Friday, December 30, 2005

Stephen Harper and the Neo-Con

Anyone tempted to vote for Stephen Harper simply as a way of turning that stale Ottawa soil to oxygenate it, think again. Harper is another front man for the less-visible Canadian version of so-called Neo-Conservatism, which needs to be understood a lot better than it currently is by all shades of political opinion here, particularly the Left, which, as always, underestimates its opponents' will to power.

Make no mistake: Neo-Conservatism is fascism, an updated Naziism with the anti-Jewish element replaced by an anti-Muslim bias. One reason that the Neo-Con movement has been able to absorb so many ex-Trotskyites --- from Christopher Hitchens back to Irving Kristol -- is that its totalitarian inclinations are startlingly similar to those of International Socialism. Bush's call for a "global democratic revolution" echoes Trotsky's "World socialistic revolution", and anyone who believes Bush meant through the deployment of peaceful methods for change, take a look at Iraq (150,000 dead civilians at least), Afghanistan (10,000, who knows?), et al, not to mention the Pentagon's $500 billion annual budget. Marx also stated that capitalism would pave the way for Socialism because its rapacious greed tends to lay bare the avarice and elitism concealed in its core. I doubt if he envisioned the Neo-Con twist, though, and also doubt that the ex-Trots are there to surf in on the Big Wave when it comes. I imagine most felt it was their last chance to see a global revolution of any kind.

Below I attach Donald Gutstein's superb article on the Neo-Cons and the Canadian connection for anyone wishing to see where Harper connects to them. During the last election I was following tracks that linked Harper with the Project for A New American Century (PNAC) via the pernicious and deceitful David Frum --- whose anti-Canadian actions would have seen him arrested as a traitor in any other time or place -- and heard rumors of campaign funding being ferried up. PNAC is ostensibly a right-wing think tank whose main thought is US world domination. If a single organization could be blamed for the war in Iraq, PNAC did more to foment it than any other body, just as they drafted the 2002 National Security Strategy, which enabled the war's logistics, and which began as a PNAC report. A horrible nexus of vested interests hovers around PNAC too, because what's the point of a right-wing ideology that doesn't engorge itself on that ceaseless torr ent of cash called 'Taxation'. Frum's idol, the despicable Richard Perle, a caricature of fraudulent dealings and taxpayer abuse, springs to mind. Perle was also, surprise, surprise, a partner of Conrad Black's in Hollinger, which peeled its shareholders like grapes, fleeced them and turned them inside out. Perle and Frum co-authored a book that can easily pass as a parody of post-Nazi prose, and is the financial equivalent of Rapture fiction.

Gutstein's article links the Canadian Neo-Cons both to their roots and to their current political and media lairs via Harper and a predictable bestiary of propagandists, liars and hacks, most of them, like timid little Andrew Coyne, sheltered at the ample trough of the National Embarassment, with one, the cowardly Marcus Gee, kept as an act of charity by the Globe and Mail. I have politely ignored them for long enough, while tolerating their squeals of rage, but it is time for a little blunt truth. The gang of them make Josef Goebbels and his pet ape Streicher seem brilliantly literary, though if your morning greed sheet were to be swapped for a copy of Der Sturmer you'd barely notice any change. A tissue of lies is always the same. Quick to condemn, the National Post is very slow to apologize for the months when its front page was pure fiction, as it tried to convince us to send our children to fight in Iraq. I wonder why Jonathan Kay didn't protest those facts? Being hardcore elitists who believe they are the chosen philosophical overlords --- and you're not -- Neo-Cons habitually lie about their motives. But that's okay, you see, because we wouldn't be able to understand the kind of realities they deal with. Let's underline this:


