“My Body, My Choice”? http://cafe.nfshost.com/?p=6683

THRONE, ALTAR, LIBERTY

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2021

“My Body, My Choice”?

The slogan “my body, my choice” is not a new one.   It has been around for years and, until practically yesterday, everyone who heard it – or read it on a placard – knew who the person saying it –or holding the placard – was and what this person was talking about.    That person was someone who identified as “pro-choice”, the choice in question being the choice of a woman to have an abortion.

Those of us who were on the right side of the abortion debate, the side that generally went by the label “pro-life”, would answer this slogan by pointing out that it was not just the woman’s body that would be affected by the abortion.    The unborn baby inside her would also be affected.    Indeed, its life would be terminated as that is the essential nature of an abortion.    The pro-choice movement has gone to great lengths to disguise the true nature of abortion from itself, and from those women contemplating one.    They use euphemistic language like “reproductive rights”, “reproductive health”, and the like in order to depict abortion as being merely a routine medical procedure.    They object strenuously to efforts by the pro-life movement to shatter this façade and bring the true nature of abortion out into the open by, for example, showing graphic depictions of aborted babies.

It can no longer be assumed, when one hears the slogan “my body, my choice”, that the person speaking is talking about abortion.   Indeed, it is probably safe to say that if you hear that slogan today, the chances are that the person saying it is not talking about abortion at all.    This is because in the last couple of months or so the slogan has been adopted by a different group of people altogether, those who are on the right side of the forced vaccine debate and are bravely standing up to the mob which, scared senseless by two years of media fear porn about the bat flu virus, is supporting governments in their efforts to shove needles into everyone’s arms whether they want them or not.

The mob’s answer to this new use of the slogan, when they bother to respond with anything other than “shut up and do what you are told” is similar to the pro-life movement’s answer to the pro-abortion use of the slogan.   It is not just our bodies, they tell us.   It is our duty to do our part to take the jab in order to protect others from the bat flu and if we don’t do our part the government should force us to do so by making our lives as miserable as possible until we do.

Before showing how and why the pro-life movement was right in its answer to the slogan as used by the pro-abortion movement while the supporters of forced vaccination are wrong in their answer to the slogan, it might be interesting to observe another way in which these two seemingly disparate issues intersect.    Among those of us who are on the side of the angels against forced vaccination there are those who are merely against vaccines being coerced and there are those who have objections to the vaccines qua vaccines.   Those who object to the vaccines qua vaccines could be further divided into those who are against all vaccines on principle and those who have problems with the bat flu vaccines specifically.    The latter include a large number of traditionalist Roman Catholics and Orthodox, evangelical Protestants, and other religious conservatives.    One of the reasons more religious conservatives have objected to the bat flu vaccines is that the mRNA type vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) are developed from research that used a cell line originally derived from an aborted foetus and the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine used a cell line from a different aborted foetus in its production and manufacturing stage.

Now, let us consider some differences between these scenarios that render the pro-life movement’s response to “my body, my choice” valid, and the pro-forced vaccination mob’s response to the same invalid.

The pro-life movement objects that “my body, my choice” is not a valid defense of abortion because abortion causes the death of someone other than the woman choosing to have an abortion.    This is a strong argument because a) abortion always, in every instance, and indeed, by definition, causes such a death, b) the death is always of a specific someone who is known, to the extent an unnamed person can be known, and c) the death is always intentional on the part of the persons performing and having the abortion.   The opposite of all of this is true in the case of someone who rejects the bat flu vaccines.    Someone not getting a vaccine is never the direct cause of another person’s death.    An unvaccinated person can only transmit the virus to someone else if he himself has the virus.   Even if he does have the virus and does transmit it to someone else that other person is far more likely to survive the virus than to die from it.   This is true even if the other person is in the most-at-risk category.   It would be extremely rare, if it happens at all, that causing another person, let alone a specific other person, to die would be part of the intent in deciding not to be vaccinated.    Therefore, the argument that the pro-life movement uses against “my body, my choice” in the case of abortion, does not hold up as an argument against the same in the case of forced vaccination.

A second important difference is in how the expression “my body, my choice” is used by the two groups.   The pro-choice movement uses it against those who would prohibit women from having an abortion.   The opponents of forced vaccination use it against those who would compel everybody to take an injection.   To compel somebody to do something requires a much stronger justification than to prohibit them from doing something.    This is especially the case when it comes to medical procedures.   A reasonable justification for denying someone a medical procedure that is not urgently needed to save the person’s life from immediate danger is far more conceivable than such a justification for compelling someone to undergo a medical procedure.    In the case of the bat flu vaccines, the clinical trials of which will not be completed for another two years, many of which include mRNA which has never been used in vaccines before, which increase the risk of the heart conditions pericarditis and myocarditis, as well as thrombosis (blood clots) and Bell’s palsy, and which is for a respiratory disease that people who are young and healthy have well over a 99% chance of surviving and even those who are not young and healthy are far more likely to survive than not, the idea that compelling anyone to take these could ever be rationally justified is morally repugnant.

