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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cityslikr finds a home at Torontoist

Very happy to see my friend cityslikr writing about city politics over at Torontoist. The man puts in the time, watches and observes, and comes away with insights and analysis that he expresses with wit, verve, and the occasional bit of moral dudgeon. (Everyone needs a hobby.)

He's been doing it for a while at his own place, so it's great to see him getting wider exposure.

A sample:

This executive committee is the ugly manifestation of Ford Nation. Like a jilted lover, it has seized control, determined to prove its worth. It brooks no dissent and counters any disagreement or outside opinion with vitriol and contempt. Retribution, not reconciliation, is its agenda. This is the heart of an administration that has more interest in getting even than it does in governing.

Apart from one minor quibble, which I'm reproducing here ...

... while I won't argue with your characterization of the members of Team Ford's executive committee, or with your suggestions about what motivates them, I do have a problem with the use of the term "conservative."

While it's important not to get too hung up on labels, it's also important to be accurate and consistent with the meanings of words. One of the most important and damaging victories the right's been able to achieve has come from their success in stripping words of their meanings. Once they did that, they were able to seize control of the story, because they were the ones defining the terms with which the story was being told. And from that comes all the blather about gravy trains, respect for taxpayers, fiscal responsibility, living within our means, running government like a business, yada yada yada. And while it's laughable to hear those expressions coming from the likes of the Ford boys or Mike del Grande, they were the terms defining the space in which the last municipal election was fought -- and in which current municipal politics is being conducted.

Part of the task for progressives, therefore, is to regain control over words and their meanings. If we let the other side decide what words mean, what connotations they carry, and how they're used, we've already lost. That's why people like Rob Ford can continue to spout meaningless cliches and talk about "taxpayers" rather than "citizens" and get away with it.

Thus, a challenge: let's resolve to reclaim the term "conservative." It's an honourable and time-tested philosophical tradition that's been hijacked and disfigured by today's crop of teabaggers, god-botherers and far-right whackjobs, and it's well past time to rescue it. For me, "conservatism" means dedication to preserving worthwhile traditions and retaining the best parts of our character, our history and the lessons we've learned from it -- among other things. (More on that here: http://orwellsbastard.blogspot...

This bunch doesn't have the intellectual wherewithal to grasp that, let alone the character to embrace it. Let's not honour them with the mantle of conservatism. They're not worthy of it.

... hope to see more of his stuff soon.

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