Von Hayek, an Austrian economist, and author of The Road to Serfdom, which has become a Bible to neocon disciples.

I'm currently reading the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, with introduction by none other than Milton Friedman, a colleague of Hayek's at the Chicago School's Committee on Social Thought.

In the first chapter, The Abandoned Road, Hayek speaks of the roots of western civilisation. The roots which he claims come from the Greeks and Romans. He also laments that we are abandoning the sage advice of Adam Smith, John Milton, Erasmus, Cicero, etc., etc., etc.

However, Canadian civilization was not based on the ramblings of the historic scholars, or the ancient Romans or Greeks. Our unique culture was based on the relationship between early European settlers and our First Nations.

When conducting trade on our river highways, they were not thinking of Adam Smith and the sovereignty of the consumer. Nor were they reading Milton's Paradise Lost or the philosophies of Marcus Tullius Cicero.

They were too busy trying to survive.

Von Hayek would never understand that. He grew up in Vienna, where his father was of minor nobility and his mother a member of the upper-class bourgeoisie. He led a privileged life, influenced by the intelligentsia of Viennese society.

So invoking the scholars was as natural to him as breathing, but understanding the needs of the general population, completely alien.

In his introduction to the Road to the Serfdom, he says that it was originally only meant to be a pamphlet, written for a British audience. He was surprised by it's success and especially the interest shown by the University of Chicago.

He even thought that he may have written it differently for the Americans. However, when he began to lecture in Canada, especially at the Fraser Institute, he should have written it differently for Canadians, because our culture is vastly different from that of the United States.

We don't thump our chests and chant "Canada, Canada, Canada", which doesn't mean that we aren't proud Canadians. We're just not annoyingly so.

And this is something that Stephen Harper doesn't understand. He's always been embarrassed by us. Socialists, lazy, a welfare state, mamby pamby Peacekeepers.

We needed to be more muscular. Tough soldiers behind state of the art heavy machinery. War toys to flaunt and intimidate others with.

He just doesn't get it.

Norm Jewison was interviewed several years and asked why he felt that Canadians were so successful in the entertainment industry. From Comedians like Jim Carey and Martin Short to directors like himself and David Cronenberg.

Jewison answered that it was because we only had six crayons, explaining to a confused interviewer, that Canadians have learned to make do. We never had the money that the American entertainment industry did, so we had to push the limits. Make do with what we had and turn those six colours into a kaledescope.

Martin Short once spoke of the successful series SCTV, that became the inspiration for Saturday Night Live. They ran the show on a shoestring, first writing the scripts, and then visiting the local Salvation Army thrift store for costumes.

Stephen Harper likes to tout our military history, without really understanding our military history. At Vimy Ridge, we were successful where so many other better equipped armies were not. And it's because we learned to make do with less.

Instead we focused on training down to the finest detail.

Stephen Harper instead follows the beliefs of people like Donald Rumsfeld, who felt that the man or woman behind the gun was not important. Only the size of the gun.

I watched a documentary about Iraq, and they interviewed several young American soldiers who admitted that they really had no idea what they were doing, or even how to properly handle those big guns. One young man said that before joining up he was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now he was a member of the Intelligence Corp, charged with information gathering, and carrying a huge weapon.

Lester Pearson once said that the Americans may be richer than us, but that we were better off. We always thrived to be a nation that took care of its people.

This of course is anathema to the neoconservative, who believe that people should take care of themselves. This has never been the Canadian way. We do rely on ourselves, but also on our neighbours and our government.

Three and a half centuries ago, France sent shiploads of young brides, to help settle Quebec. Filles du roi, or 'King's Daughters. Men were told to select robust wives, capable of hard work and they were paid so much for every child born. Government intervention to encourage population growth.

My great grandfather was granted 100 acres of land in New Brunswick, for $3.00 and a set number of hours working to build roads. He also had to commit to clearing so many acres of land a year. Government intervention to build infrastructure and aid in prosperity.

A favourite social event for early settlers was the work 'Bees'. Logging bees, stumping bees, quilting bees. Communities working together. Collectivism to accomplish tasks beyond the ability of a single family. (from my Victorian Canada website)

We don't share the individualist attitudes of American history. It's rather telling that we selected Tommy Douglas as the 'Greatest Canadian'. The man who gave us universal healthcare, something Harper told the U.S. conservatives would "horrify" them.

Stephen Harper doesn't get us, he just wants to change us. Remake Canadians in the American image. An American image created by people like Friedrich Von Hayek.