So we see that “my body, my choice” is weak and invalid with regards to abortion but is strong and valid with regards to forced vaccination (vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, etc.)    The only reason there is a mob supporting and calling for the latter today, is because people and businesses have been terrorized by the media and their governments and subjected to hellish lockdowns and restrictions for almost two years, are sick of it, would agree to almost anything to be rid of it, and so they jumped aboard the forced vaccination bandwagon when the public health mandarins said that we need vaccine mandates and vaccine passports to avoid another lockdown.   The public health mandarins are lying, however, as they have been lying since day one of the bat flu pandemic.  All that is needed for us to avoid another lockdown is for governments to start respecting our constitutional rights and freedoms and the constitutional limits on their own power.     They will only do this if we insist upon it.   Letting them get away with forced vaccination is not a step towards the return of freedom, but towards greater tyranny. — GERRY T. 19FREEDOMMRNATYRANNYVACCINES

Freedom? — Canada and Canadians

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2021

THRONE, ALTAR, LIBERTY

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2021

Freedom? — Canada and Canadians

Freedom? — Canada and Canadians

The Pirates of Penzance was the fifth comic opera to come out of the collaboration of librettist Sir W. S. Gilbert and composer Sir Arthur Sullivan.   It premiered in New York City – the only one of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas to open first in the United States rather than London – on New Year’s Eve in 1879, a year and a half after their fourth work, the H.M.S. Pinafore, had become a huge hit, both in London and internationally.

The hero of The Pirates of Penzance is the character Frederic, a role performed by a tenor.   The opera begins with his having completed his twenty-first year – not his twenty-second birthday, for he was born on February 29th, a distinction, or rather, a “paradox, a paradox, a most ingenious paradox”, that becomes essential to the plot in an amusingly absurd way – and the titular pirates throwing him a party.   He has, up to this point, served as their apprentice due to a mistake that his nurse, Ruth, made, when he was a boy (she had heard the word “pilot” as “pirate” in his father’s instructions regarding his apprenticeship).  The bass-baritone Pirate King (“it is, it is, a glorious thing to be a pirate king”), congratulates him and tells him that he now ranks as a “full blown member of our band”, producing a cheer from the crew, who are then told “My friends, I thank you all from my heart for your kindly wishes.   Would that I can repay them as they deserve.”   Asked what he means by that, Frederic explains “Today I am out of my indentures, and today I leave you forever.”   Astonished, since Frederic is the best man he has, the Pirate King asks for an explanation.   Frederic, with Ruth’s help – for she had also joined the pirate crew – explains about the error, and that while as long as the terms of his indentures lasted it was his duty to serve as part of the pirate crew, once they were over “I shall feel myself bound to devote myself heart and soul to your extermination!”

In the course of explaining all of this, Frederic expresses his opinion of his pirate colleagues in these words “Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable, but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation!”

As tempting as it is to continue this summary until we get to the “doctor of divinity who resides in this vicinity” and Major-General Stanley who, as he likes to introduce himself, is the “very model of a modern Major-General”, I have already arrived at the lines that are the entire point of my having brought all of this up.

I have stated many times in the past that I prefer to call myself a Canadian patriot rather than a Canadian nationalist.  There are two ways in which patriotism and nationalism are usually distinguished.  The first is a distinction of kind.   Patriotism is an affection that people come by naturally as they extend the sentiment that under ordinary circumstances they acquire for the home and neighbourhood they grew up in to include their entire country.   Nationalism is an ideology which people obtain through indoctrination.   The second is a distinction of object.   The object of nationalism is a people, the object of patriotism is a country.   I have talked about the first distinction in the past, it is the second which is relevant in this essay.   I love my country, the Dominion of Canada, and its history, institutions and traditions.   When it comes to my countrymen, however, Canadians, and to be clear, I mean only those who are living at the present moment and not past generations, I often find myself sharing Frederic’s sentiments which were again:

Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable, but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation!

The more my fellow Canadians show a lack of appreciation for and indifference towards Canada’s traditions and institutions the more inclined I am to think of them, taken collectively, in such uncharitable terms.   If opinion polls are any real indication – and to be fair, I do not think that protasis to be certain, far from it – this lack of appreciation and indifference has been very much on the rise among Canadians as of late.  

