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C.B. MacPherson

Canadian political philosopher. MacPherson was a Marxist and anti-capitalist with low regard for private property and high regard for government intervention. Author of The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism, The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy, and other works which remain on university course lists around the world.


We are supposed to have a rwo-or three -party system in Canada, yet one party has been in office, with only two intervals, ever since 1896, and continuously since 1935. This has led one observer to speak of Canada as a one-party state, and to attribute the phenomenon to the skill of the Liberal party in representing the lowest common denominator of political opinion in a country with an unusual dispersion of racial, religious, and sectional interests. The one party, it is said, has been so successful at this that it is now widely considered to be the only party able to form a government; consequently, the greater the threat that it may lose an election, the more voters rally to it from protest parties.

1952 - from Democracy In Alberta: Social Credit and the Party System
... in the very near future our problem will be not to get people to work but to find something for them to do, not to make the most efficient use of scarce means but to start repairing the scarcity of human values that have been submerged in the struggle against material scarcity.

1972 - from The Real World of Democracy