Stephen Harper, Leo Strauss, and Why Parliament got Prorogued
Who was Leo Strauss? No, not a classical musical composer or some famous German politician. He was a political philosopher. He died in 1973. I know this because Donald Gustein told me so in an article published in the Tyee in August 2008. I kept this Tyee article because it seemed to offer clues to Stephen Harper’s thinking. In what way, you may ask?
The most important question, at least to me, is why does Stephen Harper think we’re all so dumb? The man has to have an extremely low opinion of public intelligence in general, and of citizens who try to take part in the political process in particular. But where did he get such a low opinion of us? How could Mr. Harper prorogue parliament not once, but twice without adequate explanation? The second time he used the budget as an excuse. He had to give the budget unusually weighty thoughts, he claimed. About how to keep everything essentially the same, it turned out, except more tax cuts for the banks and corporations. What is it that contributes to this Prime Minister’s thinking that allows him to do whatever he likes in whatever undemocratic ways he pleases because he assumes we, the body politic, are essentially stupid?
Enter Leo Strauss and his philosophy. Stephen Harper is a follower of Strauss, who according to Gutstein, believed in the inherent inequality of humanity: “Most people, he (Strauss) famously taught, are too stupid to make informed decisions about their political affairs. Elite philosophers must decide on affairs of state for us.) And that is certainly how Stephen Harper acts. He’s the elite philosopher and we’re the stupids. And he has friends in other followers of Strauss both in his own party and in the US: Paul Wolfowitz, head of the World Bank, ex-deputy secretary of defense under George W. Bush; Allan Bloom and Walter Berns who taught Wolfowitz all about Leo Strauss’ utter contempt for democracy at the University of Toronto during the 1970’s. In turn two of their students, Ted Morton and Rainer Knopff went on to the University of Calgary where they specialized in attacking the Charter of Rights and Freedom. The list goes on and gets entwined with “The Family” which is a Christian political organization in the US which believes that the elite win power by the will of God who uses them for His Own Purposes. This is also a powerful political group that loves dictators and loathes democracy. How is it that we as citizens allow men (and women) who work to bring down democracy in our own countries to come to such political prominence? Are the neo-cons right after all? Are we really so stupid that we can celebrate circuses (Olympic Games) while our democracy is burning? While our own life support systems, both economically and environmentally, are being shredded to the bone by dreamers of Christian “rapture” and Straussian elitist dictators? I personally do not agree that we are stupid. But I do think we are asleep and we have to wake up. Soon.