Take personal freedom or liberty, for example.   This is a vital Canadian tradition.   It goes back, not just the founding of the country in Confederation in 1867, but much further for the Fathers of Confederation, English and French, in adopting the Westminster constitution for our own deliberately chose to retain continuity with a tradition that safeguarded liberty.   Sir John A. Macdonald, addressing the legislature of the United Province of Canada in 1865 said:

We will enjoy here that which is the great test of constitutional freedom – we will have the rights of the minority respected. In all countries the rights of the majority take care of themselves, but it is only in countries like England, enjoying constitutional liberty, and safe from the tyranny of a single despot, or of an unbridled democracy, that the rights of minorities are regarded.

Sir Richard Cartwright made similar remarks and said “For myself, sir, I own frankly I prefer British liberty to American equality”.   This sentence encapsulated the thinking of the Fathers of Confederation – Canada was to be a British country with British freedom rather than an American country with American equality.   In the century and a half (with change) since then, this has been reversed in the thinking of a great many Canadians.  In the minds of these Canadians “equality” has become a Canadian value, although not the equality that Sir Richard Cartwright identified with the United States but a much uglier doctrine with the same name, and freedom has become an “American” value.   The Liberal Party and their allies in the media and academe are largely if not entirely to blame for this.   Indeed, this way of thinking was evident among bureaucrats and other career government officials who tend to be Liberal Party apparatchiks regardless of which party is in government long before it became evident among the general public.  

About fourteen years ago, in the Warman v. Lemire case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Dean Steacy, an investigator with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, was asked “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?”   His response was to say “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”   This despite the fact that in the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which people like this usually although contrafactually regard as the source of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms in Canada, “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” is the second of the “fundamental freedoms” enumerated in Section 2.   Perhaps Steacy did not think “speech” to be included in “expression”.

When Steacy’s foolish remark was publicized it did not win him much popularity among Canadians.   Quite the contrary, it strengthened the grassroots movement that was demanding the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, a movement that was ultimately successful during the premiership of Stephen Harper by means of a private member’s bill despite it lacking the support of the Prime Minister and even, as many of us thought at the time, with his tacit disapproval.   This demonstrates that as recently as a decade and a half ago, Dean Steacy’s knee-jerk rejection of Canada’s traditional British liberty as “American” did not resonate with Canadians.   Can the same be said today?

The last year has provided us with many reasons to doubt this.   In March of 2020, after the media irresponsibly induced a panic over the spread of the Wuhan bat flu, most provincial governments, strongly encouraged to do so by the Dominion government, followed the example of governments around the world and imposed an unprecedented universal quarantine, at the time recommended by the World Health Organization, as an experiment in slowing the spread of the virus.  This involved a radical and severe curtailing of our basic rights and freedoms.   Indeed, the freedoms described as “fundamental” in the second section of the Charter – these include, in addition to the one quoted two paragraphs ago, the freedoms of “conscience and religion”, “peaceful assembly” and “association” – were essentially suspended in their entirety as our governments forbade all in-person social interaction.   Initially, as our governments handed over dictatorial powers to the public health officers we were told that this was a short-term measure to “flatten the curve”, to prevent the hospitals from being swamped while we learned more about this new virus and prepared for it.  As several of us predicted at the time would happen, “mission creep” quickly set in and the newly empowered health officials became determined to keep these excessive rules and restrictions in place until some increasingly distant goal – the development of a vaccine, the vaccination of the population, the elimination of the virus – was achieved.   Apart from a partial relaxation of the rules over the summer months, the lockdown experiment has remained in place to this day, and indeed, when full lockdown measures were re-imposed in the fall, they were even more severe than they had been last March and April.   This despite the fact that the evidence is clearly against the lockdown experiment – the virus is less dangerous than was originally thought (and even last March we knew that it posed a serious threat mostly to those who were very old and already had other health complications), its spread rises and falls seasonally similar to the cold and flu, lockdowns and masks have minimal-to-zero effect on this because it has happened more-or-less the same in all jurisdictions regardless of whether they locked down or not or the severity of the lockdown, while lockdowns themselves inflict severe mental, physical, social, cultural and economic damage upon societies.

Polls last year regularly showed a majority – often a large majority – of Canadians in favour of these restrictions and lockdowns, or even wishing for them to be more severe than they actually were.   If these polls were at all accurate – again, this is a big if – then this means far fewer Canadians today respect and value their traditional freedoms than has ever been the case in the past, even as recently as a decade ago.   It means that far too many Canadians have bought the lie of the public health officers, politicians, and media commentators that valuing freedom is “selfish”, when, in reality, supporting restrictions, masks, and lockdowns means preferring that the government take away the rights and freedoms of all your neighbours over you taking responsibility for your own safety and those of your loved ones and exercising reasonable precautions.   It means that far too many Canadians now value “safety” – which from the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution to this day has ever been the excuse totalitarians of every stripe, Communist, woke, whatever, have used to tyrannize people and take away their freedoms – over freedom.