In a 1997 CBC interview, Harper was asked "Is there a Canadian culture?" He replied: "Yes, in a very loose sense. It consists of regional cultures within Canada, regional cultures that cross borders with the US. We're part of a worldwide Anglo-American culture..."

Nope. He just doesn't get us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Allan Bloom Writes Harper's War on Women Strategy

(Left to right, William Gairdner, Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom)
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

I first read Susan Faludi's 1991 classic, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, several years ago, and I remember thinking that we were lucky to be living in Canada.

We had our male chauvinists, but government policy reflected, at least the notion of equality for women. We certainly knew of the U.S. 'Moral Majority', which later became the 'Religious Right', but as of yet, we had not been inflicted.

Reading the book again, 20 years later, Faludi could be writing about the Harper government and Canada's Religious Right.

When she discusses the influences of the Chicago School, and their Committee on Social Thought, she could just as easily be talking about our own Calgary School, that has gifted us with Stephen Harper, Pierre Poilievre and other like minded neocons.

And just as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, succinctly outlines western imperialism, Faludi's Backlash clearly lays out the neoconservative feminine agenda.

She devotes part of a chapter to Allan Bloom, a student of Leo Strauss, and author of the book, The Closing of the American Mind. Harper's counterpart is Willaim Gairdner, a founding member of the Reform Party, whose misogyny is so profound, that in 2007, he became the topic of a paper written by Donna L. Lillian, Assistant Professor of Discourse and Linguistics in the Department of English at East Carolina University: A thorn by any other name: sexist discourse as hate speech, which centered around Gairdner, and analyzed "Canadian neoconservative discourse as racist, sexist, and homophobic."
"In arguing that at least some sexist discourse should be considered hate speech, I first demonstrate that the popular discourse of Canadian neoconservative author William D. Gairdner is sexist.... Sexism, the ideology and practice of relegating women to a lower rung on the social hierarchy than men simply by virtue of their femaleness, is an integral component of neoconservative thinking, and one way that such sexism is produced and reproduced is through language"
Gairdner has actually been compared to Bloom and his The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals, is hauntingly similar to Bloom's Closing of the American Mind.

But it is Gairdner's The Trouble With Canada, that was sold at Reform Party assemblies, that best defines Harper's anti-feminist policies.

Allan Bloomberg and William Gairdner
The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things. (Stephen Harper, 1997 speech to Council for National Policy)
Susan Faludi writes of Allan Bloom:
Ostensibly about the decline in American education, Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind dedicates page after page to an assault on the women's movement. Whether he's deploring the state of scholarship, the emasculating tendencies of music, or the transience of student relationships, the baleful influence he identifies is always the same: the feminist transformation of society that has filled women with demands and desires and depleted men of vim and vigor. "The latest enemy of the vitality of the classic texts is feminism," he writes; concerted attacks on the literary canon from '60s student radicals and minorities pale in comparison, he says. Even the sexual revolution, Bloom's other bete noire, cast as a mere warm-up exercise to the "grimmer" rule of feminist tyranny. "The July 14 of the sexual revolution," he writes, "was really only a day between the overthrow of the Ancient Regime and the onset of the Terror."
The bachelor Bloom writes very little of the problem with education, but a great deal of ink was used to paint the women's movement as a terrorist attack on America, and his paranoia that universities had succombed to the terror of the radical feminist.
[Bloom] a Plato scholar teaches at the University of Chicago, where he has retreated to the conservative, and practically all-male, bunker of the Committee on Social Thought (which had only one woman on its faculty): "I'm protected in my eccentric ivory tower," he says. "It's worse in the departments." When venturing outside the committee's demilitarized zone, he treads warily. "It's hard to explain to people who aren't in the universities how extraordinary it is," he says, comparing his lot to a shell-shocked refugee bearing atrocity stories: "I'm like one of the first people out of Cambodia."

According to Bloom's report from the front, feminists have invaded every academic sanctuary—a view shared by the many male scholars denouncing "political correctness" in the early '90s. "One finds it in all the various departments. They have made tremendous changes in courses. But more than that, in the old established courses with traditionalist books, a huge number [of professors] are teaching from that point of view. You study American history now, and what is America but the history of the enslavement of women! There's no question but it's become the doctrine."
Gairdner also speaks of "radical feminists" in Canada and how they too have influenced teaching, or what he refers to as brain washing". He quotes the more extreme advocates for the movement, while ignoring the fact that there are legitimate grievances.

Instead, he suggests that men are the ones being victimized.
So woe betide us if men ever manifest the same lack of confidence in themselves as women have done for the past few decades and start a worldwide "masculinist" movement. The would have lots of fodder.

