I am neither EXTREME nor RADICAL … I am just RIGHT

I wrote this and submitted it a while ago as a 2nd submission to the RLQ essay concours. For whatever reason it was not published. So I am publishing it here simply because I think the message is important and it is inline with the great piece posted by Pedro Rodrique on Les Analystes tonight http://lesanalystes.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/la-droite-bubonique/

I am neither EXTREME nor RADICAL … I am just RIGHT

I don't understand the term 'EXTREME RIGHT' used in Quebec, and I resent the term 'RADICAL RIGHT' even more. In my mind they are 'propagandist terms' deliberately used to 'incite fear' .
According to Wikipedia - the massively popular online reference for we "common folk' :  
Extremism is any ideology or political act far outside the perceived political center of a society; or otherwise claimed to violate common moral standards. In democratic societies, individuals or groups that advocate the replacement of democracy with a authoritarian regime are usually branded extremists.
Extremism is usually contrasted with moderation, and extremists with moderates.
Political agendas perceived as extremist often include those from the far left or far right as well as fundamentalism or, as a more general term, fanaticism.
Whereas when one looks up the term 'Radical' , Wikipedia tells us that 'Radicalism is : 
The term political radicalism (or simply, in political science, radicalism) denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.
and from Dictionary.com, the term 'radical' is defined as :
favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.
So to summarize then, an 'ordinary person' is told that someone described as being 'EXTREME or RADICAL' :
  • has ideas or acts far outside the perceived political center of a society
  • violates common moral standards
  • advocates the replacement of democracy with an authoritarian regime
  • often considered fundamental and fanatic
  • focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means
  • changing value systems in fundamental ways.
These 'extremists and radicals' quite frankly, sound like terrifying somewhat 'unbalanced' people, what with their 'revolutionary means', 'authoritarian regimes' and 'violations of common moral standards'.

Imagine my shock, as a native Ontarian, born and raised in the 'capitalist' south, advocate of Mike Harris' Common Sense Revolution of 1995, to find that in Québec, the place I have called 'home' since 2003 - not only was there no Conservative representation at the provincial level.

If I hadn't been told I would have immediately noticed the void of reasonable constraint, by the constant intrusion of government, the glut of generous social programs and eager recipients, the dominance of labor-unions amidst stagnate work environments and the sense of resignation and apathy of the over-taxed, over-regulated working middle class. How did this happen in the land of legendary entrepreneurs and innovators, where 'autonomy' has historically reigned 'supreme'.

Who provides over-sight ? Who ensure a measure of 'control' over government ? Who provides 'balance' ?

The answer is no-one. We have a choice in governance from a menu that includes : 'separatist statists', 'federalist statists' or 'statists statists'.

Thankfully, I live in Maxime Bernier's riding and am assured that we are properly, tirelessly and engagingly represented at the federal level by a Deputy of insight, vision, and conviction. 

Imagine my absolute relief in finding the RLQ - the voice of reason - the restoration of balance and common sense - the promotion of smaller, limited government - the restoration of individual rights – a return to personal responsibility ... only to then confront the daily unchallenged media assertion that the emerging right-wing provincial movement I so eagerly embraced and endorsed - the Réseau Liberté Québec - is repeatedly described in the media as the 'EXTREME RIGHT'. 

I am not 'EXTREME', I cannot be 'EXTREME or RADICAL' ... that is not who I am or who I chose to be.

And I do not believe that the positions of the RLQ nor the majority of it's members are in anyway as defined within the 'common understanding' of the term … 'EXTREME' or 'RADICAL'.

However, I do believe that the media characterization is defined by the political environment, that is, not within the common understanding of the terms, but in response to and in the context in which this right-wing movement exists.

In an environment that has allowed the over-reaching, unrestricted, unchallenged, mismanaged, inefficient, over-regulating, unsustainable, irresponsible, intrusive, tax-grabbing, some would say corrupt governance, to develop and exist, in such an environment ... any effort to restore balance would have to be considered an 'EXTREME RADICAL EFFORT'.

The average person however will not make that distinction. The average person will understand that, as in the tradition use of the terms - Radical and Extreme are positions that evoke fear and aggression. When used by the opposition, the terms are intentionally provocative - when left unchallenged or unexplained - the Right is left open to this distortion.

I, for one, believe the terms 'REASONABLE RIGHT' or 'RESPONSIBLE RIGHT' ... to be more accurate, and they are to the 'ordinary person' self-explanatory.

These proper characterizations are declarations and demand a substantive response from those opposed.

These declarations of conviction offer promise and a lifeline to ordinary people, people who from their own experience are well-aware of their diminished circumstances, ordinary people who realize that the government we have is neither Reasonable nor Responsible...

We – the RLQ – must be recognized for our convictions and not ever defined by those who promote fear, those who oppose the legitimacy and promotion of citizen reform . This is my opinion, considered and stated from the RIGHT.