When writing recently about how conservative leadership candidates were overusing the word ‘freedom’ it occurred to me that they also think they own the term ‘values.’ At their first English debate in Edmonton on May 11, I might count the number of times each candidate uses the two words.
What complicates the discussion of values among conservatives is that it reflects a mix of ideologies. The most persistent use of the word is in regard to social values—the ones that some conservatives want to inflict on others. This is despite the fact that Canadians seem comfortable with the rights of women to control their own bodies. They are also at ease with medical assistance in dying. Having to do endless battle with conservatives and the Roman church on these issues does not endear either to us.
Values seems to be a factor in conservative cancel culture and the promotion of book burning. I find the use of the word values particularly objectionable in conservatives fighting against Medicare and dental care. What is implied in these values is that the rich are better than the rest of us. I have never understood what the poor are supposed to do when sent to the back of the line for medical care. Do these conservatives think there is enough charity to help all? Or are the people at the end of the line supposed to die quietly?
And people think it is so sophisticated to be conservative. Yet they seem to see politics as adversarial. Why? Do they have to scoff at suggestions for helping others in our society? There are of course those who are quick to say they are not as extreme as the libertarians. So? If you espouse limited government and less taxes, I have a very basic question for you: Given a severe budget cut, which service would you like to live in a Canada without, paved roads or no police forces?
It has always amazed me that conservatives can preach balanced budgets and yet, often, run up the largest deficits. It is usually because they want to cut taxes for the wrong people. They are preaching to the ignorant when they claim that they are the ones who can trim the fat at any level of government. Of course, they make cuts—usually to the people who can least afford them.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to: