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Monday, November 13, 2017

The Closed Nature of the UCP Kenney Party


I've been doing some reading about values and mindsets and applying some of these learnings to political organizations and trends.  In the previous post I spoke about Arrested, Closed and Open mindsets and related them to the Alberta NDP, UCP and Alberta Party respectively.

I want to delve a bit deeper into the characteristics of a Closed organization like the Kenney lead United Conservative Party.  It is essentially a binary mindset.  You are for them or against them.  We saw that with the HarperCons when they framed the debate on a piece of get-tough-on-crime draft legislation of you are either "with the pornographers or against them."

As a Minister in Prime Minister Harper's Cabinet  Mr. Kenney spawned his politically autocratic tendencies and honed his single-minded political focus.  Winning isn't just the best thing, it's the only thing when in pursuit of political power.

There is no flexibility in the Closed organization mindset.  They have difficulty accepting alternative ways of perceiving or different values.  Closed organization, like the HarperCons and now the United Conservative Party, seem to be happiest with then can hunker down and try to make the world fit into what they believe to be the only truth...their truth.

Politically closed operations have tendencies to harbour zealots and extremists who not only reject alternative perspective, they can tend to demonize the "other."  Those who disagree or oppose them are often labelled heretics, fools or idiots.  You see this frequently in Twitter posts of, mostly anonymous, conservative trolls.

Complexity and nuance is rejected in favour of simplistic solutions and group-think leader-driven policy approaches. The default state of mind is  "This is all there is." Fresh ideas and new methodologies are rare . They tend hold fast to what they see as "tried and true" so there is no need to change.

The lack of adaptability or capacity to accept new ideas or changing circumstances is seen as inappropriate because there is only the one way to be.  Countervailing facts, events or circumstances are rejected by the inner circle and the rest follow along willingly accepting the "wisdom" of their leadership.

As a result we can see many UCP partisans as very tribal and absolutist in their thinking while also being differential with strong allegiance to internal authorities and leadership.  Their world is full of threats so they find security in rituals, religion as they pursue power-seeking political goals.  They value loyalty, traditions and like to celebrate their wins especially if they are at the expense of others.

This is not the kind of political culture that will enable Alberta to transition, to an adaptive, inclusive, integrated and progress as a province.  But the UCP could become government easily if progressives choose to stay into their mindset of self-satisfied, comfortable, contented and disengaged from politics.