Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Country club conservative loves workers .. but not their rights ... and hates environmentalists

Conservative media elite, anti-environmentalist,
and former Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program
intern  Ezra Levant.

Claims " downtown environmentalists" know nothing of
about blue-collar work.

Image Source: 

Ezra Levant is certainly one amusing Sun "journalist". The member of the media elite, law-school graduate, and Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program intern certainly has an impressive resume. He's rubbed elbows with hoity-toities and makes an undisclosed amount of money. Nevertheless, he's never lost his sympathy for the common person ... but, it seems, just whenever their interests seem to overlap with those of rich and powerful country club conservatives. A May 5, 2012 article - appearing in the various Sun dallies -  on Federal NDP environmentalists displays this full on. Environmentalists, he seems to insinuate, are nothing but downtown cultural elites while the interests of working people are served by big oil companies.
Ezra Levant admires communism's
admiration of blue-collar

Image Source: Wikipedia

Levant, a man who spoke out against labour unions and minimum wage laws in the mid 1990s, says that he admired Communists' respect for industrial workers and industrialization.

I despise communism, but there is one aspect of it that I actually miss: The belief in industry.

As in, they loved factories. They loved development. They loved mining and forestry and building things.

They weren’t very good at it — the communist system was at odds with human nature; you can’t centrally plan an economy, you can’t command people to be inspired to live your blueprint — but they were crystal clear about their goals: An industrialized society with high productivity.

Admiring hard work — physical work, outdoors work, blue-collar work — isn’t a left-wing thing. In fact, it’s conservative.

("NDP loses touch with its roots" Ezra Levant. Winnipeg Sun (May 5, 2012))
This is ridiculous on several fronts. For one thing, after noting that manual work was idealized by far-left communists he claims that idealizing hard work is actually a conservative thing. But, wait, wasn't that actually a communist thing? (short answer: yes)

Buying fine cigars, driving a hummer 30 klicks with the windows down & AC on to a country club so you can play golf, and busting your caddy's union are very conservative things, not manual work. Throughout the financial crisis conservatives have advocated job-killing austerity, showing that a few bucks off debt servicing is worth more than manual work to them.

On a more substantive note, the industrialization at all costs drive of centrally planning Communists is thought of by economists as one of their major policy failures.

Fulfilling production plans became the all-embracing goal in centrally planned economies, to the exclusion of most other considerations, including the environment. As a result, environmental degradation occurred the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe on a scale unknown in advanced Western nations. A particularly disturbing example (only one of many) occurred in central Asia, where high quotas for cotton output led to indiscriminate use of pesticides and irrigation. Birth defects became very common, and the vast Aral Sea has been three quarters drained, causing major environmental effects.  
Part of the much drained Aral Sea in central Asia. The area is very polluted and local residents suffer from a lack of fresh water, TB, anemia, and cancer. The industry at all costs drive that lead to this is one aspect of communism Levant admires.

Image Source: i09

The failure to protect the environment stemmed from the pressure to fulfill production plans and the absence of a "political marketplace" where citizens could express their preferences for the environment.

(Microeconomics Thirteenth Canadian Edition Ragan Lipsey. Pearson Canada. p. 13)
 Commerce/Law school grad Levant, however, seems to think that the "industrial output at all costs" philosophy was admirable. Canadians who express their preferences for the environment in the "political marketplace" are derided as downtown cultural elites by this wingnut pundit.

Exhibit A: Last week, the Saskatchewan NDP voted unanimously to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline project, a shovel-ready project that needs no government stimulus, that would not only create jobs in Saskatchewan in terms of the pipeline itself, but is necessary to export oil from Saskatchewan’s Bakken oil fields.

Those oil fields are why there is more conventional — that is, non-oilsands oil — production in Saskatchewan now than in Alberta.

It’s why Saskatchewan has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.

In other words, labour is working. Men are building. Industry is industrializing. Developments are developing. Production is producing.
Dead fish in oil spilled
off the coast of the US State of Louisiana.

Working class Louisiana fishers 
are unhappy about the
BP oil spill.  

Conservatives call Canadians worried about
the impact the Northern Gateway Pipeline
will have on our west coast "radical".  

Image Source: Obtained from
Washington Post

Originally from Sean Gardner -Reuters. 


It’s not just them. In British Columbia, their NDP just sent a unanimous letter to the federal regulatory review panel, opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline to the B.C. west coast.

The party that once stood with forestry workers, sawmill workers, miners, rig hands — the folks who work hard, with their muscles and minds — has now been replaced with the party of downtown eco-activists, who have never done a physical day’s labour in their lives [my emphasis added]
("NDP loses touch with its roots" Ezra Levant. Winnipeg Sun (May 5, 2012))
That's right, folks. A man who made his career climbing through white-collar institutions like the Charles G. Koch Fellow Summer Program is broad brushing all environmentalists as knowing nothing about blue-collar work. He presents ZERO EVIDENCE in his article for the claims about "downtown eco-activists".

According to the Energy Resource Conservation
Board, nearly 230,000 litres of heavy crude oil from
an Embridge pumping station spilled onto Alberta farmland.

Oil spills are not good for the livelihood of hard
working Canadian farmers or small towns whose
drinking waters could be affected.

Image Source: Jobbook News
Back on planet earth residents of Toronto's suburban 905 belt hold the environment as a top priority. I'm sure Levant will express his distain for these vile "white collar commuters" for daring to make their preferences known in the political marketplace. On with Soviet style environmental degradation ... with five year plans!  

Ezra Levant (top) speaking at the Vancouver Club, a
club "at the heart of the business district" in Vancouver
(which certainly isn't cheap in the heavily gentrified city)

which is also
"elegant and informal, distinguished and comfortable".

Chocolate fountain (bottom) at the Vancouver Club.

Image Sources: Covenant Zone (Top)

niftynotcool (bottom) 
But there's a more nefarious undertone in Levant's thinking. Apparently, workers don't have a stake in the environment. If watersheds are polluted, oil leaks from the Keystone Pipeline flood farmland and pollute the air of workers' communities, or fisheries are destroyed by oil spills it's all okay because some people will be employed by the project. The goodness or badness of the project for working people, under Levant's analysis, is solely based on how many jobs come out of the project in the short-term. Further complicating matters is that, despite Levant's stated love of industry, resource extraction pushes up the dollar and hurts manufacturing workers, which actually deindustrializes the country.

Levant really reveals what an out of touch country club conservative elite he truly is. He doesn't speak at all about just how dependent on their communities hard working Canadians are and how bad community ruin is for them. Unlike hoitty-toites such as the oil company loving/owning Charles G. Koch (who funded the internship program where Levant learned the ropes of think tank politics), working Canadians can't just relocate to some mansion klicks away by helicopter if oil spills ruin their land, air, and water.    

Charles G. Koch,
country club conservative
billionaire with a 42% stake
in Koch Industries.

Koch Industries has
interest in Canadian oil
sands property

Charles G. Koch's "Charle
G. Koch Summer Fellow
Program" was were
Ezra Levant cut his teeth
in think tank politics.

Image Source: NNDB 
And a final reality check. Starbucks are most popular in suburban Conservative ridings. A bastion of the Canadian oil industry - Calgary - features the riding (Calgary Centre) with the greatest concentration of Starbucks in the nation!

It looks like the Koch tendency to never let facts get in the way of good propaganda has rubbed off on Levant. Hard working Canadians can only hope that this rhetoric doesn't lead to disastrous environmental policies that ruin their farms, fisheries, air, and drinking water.

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