Mark Milke had a ringside seat in the Alberta election as the lead architect of the United Conservative Party platform. What he saw was a startling disconnect between media coverage and the issues that mattered most to Albertans. The economic focus of UCP policy earned the party a million votes and a huge majority. Through bias, ignorance, or both, the media often missed the story.
Author: Mark Milke
Ronald Reagan never wavered in his conviction that America was a great country that would prevail over enemies of democracy and freedom. His fundamental optimism and determination carried his nation to victory over the Soviet “evil empire” and his personal rags-to-riches experience breathed new life into the venerable American dream of limited government, personal liberty, and individual self-reliance. Sadly, Reagan’s current successor governs on the premise that America is no longer great, and he has no discernible, consistent convictions about anything. Mark Milke laments the loss of U.S. self-confidence, and leadership, in a review of a new book about the “Great Communicator”.
Canada has been singularly successful in offering up its natural resource sector to its enemies. In the 1980s and 90s, foreign-funded eco- and aboriginal activists teamed up with Canadian politicians, public sector unions, and even some corporate sell-outs to bully the B.C. forest industry into submission.
Not that long ago, Bill Clinton was half-jokingly hailed as “the first black president” because he was cool, a liberal and could play the saxophone, a bit. If Clinton tried that today, he’d probably be impeached for “cultural appropriation”. That’s because the phenomenon of progressive identity politics, which is sweeping across western civilization like a plague, is herding people into tribal associations based on skin colour, gender, ethnicity and other biological and cultural characteristics. Humans have gone down this road before, writes Mark Milke, and it always ends badly. We’ll do much better if we get back to celebrating, tolerating, and borrowing ideas from other cultures.
This month the Canadian Taxpayers Federation gave its annual “Tax Fighter” award, which celebrates those who demonstrate “outstanding commitment and dedication to the cause of taxpayer emancipation”, to four long-serving professors from the University of Calgary’s Political Science department: Tom Flanagan, Barry Cooper, Rainer Knopff and Ted Morton. Through their teaching, writing and political activism the foursome – known as the “Calgary School” – had an out-sized influence on Canadian politics and mentored countless students who went on to successful careers in academe, politics and public policy research and advocacy. One of their books was even found in Osama bin Laden’s last hideout. Mark Milke, who received his Ph.D. from the department, delivered a pithy and humorous tribute to the foursome at the CTF event.
Is Donald Trump a conservative? For many professed conservatives, in the US, Canada and elsewhere, the answer is a resounding yes. He’s cutting taxes, deregulating industry, and finally standing up to the tyranny of political correctness. But he’s also a protectionist, a liar, a sexual predator, a bully, and, according to his now-purged Secretary of State, a moron. And he’s running up debt and cozying up to dictators. Economic and social conservatives have crucified Democratic presidents for far less. How can they not see the hypocrisy in giving Trump a pass? Mark Milke tries to remove the scales from their eyes.
The #MeToo movement has so far concentrated on sexual misconduct by men in politics and the entertainment industry. Minor or major celebrities, most of them. The incidence of male sexual misbehaviour within these demographic cohorts, ranging from criminal assault to unwelcome comments, is said to be “rampant”. And it is, as measured by media coverage and social media reaction. But there’s no actual data on that assertion. Data does exist, however, showing that Aboriginal women suffer rates of sexual abuse much higher than non-Native women. Mark Milke wonders why #MeToo has not yet spread to places where the victims may be even more numerous.
Why does Jordan Peterson drive progressives nuts? Because he refuses to use their made-up pronouns? That hardly seems reason to compare him to Hitler. Clearly it’s something else. According to Mark Milke, Peterson is a proxy for a much bigger fight. It pits the Marxist idea that reality is a malleable, perfectible construct against the classical liberal view that reality is knowledge born of experience. The former is absolutist and authoritarian, the latter open to learning and debate, and the vicious campaign to discredit and silence Peterson reveals just how illiberal our society has become.
Ontario and Alberta used to be the reliable twin engines of Canada’s economy. They created jobs for refugees from the sclerotic economies of Atlantic Canada and provided tax transfers to subsidize statist Quebec Inc. Long suffering victims of socialist governments in Manitoba and Saskatchewan looked to their neighbours east and west with a mixture of envy and resentment, while a lot of British Columbians dismissed them as hyperactive greed heads with no appreciation for work-life balance. Those days are over, writes Mark Milke, as Ontario and Alberta are now smothering their competitive advantages with unaffordable green energy policies.
Maybe it’s the current dearth of inspiring or even competent political leadership in the western world, but this summer our lonely and fragile democracies are turning their eyes to Winston Churchill and George Orwell, two men who arguably did more than anyone to rescue western civilization from tyranny in the 20th century. Churchill stars in the great movie Dunkirk and in a new biopic bearing his name. Orwell’s ideas are routinely invoked to explain the epidemic of fake news and “spin” that has infected, beyond even past practice, our highest political offices and lowest journalism. The pair are also the subject of a timely new book about the extraordinary parallels in their remarkable lives, reviewed for C2C Journal by Mark Milke.