Conservative in name alone

Penticton letter writer says those running the country are Conservative in name only.

If you identify as a Conservative that means you’re an environmentalist. The point of the traditional Burkean Conservative philosophy is of social stability, degrading the environment and not managing/regulating common resources that communities depend on undermines social stability.

The Newfoundland cod fishery collapsed due to a number of complex reasons which include overfishing from foreign super trawlers, inadequate regulation for new fishing technologies, warming waters, government incompetence and widely ignored local ecological knowledge and warnings. In short it was a tragedy of a mismanaged commons. The result was a moratorium on the commercial cod fishery, with 35,000 people losing their jobs (single biggest layoff in Canadian history).

It took one generation to destroy a traditional way of life that had endured for several hundred years. Marriages and families fell apart, people migrated away from small coastal fishing villages to large urban centers and Alberta. The rural small town coastal way of life across the province disintegrated with towns becoming shells of what they once were and or simply died outright. Edmund Burke the father of Conservatism stated that “Society is indeed a contract. The state is a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” It’s a trusteeship between generations. That we as a generation have a duty to those who came before and those who come after to safeguard and conserve traditional ways of life. The commons/environment underpin those traditional ways of life and need to be safeguarded, regulated and conserved. That is the Conservative social contract in a nutshell and in the case of the Newfoundland cod fishery and the traditional way of life that depended on it, that trust between generations was broken.

What we have unfolding now is a tragedy of a mismanaged commons. These people running the country are Conservative in name only, they’re pretend Conservatives. No real Conservative in the traditional sense would advocate the fire sale of a non-renewable resource in a time of depleting resources. But that’s exactly what the Harper/Redford ideologues want to do with our oil. No real Conservative would advocate rolling back regulations and laws that our forefathers put in place to protect and conserve the environment/commons. But that’s exactly what the Harper ideologues have done.

No real Conservative would ignore the climate crisis, a massive threat to social stability. The Harper ideologues have muzzled climate scientists, scuttled and disrupted international negotiations on climate change, torn up the Kyoto accord and gutted Arctic atmospheric monitoring.

What you see in the Conservative Party of Canada is the manifestation of one generation’s entitlement complex. They falsely believe they are entitled to use up the commons in a generation. They have broken the trusteeship between generations. If you agree with what these people are doing to this nation then you’re not a Conservative. You’re a Regressive. Hell bent on rolling back the progress our forefathers made and condemning future generations to resource scarcity, war, economic decline and a degraded/polluted environment. A life of social instability, the very antithesis of Conservative philosophy.

I’m sure Edmund Burke is rolling around in his grave at the thought of his philosophy being associated with a bunch of ideologues who’s sole purpose is to loot the commons at the behest of one generation’s entitlement and greed.

Cody Young

Penticton