For example, men carry a disproportionate "death burden" in society. They die much younger than women do; there is a "life gap" favouring women all over the world. They are also vastly more often the victims of violent crime - than are women. They also suffer outright discrimination in wartime: over 120,000 Canadian men have been killed in battle, 150 in Afghanistan as of this writing; and a handful of women, of which three in Afghanistan. Men also suffer an unfair anti-emotional bias, and a stereotype-burden: we say "men can take it"—so listen, don't even think about crying, eh? Society also unfairly expects men (not women) to compete financially for their entire lives, and face scorn and failure if they can't hack it. Boys begin to feel this expectation in big way when they are about fifteen. They don't have the same safe harbour default option of homemaking and child-rearing as women do.
Gairdner wrote those words in a follow up to The Trouble With Canada, The Trouble With Canada ... Still. Hard to imagine that he would think that way in 2010, but his arguments provide an excellent case for equality, to free both men and women from the "stereotype-burden".

As to men being the victims of violent crime more often than women, men also perpetrate violent crime more often than women. And few women have that "safe harbour default option of homemaking and child-rearing", even if they wanted it.

What this really boils down to for men like Bloom and Gairdner, is that they are losing their status, when just being male opened all the doors. They truly believe that men are superior and resent any notion that they're not.
Perhaps what troubled Bloom was not so much that the feminist-tainted American mind was closing—but that it was closing against him. In 1970, Bloom felt compelled to flee his Ivy League haven for Canada. -The guns at Cornell," as he characterized the student uprising, drove him out. While only a very few of the guns were in women's hands, they are the ones he most vividly recalls—and resents. "That's when I began encountering the feminists," he recalls of Cornell, which was one of the first college campuses to establish a women's studies program. "The feminists started speaking very strongly.... Some of them are students who have since become well known. They were mostly women doing comparative literature who got a lot of attention."

While these women were building their careers and collecting their kudos, he felt exiled for ten bitter years at the University of Toronto. "I was lost," he told a reporter later. Two years into his expatriate post, at the relatively young age of forty-one, he suffered a heart attack. Finally, after two years of negotiations, he received a faculty appointment at the University of Chicago. But even there he remained, in his word, a "nobody." (1)
Understanding the influence of the 'Chicago School', brought to Canada by the 'Calgary School', is important if we are to understand the Harper agenda.

This is not just about imperialism, neoconservatism, racism, sexism, and the all the other 'isms'. It is a total "movement", influenced by men like Leo Strauss, Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman and Allan Bloom; and absorbed by Stephen Harper and the Reform Party (now calling themselves the Conservative party of Canada).

All of these men are deceased (with the exception of Gairdner), but their legacy lives on in the Republican Party, the Tea Party and the current Canadian government.

Defunding the Status for Women, promoting male sports and traditionally male occupations, is only part of the incremental steps in destroying everything so many women fought for.

Harper likes to suggest that he has many women in his cabinet and caucus, but they are women who sit down and shut up and do as they're told. They hardly represent us.

We'd better start paying attention.


1. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, By Susan Faludi, Crown publishing, 1991, ISBN: 0-385-42507-4, Pg. 290-296

2. The Trouble With Canada ... Still: A Citizen Speaks Out, By William D. Gairdner, Key Porter Books, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-55470-247-3, Pg. 238-239

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Harper's War on Women Was Launched in the USA

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
"The woman who is truly Spirit-filled will want to be totally submissive to her husband . . . This is a truly liberated woman. Submission is God's design for women."BEVERLY LAHAYE, The Spirit-Controlled Woman
One evening in 1978 Beverly LaHaye was watching television with her husband. On the tube Barbara Walters was interviewing the feminist leader Betty Friedan, who suggested that she represented many women in America.

According to the story that LaHaye has repeated countless times, she immediately sprang to her feet and declared, "Betty Friedan doesn't speak for me and I bet she doesn't speak for the majority of women in this country."

From that day on, or so the story goes, she vowed to rally other "submissive" women who believed, like her, that "the women's liberation movement is destroying the family and threatening the survival of our nation." (1)

Betty LaHaye's husband is Religious Right leader, Tim LaHaye, co-author of the successful Apocalyptic Left Behind book series. He is also a founder of the Council for National Policy, where Harper gave his 1997 speech, where he vilified Canadians and our socialist ways.

