20 May 2005

A 'fanatical moderate'? Maybe not

Several years ago I began calling myself — somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to be sure — a fanatical moderate. Not knowing whether my use of this term was unique, I did a quick Google search and found something written last year by Andrew Coyne (we're hearing a lot from him these days) about the Right Honorable Charles Joseph Clark, Canada's most eminent unsuccessful statesman (and founding leader of the stillborn Bloc clarkois), and Senator Lowell Murray, both stalwarts of the old Progressive Conservative Party and sometimes known as Red Tories. Writes Coyne:

Messrs Clark and Murray are examples of that uniquely Canadian type, the fanatical moderate (Robert Fulford's term, I believe), for whom the answer to every question is to take the middle path, regardless of whether a) there is a middle path, b) there is anything to recommend the middle path as policy, or c) today's middle path is likely to remain in the middle for long. In their vanity and illusions, their bitterness and vivid self-importance, they are the direct descendants of the Bourbons, who famously had "learned nothing and forgotten nothing."

The Liberals at least make no bones about the opportunism that underlies their lack of principle. But only the Red Tories could make lack of principle into a principle.

Hmmm. Given that this is a less than wholly flattering portrait, perhaps I should consider finding another, more appropriate political label to wear. Maybe I'll just have to go with christian democrat or neocalvinist.

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