Over the past week or so, the mainstream media have been reporting opinion poll results that seem to indicate that a similar lack of appreciation for an essential Canadian institution is growing.   According to the media the poll shows that support for replacing our hereditary royal monarch with an elected head of state is higher than it has ever been before, although it is not near as high as the lockdown support discussed above and is still below having majority support.   There is good reason to doubt the accuracy of such poll results in that they indicate growing support for a change the media itself seems to be trying to promote given the way it has used the scandal surrounding the recent vice-regal resignation to attack the office of the Queen’s representative, the Governor General, when the problem is obviously with the person who filled the office, and the way in which she was chosen, i.e., hand-picked by Captain Airhead in total disregard of the qualities the office calls for, selection procedures that worked well in the past such as with Payette’s immediate predecessor, or even the most basic vetting.    There is also, of course, a question over whether these poll results indicate an actual growth in small-r republican preferences or merely disapproval of the next in line of succession, His Royal Highness Prince Charles.

To the extent that this poll is accurate, however, it indicates that many Canadians have traded the Canadian way of thinking for the American way of thinking.   Americans think of the Westminster system as being inferior to their own republican constitution because they consider it to be less than democratic with a hereditary monarch as the head of state.   The historic and traditional Canadian perspective is that the Westminster system is superior to a republican constitution because it is more than democratic, incorporating the monarchical principle along with the democratic.   To trade the Canadian for the American perspective on this is to impoverish our thinking.   That a constitution is better for including more than just democracy is a viewpoint with an ancient pedigree that can be traced back to ancient Greece.   That democracy is the highest principle of government and that a constitution is therefore weaker for having a non-elected head of state is an entirely Modern perspective.   It cannot even be traced back to ancient Rome, for while the Roman republic was like the American republic in being kingless, it was unlike the American republic in that it was openly and unabashedly aristocratic and made not the slightest pretense of being democratic.    Some might consider an entirely Modern perspective to be superior to one with an ancient pedigree, but such are ludicrously wrong.   Novelty is not a quality of truth – the truer an idea is, the more like it is that you will be able to find it throughout history, stretching back to the most ancient times, rather than merely in the present day.

Indeed, to think that an elected head of state is preferable to a hereditary monarch at this point in time, that is to say after the clownish mayhem of the fiascos that were the last two American presidential elections, is to embrace the Modern perspective at the worst possible moment, the moment in which it has been utterly discredited.    It is bad enough that Canadians have lately allowed the American presidential election style to influence the way we regard our parliamentary elections so as to make the question of which personality cult leader we want as Prime Minister into the primary or even sole factor to be considered in voting for whom we want for our local constituency representative.   We do not need to Americanize the office of head of state as well.

We are better off for having a hereditary royal monarch as our head of state and a constitution that is therefore more than, not less than, democratic.   Historically and traditionally, the institution of the monarchy has been the symbol and safeguard of our traditional rights and freedoms.   I have long said that in Canada the monarchy and freedom stand and fall together.   Therefore, if the polls are correct about waning Canadian support for both, this speaks very poorly about the present generation of Canadians.   Which is why if these trends continue,  Canadians who still love their country with its traditional monarchy and freedoms will be increasingly tempted to individually love their countrymen with affection unspeakable, but collectively look upon them with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation.

POSTED BY GERRY T. NEAL A

GIVE UP FREEDOM TO GAIN PERPETUAL WAR? NO THANK YOU!

Give Up Freedom To Gain Perpetual War? No Thank You!

In times of conflict, when our country is at war, we are willing to tolerate such inconveniences, burdens, and abridgements of our rights and freedoms as are deemed to be necessary for the war effort. We recognize, in such times, that the good of our whole country must come first and that we must come together in support of those who are fighting on our behalf. Implicit in all of this, however, is the understanding that war is an exceptional circumstance and that the conditions of peace in which our rights and freedoms are not so curtailed are the norm.

This long-standing traditional consensus served us well down through the ages but in the last century it was torn apart by attacks coming from two different directions. While there have always been those who have defected from their society’s collective efforts in wartime in post-World War II conflicts these have occurred on a much larger scale as part of organized movements that have been driven by ideologies such as pacifism. From this direction the tradition that tells us to come together in unity when our country is at war has come under attack. The attack from the other direction is upon the tradition that tells us to make the conditions of peace the norm and it is this attack, and especially one particular form of this attack, that I wish to discuss here. 

 
 
 
'Give Up Freedom To Gain Perpetual War? No Thank You!