Betty LaHaye's "submissive awakening" was in direct contrast to what she had been preaching several years before. Then as a pastor's wife, raising four children, she felt unfulfilled and hated the drudgery of her day to day existence.
One very well-meaning lady said to me in the early days of our ministry, "Mrs. LaHaye, our last pastor's wife was an author; what do you do?" That was a heavy question for a fearful twenty-seven-year-old woman to cope with. And I began to wonder, "What did I do?" Oh yes, I was a good mother to my four children, I could keep house reasonably well, my husband adored me, but what could I do that would be eternally effective in the lives of other women? The answer seemed to come back to me. "Very little!" There was something missing in my life.

In my case it was not the major problems that succeeded in wearing me down; it was the smoldering resentment caused from the endless little tasks that had to be repeated over and over again and seemed so futile. Day after day I would perform the same routine procedures: picking up dirty socks, hanging up wet towels, closing closet doors, turning off lights that had been left on, creating a path through the clutter of toys. (1)
So despite the fact that her children were still young, she returned to work full-time, as a teletype operator for Merrill Lynch. This job she claimed helped her to "gain confidence" and fulfilment.

By 1978 her children were grown and forgetting her life before Merrill Lynch, she decided that she would be the voice of submissive women everywhere.

Lahaye helped to form the group 'Concerned Women for America', drafting women's policy for the Neoconservative/Religious Right movement. CWA also sparked similar organisations in other countries, including our own version 'Real Women of Canada', who have worked in Harper's various parties from the beginning of Reform.

A branch group of Real Women, Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, helped to get Conservative MP Rob Anders elected.

Members of Concerned Women, regularly speak at Real Women conventions, and Canadian members return the favour.

In fact several Conservative MPs have also made the trek to Betty LaHaye's anti-feminist kingdom, including Vic Toews and Stockwell Day.

Given this kind of support for anti-feminism, should we really be surprised that the Republicans are attacking any funding to vulnerable women? That Harper's tax policies ignore single mothers, and pander only to high income households with one wage earner? Or that the Neoconservative government of David Cameron in the UK, is also targeting women in their "austerity" budgets?

This all began when stocking footed Betty LaHaye stood up and vowed to offer an alternative voice for women, who could find happiness if they would just totally submit to to their menfolk.

So kick off those shoes ladies and get back in the kitchen where you belong.

As for me, I'm experiencing a case of the vapours. Could just be that my corset's too tight.


1. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, By Susan Faludi, Crown publishing, 1991, ISBN: 0-385-42507-4, Pg. 247-249

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shock Doctrined Through Think Tanks

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
I've been reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, and what I find interesting, is that American Imperialism over the past half century or so, has followed a pattern.

One laid out by the Chicago school and Milton Friedman. And it was done under the guise of fighting Socialism/Communism, but was really about taking over the economics of other nations, for corporate interests.

Chile provides an excellent example of how the system works.

In an attempt to combat the socialist principles of leading Latin American economist Raul Prebisch, the Chicago School offered free market courses at a Chilean university.

This was the brainchild of Albion Patterson, director of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration in Chile, and Theodore W. Schultz, chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, who called on Friedman to work his magic.
The two men came up with a plan that would eventually turn Santiago, a hotbed of state-centred economics, into its opposite—a laboratory for cutting-edge free-market experiments, giving Milton Friedman what he had longed for: a country in which to test his cherished theories. The original plan was simple: the U.S. government would pay to send Chilean students to study economics at what pretty much everyone recognized was the most rabidly anti-"pink" school in the world—the University of Chicago. Schultz and his colleagues at the university would also be paid to travel to Santiago to conduct research into the Chilean economy and to train students and professors in Chicago School fundamentals. (1)
Friedman and his gang would also bring the media on board, and not surprisingly, the president of their largest newspaper, El Mercurio, would become Augustus Pinochet's economic minister after the U.S. led coup.

However, another important step in trying to turn the Southern Cone , and indeed the rest of the free world, to the right, came from another faculty member at the Chicago School, Friedrich von Hayek.

Hayek had come up with the notion of the corporate funded free market think tank, that he suggested should "present themselves as civil society". They churn out report after report, poll after poll, all to promote corporate interests.

And Chile was no exception. The most prominent are Libertad y Desarrollo (now the Latin American institute) and Centro de Estudios Públicos , both heralded as the saviour of Chile (next to Milton Friedman, bombs, guns and assassins).

Alejandro Chafuen wrote a piece in April of 2010: Think Tanks and the Transformation of the Chilean Economy

In it he not only praises Libertad y Desarrollo and Centro de Estudios Públicos , but also Canada's own Fraser Institute.
... the Fraser Institute in Canada, ranked today as the best market oriented institute outside the United States. Fraser has a huge influence in a Canada which is overcoming the US in economic freedoms, transparency, and several other areas.
But who is this Alejandro Chafuen?

