Salutin describes Harper as a disciple of Leo Strauss - a man whose ideas are central to the NeoCons - especially the Bush II NeoCons.
A little more digging on the subject turned up a rather lengthy discussion of Straussian politics which further reinforces much of what has disturbed/angered me about Harper's actions as PM since day one.
Most disturbing is this:
While professing deep respect for American democracy, Strauss believed that societies should be hierarchical – divided between an elite who should lead, and the masses who should follow. But unlike fellow elitists like Plato, he was less concerned with the moral character of these leaders. According to Shadia Drury, who teaches politics at the University of Calgary, Strauss believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."
Unsurprisingly, this is directly consistent with just about every action that Harper has taken, and it plays equally well when held up against his statements about government policy discussions such as the public debate around Afghanistan - where Harper has stated that the public "doesn't understand" these complex issues. (I won't even begin to describe how this kind of attitude from our politicians angers me)
Many neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz are disciples of a philosopher who believed that the elite should use deception, religious fervor and perpetual war to control the ignorant masses.
Has anyone else noticed Harper playing both of these cards on a regular basis? Whether it is using Canada's troops abroad for photo-ops, or having Canadian fighters "repel" Russian "patrols" over the arctic - he's been consistently the most militaristic PM that Canada has had since the Second World War. (and nobody back then was glorifying war - it was seen as a nasty, necessary evil - Harper glorifies it)
As for the religious fervor thing - I only need refer you to the works of Harper's "backbench" MPs who keep tabling the TheoCon legislation that his "base" cries out for, and the consequences for front bench MPs like Diane Ablonczy when they offend that base.
Strauss' approach to things describes perfectly why Harper sees nothing wrong at all with simply shutting down parliament when things get too hot for him, or his government looks about to fall. It also explains much about the government's legislation (as brain damaged as much of it is - such as "get tough on crime" legislation which will cost taxpayers billions of dollars yet.
Make no mistake about it, Harper is a Straussian - and he's a particularly unpleasant example of what can happen when someone takes any philosophy to extremes. When you hear John Baird - or Harper - talking snidely about "Toronto Elites", one has to wonder just what kind of Elites they are themselves ...