In times of conflict, when our country is at war, we are willing to tolerate such inconveniences, burdens, and abridgements of our rights and freedoms as are deemed to be necessary for the war effort. We recognize, in such times, that the good of our whole country must come first and that we must come together in support of those who are fighting on our behalf. Implicit in all of this, however, is the understanding that war is an exceptional circumstance and that the conditions of peace in which our rights and freedoms are not so curtailed are the norm. 

This long-standing traditional consensus served us well down through the ages but in the last century it was torn apart by attacks coming from two different directions. While there have always been those who have defected from their society’s collective efforts in wartime in post-World War II conflicts these have occurred on a much larger scale as part of organized movements that have been driven by ideologies such as pacifism. From this direction the tradition that tells us to come together in unity when our country is at war has come under attack. The attack from the other direction is upon the tradition that tells us to make the conditions of peace the norm and it is this attack, and especially one particular form of this attack, that I wish to discuss here. 

If the tradition under attack says that the conditions of peace in which the public are not overly burdened with rules and taxes and their customary rights and freedoms are not abridged are to be the norm then to attack this tradition is to say that the conditions appropriate for wartime are to be the norm instead. One way in which this occurred in the last century was that liberalism, the ideology that started in the so-called “Enlightenment” and came to dominate the Western world in the period known as the Modern Age, changed, at least in North America, in the period between the two World Wars. Until the First World War the ideas of John Locke, in which the need to protect the rights and liberties of the individual from the state was stressed, formed the most prominent strain in liberal thought. After the war the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, in which the role of the modern democratic state as the agent and instrument of utilitarian progress was emphasized, eclipsed those of Locke. The basis of this shift in liberal thought was the reasoning on the part of many liberals who served in administrative positions in the First World War that if the government can mobilize and organize society for the sake of the war effort in times of war then surely it can mobilize and organize society to achieve a better, more just, society in times of peace. This has certainly taken the liberty out of liberalism.

Another way in which governments, addicted to wartime powers, have resisted the tradition of reverting to the conditions of peace as the norm, has been to make conflict the norm rather than peace. About the time that liberalism underwent the shift described in the preceding paragraph liberals of the older type, including American historians such as Charles Beard and Harry Elmer Barnes, began to see a tendency in the foreign policy of the liberal American Presidents of the ‘30s and ‘40s towards holding up “freedom”, “democracy”, and “peace” as ideals while constantly mobilizing the country for war on behalf of those ideals. “Perpetual war for perpetual peace” was how Beard described this policy to Barnes, who borrowed the title for a anthology of essays he edited in 1953 that took a hard, critical, look at the policies of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. (1) Another of these older type liberals, who now called themselves libertarians, Murray N. Rothbard, observed that a “welfare-warfare state” had developed that both practiced the policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace and employed high levels of taxation, spending, and regulation for non-belligerent, progressive purposes in the Benthamite manner we have discussed. That a policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace could be used as a cover for collusion between military leaders and arms manufacturers for the sake of war profiteering on a whole new level made possible by the advent of mass production was a danger against which American President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his Farewell Address.

In the last decade and a half events have transpired that our governments have exploited to take the policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace to a whole new level.

Since the end of the Second World War the acknowledged leading country of the Western world has, for better or worse, been the United States of America. After the Cold War came to an end America and the West have become increasingly entangled in the conflicts of the Middle East. When, on September 11, 2001, the United States found herself the victim of a terrorist attack the American President at the time declared a “War on Terror”. As part of this “War on Terror” the American government created a powerful new agency, the Department of Homeland Security, charged with the task of preventing terrorist attacks on American soil, and the USA PATRIOT Act, which enhanced the investigatory powers of law enforcement and security agencies by removing such impediments as the need for a court order to search records, was rushed through Congress. Here in Canada Jean Chretien’s Liberals rushed similar legislation through Parliament in the form of the Anti-Terrorism Act of the fall of 2001.

The supporters of bills like these argued that they were necessary to remove obstructions that got in the way of security agencies and hindered them from doing their job of protecting us from the violence of terrorism. Critics and opponents of the same bills argued that these so-called obstructions were actually safeguards that protected Canadians and Americans against the misuse of government power and that to get rid of these safeguards is to abandon centuries of tradition, stretching back to before the founding of either the United States or Canada, in which these safeguards evolved to protect our rights and liberties, lives and persons. These critics were, of course, right. If we were to interpret every crisis that occurs as indicating a need for either enhanced government powers or a loosening of constitutional, prescriptive, and legal restraints on the use of government powers, very soon we would have an omnipotent state and no rights and freedoms worth speaking of.

