Most us stand in disgusted awe at the Conservative-wrought carnage. Liberals, Dippers, Greens, Bloc: whatever their policy outcomes might be in practice, they absolutely do not follow a philosophy rooted in misanthropy and at least make an attempt at providing for a functional if not a fairer society.
It's really easy to apply simple terms like racism, or pathological narcissitic capitalist disorder or others to describe the actions the Harper government but these are more descriptive of the symptoms than the cause. While the three broad characteristics of Altemeyer's psychological authoritarian -
1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in- resonate with the Harper Conservatives, there's something else at work here. The Harperites do not, to me at least, display a high degree of submission to the "established, legitimate authorities". There idea of conventionalism revolves only around them. They don't want everyone to adopt their way of being, they quite literally want elimate all those that don't. They display these traits, but in self-reference, as in they are the only legitimate authority. Broadly established laws and norms of behaviour are subscribed to only when it suits their purpose, and discarded, subverted or ignored when it does not. Too often these actions are done in pursuit of an ideology that doesn't seem to subscribe to anything we might traditionally recognise from Conservatives. Yes, they want to build prisons and increase defence spending, cut back social services and such, but in the Harperites their is an element of cruelty not present in other regimes. Established rights of protest are quashed with openly secret police powers. I hate to say it, but in some ways they even make the Bush-Cheney regime look orthodox. At least in that case everything that bunch did was clear and had a certain logic to it. The USA PATRIOT Act was legislated through conventional means, presidential executive orders were legitimate means under the US system of bypassing certain restraints, and they did not try to suspend Congress or anything like that when things didn't go their way. Yes they lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and all that, but they did so through existing structures for what many argue were neoconservative global strategic outcomes, blinkered as they were.
2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.
No, what we have here in this country is a different creature. While the US neocons are their closest political cousins, our Canadian subspecies introduces a particular lumpen cruelty I might venture to describe as a pathological misanthropy. Our Harperkin display little more than constant vitriolic and vengeful anger at what amounts to anyone either in need of help or willing to help others need, or displaying any sort of concern for the common weal. Happy people. Kind people. Generous people. Fair-minded people. Suffering people. I wonder if the image of a happy person triggers a rage response in some. There is no structure with our crowd, only an encephalitic lizard-brain reaction to, well, basic socialisation with their fellow humans.
Sure, they are happy to champion happy causes like the welfare of Afghan women and children and Canadian soldiers when it suits their needs. But as soon people in akin to the former appear on boats closre to home, they call for their torpedo-massacre. Canadian soldiers are only worthy when they are fit and able. As soon as they are wounded, they are cast aside and dechampioned like ill Spartans. It's a sick and twisted mind that advocates the mass slaughter of desperate people, or to label an Act intended to kerb support for veterans a "Veterans Charter". Or permit the torture of Canadians - or anyone else for that matter.
Maybe this malice grows from a self-loathing over a failure to meet or live in a society that does not conform to some Galt-like standard of rugged super-individualism. Or maybe it's just genetic sociopathy. I'm not sure there's a difference or whether it matters.
I mean look at the Prime Minister, cadaverous, two dimensional, monotone. Isolated. Vindictive. Punitive. Surviving. We wonder why on Earth anyone would find that appealing. His supporters clearly don't.
Whatever the case, whatever Conservativism once looked like in this country, it's been consumed from the cerebelum by an alien parasite. The spite-driven anti-structure fit of happy-smashing will continue until there is nothing left to destroy.
They are not authoritarian in the classic sense, they simply hate everything.