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What’s happened to ‘liberalism”?

May 16, 2011

Darkhorse Cafe - Spadina Street

So, we’re sitting in our local cafe – a cafe that is set up around a large communal table – and some people beside us are going on about how evil Steven Harper and Rob Ford are, and what will happen to us all now that the sky is falling, blahblahblah.

So I finally say “why don’t we look at bit closer at why liberalism seems to be failing at the moment, and less  complaining about the evils of conservatives and populists winning?”

But they didn’t seem to understand the question.

Small ‘l’ liberals do not seem to understand that there are two sides to this coin: it’s not just that the conservatives are winning, but also that the liberals are losing. And I’m not just talking about political parties here – although that is the obvious consequence as well.

But the very fundamental concept of liberalism is failing in North America at the moment. Why?

We need to stop ranting about the winners and start looking in the mirror at the losers. Why is liberalism on the wane at the moment?

Even Obama, with his charismatic style, up against an old man in the last presidential election, won with only 51% of the vote. So, It’s not just that Iggy was a colossal tool (which he was). And Jack Layton didn’t reinvent anything the NDP’s haven’t been saying for the last two elections (it’s just that Iggy was a tool) – Quebecers (oops, I mean liberals) had to vote for someone, so they voted NDP.

I don’t have any off-the-cuff answers to this at the moment. But I was pissed at the cafe that so-called liberals (pro-multiculturalism, pro-choice, pro-public education (and health care), pro-pride, etc) just want to complain about conservatives, but aren’t willing to do some major self-analysis.

I know as a liberal that it should all seem self-evident that we should win. We’re better educated, better looking, global in our views, we like ethnic food, and their music, we support youth programs, we dress well and drink good coffee, we live in downtown Toronto/Vancouver/Montreal/Halifax. Its obvious, we should rule the world.

(And for those of you who just took that last paragraph seriously – did not see tongue in cheek – you really need to look in a mirror!) 

It’s time that those who confess liberal ideologies understand that just because it all seems self-evident to you – it’s not self-evident to everyone else.

Liberalism is losing for a reason. And it’s not just Iggy’s fault (although he really was a tool).

Send us your thoughts on this – whoever you are – and we will try to explore this change in the Canadian political landscape…

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