Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Progressive Bloggers and Whatzisname

Huh. I'd been keeping an eye on this nonsense going on with the Canadian "progressive bloggers" list—quasi-summary here by "Doctor Dawg"—but wasn't expecting to be dropped in the middle of it by Antonia Zerbisias. Zerbisias has a point. Whatzisname didn't exactly cover himself with glory. But it's odd to see this come up again.

Funny thing is, I'd mellowed out towards ol' Kinsella over the years. I don't think he's changed, but his weird idiosyncratic issues about pseudonymity doesn't strike me as relevant anymore. Canada's got bigger issues, just as America does, and his holdout position against pseudonyms just isn't shared by too many people these days.

I also think he's right about how the Liberals and the NDP need to get together. Yes, some Liberals may break away. So? Screw 'em. Liberals have far more in common with social democrats than hard-right conservatives. If they defect to the Conservative party of Stephen Harper (of all people!) they weren't liberals to begin with.

That's the issue. Words like "liberal" and "progressive" and "conservative" actually have to mean something. You really do have to draw lines, and you can't let everybody in. That's one of the reasons why the American political parties don't use labels like that, and call themselves "Democrats" and "Republicans". You can have conservative Democrats and progressive Republicans and still get all the benefits of partisan unity.

(Not that that's entirely the case, the Republicans are conservative to a man, but that's the general idea.)

If you have to draw lines, you're going to have people going over the line. That's what happened with the progbloggers, where a few progressive-in-name-only-bloggers went over the line on women's rights to choose, and were justifiably shredded for it by the real progressives. The real progressives questioned whether the fake progressives had any right to the name. They went to the admins, and the admins freaked out, because they forgot that WORDS MEAN THINGS.

Then Kinsella comes charging in and just makes it worse. His claims are ridiculous. Fern Hill's clearly just pointing out that "even the Dominion nuts hate being spied on". It makes sense! I hate being spied on too! Kinsella's being awfully silent on that side of it. He talks about the "what" but never the "why" when the "why" is critical. Doesn't seem to mention the whole abortion thing, either. Not sure what that means.

But I have to ask: what's the POINT of it? He wants the Liberals and NDPers to merge or align or whatever. Does he really think that this sort of thing is going to help? Does he really think that that new party isn't going to have lines that can't be crossed? Does he really think that any sort of progressive movement worth the name is going to invite anybody and everybody that doesn't call themselves "conservative"? Does he realize WHY all this is happening? What is he THINKING?

He's supposed to be a clever political strategist. I think there's something to that. I did pay attention to that last election in the Canadian province of Ontario that he was involved in, where it looked like he managed to help turn back a serious and potentially disastrous Conservative surge and keep a basically progressive Liberal government in power. He knows how these sorts of things work.

So I'm honestly baffled at the angle here. Both the Fern thing and the Zerbisias thing are bad opinion journalism and bad politics. It makes the merger he's advocating far less likely, and it's far more likely to push people away from the "Progressive Bloggers" than anything else.  It's only helping Harper. It just doesn't make sense.

(Edit: Oh, one more thing. Changing the text of Zerbisias' blog comments was just plain silly. I haven't the foggiest about the legal side, but the dumb is unquestionable.)

(Re-Edit: Fixed Zerbisias' name. Sorry, Antonia.)


  1. You said "Both the Fern thing & the Zerbisias thing are bad opinion journalism & bad politics." That is an understatement if I ever heard one! Kinsella's behaviour is also juvenile AND sexist. Poor little man had his great big puffy ego ruffled. I'm disgusted by WK.
    Btw, good points re Lib/NDP alliance as well. Thanks for this blog.

  2. All worthwhile points, especially the part about words and what they mean. Antonia's name, however, is spelled Zerbisias.

  3. Anonymous10:59 PM

    " the Republicans are conservative to a man..."

    ... and regressive to women. :)