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Maxim Nord

Donald Trump’s surprisingly sane foreign policy

Like many people, when Donald Trump announced he was running for President, I was skeptical. As with many of Trump’s critics, I was so distracted by the flamboyant style of his campaign that I was unable, or unwilling, to examine his foreign policy proposals with an objective and serious eye. Having done so, I now believe that while Trump’s personality might not appeal to Canadian conservatives, his policies should. In particular, Trump advocates a a foreign policy that is surprisingly, impressive and nuanced. In the fifth Republican debate last Tuesday, themed on national security, we saw a passionate defence of that foreign policy. If you haven’t watched that debate, I encourage you to do so. Of all the Presidential debates so far, Democratic or Republican, his philosophy has been the most substantive. Trump, like most Americans, supports military engagement with ISIS. Most Republican candidates support this as well, but advocate different specific strategies. In addition to supporting U.S. involvement in a multi-nation bombing campaign against ISIS, Trump has called for designating a safe zone in Syria on the ground for citizens seeking safety. Trump supports granting intelligence agencies greater leeway to tackle security threats. Lastly, he has said that he wants to cut off ISIS economically, by bombing oil fields in Iraq. All of these ideas would cripple ISIS at home and abroad. They mark a serious departure from Obama’s current U.S. military strategy on ISIS, which has been criticized by military experts. For instance, retired Air Force General Charlie Dunlap told Politico, “American air power needs to be unleashed, but so far the air effort has been amazingly anemic”. He went on to ask “how many civilians have died because of the unnecessary political constraints that have allowed ISIL fighters to live on unmolested and wreak havoc upon the helpless?”.… Read More

Conservatives and the future: Those who aren’t in will fall off

There’s a story that evangelist T. D. Jakes would tell of a little boy named Johnny. Johnny kept falling off the bed. His mom was baffled, and after walking into Johnny’s room for the third time that night, she told Johnny the reason he kept falling off the bed—he was never far enough in. The Conservative Party’s recent election loss sparked a debate about the direction the Party should take. Some advocate a more progressive route; some don’t. I don’t doubt the sincerity of either side, but I doubt the soundness of one of these schools of thought—it, too, risks not being far enough in. It’s easy to look at an election loss and lose perspective. For nearly ten years Conservatives had formed government, unbeatable in every election. The Conservatives did lose this one, but they weren’t badly beaten. The Liberals won a larger-than-expected majority, sure, but the NDP got the worst of it. It’s also worth remembering that there was a time when the Liberals ran the country with no challenge whatsoever. Those days are gone. Two Liberal leaders had fallen before the Party was desperate enough to don the Trudeau name. Governments fall. Popularity comes and goes. Harper’s did. Trudeau’s will, probably quicker than Harper’s. If a future exists for the Conservatives, it doesn’t lie to the left, the progressive route. The idea that, for Tories, Zion exists in the middle of the spectrum is a falsehood perpetrated, I suspect, by forces who are fundamentally anti-conservative. To them, the only good conservative is an apologetic one. I believe the central challenge for conservatives today is not the quality of the product, but the quality of the marketing. Jefferson once wrote that “in matters of principle, be as firm as a rock but in matters of style, go with the… Read More

Being a conservative punk

To many conservatives, and punks, the concept of “conservative punk” is ridiculous but as Johnny Ramone (perhaps the most famous punk of all time) once exclaimed “punk is right wing”. With bands like the Dead Kennedys, the Clash and Rancid championing left-wing ideas, it can sometimes be hard to see that anarchism is a fact of life on the punk scene. Being a traditionalist conservative and a punk can sometimes feel like two separate impulses or leading two lives but its actually not difficult to see the overlap, if you wanted to look. Nor is it difficult to find conservative voices on the punk scene. You may remember the American media reporting back in 2004 on a group called Conservative Punk that made waves rallying support for George W. Bush. Michale Graves, a former singer for the Misfits, wrote a column on the group’s website. Graves is well-known for performing in a skull mask and singing lyrics like “the boiled blister pops inside”. "I look like someone who should be hanging out with Marilyn Manson — in fact I have hung out with Marilyn Manson," Mr. Graves said. "It doesn't affect what my morals are." So what exactly are the overlaps between conservatism and being punk? To understand that, it’s important to remember that punk began as a reaction against the hippie movement. That’s evident in the looks and styles of early punks and is still visible in many elements of the subculture. Hippies wore hemp and tie-dye so punks wore leather and black. Hippies grew their hair long so punks shaved their head. Hippies were anti-violence so many punks embraced violence. Punk was a rebellion from the start against the dominant youth culture of the day. It was never explicitly political. Punk was a blank canvas and bands and… Read More

What next after Sun News?

The big news in the world of Canadian media lately has been the demise of Sun News Network, the conservative television outlet. Have hope, my fellow righties, because the sun setting on the Sun is not the end – enter the Rebel (likely from stage right). The Rebel is the brainchild of Sun News Network’s most Glenn Becky voice – Ezra “Glasses” Levant. Very quickly, the Rebel picked up Sun News Network’s staple characters – Brian Lilley, for example, the host of Byline. The good news is that the Rebel has cleared learned valuable lessons from the epic collapse of Sun News Network and is changing how the message is presented. No, wait, it hasn’t. They’re doing the exact same thing. If you’re reading this out loud, here would be a good place to insert a dramatically audible sigh of frustration. Don’t get me wrong – Canada needs more alternative media voices, on the left and right. And nobody is more in favour of a conservative alternative to the CBC, which sometimes fails to speak for all Canadians, though it does try to (on occasion). The central problem with Sun News Network and with the Rebel is not the concept of a conservative media voice – it’s the execution. First of all, the news content was presented in a truly bizarre format. It was a sort of Frankenstein monster between Fox News and talk radio and it came off sounding sensational and unintelligent. Sun could’ve shown an intelligent, authentically Canadian, nuanced and positive image of conservatism. Instead we got inauthentic, pseudo-American, dumb, negative gotcha journalism, which, if many conservatives are being honest with you, was more embarrassing than inspiring. Just look at the name of Ezra’s new media endeavor – the Rebel. What is that? It conjures up images of… Read More

If Sarah Palin were in charge

Former Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, speaking at an NRA rally last week, went on the offensive against President Barack Obama. She accused the President of being soft on terrorists. Palin, as usual, aimed at informality but just came off sounding ignorant. Her remarks were, unsurprisingly, the typical fanatical drivel we’ve come to expect from Mrs. Palin. “If I were in charge, our enemies would know waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” Whoa, what? Even for Sarah Palin, that’s nutjob-y. That’s the kind of sentence that would make Genghis Khan look like Mahatma Gandhi. Not only is Mrs. Palin, a (like it or not) influential politician, unacceptably arguing for torture but she’s equating torture with the most sacred of Christian rituals. I believe that conservative women have a vital role to play in the public discussion around national security and foreign policy. That Palin is a conservative woman alone has been enough to often generate seething hatred from the left. On the torture question, however, Palin’s remarks are being rightly attacked by left, right and centre. If I thought conservatism was pro-torture, I would not wear the label of conservative. If I thought Christianity was pro-torture, I would not wear the label of Christian. Yes, there are conservatives who are pro-torture and they’re flat out counting past ten on this issue – and should be rightly rebuked. The act of rebuking them does not make one soft on terrorism. I’ve often called myself a “cultural conservative” because I believe that, when push comes to shove, it’s the forces of tradition that are attempting to preserve the light of civilization. That said, civilization, as an ideal, rests upon the building of a common, uplifted humanity. We can’t defend what is right by doing what is wrong. I believe the culture… Read More
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