Having been on the receiving end, I know this is true, just as I know the innuendo is another favorite tool. Andrew Coyne stated I had said the US killed more Iraqis than Saddam ever did, which is true, a fact, and he knows it. So he did not exactly say it wasn't true, he implied it, which is enough for the kind of person who buys the Post for their news. Again like Hitler and his pals, the axis of innuendo consists of cowardly bullies. Both Coyne and Gee are as brave behind their stolid little columns as if they had a battalion of storm troopers to despatch. But to date neither have had the guts to debate me publically on the issue of their choice. Both had the chance -- and my door is ever open -- but Coyne sat like Miss Prism and said nothing at all, and Gee pretended to be too busy, busy, busy to do what he wasnt too busy for when the offer was an anonymous editorial. I will say this unequivocally, though: both these men are liars who are a disgrace to the profession of journalism, whose practice they know nothing about. But the Post doesnt know any better -- it will presumably deny Conrad Black was convicte d, if and when he is -- and the Globe is being loyal to its tattered remnant of an old hand. It is hard to condemn that, and Gee's tortured world-view is too well known to be read seriously.

But when journalism is so infected by vested corporate interests that it tolerates and encourages the printing of lies as news, we must all be concerned. We must all worry. The public are not as aware as they ought to be of the difference between news reporting and opinion pieces. In a column you can say whatever you want --- though ideally it ought not to be a pack of lies --- but it might be useful if its subjective nature were occasionally pointed out and contrasted with the front page. And the balance of political opinion ought to reflect its balance in society.

Normally, I would say quite happily that the Neo-Cons are entitled to hold their views, and I fundamentally believe they are. But they are not entitled to operate with a hidden agenda, behind a smokescreen of lies, pretending that the corporate media are too liberal. Like the pretenbce that America was 'liberating' the Iraqis, the pretence that media are a bastion of the left-wing is a clever device to deflect attention from the real issues. The current nonsense about Paul Martin's allegedly 'anti-American' comments is a good example.

If the media were doing their job, they would for a start denounce the term 'anti-American' as entirely inappropriate in the context of a political critique. Just as the term 'anti-Semitic' --- which is meaningless for an Arab -- cannot be applied to criticism of Israeli policies. Israel and America have long had an unnatural relationship, but lately it's been growing closer and they are begining to resemble one another. Next this objective media would stress that the Prime Minister did not criticize America. He said nothing even vaguely critical. What he said was that the US ought to ab ide by the GATT ruling on softwood lumber, and that the US ought to be more responsible globally when it came to pollution and the Kyoto Accord. That it ought to respect the views of virtually every other country. These statements are barely more radical than saying an administration ought to administer. It is in fact the American Ambassador who over-reacted, and who, indeed, was rude. Mr Martin ought to have sent him back to Washington, but in a country where US Customs commandeers the main airport and dictates how traffic should flow down University Avenue, it is not perhaps clear who can say what to whom.

This is where a pure and untainted media come in. They should have been the ones calling out colours of lust. They should have been the ones analysing statements. They should have told Harper he was full of shit to prolong the untruths. But they didn't. A truly free press would not be owned by big business interests. A society that cared about a f ree media would pass laws preventing anyone amassing a monoploy of TV outlets and newspapers. The very fact that someone is seen trying to create a monopoly ought to make it impossible for them to succeed. There can be no good motive for such a cruel killing. There can be no valid reason to wage war.

There should be no excuses for lying in national media, either. One strike, you're out, no matter how many runs you have or need. Truth is or ought to be sacred.


