In an irate column Feb. 2, National Post columnist Barbara Kay denounces a letter to the editor penned by Penni Stewart, president of the Canadian Association of University Students, and Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students that justly pointed out the idiocy of a Jan. 26 Post editorial that rejoiced in the demise of “Womens’s Studies programs” (sic). Kay clutches at her pearls and attempts to defend the unsigned editorial, which she very likely penned, and sets out, as usual, to prove that feminists and other liberals are bad. But the column actually vindicates the letter to the editor, because almost every sentence in it confirms that Barbara Kay’s column, and indeed the entire National Post are nothing more than conservative hackery on newsprint, not objective journalism.
She begins with a curious statement about no one at the Post or anywhere else believes that equality between men and women is a “radical idea” and that the authors of the letter have implied that only Women’s studies holds that value, a straw statement of remarkable disingenuousness. Nobody on this blog or anywhere else in their right mind would ignore the fact that vast swathes of the conservative religious community and other assorted douchebags very much consider women to be second-class humans who should be subservient to men, and I, who have often publicly railed against and been lectured about such oppresive sexism, take exception to the implication that even Post readers would be stupid enough to accept such patent nonsense at face value. All columnists at the Post, indeed the entire publication, reeks of this kind of conservative advocacy. Actually, all right-wing-funded institutions, their radio shows, their magazines and their churches believe in more than just inequality, they believe in specifically villifying feminism.
And if there is any nook or cranny in Kay’s writings or the National Post that is not used as a rhetorical platform for attacking progressive forces in society, I would welcome the enlightenment and be the first to give credit where credit is due. On the other hand, I can certainly show Ms. Kay many instances of her hackery and crimes against reason, such as her tendency to wallow in false equivelancies, which completely undercut any point she might try to make in her attempts to spin the facts. It isn’t facts that Kay and the Post are championing, though, it is pounding home conservative talking points. In other words, Barbara Kay and the National Post are merely the media arm of the neoconservative movement, which is nothing more today than a lobby group for wealthy interests, not at all a movement interested in true social, fiscal or environmental conservatism.
Political activism and recruitment to activism should not be the responsibility of newspapers to promote. It is rather “ironic” that Kay tries to argue that the problem with Women’s studies programs is that they are radical and “faith-based” by pointing to an irrelevant to the matter at hand but otherwise valid complaint from the Canadian Association of University Teachers that a university should not be allowed to apply a religious test for employment as it is a violation of academic freedom. She appropriates a line from the complaint that “A university is meant as a place to explore ideas, not to create disciples of Christ.”
How is the conservative bastion of the National Post any different? Writers may not have to sign actual Conservative Party of Canada membership cards, but anyone apply to write at the National Post had better believe in the ideology of neoconservatism, or they can take a hike. The hiring committees grill applicants with a view to exposing their ideological loyalties. Anyone deviating from the politically correct adamantine Rand-imbued party line will not be welcome. Indeed, I am confident that a student in a women’s studies program would be given far greater latitude to challenge the tenets of feminism with impunity than a National Post writer defying the lassiez-faire crypto-fascist doctrines of neoconservatism.*
I am sure, for example, that women’s studies programs do not include on their reading lists any writers who advocate the extermination and religious conversion of liberals and Muslims. Yet conservative publications across North America give pride of place to the odious Anne Coulter, whose mainstream media career died a couple of years ago (and whom we on the left love to drag out to show the batshit craziness of the right). Coulter loathed liberals and vaunted her loathing in her columns, going so far as to advocate blowing up the New York Times and bombing all Muslim nations, an extremist viewpoint that eventually got her booted off CNN. She preached a gospel that incited hatred for liberals who “putridly” sully the landscape of what could be an ideal world if not for their prescence. Coulter is an extreme extreme example of the lack of sense characterizing the conservative movement, but tolerance for her views and others like her that are embraced by the conservative movement point to the unhealthiness at the root of conservatism and its activist arm in the media.
If rich, white, corporatist theocrats want to advance the idea of returning Canada to the 1890s or have the nation run entirely for profit by the private sector, they are free to do so through the political process: Let them join our present parties – the Conservative Party of Canada is entirely at their disposal and there isn’t a ambition the extreme right espouses that is not mirrored in CPC policy- and work to make those changes as all citizens are free to do, or start their own Fascist Party if they think they can get enough people to support them. Which will never happen, since most Canadians understand that neoconservatism is not about freedom, but about giving money and power to the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.
The National Post is losing money because they are losing readers. The revolution is over. Rationality and compassion won. What is good about conservatism can be written about in other publications. What’s bad is unworthy of a publication of its own. Barbara Kay and The National Post are superfluous in every respect and calling it a necessary balance to the so-called liberal mainstream media won’t disguise that reality. Goodbye, salut, farewell, shalom. Don’t slam the door on the way out.
(* I have no proof that this is true. This is central to my point)
Cross-posted from The Woodshed where we hope it is well understood that imitation is the sincerest form of mockery.