Nobody made this case better than the late paleoconservative columnist Sam Francis, who in column after column took the administration of George W. Bush to task for such things as trying terrorism suspects before military tribunals rather than real courts, eavesdropping on confidential communications and issuing national id cards, creating the Department of Homeland Security, and putting police surveillance cameras throughout federal buildings in Washington D. C., as creating a slippery slope, whereby Americans would become accustomed to less rights, liberties, and constitutional protections and to being spied on by their government. Noting that the powers granted to the American government by the Patriot Act “are far larger than the government of any free people should have and that whatever powers this administration doesn’t use could still be used by future ones”, he pointed out that this “is how free peoples typically lose their freedom—not by a dictator like Saddam Hussein suddenly grabbing power in the night and seizing all the library records but by the slow erosion of the habits and mentality that enables freedom to exist at all” and concluded that the Bush administration was writing the last chapters in the story of American liberty.

Chretien’s Anti-Terrorism Act was no better. This Act utterly abandoned our country’s traditions of liberty and justice and allowed for people to be arrested and detained without charges, denied basic legal protections, and tried in secret without being guaranteed the opportunity to hear and respond to all the evidence against them, if the government were to determine them to be a threat to national security. This Act expired several years ago – legislation of this nature can only be enacted for five year periods – but, contrary to Kelly McParland’s claim in the National Post on February 2nd of this year, it did not expire without having been used. Among its other provisions was an amendment to the national security certificate provision of the Immigration Act that made possible an incident that was a shameful disgrace to our country.

An elderly man, who immigrated to Canada from Germany in the 1950s, who had never committed any violent crime here or elsewhere although he was the victim of terrorist attacks on the part of the followers of Rabbi Kahane, but who was repeatedly dragged through our courts for the “crime” of trying to spread the idea that accounts of atrocities committed by the other side in the Second World War still need to be revised to less resemble wartime propaganda, moved to the United States in order to escape this persecution. He married a woman there, applied for citizenship, and was arrested by United States Immigration who handed him over to our authorities, who issued a national security certificate against him. He was placed in solitary confinement and tried behind closed doors by a judge who refused to recuse himself, despite his obvious bias, and found guilty on the basis of evidence he was not allowed to hear in full, and was then sent to Germany, with our government knowing full well that the German government would arrest him upon landing, and sentence him to five years in prison for mere words that he said. This man, Ernst Zündel, was a noted admirer of a rather odious historical regime, but that did not make him a terrorist any more than Pierre Trudeau’s admiration for the even more odious Maoist regime in China, which, as was not the case with Zündel, was still around when Trudeau was doing the admiring, made the former Prime Minister a terrorist. It is certainly no excuse for treating the man with such blatant injustice.

Chretien’s Anti-Terrorism Act has, as we have noted, expired but our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, wishes to pass another one. Bill C-51, which has passed its second reading and been referred to the Standing Committee in the House, has several parts to it. The first, and the one most emphasized by the bill’s advocates and defenders, is the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act which tells other government agencies to share their information with those charged with protecting national security. This sounds reasonable at first, until you think about why government agencies were prevented from doing this in the first place. The fourth part is the one the bill’s detractors prefer to emphasize because it greatly enhances the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The bill’s supporters say this is to reduce threats to Canadian security, its detractors say that it is to enable CSIS to better spy on Canadians. Other parts of the bill include the Secure Air Travel Act, which authorizes the creation of a no-fly list and otherwise ensures that airport security will be even more of an obnoxious pain in the buttocks than it already is, and various amendments to the Criminal Code including one that makes mincemeat out of the traditional right to confront and challenge your accuser in court in the euphemistic name of the “protection of witnesses”.

This bill is an abomination and the vote on it should be a pretty good litmus test as to how much respect for Canadians and their traditional rights and freedoms our Members of Parliament and Senators possess. The present government was elected by supporters who were sick and tired of the way the Liberal Party was overtaxing and overregulating Canadians while showing complete disregard for our traditions, rights, and freedoms. Why then is it determined to establish a surveillance state? It is rather ironic that the most active opposition to this bill in the House seems to be coming from the party whose members can never speak about freedom without sounding like a Cold War era apparatchik spouting off about “the freedom loving people of the Soviet Union”.

The fact of the matter is that the “war on terrorism” is the ultimate form of “perpetual war for perpetual peace”. The enemy in this war is not a foreign government, with its own territory, that can be decisively conquered, defeated, or destroyed. No matter how many Cato the Elders we may find to punctuate their speeches with “terrorismo delenda est”, we will never be able to produce a single Scipio Africanus to conclusively defeat terrorism, or an Aemilianus to raze its stronghold to the ground, and sow its fields with salt, that it may never rise again. It is not that kind of an enemy. Terrorism can pop up anywhere at any time. A war against terrorism is a war that can never end. A government that wishes to constantly retain its wartime powers and abandon the traditional understanding that peace is to be the norm, not war, could find no better means of accomplishing this end, than by declaring a war on terrorism, and passing bills like C-51.