What do close advisors to Stephen Harper and George W. Bush have in common? They reflect the disturbing teachi ngs of Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish émigré who spawned the neoconservative movement.
Strauss, who died in 1973, believed in the inherent inequality of humanity. Most people, he famously taught, are too stupid to make informed decisions about their political affairs. Elite philosophers must decide on affairs of state for us.
In Washington, Straussians exert powerful influence from within the inner circle of the White House. In Canada, they roost, for now, in the so-called Calgary School, guiding Harper in framing his election strategies. What preoccupies Straussians in both places is the question of "regime change."
Strauss defined a regime as a set of governing ideas, institutions and traditions. The neoconservatives in the Bush administration, who secretly conspired to make the invasion of Iraq a certainty, had a precise plan for regime change. They weren't out to merely replace Saddam with an American puppet. They planned to make the system m ore like the U.S., with an electoral process that can be manipulated by the elites, corporate control over the levers of power and socially conservative values.
Usually regime change is imposed on a country from outside through violent means, such as invasion. On occasion, it occurs within a country through civil war. After the American Civil War, a new regime was imposed on the Deep South by the North, although the old regime was never entirely replaced.
Is regime change possible through the electoral process? It's happening in the U.S., where the neocons are succeeding in transforming the American state from a liberal democracy into a corporatist, theocratic regime. As Canada readies for a federal election, the question must be asked: Are we next?
The 'noble lie'
Strauss believed that allowing citizens to govern themselves will lead, inevitably, to terror and tyranny, as the Weimar Republic succumbed to the Nazis in the 1930s. A ruling elite of political philosophers must make those decisions because it is the only group smart enough. It must resort to deception -- Strauss's "noble lie" -- to protect citizens from themselves. The elite must hide the truth from the public by writing in code. "Using metaphors and cryptic language," philosophers communicated one message for the elite, and another message for "the unsophisticated general population," philosopher Jeet Heer recently wrote in the Globe and Mail. "For Strauss, the art of concealment and secrecy was among the greatest legacies of antiquity."
The recent outing of star New York Times reporter Judith Miller reveals how today's neocons use the media to conceal the truth from the public. For Straussians, telling Americans that Saddam didn't have WMD's and had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, but that we needed to take him out for geopolitical and ideological reasons you can't comprehend, was a non-starter. The people wouldn't get i t. Time for a whopper.
Miller was responsible for pushing into the Times the key neocon lie that Saddam was busy stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. This deception helped build support among Americans for the invasion of Iraq. Miller was no independent journalist seeking the truth nor a victim of neocon duplicity, as she claimed. She worked closely with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff and responsible for coordinating Iraq intelligence and communication strategy. Libby is a Straussian who studied under Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank, and before that, deputy secretary of defense, where he led the 'Invade Iraq" lobby. Wolfowitz studied under Strauss and Allan Bloom, Strauss's most famous student.
Miller cultivated close links to the neocons in the administration and at the American Enterprise Institute, the leading Washington-based neocon think tank. AEI played the key role outside government in fabricating intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. Straussian Richard Perle, who chaired the Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee until he was kicked off because of a conflict of interest, is a senior fellow at AEI and coordinated its efforts. Miller co-wrote a book on the Middle East with an AEI scholar. Rather than being a victim of government manipulation, Miller was a conduit between the neocons and the American public. As a result of her reporting, many Americans came to believe that Saddam had the weapons. War and regime change followed.
'Regime change' in Canada
As in the U.S., regime change became a Canadian media darling. Before 9-11, the phrase appeared in Canadian newspapers less than ten times a year. It usually referred to changes in leadership of a political party or as part of the phrase "regulatory regime change." Less than a week after 9-11, the phrase began to be used in its Straussian sense, as if a scenario was being choreographed.
From 19 mentions in Canadian newspapers in 2001, regime change soared to 790 mentions in 2002 and 1334 mentions in 2003. With the Iraq invasion accomplished that year, usage tailed off in 2004 (291 mentions) and in 2005 (208 mentions to November 10).
There's one big difference between American and Canadian Straussians. The Americans assumed positions of power and influence in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The Canadians have not had much opportunity to show (or is that hide?) their stuff. That may change with a Harper victory.
Paul Wolfowitz's teacher, Allan Bloom, and another Straussian, Walter Berns, taught at the University of Toronto during the 1970s. They left their teaching posts at Cornell University because they couldn't stomach the student radicalism of the '60s. At Toronto, they influenced an entire generation of political scientists, who fanned out to universities across the country.
