Stephen Harper : an admirer of Strauss, Von Hayek and of the Federalist Society

by Gilles Gervais

(Source: The Walrus Magazine, Oct. 2004, ‘The Man Behind Stephen Harper by Marci McDonald)

STEPHEN HARPER-THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA ON JAN.23RD -IS AN ADMIRER OF LEO STRAUSS, FRIEDRICH VON HAYEK AND OF THE FEDERALIST SOCIETY. Stephen Harper, one of the leaders of the Western Canada-based populist and neo-con Reform Party with founder Preston Manning (the Newt Gingrich of the North) is now poised to become the next Prime Minister of Canada on January 23rd.
A political chameleon, Harper now heads up the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada. He is a product of the ‘Calgary School’ of political scientists at the University of Calgary, Alberta.

Shadia Drury, ‘’an expert on philosopher Leo Strauss paints the Calgary School as a home-grown variation of American Straussians like Paul Wolfowitz, who share their teacher’s deep suspicion of liberal democracy. Drury warned the Globe & Mail’s John Ibbitson that the members of the Calgary School ‘want to replace the rule of law with the populism of the majority,’ and labelled Stephen Harper ‘their product.’ ‘’
The main characters of the Calgary School are Tom Flanagan, an American Goldwater supporter and Harper’s chief of staff. Harper and Flanigan are considered ‘’intellectual, philosophical soulmates. ‘’ Both are ‘’ardent devotees of Friedrich Hayek.’’

Another member of the Calgary School and close confidant of Stephen Harper is Barry Cooper, a member of the Bohemian Club, ‘’who edited Strauss’ thirty-year correspondence with Eric Voegelin ‘Faith and Political Philosophy.’ ‘’ Both Cooper and Flanagan were students at Duke University of John Hallowell, a disciple of Eric Voegelin, ‘’ a German-born philosopher who had fled Hitler and blamed a flawed utopian version of Christianity for spawning totalitarian movements like Nazism and Communism.’’

The two main ‘spiritual’ influences on Stephen Harper are C.S. Lewis, of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ fame (Lewis says that the major influence on him was G.K.Chesterton) and Malcolm Muggeridge (an executive with the Congress for Cultural Freedom).

When Harper spoke in Montreal, in 1997, before The Council for National Policy, a grouping described by historian Anton Chaitkin as ‘a covert organization that was established in 1981 to bind religious impresarios and bankers into a new power structure, congruent with the attempt at dictatorship,’ he added the following apology after telling a joke about a lawyer that goes to heaven: ‘My apologies to Eugene Meyer of the Federalist Society.’

Author Marci McDonald ends her article on Harper by quoting Ted Byfield, ‘’the unabashed voice of the West since the Calgary School’s professors were pups, (who) sees it another way-in terms Leo Strauss might have approved. ‘ All these positions which Harper cherishes are there because of a group of people in Calgary-Flanagan most prominent among them,’ Byfield says. ‘I don’t think he knows how to compromise. It’s not in his genes. The issue now is: how do we fool the world into thinking we’re moving to the left when we’re not?’

‘’To those who are unnerved by that prospect, Byfield offers no cheer: ‘Those people who said they’re dangerous-they’re right!’ he says. ‘People with ideas are dangerous. If Harper gets elected, he’ll make helluva change in this country.’ ‘’