He is the past President of the Atlas Foundation and a Senior Fellow at the Acton Institute. In fact the Acton Institute was started with funds provided by the Atlas Foundation, and is an extension of the Religious Right.
Atlas was, and is, a major sponsor of the Acton Institute run by former faith healer, evangelical, gay community organizer, and now Catholic priest, Bob Sirico. Sirico ran fundamentalist faith healing meetings until he came out as gay. Then he moved on to the Metropolitan Community Churches and started running the Gay Community Center in Hollywood ... Acton officials got heavily involved in the debate on gay marriage. With Sirico back in the closet (though some conservatives don’t think so) the position they have been taking has been to pander to bigots on the Religious Right.
The Atlas Foundation also helps to finance the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which was started in 2002, by Conservative MP John Weston. The CCF has ties to the Harper government and Canada's Neoconservative movement.

They were also behind attack ads run in the U.S. to oppose Obama's healthcare plan.

Donald Gutstein wrote an excellent book: Not a Conspiracy Theory, in which he exposes the myriad of think tanks and foundations propping up the Harper government. Gutstein tells us to follow the money, and the few connections I provided above, are only a tip of the iceberg.

If we are going to engage in non-violent civil disobedience, it's important to know what we're up against. The media is constantly quoting polls and reports from these groups, to defend or explain this government's policies.

We have to do what Gutstein suggests and follow the money. Google the name of the group or the person quoted. It won't take long to find they belong to some corporate funded think tank or "advocacy" group, many with planted MPs.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (Jason Kenney)
The Fraser Institute (Jason Kenney, Rob Anders)
The Montreal Institute (Maxime Bernier)
The Civitas Society (Jason Kenney)
The National Citizens Coalition (Stephen Harper and Rob Anders)

The list is endless.

Once you trace the origin, email the columnist or own the comments section. Our best weapon is education, including the education of the media. Maybe if we become enough of a pain, they may start providing some balance.

Brigette DePape started something here, putting her job on the line to make a statement. But its not enough to simply "stop" Stephen Harper. We must fight against the entire movement, before it destroys us.


1. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, By Naomi Klein, Vintage Canada, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-676-97801-8

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Calgary School, Chicago School and the Committee on Social Thought

Canada's neoconservative movement has been slow to reach awareness in Canada, though throughout the 1990's, neoconservatism was a term used by many journalists and political pundits, to separate the conservatism of people like Mike Harris in Ontario, Ralph Klein in Alberta, Grant Devine in Saskatchewan and the Reform Party on the national scene; from the more traditional conservatism.

However, since Stephen Harper's "new" Conservative Party came to power, the mainstream media prefer to use the misnomer "Tory". A term that Stephen Harper himself, claimed to detest. "It's not my favourite term, but we're probably stuck with it." (Stephen Harper, Hamilton Spectator, January 24, 2004)

We are more familiar with American neoconservatism (on which our own movement is based), as represented by George W. Bush and his war mongers, and the free marketeers, who push deregulation, low or no corporate taxes, and the end of the welfare state.

However, the political philosophy is not simply about imperial wars or free market theories. It is a complete doctrine designed to change the way that we view the role of government.

Not a government that Abraham Lincoln famously claimed as being "of the people, by the people and for the people", but a government that is only there to serve the interests of profit.

The National Citizens Coalition, of which Harper has been a member for more than three decades, and once served as president, espouses the Milton Friedman theory of eliminating government altogether, except for "policing and the military" (1).

Policing to ensure that the poor don't touch the rich people's stuff, and the military, so we can lay our hands on the stuff belonging to the poor of other nations.

And this theory was galvanized at the University of Chicago, almost 60 years ago.

The Chicago School

In 1963, Time magazine ran a piece about the University of Chicago: The Return of a Giant, where they spoke of the difference a decade had made to the school.
In 1953 the University of Chicago was so close to academic anarchy that its graduate schools refused to honor degrees from its college, and only 141 freshmen entered the place. The limestone Gothic campus was marooned in a sea of slums and muggers; the trustees morosely considered moving the university out of Chicago. To sum up his problems, Chancellor Lawrence A. Kimpton told a story: "A Harvard professor about to come here went to his young son's room the night before they left Cambridge. The boy was praying: 'And now, goodbye, God. We're going to Chicago.'" (2)
What saved the school was a change in direction.

