Friday, March 28, 2008

How to be lured into the vast right wing conspiracy.

Did I ever mention how I became a full-blown social conservative?

When I first arrived in Halifax in September 1997, I quickly found a small apartment but had no furniture. So, after rising and saying my morning prayers, I would start my day by going to the Trident Cafe (now sadly defunct) on Argyle street to sit on their chairs, use their tables, drink their peculiar and extremely caffeinated blend of Earl Grey tea and read the newspapers and magazines they had there for customers.

The Trident was run by a pair of aging hippies who had come to Halifax years before, in one of those strange twists of the 60's, to help found a Buddhist retreat centre. (If you don't know Halifax, this is a very strange and unlikely sort of thing for a place like that. Halifax is now and always has been a military town...really not the sort of place you'd think would attract a lot of hippies and white "Tibetan" Buddhists).

Which is why I was all unsuspecting when they had a magazine on the rack called The National Review. At the time, I didn't know the first thing about politics, having been more interested in philosophy and religion for several years. I had never heard any of the names that are now a normal part of my daily card-readings and rune-tossings.

Even less did I know anything about US politics, above what I heard on the news. I certainly had no clew who W.F. Buckley was. But, despite that quite a lot of it went over my head, I did notice two things about NR that I liked right away: Buckley's columns about grammar and English usage and the cartoons page. Very soon, I was going to the Trident specifically to read the National Review, even after I got tables and chairs of my own.

The jokes I was able to get were really funny. Funnier by a long stretch than anything I had read in (what I am now able to identify as) the leftist rags I was used to. I found myself often barking with unexpected laughter, much to the annoyance of my fellow Trident regulars who relished a quiet morning's cuppa.

So, many years later and several time zones away, when John Muggeridge sr., John Jr., Matt M. and Cecelia M. were invited by Buckley down to Wheaton College to the 100 centenary do for Malcolm, I asked Matt (who doubtless forgot) to mention to WFB, that there was at least one Canadian he had directly helped to dredge out of the mire of thoughtless unexamined liberalism with his magazine; specifically by the cartoons page of it. And to thank him for having saved a soul.

PJ O'Rourke, is one of those funny American conservatives who have a knack of making even liberals bark out loud with laughter and think twice about their brainless assumptions.

"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosphy of sniveling brats."

"You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism."

"I can understand why mankind hasn't given up war. During a war you get to drive tanks through the sides of buildings and shoot foreigners - two things that are usually frowned on during peacetime."

"The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you."

"Very little is known of the Canadian country since it is rarely visited by anyone but the Queen and illiterate sport fishermen."

"There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as "caring" and "sensitive" because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money -- if a gun is held to his head."

"The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors--psychology, sociology, women's studies--to prove that nothing is anybody's fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view."

"Worshiping the earth is more fun than going to church. It's also closer. We can just step off the sidewalk. And sometimes we can get impressionable members of the opposite sex to perform sacramental rites with us. "Every drop of water wasted is a drop less of a wild and scenic river, Jennifer. We'd better double up in the shower."

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