Two of their students, Ted Morton and Rainer Knopff, went to the University of Calgary where they specialize in attacking the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They claim the charter is the result of a conspiracy foisted on the Canadian people by "special interests." These nasty people are feminists, gays and lesbians, the poor, prisoners and refugee-rights groups who are advancing their own interests through the courts at the expense of the general public, these Straussians allege.
The problem with their analysis is that the special interest which makes more use of the courts to advance its interests than all these other groups combined -- business -- receives not a mention. Deception by omission is a common Straussian technique. The weak are targeted while the real culprits disappear.
Harper's mentors
Harper studied under the neocons at the University of Calgary and worked with them to craft policies for the fledgling Reform Pa rty in the late 1980s. Together with Preston Manning, they created an oxymoron, a populist party backed by business.
Ted Morton has turned his attention to provincial politics. He's an elected MLA and a candidate to succeed Premier Ralph Klein. But he did influence the direction of right-wing politics at the federal level as the Canadian Alliance director of research under Stockwell Day.
When Harper threw his hat in the ring for the leadership of the Alliance, Tom Flanagan, the Calgary School's informal leader, became his closest adviser. Harper and Flanagan, whose scholarship focuses on attacking aboriginal rights, entered a four-year writing partnership and together studied the works of government-hater Friedrich Hayek. Flanagan ran the 2004 Conservative election campaign and is pulling the strings as the country readies for the election.
Political philosopher Shadia Drury is an expert on Strauss, though not a follower. She was a member of Calg ary's political science department for more than two decades, frequently locking horns with her conservative colleagues before leaving in 2003 for the University of Regina.
Strauss recommended harnessing the simplistic platitudes of populism to galvanize mass support for measures that would, in fact, restrict rights. Does the Calgary School resort to such deceitful tactics? Drury believes so. Such thinking represents "a huge contempt for democracy," she told the Globe and Mail's John Ibbotson. The 2004 federal election campaign run by Flanagan was "the greatest stealth campaign we have ever seen," she said, "run by radical populists hiding behind the cloak of rhetorical moderation."
Straus and 'Western alienation'
The Calgary School has successfully hidden its program beneath the complaint of western alienation. "If we've done anything, we've provided legitimacy for what was the Western view of the country," Calgary Schooler Barry Cooper told journalist Marci McDonald in her important Walrus article. "We've given intelligibility and coherence to a way of looking at it that's outside the St. Lawrence Valley mentality." This is sheer Straussian deception. On the surface, it's easy to understand Cooper's complaint and the Calgary School's mission. But the message says something very different to those in the know. For 'St. Lawrence Valley mentality,' they read 'the Ottawa-based modern liberal state,' with all the negative baggage it carries for Straussians. And for 'Western view,' they read 'the right-wing attack on democracy.' We've provided legitimacy for the radical-right attack on the Canadian democratic state, Cooper is really saying.
A network is already in place to assist Harper in foisting his radical agenda on the Canadian people.
In 2003, he delivered an important address to a group called Civitas. This secretive organization, which has no web site and leaves little pape r or electronic trail, is a network of Canadian neoconservative and libertarian academics, politicians, journalists and think tank propagandists.
Harper's adviser Tom Flanagan is an active member. Conservative MP Jason Kenney is a member, as are Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Michel Kelly-Gagnon of the Montreal Economic Institute, the second and third most important right-wing think tanks after the Fraser Institute.
Civitas is top-heavy with journalists to promote the cause. Lorne Gunter of the National Post is president. Members include Janet Jackson (Calgary Sun) and Danielle Smith (Calgary Herald). Journalists Colby Cosh, William Watson and Andrew Coyne (all National Post) have made presentations to Civitas.
The Globe and Mail's Marcus Gee is not mentioned in relation to Civitas but might as well be a member, if his recent column titled "George Bush is not a liar," is any evidence. In it, Gee repeats the lies the Bush neocons are furiously disseminating to persuade the people that Bush is not a liar.
Neo-con to Theo-con
The speech Harper gave to Civitas was the source of the charge made by the Liberals during the 2004 election -- sure to be revived in the next election -- that Harper has a scary, secret agenda. Harper urged a return to social conservatism and social values, to change gears from neocon to theocon, in The Report's Ted Byfield's apt but worrisome phrase, echoing visions of a future not unlike that painted in Margaret Atwood's dystopian work, A Handmaid's Tale.
The state should take a more activist role in policing social norms and values, Harper told the assembled conservatives. To achieve this goal, social and economic conservatives must reunite as they have in the U.S., where evangelical Christians and business rule in an unholy alliance. Red Tories must be jettisoned fr om the party, he said, and alliances forged with ethnic and immigrant communities who currently vote Liberal but espouse traditional family values. This was the successful strategy counselled by the neocons under Ronald Reagan to pull conservative Democrats into the Republican tent.
Movement towards the goal must be "incremental," he said, so the public won't be spooked.
Regime change, one step at a time.
Donald Gutstein, a senior lecturer in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, writes a regular media column for The Tyee.




