Those Canadians have got a few prigs running things up there, and they’ve apparently trying to pass some laws to slap down those darned naughty artist types. There’s just one line from the sour old prude that’s worth mentioning, the rest is the usual noise.
A well-known evangelical crusader is claiming credit for the federal government’s move to deny tax credits to TV and film productions that contain graphic sex and violence or other offensive content.
Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said his lobbying efforts included discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, and “numerous” meetings with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office.
“We’re thankful that someone’s finally listening,” he said yesterday. “It’s fitting with conservative values, and I think that’s why Canadians voted for a Conservative government.”
I’d like to make a distinction here.
“I will not watch movies with graphic sex scenes” is a good moral value; it’s defining a standard of behavior for yourself. If McVety, Day, and Nicholson wish to abstain from watching movies with sex, then that’s fine. Personally, I am unperturbed if someone else wants to watch porn, as long as they don’t force me to watch it too, and I think that’s a reasonable value as well.
Conservative values don’t seem to have anything to do with personal standards, at least as they are expressed by politicians and the media. “You will not watch movies with graphic sex scenes” is not what I would consider a moral good. It’s the imposition of values on someone else, not yourself. There really are only two possibilities here: 1) McVety, Day, and Nicholson already do not watch movies with graphic sex scenes, in which case this law causes them no hardship and they can’t be said to be acting for their own good; or 2) McVety, Day, or Nicholson do watch movies with graphic sex scenes, in which case they are hypocrites imposing a standard on others to which they do not adhere themselves.
We’ve been living with “conservative values” here in the US for a long time now, and they rarely seem to have anything to do with a social good, or with people actually setting exemplary moral standards for themselves. It’s always about narrowing experiences, constraining others to a single permissible range of behaviors, and punishing others outside your domain of accepted social norms.
You know, it is possible to be a liberal, progressive sort of person who doesn’t do any of the “bad” things that conservatives detest — who doesn’t drink to excess, use addictive drugs, or gamble, who is faithful to a single spouse and doesn’t spend time on pornography or prostitution. That people don’t do those things is not the distinguishing characteristic of conservative vs. liberal at all. The real difference is that conservatives take sanctimonious pleasure in requiring everyone else to be just like their ideal, and seem to be less interested in measuring up to their own standards themselves than in demanding that others do so; liberals are people who put first priority on abiding by their own standards, and a second priority on allowing others to live their lives as they see fit.