January 23, 2006
How to Vote

By David Warren

As one of the precious few “social conservatives” writing in the Canadian mainstream media, I am deluged with mail from disenfranchised people.

There are, I would estimate, many million people in this country who still hold views that were fairly universally held a couple of generations ago -- against abortion on demand, same-sex “marriage”, pornography in public places, among many other issues. Who think men are men and women are women, and that both are degraded when they are forced to exchange their natural roles. Who are more favourably disposed to the United States than to the average fashionable Third World dictatorship. Who are not instinctively offended by the existence of our military, or our police. Who understand risk and reward. Who are proud of what their ancestors achieved in this country. Who work for a living, and resent the fact that most of the high taxes they pay go to purposes and programmes they find abhorrent.

These are people who fear and love God, and try to raise their children “properly”, and keep them away, as much as possible, from the spectacle of moral degradation that has become a commonplace of urban life. Who in fact have children. Who, for the most part, long since moved away from “downtown”.

Many of them are New Canadians. Many of them came to this country for a chance to raise their children in freedom, as Christians, or as observant Jews, or Hindus, or Sikhs, or Muslims.

No mainstream political party will dare to represent these people. The Conservatives condescend to be polite to them, on the condition they will not say anything “embarrassing”. But the other three major parties contesting tomorrow’s election play directly to the elites -- to the "urbane" and "enlightened" -- going out of their way to mock the "dinosaurs" in the "backwaters" as a class, and accuse one another of catering to them.

Nor have these people any outlets in the city-based media, for even journalists who associate with the “Right” through their belief in the efficiency of free markets, ritually roll their eyeballs at these allies among the “rural” (and immigrant) “hicks”. Nor is their worldview welcome, even for a moment, in the universities to which so many of their children are sent (after long years of cutting corners and saving).

The Republicans in the United States tried the experiment of listening to the people rather than to the elites. They have now dominated American politics for a generation. The Democrats keep themselves out of power by continuing to sneer at all those imagined snorting reactionaries in the "Red States".

“Disenfranchised” is a strong word, but I am convinced it is used fairly to describe the Canadian equivalent of this non-urban or ex-urban constituency. It is on the backs of these largely unrepresented taxpayers that a social revolution has been mounted through the last two generations. Their job has been to earn the money to pay for the fallout from that revolution -- through government programmes that consistently reward irresponsibility and failure -- while keeping their opinions to themselves. And this, when they are not actually deprived of their livelihoods, by tax policies that bankrupt small businesses, or employment policies that discriminate against Canadians of Canadian ancestry, or ignore immigrants’ real qualifications.

I refer to a “silent minority” -- it may well still be a majority up here -- who are the natural constituency of the Conservative Party. Many in fact vote Conservative, many still vote Liberal from past family or ethnic associations, or are conned into doing so when they fall for various rhetorical and tactical tricks. But a considerable number, and those among the toughest, seldom vote in elections, for the simple reason that no one represents their views. Or else they vote for small hopeless outfits such as the Christian Heritage Party -- among the several that will split the Tory vote tomorrow, letting the Liberals hold on to closely-contested seats.

I’ve heard from so many of these people, who will not vote for the Conservatives tomorrow, because they are disappointed, even disgusted, by the Conservatives’ attempts to distance themselves, or by a local candidate’s “progressive” posturing. Most often, it is the Conservative commitment to the status quo on abortion that is costing them a crucial swing vote.

But the best is often the enemy of the good. Real policy options are not on the table in this election, and we must therefore choose among the modest goods that are available. That is in fact sound Christian doctrine. And once it is understood, I consider it our moral duty to assist in removing the Liberals from power, and replacing them with something a little better. That is the primary thing, tomorrow, and it means, unambiguously, voting Conservative.

I would vote for my local Conservative if he had two heads and five elbows and was married to a same-sex yeti in Tibet. And I would vote for him with a clean conscience.

Copyright 2006 Ottawa Citizen

David Warren

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