Anonymous D.J. Allen said...

21 Jan 06
Dear Paul:
I've just found your blog and we are heading into an election less than 24 hours from now. Why haven't you been approached by TVO to appear to discuss the neo-con agenda? Would it be possible for you and Steve Paigan to put together an hour on this subject? What do you think of including Gwynne Dyer with John Ibbitson maybe as a follow-up? I'd love to hear this discussion brought to the public as a regular, in-your-face feature of some media that is responsible. Would the CBC touch it? Where is Tony Burman on this? It's late for this election round, but maybe not for the next.
D.J. Allen
Peterborough, ON

4:43 PM  
Anonymous D.J. Allen said...

Dear Paul:

I wanted to let you know more about myself. You had me at "Empire of the Soul" and when I read it, my third oldest, Andy, was in India. When he returned, I suggested he read it. Afterward he looked you up and we've continued to follow your writing. I've been sending off recommendations for your most recent and was thrilled when the Globe had the 1st chapter available on their site, through your site. So, I emailed to bloggers on Watchblog about your book and suggested that those thousands that read that (I'm guessing at how many read that blog) pick up your book. Don't have a clue at this time if anybody did. I think the first chapter of "A War Against Truth" should be required reading for everyone, especially school children. Has anyone told you today that you write like an angel? :-) However, you also can go to the land of few angels and do a marvellous job getting that story out too. This past month I've been reading Gwynne Dyer's and John Ibbitson's most recent books, as well, and this prompted me to suggest the three of you would make an excellent panel to discuss the neo-con agenda. I am a retired Canadian grandmother who is passionately interested in my country.
D.J. Allen
Peterborough, ON

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Catherine Barroll said...

Dear Mr. Roberts,
Re the words from D.J. Allen---Damn , I wish I'd said that. I just saw your talks at the Vancouver Public Library this Canada Day weekend (2006) and read a War Against Truth and I think you might be the last hope for the country as we head into this militaristic morass under Harper. Don't, don't stop writing and covering these terrible times. We really need you.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been impressed with your articles. However, I was watching you on Cable 4 Vancouver. I think that your claims that the hopeless Afganistan intervention is about an oil pipeline is a stretch. I also think that you use the term "holocaust" liberally. Also, using the term "slave state" regarding Pakistan makes you sound
like an extreme leftist. Whatever, I'm aware that you are extremely knowledgeable about the region.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,

Regarding your Vancouver presentation: You chose to blame the U.S. for the consequences of the sanctions programs against Iraq to the point of claiming that they are part of an Iraqi Holocaust. You don't mention that the sanctions were fairly easy to circumvent via Syria, etc. Also, it is Saddam Hussein who chose to use Iraq's revenues for other purposes, i.e. buying weapons, rather than buying medical supplies. I don't agree with the war in Iraq either. Someone with your knowledge base could present things better.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Willow Arune said...

I am a self-confessed bookaholic. No twelve step program, no debook centre. We are left to wander.