(1) The title was reused by the late, left-libertarian novelist and essayist Gore Vidal, for a collection of essays similarly criticizing the policies of more recent administrations in 2002.

POSTED BY GERRY T. NEAL AT 11:17 AM 
LABELS: BILL C51, CATO, CHARLES BEARD, DWIGHT EISENHOWER, ERNST ZÜNDEL, FREEDOM, GORE VIDAL, HARRY ELMER BARNES, JEAN CHRETIEN,JEREMY BENTHAM, JOHN LOCKE, MURRAY N. ROTHBARD, SAM FRANCIS,STEPHEN HARPER, WAR ON TERRO'

If the tradition under attack says that the conditions of peace in which the public are not overly burdened with rules and taxes and their customary rights and freedoms are not abridged are to be the norm then to attack this tradition is to say that the conditions appropriate for wartime are to be the norm instead. One way in which this occurred in the last century was that liberalism, the ideology that started in the so-called “Enlightenment” and came to dominate the Western world in the period known as the Modern Age, changed, at least in North America, in the period between the two World Wars. Until the First World War the ideas of John Locke, in which the need to protect the rights and liberties of the individual from the state was stressed, formed the most prominent strain in liberal thought. After the war the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, in which the role of the modern democratic state as the agent and instrument of utilitarian progress was emphasized, eclipsed those of Locke. The basis of this shift in liberal thought was the reasoning on the part of many liberals who served in administrative positions in the First World War that if the government can mobilize and organize society for the sake of the war effort in times of war then surely it can mobilize and organize society to achieve a better, more just, society in times of peace. This has certainly taken the liberty out of liberalism.

Another way in which governments, addicted to wartime powers, have resisted the tradition of reverting to the conditions of peace as the norm, has been to make conflict the norm rather than peace. About the time that liberalism underwent the shift described in the preceding paragraph liberals of the older type, including American historians such as Charles Beard and Harry Elmer Barnes, began to see a tendency in the foreign policy of the liberal American Presidents of the ‘30s and ‘40s towards holding up “freedom”, “democracy”, and “peace” as ideals while constantly mobilizing the country for war on behalf of those ideals. “Perpetual war for perpetual peace” was how Beard described this policy to Barnes, who borrowed the title for a anthology of essays he edited in 1953 that took a hard, critical, look at the policies of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. (1) Another of these older type liberals, who now called themselves libertarians, Murray N. Rothbard, observed that a “welfare-warfare state” had developed that both practiced the policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace and employed high levels of taxation, spending, and regulation for non-belligerent, progressive purposes in the Benthamite manner we have discussed. That a policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace could be used as a cover for collusion between military leaders and arms manufacturers for the sake of war profiteering on a whole new level made possible by the advent of mass production was a danger against which American President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his Farewell Address.

In the last decade and a half events have transpired that our governments have exploited to take the policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace to a whole new level.

Since the end of the Second World War the acknowledged leading country of the Western world has, for better or worse, been the United States of America. After the Cold War came to an end America and the West have become increasingly entangled in the conflicts of the Middle East. When, on September 11, 2001, the United States found herself the victim of a terrorist attack the American President at the time declared a “War on Terror”. As part of this “War on Terror” the American government created a powerful new agency, the Department of Homeland Security, charged with the task of preventing terrorist attacks on American soil, and the USA PATRIOT Act, which enhanced the investigatory powers of law enforcement and security agencies by removing such impediments as the need for a court order to search records, was rushed through Congress. Here in Canada Jean Chretien’s Liberals rushed similar legislation through Parliament in the form of the Anti-Terrorism Act of the fall of 2001.

The supporters of bills like these argued that they were necessary to remove obstructions that got in the way of security agencies and hindered them from doing their job of protecting us from the violence of terrorism. Critics and opponents of the same bills argued that these so-called obstructions were actually safeguards that protected Canadians and Americans against the misuse of government power and that to get rid of these safeguards is to abandon centuries of tradition, stretching back to before the founding of either the United States or Canada, in which these safeguards evolved to protect our rights and liberties, lives and persons. These critics were, of course, right. If we were to interpret every crisis that occurs as indicating a need for either enhanced government powers or a loosening of constitutional, prescriptive, and legal restraints on the use of government powers, very soon we would have an omnipotent state and no rights and freedoms worth speaking of.