They couldn't compete for the academic liberalism of places like Harvard, so instead chose to create an academic conservatism, "where "classical" Economist Friedrich von Hayek ... [and] conservative Milton Friedman" became "Chicago's answer to Harvard's liberal John K. Galbraith."

However the economics of Friedman and Hayek, were not palpable to most Americans, and since they couldn't be pushed through the barrel of a gun, as happened in places like Chile and Argentina, it became necessary to change the way that people think.

And as sci-fi as that sounds, they set out to accomplish this with scholars, including Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt, who were encouraged to think outside the norm.

The Committee on Social Thought

The graduate studies in unorthodox thinking, had its own outpost:
The oddest graduate school in the U.S. is a far-out arm of the University of Chicago called the Committee on Social Thought. Physically, it is a dingy office under the eaves of the social science building. Its faculty, which includes Novelist Saul Bellow and Political Scientist Hannah Arendt, numbers only eleven. But its goal is as big as the world ... The committee is a generalist's elysium, a haven for "eccentrics" commanded to "think in new areas." If they do, the school gives them the degree of Doctor of Social Thought. (3)
Not all graduates churned out conservative essays, but the ones who did, very much changed the way the U.S. government did business.

In fact, one graduate who studied under Leo Strauss, the late Irving Kristol, called himself the "Godfather of Neoconversation".

He and scholars like him, flooded the market with books and essays, promoting free markets, and the freedom of the individual, including the freedom to be poor and sick, so long as you didn't expect the government to do anything about it.

The Calgary School

The first to use the term The Calgary School, as the Canadian equivalent of The Chicago School, was David J. Rovinsky, who wrote a paper for the Washington based Center for Strategic and International Studies, entitled: THE ASCENDANCY OF WESTERN CANADA IN CANADIAN POLICY MAKING.

In the paper he confirms that neoconservatism is more than just an economic theory, but a political argument, and that the Calgary School is part of an "international neoconservative movement".

So while Stephen Harper and his government have adopted the economic principles of Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, they represent something more profound.

An increasingly successful attempt at social engineering.

They want to completely change the way we view ourselves culturally and historically.
The rise of the west as a potent force in Canadian political life has had several consequences. It has turned federal and provincial governments toward fiscal conservatism, deficit reduction, and state retrenchment; led a reexamination of policies related to immigration and multiculturalism; and exposed the scope of judicial activism in the wake of the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to new political debate. Most important, it has induced the rest of English-speaking Canada to take a new hard line on the question of recognizing Quebec’s distinctiveness in the Canadian constitution, to the point of encouraging the French-speaking province to leave the federation. Western Canada’s embrace of classical liberalism, together with its increasing demographic weight within the country, has the potential to make Canadian political debate in the early 21st century much different, and probably less distinctively Canadian, than it was for the bulk of the 20th. (4)
And The Calgary School is helping to accomplish that.

Like The Chicago School, they challenge civil rights and what they term "judicial activism". In Chicago, law professors "lambasted the U.S. Supreme Court for being "a policymaker without proper judicial restraint. (2)"

And Stephen Harper in 1997, told leading American Conservatives, "And we have a Supreme Court, like yours, which, since we put a charter of rights in our constitution in 1982, is becoming increasingly arbitrary and important ... "

I often quote a line that appeared in the Vancouver Sun several years ago, describing Harper's Reform Party:
"Reform is somewhat un-Canadian. It's about tidy numbers, self-righteous sanctimoniousness and western grievances. It cannot talk about the sea or about our reluctant fondness for Quebec, about our sorrow at the way our aboriginal people live, about the geographically diverse, bilingual, multicultural mess of a great country we are."
The Reformers, or more specifically, the neoconservatives, do not want us to "talk about the sea, our reluctant fondness for Quebec or our sorrow at the way our aboriginal people live".

So instead they create alternative Canadian stories, not the least of which is Calgary School's Tom Flanagan's book First Nations, Second Thoughts. In it he diminishes the importance of our First Nations, reducing them to just another band of immigrants.

But he is not the only Calgary scholar to try to change our history or the way we view ourselves. According to Rovinsky,
A look at classical liberalism among western intellectuals almost necessarily begins with David Bercuson and Barry Cooper. Bercuson, a University of Calgary historian, and Cooper, a political scientist at the same institution, each have a track record of publishing that features interest in neoconservatism and the Canadian west as a region. Bercuson has written a number of pieces on regionalism, and edited Canada and the Burden of Unity. Cooper has co-edited a book of comparative essays on neoconservatism in English-speaking countries and has written a stinging critique of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Bercuson 1977, 1981; Cooper 1988, 1994). Yet they truly established their notoriety with their 1991 book Deconfederation: Canada Without Quebec. They state openly that the most important issue for constitutional reform is the preservation of Canada as a liberal democracy rooted in individual rights. The most significant threat to liberalism in Canada is Queberes call for special status and recognition of collective rights rooted in culture ...
And again to Harper:
"The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things." (5)
This shows that the Calgary School is alive and well in the Harper government. And before suggesting that Harper has abandoned his views on Quebec, we have to remember another Flanagan goal "how to convince Canadians that we are moving to the left, when we are not".

