John Robson, Tory propagandist. John Robson thinks social conservatives are misunderstood and that we’re being “mean” to them. I think w...
|John Robson, Tory propagandist.|
In October of last year, Canadians suddenly came to their senses and voted for a Liberal majority federal government. In the months preceding the election, the Conservatives tried every possible trick to make people think that Der Führer Stephen Harper was actually good for Canada, ranging from the most ridiculous attack ads ever (like this one) to much more devious and sly attempts, like John Robson’s chest-thumping, angst-ridden diatribes about the mean-spirited way that social conservatives are treated.
Perhaps Robson’s worst offence to rational thinking was an audio “opinion” of his posted by CBC Radio’s The 180. Robson seems to control himself much better in writing; that’s probably because the written word can be parsed and analyzed over time while these radio clips vanish into the ether so much more quickly. The audio clip shows the sheer craziness of social conservatism that much more clearly.
(I’m not going to produce a full transcript of the clip, so you social conservatives out there can just go ahead and accuse me now of cherry-picking phrases and taking Robson’s words out of context. I couldn’t care less what you think.)
Robson starts by positioning himself as a good and kind soul, using his nasal and whiny voice to extol the virtues of Canada - compassion, open-mindedness, “tolerance, especially of diversity,” then quickly switches to a childish, “girls are icky!” kind of vocabulary to describe how he thinks Canadians view social conservatives, implying that disliking social conservatives is a puerile attitude. Notice that he doesn’t actually come out and say that, but has to dance around it, all cowardly like, because that’s a conservative tactic too - using innuendo to try to influence weak minds.
Sidebar: Wait, what? Canadians are tolerant of diversity? Tolerant of diversity? Since when is diversity a thing to be tolerated? Canadians are tolerant of diversity? Gee, that’s mighty white of you, Johnny. Diversity isn’t something to be only tolerated. It's to be celebrated, to be embraced, to be enshrined (as it has been) in law! Anyone who thinks diversity is something to be merely tolerated needs to go live with the other regressives - like maybe the troglodyte militia putzes in Oregon.
Robson then tries to explain to us what a social conservative is. He defines social conservatism with respect to certain beliefs presumably commonly held by them.
First is “tradition.” Robson says “the tried and true is important to hold onto.”
This is bullshit. Look through the history of society and culture and you will see it littered with the corpses of “tried and true" traditions that were jettisoned or are currently being jettisoned because they were ultimately found repugnant: a "woman’s place," the inferiority of certain “races,” capitalism as the ideal, homoeopathy, feudal systems of power, sparing the rod and spoiling the child, marriage as a form of commerce, patriarchy, Seppuku, university hazings, female genital mutilations, mummification, duels, Eunuchs,….
Sure, there are some good traditions, but there are lots of bad ones. You can tell them apart by weighing the evidence in their favour. Then you jettison the ones that have been shown to be harmful, or wrong, or just plain stupid. To hold to tradition wholesale, without a means to evaluate them and jettison the immoral ones, is dogmatism, which is a sign of intellectual stupor.
Let me be clear: to value tradition qua tradition is stupid, as is anyone holds this view, including John Robson.
Robson’s second social conservative value: "stability.” Um, ok. What kind of stability? The stability of a society that discounts the value of its native people, or that accepts outrageous income inequality? The stability of economies that are causing ecological disaster for financial gain? The stability of financial institutions that pad the pockets of the rich by trampling on the backs of the poor? The stability of corporations that are “too big to fail”? The stability of a military-industrial complex that consumes half a country’s economy to combat uselessly against nearly impotent enemies? The stability of a Church that accommodates pedophiles?
Accepting the value of stability without condition is irrational, superficial, and harmful.
And another thing: stability doesn’t exist. Nothing is stable - not in the sense that social conservatives mean: stability as a lack of change.
Everything changes, all the time. To rail against the obvious and eternal dynamicism of the real universe is delusional. Stability is an illusion. We must welcome the change, work with it, try to predict it and adapt to it, and see it as an opportunity for progress and growth.
