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Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his think tank colleagues have transformed Canada Paperback – Sep 3 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Lorimer (Sept. 3 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145940663X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1459406636
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"What causes dramatic changes in political culture? Historic events, powerful leaders or breakthroughs in science and technology form the basis on many. But in the age of globalization, the internet and information overload, there are also more subtle and incremental ways to effect change. Harperism connects the dots by drawing a line between the free market philosophy espoused by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and the global phenomenon of conservative think tanks. Gutstein argues that the dotted line leads all the way to the change in political culture that encouraged nearly 40 percent of Canadians to vote for the most conservative prime minister in Canadian history." (Beth Haddon, Literary Review of Canada)

"Harperism has been published months ahead of what is quite possibly the most important federal election ever... [It is essential reading. Understanding its central thesis is important to every voter, including the mistaken 30+% who think they are supporting conservatism, not liberalism. And it should be mandatory reading for anyone planning to not cast their precious ballot. It offers scary motivation, indeed, for all Canadians to get to the polls this fall." (Bruce Mason, Common Ground)

"Gutstein argues that right wing think-tanks and their allies are made more influential by a mainstream media echo chamber. He says an examination of the 2013 Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies database shows that research from right wing sources like the Fraser Institute appears more often than papers released by left and progressive think-tanks like the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The tax-and-service-cutting gospel promoted by bodies like the Fraser Institute seems to have the compelling power of constant repetition and this may be one of the reasons, as this book suggests, that Harper and his colleagues have been as successful as they have been at changing the face of Canada.”
(Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun)

"A Best Book of 2014" (The Hill Times)

"Harperism is the best explanation yet for what’s happening in Ottawa and demonstrates why the Harper revolution will be difficult to unravel even if the Conservatives lose the next election." (The Georgia Straight, Best Books of 2014)

"While it may sometimes seem the Harper government's policies are an ad hoc mixture of right-wing populism, poll-driven opportunism and economic austerity (with a dash of nationalism and military swagger thrown in), a new book by Donald Gustein argues that Conservative policy development is more calculated than that, and heavily influenced by the work of think tanks." (Frank Bayerl, The Monitor (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives))

"Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, in 1947 seems far removed from Ottawa, Canada, 2014, and yet Gutstein methodically makes the links between the neoliberal, neo-conservative agenda and the current government's handling of a number of high profile issues." (Amira Elghawaby, rabble.ca)

"Engaging...Gutstein’s most important observation for the future is that other countries that have endured comparable regimes – the U.K. under Thatcher; the U.S. under Regan and Bush, Sr. – did not see neoliberal policies reversed by the centrist administration that followed."
(Dan Rowe, Quill & Quire)

"Do all of the examples contained in Gutstein’s book make the case for something we can name Harperism? There’s a revolving door of individuals who all pass through think tanks, media, and government that have supported Harper’s policies and the Conservative Party itself. The case for Harperism is strong.”
(Gerard Di Triolo, Briarpatch Magazine)

"This book sheds new light on Harper's symbiotic relationships with the network of conservative think tanks that created the environment that moved his ideas from the fringes to the mainstream and continue to validate his agenda."
(Bruce Campbell, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) 2014-09-01)

"Donald Gutstein does a powerful job of analyzing the ideology and practice of Harperism as it rolls steadily across the institutions of our country, undermining regulations, firing researchers, intimidating NGOs, and demonizing labour unions, environmentalists, and Native leaders."
(Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament 2014-09-01)

"An immensely powerful and insightful probe of Stephen Harper's impact on Canada. While the mainstream media allows Harper to portray himself as a moderate, Donald Gutstein skillfully traces the deep links between Harper and the right-wing world of corporate-funded think tanks. A great book for anyone looking to cast an informed vote in the 2015 election."
(author Linda McQuaig 2014-09-01)

About the Author

DONALD GUTSTEIN has written four books on the links between large corporations, politics, and the media. His previous book, Not A Conspiracy Theory, is a history of the Fraser Institute and other think tanks. Gutstein writes for The Tyee, Georgia Straight, and rabble.ca. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University and co-director of NewsWatch Canada, a media-monitoring project in the school. He lives in Vancouver.