However, there is a more important book written by the Bercuson/Cooper team: Derailed: The Betrayal of the National Dream. In it they lay out the agenda, in a 'head in the clouds' idealism.
Bercuson and Cooper divide Canadian history into periods of good government and bad government, the latter broadly covering the Pearson, Trudeau, and Mulroney governments. Good government essentially refers to a government that worries about economic growth and that assumes that other good things, like national unity and social harmony flow from abundant material wealth. (4)
I guess they didn't hear the old adage that "money is the root of all evil".

Because the problem with this philosophy, is that "abundant material wealth" is concentrated at the top, and the "trickle down" theory, a myth.

It's important to view neoconservatism in the big picture of excessive greed and human suffering.

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, does an excellent job of exposing this. It was written in 2007, before the Wall Street induced "economic crisis", engineered to put the final nail in the coffin of the welfare state.

The Opposition has got to change their strategy, by changing the channel. When was the last time that healthcare was debated? I mean really debated?

When asked, Flaherty will stick to his one liner "we are not going to alter the transfer to the provinces." Not a word on protecting the Canada Health Act, that guarantees the right to universal healthcare for all citizens.

We have to understand that the neocon way is not the Canadian way. It is the American Republican way. The Calgary School way.
"Westerners, but especially Albertans, founded the Reform/Alliance to get "in" to Canada. The rest of the country has responded by telling us in no uncertain terms that we do not share their 'Canadian values.' Fine. Let us build a society on Alberta values." Stephen Harper
Getting rid of Stephen Harper anytime soon, is unlikely, but remember this. The Calgary School is already grooming Pierre Poilievre as his replacement. Oye!


1. The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen: Canada and Democracy in the Age of Globalization, By Murray Dobbin, James Lorimer & Company, 2003, ISBN: 1-55028-785-0, Pg. 200-203

2. Universities: Return of a Giant, Time magazine, May 31, 1963

3. Universities: Generalist's Elysium, Time Magazine, January 03, 1964

4. THE ASCENDANCY OF WESTERN CANADA IN CANADIAN POLICY MAKING, By David J. Rovinsky, Policy Papers on the Americas, February 16, 1998, Volume IX Study 2

5. Full text of Stephen Harper's 1997 speech, Canadian Press, December 14, 2005

Friday, June 3, 2011

Raul Prebisch and Developmentalism

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

In 1964, delegates of 122 countries met in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss international trade relations.

One of the organizers of the event was Raul Prebisch, who had been head of the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Latin America from 1950 to 1963.
[Prebisch] told the delegates that the underdeveloped countries are draining off almost all the foreign aid that they receive because they have to pay so much to carry their foreign debts and because their export prices are falling.
Poorer nations were looking to the wealthier, for some relief. (1)
"You in the West tell us to work harder and we will get rich," said Nigeria's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Zanna Dipcharima. "Well, we are working hard, and we are getting poorer."
Not much was accomplished during the meetings, except the strengthening of an "us vs them" mentality.
...the underdeveloped nations moved toward creating a new alliance—along economic, not ideological lines. Though they bickered among themselves, they held fairly firm against the richer lands, both free and Communist. (2)
The wall put up by the West, especially the United States, was in response to the Developmentalism of Latin America, as espoused by Raul Prebisch.

Developmentalism and Marxism

As U.N.'s Economic Commissioner for Latin America:
Prebisch urged governments to take idle lands away from the rich, distribute them to the poor, modestly compensate the original owners with long-term bonds, force higher taxes on the high-living upper classes and use the money to build roads and power plants that would speed industrialization. Proposing and prodding from his U.N. post, he was the intellectual father of the thriving little Central American common market and the still-struggling Latin American Free Trade Area ... (3)
In response to post-war Keynesian policies, Prebisch carved out an economy that promoted education, healthcare, and the eradication of poverty. And he did it with a vengeance.
[this] mood was on the rise in the developing world, usually going under the name developmentalism, or Third World nationalism. Developmentalist economists argued that their countries would finally escape the cycle of poverty only if they pursued an inward-oriented industrialization strategy instead of relying on the export of natural resources, whose prices had been on a declining path, to Europe and North America. They advocated regulating or even nationalizing oil, minerals and other key industries so that a healthy share of the proceeds fed a government-led development process.

