The Small Mind of the Conservative

Here is a splendid example of a certain kind of conservative mind: the kind that can’t imagine how things could be any different, or why anyone would want them to be any different, from the way they are today. This kind of person always says, whenever anything novel is brought up, “But we’ve always done it this way!” Next, they go on to invent all sorts of silly reasons to avoid making any change.

Small-minded is what we used to call this trait, and it’s particularly on display here. Mike Strobel, who despite once being Editor-in-Chief of the Toronto Sun doesn’t seem to know the difference between “stationary” and “stationery”, can’t think of a single decent reason to turf the monarchy in Canada.

Instead, he believes keeping them around is a good idea because “the Trudeaus might declare themselves Canada’s royal family and we’d wake up one morning as subjects of King Justin”. Perhaps the Queen will save Strobel someday by pushing him out of the way of an errant taxi. Those two preposterous scenarios are about equally likely.

Allan Fotheringham, a commentator that actually has connected brain cells, once said, “Grown-up nations do not need, as head of state, a woman — however nice — who lives across a large ocean in a castle in a foreign country.” Someday Canada will grow up. Strobel, I’m not so sure about.


  1. Menyambal says

    I like the idea of being connected to other countries in a commonwealth, but a monarch? No way. (I am glad to hear that Obama is not holding hands with the Saudi royals.)

    My favorite “We’ve always done it this way” moment happened when I was trying to improve a process in a factory where I was working. I had no authority at all, so I just got there early and started doing things my way, and everbody went along without really noticing. The next day I thought of something even better, and started setting up for it. The supervisor caught me, and said “We’ve always done it this way!” As if that was sufficient reason. “This way”, of course, was the process I’d implemented 24 hours before.

  2. says

    Strobel…can’t think of a single decent reason to turf the monarchy in Canada.

    Yeah, cutting heating bills for the poor to heat her castle and forcing welfare recipients to sleep under bridges only affected Britons, not Canadians. Who cares about them?

    My personal annoyance with those freeloaders and wastes of space goes back to 1993/94. The newly built University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George was to have its official opening in the summer of 1994, to coincide with the common poverty games commonwealth games. “She” went there to cut the ribbon and open the university.

    What galled me and many others was the person not invited to take part the ceremony, who wasn’t wanted there: Michael Smith, PhD and 1993 Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. So much for any pretense of valuing education.

  3. MacTurk says

    I have to make it clear that I am an Irish citizen,and a person who values our constitution. And thankfully I have never lived in any form of monarchy.

    However, my island is next door to Britain, and I have been able to observe the effect of monarchy on the benighted subjects of Queen Elizabeth II(or Queen Elizabeth I of Scotland).

    Monarchy, in the UK, seems to exude a blinding glamour which cripples the critical faculties of British people. Evidently, it has the same baleful effect in Canada…..

    The British media is overloaded with people like Mr Mike Strobel, who spend vast amounts of time droning on about ‘Tradition’ and the ‘Importance of the Monarchy as a neutral topping on the edifice of state”.

    Canada could remain within the Commonwealth, if it declared itself to be a republic. There are many republics in the Commonwealth, India being the largest….

  4. sonofrojblake says

    I’m an engineer. My question, whenever anyone proposes a change, is this:
    “What is the problem you are trying to solve?”
    It’s remarkable how often they’re not really clear on what the answer is. Quite often, their “solution” is to a symptom, rather than a cause, and makes things worse elsewhere because it’s not focussed on what’s actually wrong. Equally often, their “solution” is solving a problem that has only arisen because they’re doing something wrong in the first place – not following an established, written procedure, but doing it their own way. Only once you can clearly define precisely what the problem is can you solve it. Often, you find that when you really boil it down, there isn’t a problem.

    So: what, precisely, is the problem with having Elizabeth Windsor as titular “head of state” of Canada?

    • shallit says

      Certainly the fact that a war was fought over this issue, and that some of the best political minds of all time gave arguments against a monarchy and in favor of a republic, cannot possibly have escaped your attention. So go troll elsewhere.

      • Holms says

        I was under the impression that Canada gained its sovereignty via conferences rather than war; first to declare Canada a Dominion and then later to become fully soveriegn.

          • Holms says

            OK, but the goal of that war was sovereignty. Canada has that already, earned through negotiation rather than war, leaving the question of the Commonwealth. Which, as it happens, doesn’t preclude a republic style government.

  5. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    My view is to let the queen live out her reign and then end the legal status of the monarchy.

    @ sonofrojblake #5

    “What is the problem you are trying to solve?”

    I’m not sure if you’re just playing devil’s advocate but, just off the top of my head:
    -the monarchy is a continuous needless expense (realizing that there would be a one-time, upfront cost in processing it’s removal)
    -monarchies are the epitome of concentrating wealth and power based on bloodline alone, their legal status enables this
    -the monarchy is the symbol of an empire that brutalized much of the world for centuries
    -her replacement is a vocal campaigner for alternative medicine and other woo
    -it devalues democracy to have a non-elected figurehead, even if it is mostly symbolic at this point
    -it lends support to other regimes where the power of their monarchies limited to symbolism

    And I’ll counter with the question:
    What is the value of keeping the royals as head of state?

    You are correct to always ask the question of what is the problem that needs to be solved, but I have found that the people asking the question frequently don’t listen to the answer. I seen the example that you gave of problems occurring from people not following a written procedure, but my conclusion has never been “there isn’t a problem.” Maybe the procedure needs to be re-written to make it more clear or training procedures need to be reviewed. And many times, there is a simpler way to do things.

    My personal opinion is that, when procedures go wrong, the first people you should talk to are the people who do it 8 hours a day. And my experience is that this is almost never done.

  6. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Re my last comment “power of their monarchies limited to symbolism” should be “isn’t limited”

  7. lpetrich says

    Monarchy had lasted for nearly all of the 5000 or so years of recorded history, and likely for some time before that, but over the last few centuries, it has gone into precipitous decline.

    Some monarchies have been very long-lived, even if not very continuous, like the Pharaonic and Chinese monarchies, at nearly 3000 years. The Roman Empire lasted some 500 years in the west, and 1500 years in the east. Some European monarchies have lasted some 1000 years.

    But most of them are now gone, with their successors having no taste for establishing hereditary dynasties. The surviving activist monarchies are the Gulf-State ones, Jordan, Morocco, and Swaziland. All the others, the ones of Europe, Lesotho, Japan, and Cambodia, are pretty much ceremonial ones.

    However, some de facto monarchies have appeared here and there, like the Kim dynasty of North Korea, the Assads of Syria, and Papa and Baby Doc of Haiti.

    So why has monarchy fallen so far? I have yet to see any good discussion of that issue.

  8. lpetrich says

    The British royal family has become a bunch of professional celebrities, it seems to me. Much like the Kardashian family. Queen Elizabeth II has been a good ceremonial monarch, but Prince Charles has been very reckless, it seems to me. He must certainly be aware of what has happened to his fellow monarchs over the past century. When they got deposed, that was it for their nations’ monarchies with only two exceptions: Spain and Cambodia.

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