“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” – Matthew 7:15
On an episode of Firing Line in 1968, co-founder of the ‘beat generation’, as well as poet, novelist, and painter, Jack Kerouac, drunkenly stumbled through the program, expounding mild anti-Semitism, burps, and most of all, nonsense. The conversation was on the topic of ‘the hippies’, a group that, as William F. Buckley put it, “we must, I guess, acquire or die painfully”.
From Kerouac, there is little to be learned, as the man was profoundly intoxicated. However, near the twentieth minute of the program, a brief dose of brilliance popped out of the small, stinky hole in Kerouac’s head. Quoting Matthew 7:15 from the New Testament, Kerouac dramatically muttered, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”. Although, as a fellow guest on the program pointed out, Kerouac’s point is unrelated to the discussion, it speaks to a much larger issue; the issue of politicians.
Although the example of Kerouac is a tangent, I include this brief tale of the Book of Matthew because it seems appropriate in the case of Kevin O’Leary, who recently entered the leadership race for the Conservative Party.
The only thing that can be said about Kevin O’Leary is that he is an opportunist; a demagogue guided by the same longing for power held by the ‘establishment politicians’ that his supporters detest. He is no better than the status quo, if not far worse. And he should be branded as such.
Moreover, Kevin O’Leary resembles a spoiled child, ready to throw a fit should he not get his way. I am referring to, of course, the debate that he skipped immediately following the Manning Conference of this year. When the Conservative Party declined to design the candidates’ debate in Edmonton in the same vein as the Manning Conference debate, Kevin O’Leary refused to take part in it. “You can’t be the goalie. I want to be the goalie. I’m taking my ball and going home,” likely said the angry, young Kevin O’Leary.
But this should not be surprising. Kevin O’Leary holds no loyalty to the Conservative Party of Canada. In fact, in February of last year, O’Leary was flirting with the idea of running for the leadership of the Liberal Party. This attitude: one that says ‘no matter what party is in power, I can do the best job so long as I its leader’ should be avoided at all costs. Conservative voters in Canada routinely criticize big government, which paternalistically tells Canadians how to live their lives. But O’Leary’s willingness to hoist the Liberal banner so long as he can become Prime Minister suggests that he believes he’s ‘got it’, and by ‘it’, I mean the ability to run the country singlehandedly. Do you have a problem? Just elect O’Leary, he will take care of it. Big Brother knows best.
This alone should make clear that O’Leary is no Conservative. Conservatives know that government in and of itself is the problem, not who is at the head of it. When Kevin O’Leary criticizes Justin Trudeau’s policies, he criticizes Trudeau’s signature at the bottom of the page rather than the page itself. My fear is that there would be little, if any, difference between Trudeau’s Liberal government and O’Leary’s Conservative government.
In sum, O’Leary is no conservative, but rather an opportunist. And his ‘I can do it better’ attitude is fundamentally at odds with small government, libertarian-leaning Conservatism – which is what Canada needs most now, and in 2019.