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Canada How social conservatism done right can actually help the Tories win again

15:45  14 december  2019
15:45  14 december  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

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Andrew Scheer wearing a suit and tie: Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has faced attacks for years by political opponents and even members of his own party because of his social conservatism.© Todd Korol/Reuters Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has faced attacks for years by political opponents and even members of his own party because of his social conservatism. Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Ask any Canadian conservative how to ruffle feathers in polite company, and he or she will probably suggest being open about conservative political views. To be a liberal or a progressive is a badge of honour. And even mild critics of high taxes and government incompetence are acceptable. But a conservative? Best keep that to yourself.

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Why does Canada seem to have such an allergy to this political affiliation? Perhaps because many of its members are social conservatives who disagree with the consensus that a person’s individual choices are no one else’s business. Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who announced his resignation Thursday, has been under attack for years by his political opponents, mainstream commentators and even the more liberal elements of his own party for being an unsuitable leader largely because of his social conservatism. Indeed, liberalism in the 21st century demands, above all else, that we refrain from casting aspersions on our neighbour’s choices.. If we all stay in our own lane, we all get along.

That view certainly has its place. No one likes to be lectured to, and a great deal of the social peace we ought to appreciate owes to a tolerance and respect for other people and their independence. But that still leaves much unsaid; and I’d like to mount a case for the very kind of skepticism that has become so politically toxic. In a term, for being socially conservative.

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Britain actually is very much like the U.S. right now. It too has become divided between liberal urban elites and We were talking about the British results, and how the pollsters missed the margin of the coming Tory blowout. The American Conservative exists to advance a Main Street conservatism .

The Tory party does not need any more people to give up listening to its arguments. Frustratingly, many of the moderate Labour types who were told by the Corbynistas to f*** off and join the Tories might actually have done so if a little more care had been taken about what was There are three parts to this for the Tories : Come up with policies that will genuinely help those at the Social Media.

This isn’t an ivory tower matter. For years, the main political vehicle for right-of-centre opinion in this country — the federal Conservative party — has been having an identity crisis. It wants to represent all self-proclaimed Tories while also appealing outside its core base of support. And no shortage of analysts and insiders have mused that the biggest hurdle to improving the party’s fortunes is its continued harbouring of stuffy foot-dragging knuckleheads who won’t get with the program.

If social conservatism is understood as a hardened, unchanging and non-adaptive set of judgments, it will vindicate these pundits. And if social conservatism can be boiled down to an obvious discomfort with gay people — to pick the most conspicuous example — it will fail and deserve to fail. That battle is over, and the evidence is in that treating people with equal respect, regardless of sexual orientation, is not socially detrimental.

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But viewing conservatism this way, as a moniker to describe people who don’t like gays or abortion and nothing else, is a limiting mistake — and, I’m sorry to say, a self-limiting mistake in some people who align themselves with this tradition. If conservatism is to have value — a social value that advances the common interest, not just an electoral strategy — it needs to be a lens through which we can better understand society, not just a platform of ticked boxes.

The true social conservative does not seek to deliver sermons in the public square. But what he or she does do is say aloud what everyone already knows privately: that certain habits, behaviours, virtues and choices are instrumental to human flourishing. In turn, other personal decisions, practices and vices are impediments to living and doing well. This is not a wish; it’s a fact of life.

A second distinction is that the social conservative appreciates how the web of social forces around us directs the choices we make. This includes public institutions and public policy. Such a person endeavours to make the air of social expectation more rigorous so we can all better breathe; there can be no thriving society without thriving people, families and communities.

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Conservatism , political doctrine that emphasizes the value of traditional institutions and practices. Conservatism is a preference for the historically inherited rather than the abstract and ideal. This preference has traditionally rested on an organic conception of society —that is, on the belief that

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What ought to be different about social conservatism today is its emphasis and focus. Not because certain concerns have played poorly in political terms, but because there is a broad spectrum of social problems that deserve scrutiny and response. What may have once been a lens for interpreting problems like sexual behaviour and drug use must expand, becoming relevant to more people’s actual lives and challenges.