Stability is stagnation. Stability is death.
Third, Robson says social conservatives believe that “family is important.” Tell that to the woman who cannot get a divorce from an abusive spouse, or who is forced to carry a pregnancy to term for no other reason than religious, patriarchal dictate, or is forced to marry against her will at 14 years of age. Tell that to gays who want to start a family but can’t because of stupid social conservatism. Tell that to refugees who are separated from their families because of conservative paranoia and isolationism.
“Family” is only a social construct, a modified notion of clan and of herd. It should be treated as such: beneficial in some cases, but not in others. Family is a means, not an end. Family is only as important as it is useful in promoting general well-being. To preserve the family at the expense of the emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of it’s members is obscene.
Fourth, Robson makes the ludicrous claim that there are “significant differences between men and women.” This is patently false. With respect to any measure that is of actual value in modern, enlightened society (things like intelligence, curiosity, ethics, altruism, etc.) there is far greater variation within each gender than there is between them. This means that the social conservatives' male/female dichotomy is false. The research is quite clear on this point. And this just points to Robson’s comprehensive ignorance of truth.
Not to mention the implied and regressive exclusion by Robson of people who identify as something other than male or female….
Finally, he says "some of them [social conservatives] are even religious."
And religion poisons everything. ‘Nuff said about that.
So, as far as the core beliefs of social conservatives, we can safely say that Robson does an excellent job of making our case for us: that social conservatives are the ignorant, hateful, narrow-minded, superficial bigots that we’ve always thought they were.
Not happy to simply point this out, albeit apparently unintentionally, Robson then claims that social conservatives are viewed as “repellent” and with “extreme distaste” because of the beliefs they hold.
Well, yes, they are. At least he’s got this part of it right. It’s difficult to see, given what I’ve written here, how anyone with a functional brain wouldn’t think of social conservatives as repellent and extremely distasteful. Let’s call things as they really are: social conservatives are really social regressives. They want to drag us back to the 1950s, if not the 1850s or even the 1550s.
Robson then asks the listener to consider what it is that makes people despise a "relatively small group" who hold "values that are not mainstream." He argues that debate where opinions differ is fundamentally important to a healthy democracy.
This is a case of the fallacy of moving the goalposts because it is not a question of opinion - it is a question of demonstrable truths versus ignorance and lies. Social conservatism exists in a truth vacuum; the facts that demonstrate not only that social conservatism is incorrect but that it actively promotes harm are readily available and extremely robust. This is the same kind of ploy used by anti-vaxxers, creationists, and other crackpots - to reduce fact to opinion for the sake of gaining room to spew their own brands of filth. That social conservatives use the same tactics as those other miscreants tells us a lot about how they regard truth and true public debate.
Social conservatism has been shown to be a horrible belief system, so there is absolutely no room for debate on it. And big things have small beginnings, from viral epidemics to totalitarian governments. We need to stop social conservatism now, while it is small, because if it gains enough momentum then all of Canada will suffer.
The rest of Robson's clip is utterly without hope - a random collection of arguments from authority, appeals to popularity, cherry-picked quotes, and other wastes of breath and bandwidth.
Here it is: I hate, despise, and loathe social conservatives for the reasons I list here, and others. I don’t hide it. I don’t regret it. I certainly won't "debate" it. And I urge anyone else who despises the horrid beliefs of social conservatives to say so, as loudly and as often as possible. Because they won’t go away, they won’t get out of the way of progress, unless we make them. And if you’re silent on this, you’re helping them ruin our society and prevent the progress we so desperately need.
Don't be part of the problem.
Don't be part of the problem.
Afternote: John Robson teaches history at the University of Ottawa. He should know better. Then you find out his doctorate is in American history from Texas, and suddenly his deceptive attempt to lull you into thinking that social conservatives aren’t despicable whack-jobs is fully explained.