I graze in bookstores of all types. Having a limited budget, most of my grazing takes place in garage sales, thrifts and other such places.

Occasionally my temptation leads me to a new book store.

It was thus that I found a copy of "Homeland" earlier today. You must forgive me - until I picked up the book I had not knowingly read any of your writing. Up here in northern B.C., we are somewhat off the literary circuit.

As I trundled through the snow to the store, I distinctly remember saying "I will not buy a book, I will not buy a book...". A mantra that has helped my additction before, but not today. My intentions were noble; my execution rather lacking.

Being an oppinent of the Iraq War, the theme appealed to me instantly. So, with little thought of financial consequences, to book came home with me earlier today and I have spent the last hours enjoying it and, more importanly, learning from it.

A wonderful novel. I am so glad your publisher suggested it to you and can only marvel at the result. No "Da Vincie Code" or "Rule of Four", no matter how well promoted, can come close. Is shall sit next to Gore Vidal's "American Empire" series on a a nearby shelf. May you be rewarded with fame, fortune and more!

Now, a favour...

Might my copy be signed by you? Might I send it along, or a bookplate if that is more welcome, to an address of your choice? Signing tours normally do not come close to our northern location. If this is possible, please drop a post to :

Willow Arune
Prince George, B.C.

9:54 PM  
Blogger kaare.iverson said...

Dear Paul,

I just came across your blog today; it's a nice supplement to your literature that I've been following so far. I work in an independent bookstore software and data company called BookManager as well as a bookstore in Kelowna, BC, so I'm embarrassed to report that I only just came across your newest book, Homeland.

You may recall that I managed to contact you once through your publisher to offer my praise for War Against Truth while also inquiring about your future projects. You told me at the time that you were working on a piece about Canada's Neo-Con's (hence, commenting on this particular blog). I was confused then, when I discovered that Homeland was a fictional work. I have a copy on hold downstairs and before I put aside my summer beach-reading for it, I wanted to know if this is the work that you were talking about.

Check One:
[]Yes []No


Kaare Iverson
Kelowna, BC

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
Today I purchased one of your books "River in the Desert" having read the introduction I find myself reading it out aloud to my family. I haven't even read passed the first chapter yet as I just started it and I couldn’t contain myself. I had to find out more about you. My heart and mind tell me this book has so much to offer especially since I will be traveling to Egypt in April next year. I just want to say thank you for being so honest about the Arabs in your introduction! I am very happy that someone finally acknowledges us for who we really are! I'll leave you now and continue reading.

Regards, Lebanese living in Australia

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Mike Mack said...

Well, its 2009 and there have been no postings on PWR's website or blog since 2006. I am hoping Mr. Roberts is doing better, possibly regained his sight. I hope he did not catch wind of any depleted uranium during one of his trips to Iraq. It would really be nice to know if he has recovered and I hope that some news is posted regarding his condition. I have been looking forward to reading a book on his insights into the Kabbalah, Iran, anything.
If I were religious I would tell PWR that he is in my prayers, but I am not and so all I can offer is my sympathy and from time to time, my thoughts.
Mike Mack

7:26 PM  
Blogger Paul William Roberts said...

There's still nothing to report, Mike, and Paul did indeed 'catch wind' of depleted uranium. It's a prime suspect in the blindness. I, like everyone who knows him and his writing, hope that someday we'll hear his voice again in writing.

-- From Paul's webmaster.

9:19 AM  
Blogger selrahcyrogerg said...

why do we continue to look for the Truth when the Truth is staring back at us?

If we are able to create this puzzle why are we not able to put it together?

In all of Paul's works the Truth shines through, the world is overrun by corruption, thievery and domination of the lower tax paying classes by the well to do.

Why do the poor allow themselves to be tricked into submission?

What is the solution Paul?

8:17 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

How about an update on PWR?
I am hoping that he has recovered at least some of his sight and is finding some way to channel his creative energies.
Mike Mack

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To reform a man, you must begin with his grandmother.

3:02 PM  

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