Do the terms left and right make sense in politics anymore?
On this episode of the Ezra Levant Show, Ezra discusses if the terms left and right makes sense in politics anymore. And later, he is joined by Palminder Singh on the Trucker Convoy's anniversary.
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This episode originally aired on January 26, 2023.
I’m conservative, of course I am, I used to be a member of the Conservative Party and in the next election I will most likely vote for the CPC candidate. But I really don’t use the word conservative as much these days, because I don’t think it fits perfectly to the pressing issues that face the world and when I look around at the people who are often fighting the same fights I am, on the same side that I am, I notice many of them are not traditionally conservative.
Obviously, one of the examples I'm thinking about is the pandemic and the lockdowns and the vaccine mandates and other punishments. I’ve told you before my observation that people from all walks of life opposed those — traditional liberals who would say, “my body my choice” when it came to abortion and drugs use; They couldn’t stomach now being ordered to take a government injection on pain of losing their job or access to public spaces.
Labour union members who were appalled that their own leadership sold them out to the bosses, accepting fundamental changes to collective agreements without so much as a negotiation, let alone a strike. Green Party types, natural health types, just shocked that their own party leader was now a backer of Big Pharma.
I mean, this little scene, from the 2021 leaders debates, was just a perfect summary of the uni-party, am I right?
We all agree, vaccines save lives and will be key to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.— Annamie Paul (@AnnamiePaul) September 10, 2021
If you haven’t already, get the shot!#VaccinesSaveLives pic.twitter.com/v42MghNHn9
I acknowledge they didn’t specifically call for the vaccine mandate or vaccine passports — but that was where vaccine policy was then, it was about to get worse, including bans on flying for the unvaccinated.
That video was from mid-September and a month earlier the federal government had indicated that any employees under its power — as in, federally regulated industries and government workers themselves — would be mandated. And in the campaign, Trudeau said as much and more.
So how gross was that to have all five party leaders short-circuit any debate and just agree. No wonder they conspired to keep out Maxine Bernier, despite his party being at 5% in the polls, the threshold for joining the debate.
I think Pierre Poilievre is better on those issues than Erin O’Toole and we’re out of the crisis. But we can never forget how complicit the so-called conservative parties in Canada were on the abridgement of our freedoms and privacy — the federal conservatives, and even worse, provincial conservatives who were actually in power, especially Jason Kenney in Alberta and Doug Ford in Ontario.
But what makes me think of this more was my recent trip to Davos, Switzerland, to cover the World Economic Forum. It really is a caricature of an evil cabal of ultra-rich manipulators. Klaus Schwab the supervillain — with a German accent, and a Nazi father, talking about world domination.
I’ve seen some conservatives laugh at that, saying he’s deluded, he’s a braggart, that’s nuts. And Klaus Schwab obviously is a braggart and promoter. But it’s also obviously true. From prime ministers and actual royalty to leaders in finance, high tech, Big Pharma, Big Media, all sorts of green schemers — they really are there at the WEF, and they pay millions of dollars for the privilege of it. And his “young leaders” really do go on to run the world. And my point here is: isn’t this what the left used to be against?
When I was young and in university and exposed to the organized propaganda of the left — so I’m talking 30 years ago, in the 1990s — the left demonized what they called multi-national corporations or trans-national corporations. And there’s two parts to that — the corporation, which they hated so much, they even made a hit movie about it, implying that by nature, corporations were psychopathic; and of course the multi-national part was a shot at globalism. That was the left — denouncing big business, billionaires, and billionaires who operate in different jurisdictions.
The reason the left said they hated that was that such companies, they argued were in a race to the bottom — they would move jobs to the lowest-paid workers in the world, thus taking away good jobs from us; and not just cheap labour, but also weak labour laws on everything from union rights to health and safety rules; and of course multi-national corporations sought out places with the weakest environmental rules, and finally, they moved their profits around to pay the least tax possible. And don’t even start on human rights.
Those were the accusations of the left, and to be fair, many of them were proven true.
But what the leftists didn’t talk about was that was only made possible by consumers who would buy something made in China for a fraction of the price it would cost if it were made in America or Canada. Over time, China in particular, but other poor countries too, became the outsourced factory of the world. And also the outsourced pollution places in the world, too. But it wouldn’t work if consumers didn’t want it. And obviously people vote with their dollars.
All I’m saying is that those were the things the left claimed to care about, when it came to capitalism. Now they love big businesses and billionaires and multinational companies. How do they love George Soros, Bill Gates, Larry Fink of BlackRock, how do they love a bit private jet secretive meeting in Davos, Switzerland? How did that happen?