Nobody made this case better than the late paleoconservative columnist Sam Francis, who in column after column took the administration of George W. Bush to task for such things as trying terrorism suspects before military tribunals rather than real courtseavesdropping on confidential communications and issuing national id cardscreating the Department of Homeland Security, and putting police surveillance cameras throughout federal buildings in Washington D. C., as creating a slippery slope, whereby Americans would become accustomed to less rights, liberties, and constitutional protections and to being spied on by their government. Noting that the powers granted to the American government by the Patriot Act “are far larger than the government of any free people should have and that whatever powers this administration doesn’t use could still be used by future ones”, he pointed out that this “is how free peoples typically lose their freedom—not by a dictator like Saddam Hussein suddenly grabbing power in the night and seizing all the library records but by the slow erosion of the habits and mentality that enables freedom to exist at all” and concluded that the Bush administration was writing the last chapters in the story of American liberty.

Chretien’s Anti-Terrorism Act was no better. This Act utterly abandoned our country’s traditions of liberty and justice and allowed for people to be arrested and detained without charges, denied basic legal protections, and tried in secret without being guaranteed the opportunity to hear and respond to all the evidence against them, if the government were to determine them to be a threat to national security. This Act expired several years ago – legislation of this nature can only be enacted for five year periods – but, contrary to Kelly McParland’s claim in the National Post on February 2nd of this year, it did not expire without having been used. Among its other provisions was an amendment to the national security certificate provision of the Immigration Act that made possible an incident that was a shameful disgrace to our country.

An elderly man, who immigrated to Canada from Germany in the 1950s, who had never committed any violent crime here or elsewhere although he was the victim of terrorist attacks on the part of the followers of Rabbi Kahane, but who was repeatedly dragged through our courts for the “crime” of trying to spread the idea that accounts of atrocities committed by the other side in the Second World War still need to be revised to less resemble wartime propaganda, moved to the United States in order to escape this persecution. He married a woman there, applied for citizenship, and was arrested by United States Immigration who handed him over to our authorities, who issued a national security certificate against him. He was placed in solitary confinement and tried behind closed doors by a judge who refused to recuse himself, despite his obvious bias, and found guilty on the basis of evidence he was not allowed to hear in full, and was then sent to Germany, with our government knowing full well that the German government would arrest him upon landing, and sentence him to five years in prison for mere words that he said. This man, Ernst Zündel, was a noted admirer of a rather odious historical regime, but that did not make him a terrorist any more than Pierre Trudeau’s admiration for the even more odious Maoist regime in China, which, as was not the case with Zündel, was still around when Trudeau was doing the admiring, made the former Prime Minister a terrorist. It is certainly no excuse for treating the man with such blatant injustice.

Chretien’s Anti-Terrorism Act has, as we have noted, expired but our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, wishes to pass another one. Bill C-51, which has passed its second reading and been referred to the Standing Committee in the House, has several parts to it. The first, and the one most emphasized by the bill’s advocates and defenders, is the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act which tells other government agencies to share their information with those charged with protecting national security. This sounds reasonable at first, until you think about why government agencies were prevented from doing this in the first place. The fourth part is the one the bill’s detractors prefer to emphasize because it greatly enhances the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The bill’s supporters say this is to reduce threats to Canadian security, its detractors say that it is to enable CSIS to better spy on Canadians. Other parts of the bill include the Secure Air Travel Act, which authorizes the creation of a no-fly list and otherwise ensures that airport security will be even more of an obnoxious pain in the buttocks than it already is, and various amendments to the Criminal Code including one that makes mincemeat out of the traditional right to confront and challenge your accuser in court in the euphemistic name of the “protection of witnesses”.

This bill is an abomination and the vote on it should be a pretty good litmus test as to how much respect for Canadians and their traditional rights and freedoms our Members of Parliament and Senators possess. The present government was elected by supporters who were sick and tired of the way the Liberal Party was overtaxing and overregulating Canadians while showing complete disregard for our traditions, rights, and freedoms. Why then is it determined to establish a surveillance state? It is rather ironic that the most active opposition to this bill in the House seems to be coming from the party whose members can never speak about freedom without sounding like a Cold War era apparatchik spouting off about “the freedom loving people of the Soviet Union”.

The fact of the matter is that the “war on terrorism” is the ultimate form of “perpetual war for perpetual peace”. The enemy in this war is not a foreign government, with its own territory, that can be decisively conquered, defeated, or destroyed. No matter how many Cato the Elders we may find to punctuate their speeches with “terrorismo delenda est”, we will never be able to produce a single Scipio Africanus to conclusively defeat terrorism, or an Aemilianus to raze its stronghold to the ground, and sow its fields with salt, that it may never rise again. It is not that kind of an enemy. Terrorism can pop up anywhere at any time. A war against terrorism is a war that can never end. A government that wishes to constantly retain its wartime powers and abandon the traditional understanding that peace is to be the norm, not war, could find no better means of accomplishing this end, than by declaring a war on terrorism, and passing bills like C-51.

(1) The title was reused by the late, left-libertarian novelist and essayist Gore Vidal, for a collection of essays similarly criticizing the policies of more recent administrations in 2002.