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This book is a worthwhile addition to the ever-growing literature on Stephen Harper. It does an excellent job illustrating the links between think tanks, the media, and the Harper government's policy decisions. It also illustrates the very large influence that thinkers like Friedrich von Hayek have had on Harper and many other conservatives.
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Sheds light on what looks to be insane decisions being made, by our present day political class. By observing how little the average person cares about what is being done to them though it bolsters the quote attributed to Strauss that the masses are too ignorant to make large complex decisions in regards to their own society. The sheeple have re-elected the man and the group that will shape their and their children's lives for the worse for generations to come based on sound bites and lies.

Makes George Orwell appear even more god like than was ever imagined. I am now more depressed than ever.
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Format: Paperback
This is must reading for any Canadian who wants to understand what the sweet heck happened to Canada in the last forty years.

Must reading for #cdnpoli

Great excerpt here, scary but important reading:

Harper is one side of an ideological coin; missing from the discussion is the other side of the coin -- the network of conservative think-tanks such as the Fraser Institute working over many decades to change the climate of ideas that make sense to many of us. By climate of ideas, I mean our commonly accepted notions about how government and the private sector should operate, and our understandings of ourselves as self-centred individualists or as compassionate members of society.

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/10/06/Reign-of-Stephen-Harper/

-00-
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It should be required reading by every Canadian. Demonstrates that the move to undermine democracy and replace it with a country run according to the 'market' was underway before Harper, and reaches far beyond him.
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This book is, except for perhaps the fanatical anti-Harper, useless. First I should say that I am myself anti-Harper and have never voted for him and am, in this upcoming election, planning on voting for the candidate in my riding most likely to beat the Harper candidate. In other words, I bought the book with the intellectually lazy idea of confirming my own views. What a disappointment. The book focuses on the way Harper and a related network of think tanks, friendly journalists, etc. have been able to propagate his ideas. All well and good, but the book has little intelligent to offer in the way of criticism of the ideas themselves. And these ideas can be criticized. Whenever criticism of the actual ideas is offered it tends to be superficial and often supported by quotes from Marxists. Now I personally think that although Marxism in practice was a violent and murderous disaster, Marxist analysis often has useful points for a political debate. Alas, that is not what is on offer here. The author wants the reader to believe that Harper's ideas are wrong because of who supports them and the way they are propagated, rather than because the ideas are defective in themselves. And Harper's ideas are very often defective in themselves. I will note a single factual error on page 112. The book states that a program of giving title to Peruvian poor living in their own undocumented homes was expanded by president Alberto Fujimori (a corrupt authoritarian dictator) in 1996 "to counter the succes of Peru's revolutionary organizations.Read more ›
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excellent. exposes how corporations fund think tanks to make changes to the general perception of how our society how values profit before people.
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Very interesting look into the influences behind the man. This was a great compliment to Party of One (Michael Harris), as while Party of One looked specifically at Harper the person, this book goes much deeper into the actual ideology. Should be read by anyone who cares about the future of our country.
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By ronbc TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 2 2015
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Unlike other books on Canada’s most conservative government, HARPERISM focuses on the political philosophy at the foundation of what to many is an alarming reversal of our country’s traditional role as an advocate of social justice and environmental responsibility.

It’s not that Harperism ignores these changes. On the contrary, Gutstein explains them in terms of the “neoliberalism” at their heart. This focus makes HARPERISM important far beyond Canada’s borders, for neoliberalism underpins the successful imposition of “free market” ideology into the policies of most of the world’s titular democracies.

Like “Reaganism” and “Thatcherism” before it, Gutstein argues, “Harperism” embodies the market-driven economic philosophy developed most influentially by Friedrich von Hayek in The Road to Serfdom and other works.

There are important insights in HARPERISM, but in this review I want to highlight just one: The neoliberal agenda is not so much to change governments as to change the context in which governments act.

That is, while it would be ideal to help elect another Reagan or Thatcher, the primary purpose of neoliberal activism is “to change the climate of ideas to such an extent that it doesn’t matter who forms the government.”

How to change the “climate of ideas”?

Gutstein shows that this transformation has been given to Canada’s cadre of what Hayek called “professional secondhand dealers in ideas” — “journalists, teachers, ministers, lecturers, publicists, radio commentators, writers of fiction, cartoonists, and artists.
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