I remember the foreign policy narrative of the left when I was a student. The CIA was evil, it had toppled legitimate governments around the world and installed American client regimes. That’s where the term banana republic came from — a reference to the CIA toppling third world leaders in Latin America, in cahoots with the United Fruit Company, which is now called Chiquita. I was told about the evils of American foreign policy, with all sorts of intrigues from countries far away about which I knew little and to be honest I never really cared enough to investigate the veracity of the claims — I was skeptical, and if I had to choose between rival world powers — which at the time were the Soviet bloc or the American bloc — I’d choose America every time. But my point is, there was a time when the left hated the CIA, hated foreign policy intrigues, hated what they called neo-colonialism or imperialism.
And now? All the big TV channels have former CIA officials, including even former directors of the CIA. They’re literally embedded in the media. I remember in the first Gulf War when CNN was embedded with the U.S. military. Now that’s flipped around — the CIA is embedded in the media. Just to make sure they really follow the talking points. And the left loves it.
And it goes without saying the left hated wars, especially wars in which the west — that is, America — was a belligerent. This wasn’t just in the Vietnam era; it came pretty soon after 9/11, to be candid — the number of anti-war movies in the early 2000’s was staggering.
I remember I went to the Toronto film festival, back then, and it was pretty much all anti-war movies. None of them did well at the box office — they were all so bitter and obscure and radical. But being anti-war was big. There was a perpetual protest group called Code Pink that was against American war and they were active when America really was in wars — in Iraq, in Afghanistan.
I’m sure you remember, Donald Trump really put going to war on pause during his presidency — he didn’t start any new wars, he quickly ended the war against ISIS with victory and he brought U.S. troops home. Still, the left kept up their anti-war protests — here’s some gals protesting Trump, even though, like I say, he was the most anti-war president since, what, Jimmy Carter? Woodrow Wilson?
So the left was against war when there was not war. But I’m pretty sure there’s a big war going on right now in Ukraine, and I haven’t heard a peep from Code Pink, have you?
I see Germany is going to send their most modern tanks to Ukraine, and the U.S. is considering sending its ultimate tank, the M1. And I think Canada is considering the same — I’m just not sure how many of our tanks actually work, so I’m not sure if our military can keep the promises that Chrystia Freeland makes at Davos or whatever secret meeting came up with the deal — because she certainly doesn’t put it to Parliament.
Like I say — the left loves wars now. Isn’t that weird? I’m not a peacenik, but I don’t think we should be cavalier about sending our soldiers to die, or being happy about other countries doing so, and of course the most heartbreaking victims are the civilians. And then there’s the minor matter of engaging in brinksmanship with Russia, which may be weaker than NATO in conventional weapons, but I see that as a threat, not an opportunity — if Russia were to lose a war fought with tanks and men and if it were driven out of not only the land it has seized in the past year, but also the Crimea, which it annexed years ago, surely Vladimir Putin would consider using nukes — his government has said as much.
Do you think he isn’t brutal enough? Desperate enough? I don’t know — those are questions that the huge left-wing disarmament protests in the 1980s asked. But the left is positively excited by wars now, it’s odd.
The left used to like free speech, much more in the 60s and 70s, but still in the 90s. And they loved Noam Chomsky, who was a kind of free speech absolutist, who had a scathing analysis of the corporate media.
He made a documentary called Manufacturing Consent, which was a cult classic for every lefty in the nineties. He talked about many things, but one of them was how the concentration of big media in the hands of big corporate conglomerates, homogenized the discussion in America (and to an extent the world) and basically ruled out or ruled in different ideas. He was worried about news monopolies. Here, watch for a minute:
And again there was something to it, of course. I mean, in Canada for years you basically had the Southam chain of daily newspapers and the small Sun chain, and you had, what, three TV stations dominated by the CBC, and about the same on radio? And that was it.
But where are those people now, when there are just as few companies dominating Big Tech — Facebook which owns Instagram, Google, which owns YouTube, and Twitter? And until Elon Musk bought Twitter, they all manufactured consent together — about the pandemic for sure, but other things, too. And that wasn’t enough, so there are now corporate and government-funded “fact checkers”, which never check the facts of the establishment, only of the establishment’s critics.
Isn’t that odd? And I think of all of this because I’m fascinated by the reaction to our WEF videos in Davos — how thoughtful, independent leftists, true progressives, have found themselves agreeing with our videos, not just the BlackRock one of course, but also the Pfizer video and even the Greta Thunberg video.
There are still some rare principled leftists, but 99% of so-called progressives are cheering for Pfizer; cheering for the war in Ukraine, cheering for the CIA, cheering for media concentration and censorship and cheering for all the things that they said they hated when I was young.
It’s strange, isn’t it?
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