As noted earlier – in thinking about the state of Canada’s finances and the economy, it became clear that as difficult as I found it to comprehend it was possible, even likely, that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in fact see themselves as doing a good job – telling themselves that Canada’s finances and economy would be in much worse shape under any other party’s management.
A state of wilful denial that would remove the need for Stephen Harper to use Botox or to be disdainful of the Canadian public when he states – with a straight face – that he and the Conservatives are good managers of the countries finances and economy, doing a wonderful job and that the other parties would be a disaster for Canada’s finances and economy.
It would explain why the Conservatives continue the behaviour that brought about the current condition of Canadian government finances, the Canadian economy, the deteriorating standard for Canadians without wealth or privilege and the bleakness with which an increasing majority of Canadians view their future.
They simply don’t perceive the financial and economic reality that the overwhelming majority of Canadians live with. The walls of their denial also shut out any understanding of why Canadians are worried about their future; not just in the long term but tomorrow.
You do not solve or address issues and problems you do not perceive as existing; you do not change your behaviour if you do not see any problem with how you behave. Happy with what you are getting you keep doing what you are doing.
“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it.”
Stephen R. Covey
The problem as Harper sees it is that all the wonderful things he is are accomplishing are not properly appreciated by the Canadian public; the problem does not lie with their behaviour but but in the behaviour of others.
This type of absolutism flows from ideology and Stephen Harper is an Ideologue and views the world around him through the screening process of his ideology.
Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are not unique in viewing the world not as the world is but as they are. As another Stephen quoted above noted, we all see the world through the window of ourselves.
Ideology is a belief system shared among a varying number of individuals and so reinforces, conditions the world view more solidly into the individual.
Again Steven Harper and the Conservatives are not alone in having and sharing an ideology; Thomas Mulcair and the NDP as well as Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have shared political ideologies.
The problem with ideologies is that they do not change when the reality the ideas the ideology is based on cease to be reality as the world changes. Stephen Harper is wedded to the ideology of ‘small government’, an ideology born out of a simpler, less populous, less urban, less world wide economy, less communications heavy world.
In Stephen Harper’s case the disconnect between the world of his ideology and the reality of the world that exists as a result of decades of change is compounded by his, and the Conservative party’s propensity to ignore the tenants of the ideology that would, if practiced, jeopardize their hold on power, their re-election.
Believers in small government believe that to do this you must ‘starve the beast’; reduce government revenues and [in theory] you will reduce government spending resulting in smaller government.
Of course the reduction of government spending requires discipline to hold the line on spending, making tough choices, saying no, and angering voters [just ask Paul Martin].
With the #1 priority of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives hanging onto power the need for winning re-election means angering voters to the extent required to ‘starve the beast’ is a non-starter, a totally unacceptable behaviour.
So in keeping with their ideology Harper and the Conservatives reduced – Significantly – the revenue of the federal government. Unfortunately, in keeping with their priority of remaining the government they did not hold the line on spending, With the result that Harper and the Conservatives ran the deficit up top its current $612 billion level.
Harper and the Conservatives claim to be good financial managers.
No prudent financial manager, no matter what their ideology, would have cut revenue the way the Conservatives did. It was totally irresponsible to cut revenue until the debt had been paid off. To compound that error by refusing to hold the line on spending took the behaviour of Harper and the Conservatives into the realm of criminally stupid.
And yet Harper and the Conservatives see themselves as doing a good job. Only in politics could you be that deluded and not have the men in the white coats coming to take bring you a very snug fitting white coat with lots of shiny buckles.