By the 1950s, the developmentalists, like the Keynesians and social democrats in rich countries, were able to boast a series of impressive success stories. The most advanced laboratory of developmentalism was the southern tip of Latin America, known as the Southern Cone: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and parts of Brazil. The epicentre was the United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America, based in Santiago, Chile, and headed by the economist Raul Prebisch from 1950 to 1963.

Prebisch trained teams of economists in developmentalist theory and dispatched them to act as policy advisers for governments across the continent. Nationalist politicians like Argentina's Juan Peron put their ideas into practice with a vengeance, pouring public money into infrastructure projects such as highways and steel plants, giving local businesses generous subsidies to build their new factories, churning out cars and washing machines, and keeping out foreign imports with forbiddingly high tariffs.

During this dizzying period of expansion, the Southern Cone began to look more like Europe and North America than the rest of Latin America or other parts of the 'Third World. The workers in the new factories formed powerful unions that negotiated middle-class salaries, and their children were sent off to study at newly built public universities. The yawning gap between the region's polo-club elite and its peasant masses began to narrow. By the 1950s, Argentina had the largest middle class on the continent, and next-door Uruguay had a literacy rate of 95 percent and offered free health care for all citizens.

Developmentalism was so staggeringly successful for a time that the Southern Cone of Latin America became a potent symbol for poor countries around the world: here was proof that with smart, practical policies, aggressively implemented, the class divide between the First and Third World could actually be closed. (4)
But to the Americans, especially those economists at the Chicago School, what was happening in the Southern Cone, was the spread of Marxism.

The U.S. had already been involved in the successful coups of Iran and Guatemala, however,
Eradicating developmentalism in the Southern Cone, where it had taken far deeper root, was a much greater challenge. Figuring out how to achieve that goal was the topic of discussion between two American men as they met in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. One was Albion Patterson, director of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration in Chile—the agency that would later become USAID—and the other was Theodore W. Schultz, chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. Patterson had become increasingly concerned about the maddening influence of Raul Prebisch and Latin America's other "pink" economists.

.... The two men came up with a plan that would eventually turn Santiago, a hotbed of state-centred economics, into its opposite—a laboratory for cutting-edge free-market experiments, giving Milton Friedman what he had longed for: a country in which to test his cherished theories. The original plan was simple: the U.S. government would pay to send Chilean students to study economics at what pretty much everyone recognized was the most rabidly anti-"pink" school in the world—the University of Chicago. Schultz and his colleagues at the university would also be paid to travel to Santiago to conduct research into the Chilean economy and to train students and professors in Chicago School fundamentals.

What set the plan apart from other U.S. training programs that sponsored Latin American students, of which there were many, was its unabashedly ideological character. By selecting Chicago to train Chileans—a school where the professors agitated for the near-complete dismantling of government with single-minded focus—the U.S. State Department was firing a shot across the bow in its war against developmentalism, effectively telling Chileans that the U.S. government had decided what ideas their elite students should and should not learn. This was such blatant U.S. intervention in Latin American affairs that when Albion Patterson approached the dean of the University of Chile, the country's premiere university, and offered him a grant to set up the exchange program, the dean turned him down. He said he would participate only if his faculty had input into who in the U.S. was training his students. Patterson went on to approach the dean of a lesser institution, Chile's Catholic University, a much more conservative school with no economics department. The dean at the Catholic University jumped at the offer, and what became known in Washington and Chicago as "the Chile Project" was born.

"We came here to compete, not to collaborate," said Schultz of the University of Chicago, explaining why the program would be closed to all Chilean students but the few selected." This combative stance was explicit from the start: the goal of the Chile Project was to produce ideological warriors who would win the battle of ideas against Latin America's "pink" economists. (5)
However, despite this, Developmentalism continued to thrive.

Prebisch had warned that if more wasn't done to help third world economies, the conditions would be ripe for the rise of a demagogue.

So this became the Chicago School's next step.


1. World Trade: Robin Hood at Geneva, Time magazine, April 03, 1964

2. World Trade: The Underdeveloped Get Together, Time magazine, February 21, 1964

3. Trade: When Poor Meets Rich, Time magazine, June 19, 1964

4. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, By Naomi Klein, Vintage Canada, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-676-97801-8, Pg. 64-65

5. Klein, 2007, Pg 68-69