The Definitive Lakoffian Liberal Definition of a Conservative

Harper Doesn't SpeakMaybe once in a decade you hear a political quote that is so remarkable you just want to write it down and call everyone you know and tell them about it. Last night Bob Rae, the former NDP premier of Ontario and now a candidate to replace Paul Martin as leader of the federal Liberal Party, speaking at the International AIDS Conference here in Toronto, delivered such a quote.

Our execrable minority right-wing extremist prime minister Harper, fresh from completely botching the evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon, and then making life more dangerous for Canadians at home and Canadian ‘peace-keeping’ troops mired in the hopeless anarchy of Afghanistan (and dying in battle at a horrific rate) by blathering on about how Canadians support Bush’s war on terror (we don’t), is boycotting the AIDS Conference, which is important enough for Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and 20,000 other people to attend, but apparently not important enough for the host country’s prime minister to attend. The PM insists it’s more important that he be in Inuvik in Canada’s North to announce how some of the billions cut from Canada’s environmental programs are to be spent on defence of our Arctic sovereignty.

It gets worse. Harper sent his hapless Health Minister to the conference to announce some new Canadian funding for AIDS research and prevention. But just 15 minutes before the announcement was to take place, it was canceled. What we’re hearing is that the amount Harper was willing to pledge was so pathetically little that the Conservative spin doctors, testing the waters yesterday, discovered that the announcement would be greeted at the conference by a huge round of boos. So the speech was canceled and the Conservatives are now deciding whether to up the amount and reschedule the announcement, or cancel the pledge entirely. What a disgrace!

So last night liberal Bob Rae, responding to this whole mess, included this wonderful, Lakoffian characterization of the conservative Harper:

“In his positions on issues like global warming, and now AIDS, prime minister Harper seems unable or unwilling to engage in issues that arefundamental to the future of mankind.”
This entry was posted in How the World Really Works. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Definitive Lakoffian Liberal Definition of a Conservative

  1. Martin-Eric says:

    The actions and decisions of the Canadian government also affect the lives of Canadians living abroad, in often harsh and dramatic ways. Personally, I’ve really had enough and I definitely want out of their monkey citizenship. However, I’ve had the unpleasant surprise that Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Board denies people the right to loose citizenship unless they already have another citizenship elsewhere. As if I had ever agreed to their monkey citizenship in the first place…

  2. Linda says:

    The problem with the AIDS Conference is that it has become politically charged. (Where was the outrage when Chretien did not attend in Vancouver some years ago?) Among other things, Stephen Harper’s presence would potentially have caused enough of a reaction from anti-Harper political activists that it had the potential to detract from the purpose of the conference. I am surprised at Stephen Lewis’s lack of perspective on this. And I am personally shocked at the crass performance of Mark Wainberg who publically ranted about the Prime Minister’s non-attendance — in a context in which Canadian Government has provided substantial funding for this event. It was a totally ungracious performance. He of all people should be trying to de-politicize this event — for the sake of the cause he supposedly represents. Bob Rae is hoping to be leader of the opposition — so I think his comments should be taken with a grain of salt. His quote is fairly predictable political posturing. I don’t think anyone gains by using something like this for political fodder.

  3. Paul says:

    I am trying to figure out why you referred to the quote as “Lakoffian”. I looked up Lakoff, and I now understand that he was a linguist famous for his work on the use of metaphor and the centrality of it in human language and cognition, but I still don’t get the reference re the quote.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Linda: I guess we just see it differently. When neocons try to duck responsibility for crises that they can’t help seeing as partly ‘self-inflicted’ due to some kind of moral turpitude, it is impossible for something like an AIDS conference NOT to be politically charged. I am utterly ashamed of Harper’s behaviour, which I think is unworthy of anyone who presumes to represent the diverse people of a nation.Paul: Liberals see conservatives through a frame of engagement with and global responsibility for others and for the planet, and cannot fathom how conservatives cannot embrace such causes. Conservatives see responsibility as a personal issue that is moral rather than social, and which starts with family and extends only so far, rather than embracing the world. Each frame is incapable to appreciating or even understanding the other — they are mutually exclusive worldviews.

Comments are closed.