One such issue that comes readily to mind, but you might not naturally think of as something concerning social conservatism, is financial security. We live in an age of great wealth and comparative income equality, yet household debt relative to earnings has steadily crept up, now sitting at $1.77 of debt per $1 of income. And on average, we are not planning responsibly for financial emergencies. The social conservative would look at a problem like this and critique both personal habits and expectations, as well as economic forces (like two decades of unusually low interest rates) that help to form them.

But that is just one example. Other major life decisions and habits — from higher education to diet and exercise, from home ownership to marriage, from community involvement to charity, from work ethic to engagement with the life-affirming arts and culture — are not mere personal preferences. They are common values and priorities that matter to the whole of society. Any person’s single set of choices may not be significant in isolation, but in the aggregate, those individual decisions make up who we are and whether we succeed.

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The traditional conservative James Kalb gets all theoretical about why conservatism in any real sense is not Morality therefore becomes a system that has nothing to say about how to live but only tells us to The uniquely rational approach to social order, it turns out, is to treat it as a sort of machine—a

Head of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom. ^ Malmesbury, The Right Hon. [James Howard Harris,] the [3rd] Earl of (1885). Memoirs of an Ex-Minister. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 124.

To be socially conservative is to take what most people want for their own families and friends — stable relationships and families, meaningful work, independence from addiction, financial security — and extend it, from family to community to region to nation. And he or she will see metrics like divorce rates, welfare reliance, opioid use and bankruptcy as equally important to the unemployment rate, job growth and trade figures, and wish for public policy and institutions to improve them. After all, abandoning the principle — that how people live is a broad social concern — eventually means abandoning the people.

This is the theory. The practical question so many people want to answer is “can social conservatism win?” The answer, to be blunt, is that it must win. Not in the sense that social conservatives have to govern alone, but that they must be a part of the fabric of national argument. The stakes are too great to sideline those with a genuine concern for the common good and a voice to articulate it.

But let’s revise the question: “Can a socially conservative Tory leader win?”

Sure, but only if the movement does a great deal of work to bring this tradition out of its slumber, from a theoretical posture of virtue-signalling to a rigorous body of thought and policy research, providing an alternative to today’s monopoly of received liberal wisdom on social questions.

In what mainstream forum of Canada’s public discourse can you read socially conservative critiques with the rigour and depth of a Heather Mac Donald or a Charles Murray? And who is interested and willing to support such work on a serious scale?

The left, need I say, gets much of the blame for its co-ordinated campaign to make social conservatism in any form beyond the pale. But the right has done its share of the work by neglecting social policy questions that are politically sensitive, ostensibly on the belief that free-market principles alone — with a dash of tax credits here and warmed-over industrial policy there — will do the trick. Surely the most recent Conservative election performance shows that there is much more room for substance.

Get some real work done on Canada’s social condition and the influenceable factors behind it; then, whom the Tories pick as their leader becomes less important. Heck, put forward some measurable ways to help families be more self-sufficient, more community-minded and more healthy, and having a social conservative in the leader’s chair wouldn’t even be necessary. But it all starts with rebuilding this important tradition from the ground up.

National Post

Rona Ambrose most favoured by Canadians to be next Tory leader, survey suggests .
The survey found that Ambrose and former Conservative minister Peter MacKay were the top choices. The list also included: Caroline Mulroney, Michelle Rempel, Lisa Raitt, Pierre Poilievre, Kevin O'Leary, Jason Kenney, Brad Wall, Michael Chong and Bernard Lord.About 27 per cent of respondents chose Ambrose, while 21 per cent opted for MacKay.© Provided by Global NewsCore Conservatives were also more likely to favour Ambrose, at 34 per cent, over MacKay, at 19 per cent. Among "possible Conservatives," the support was split 29 per cent and 26 per cent, favouring Ambrose.

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