New Day? No Thanks, I’ll Take the Old(er)!– Dominion Day

   Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, July 1, 2022

New Day? No Thanks, I’ll Take the Old(er)!– Dominion Day

Over the past couple of weeks there has been a great deal of talk here in Winnipeg about the announcement that today’s big party at the Forks would be called “New Day” instead of “Canada Day”, would be a whole bunch of pissing and moaning about wrongs real and imagined inflicted upon the Indians instead of a celebration of our country, and would not include the usual fireworks celebration.   Interestingly, Sunday evening, while enjoying a coffee at Tim Horton’s and trying to read a chapter out of the book of Isaiah, I overheard snatches of conversation from a couple at a nearby table with regards to all of this.  The man was boisterously objecting to all of these changes, especially the cancelling of the fireworks.   The woman was defending the changes, toeing the progressive party line on the subject.  For what it’s worth, the man was an Indian and the woman was lily white.

Among the more prominent of the local critics of these changes – I add the modifier “local” because it has attracted commentary from across the Dominion, including Toronto’s Anthony Furey and Edmonton’s Lorne Gunter – are Lloyd Axworthy and Jenny Motkaluk.    The former, who from 1979 to 2000 was the MP for Winnipeg – Fort Garry then Winnipeg South Centre when the former was dissolved and the latter reconstituted in 1988, during which time he served as Minister for various portfolios in Liberal governments under Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, and later became president of the University of Winnipeg, the furthest to the left of the city’s academic institutions, expressed his criticism in the pages of the Winnipeg Free Press, a Liberal party propaganda rag that likes to think of itself as a newspaper.   The latter is one of the candidates for the office about to be vacated by Mayor Duckie whom she had previously but sadly unsuccessfully attempted to unseat in the 2018 mayoral election.   Ryan Stelter responded to Motkaluk with a column that appeared in the Winnipeg Sun – the local neoconservative tabloid – in which he defended the decision by the powers that be at the Forks, their reasons for the change, and basically argued that while the biggest party in the city has been re-named and re-imagined this does not prevent anyone else from celebrating the holiday as they like.

While I suspect Stelter of disingenuity – his argument is technically correct but does not address the real problems with the thinking behind the changes likely because he doesn’t want to be seen as dissenting from that thinking – I shall, nevertheless, be doing as he suggests and celebrating the holiday the way I like.     This means that like the crowd at the Forks, I will not be celebrating “Canada Day”.   Unlike the crowd at the Forks, however, I shall not be celebrating the atrociously progressive “New Day” either – perhaps they should have called it “New DIE” from the appropriate acronym for Diversity, Inclusivity, Equity – but shall be celebrating, as I do every first of July, Dominion Day.  This is Canada’s true national holiday and the first of July bore this name until the Liberals changed it in 1982.   Since the Liberals did not do so honestly and constitutionally – only thirteen members, less than a quorum, were sitting at the time that the private member’s bill changing the name was rushed through all the readings without debate in less than five minutes, hence the Honourable Eugene Forsey’s description of this as “something very close to sneak-thievery” – I think that continuing to celebrate Dominion Day rather than Canada Day is appropriate.   I am in good company in this.  The great Canadian man of letters Robertson Davies called Dominion Day “splendid” and Canada Day “wet” in reference to its being “only one letter removed from the name of a soft drink”.  

I will say this about Canada Day, however.   Like Dominion Day it is a celebration of our country as a whole.  Indeed, Dominion Day and Canada Day, are two different celebrations of Canada based on two different visions of what ought to celebrated about the country.   I will elaborate on that momentarily.   First I will point out the contrast.   Attempts at a post-Canada Day holiday, as this New Day would appear to be, seem to be attempts at having a celebration on the country’s anniversary without celebrating the country at all but rather celebrating progressive ideals and the group identities of groups within Canada who are favoured by the left while allotting shame and dishonour to the country (and to groups within it who are not favoured by the left).   Ironically, considering that the sort of people who think up this sort of thing are always going on about “inclusivity”, this is incredibly divisive.   It is also insane.

Canada Day is a celebration of the Canada of the Liberal vision.   That Canada is best described by the title of a 1935 history by John Wesley Dafoe, the Liberal Party promoter who edited the Winnipeg Free Press for the first half of the twentieth century, Canada: An American Nation.   By deliberately omitting the word “North” Dafoe expressed his idea that Canada is essentially American – possessing the same culture and values as the United States, and on the same political trajectory historically, away from the British Empire and towards democratic republican nationalism, albeit pursuing that path through means other than war.   Those who share this vision of Canada have historically regarded the Liberal Party as the guardians of Canada’s journey down this path or, as it has often been stated, “the natural ruling party of Canada”.    This is what the great Canadian historian Donald Creighton derisively called the “Authorized Version”, the Liberal Interpretation of Canadian History that was, before the Cultural Marxist version in which the history of Canada, the United, States, and Western Civilization is treated as nothing but racism, sexism, and other such isms, permeated academe, authoritatively taught in Liberal-leaning history classrooms, which were most of them.   What critics of the left-wing of the Liberal Party – the branch of the party most associated with the two Trudeaus and Jean Chretien – and particularly the neoconservatives who look for inspiration and ideas primarily if not solely to the American “conservative” movement, often fail to grasp is that this is the Liberal vision of Canada even when the party’s left-wing, which spouts the same sort of anti-American rhetoric as the American Cold War era New Left, is controlling the party, and perhaps especially so.   The symbols associated with Canada Day, such as the flag introduced by Lester Pearson in 1965, like the name of the holiday itself, are symbols that point to Canada while saying nothing about her history and traditions, symbols that were introduced by Liberals to replace older ones that also pointed to Canada but did speak about her history and traditions.   The historical events highlighted in this vision of Canada are events in which the Liberal Party led the country.   In recent decades the main one of these was the repatriation of the British North America Act of 1867 in 1982 and the addition to it of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   In repatriating the British North America Act, it was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.   Everything asserted a few sentences earlier about the symbols associated with Canada Day is true of this change as well and the new name reflects the American understanding of the word “constitution”, i.e., a piece of paper telling the government what to do, rather than the traditional British-Canadian understanding of the word as meaning the institutions of the state as they actually exist and operate in a living tradition that is largely unwritten.   Similarly, it was the American Bill of Rights that the authors of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms had in mind when they added this to the repatriated BNA, although, many of us have been warning for years and as is painfully obvious after the medical tyranny of the last two and a half years, and especially the harsh fascist crackdown on those peacefully protesting against this tyranny in Ottawa earlier this year, the Charter simply does not provide the same level of protection as the American Bill.     The Charter did not provide us with anything worth having that we did not already have by right of the Common Law and the long tradition of protected rights and freedoms associated with it including such highlights as the Magna Carta.    Furthermore, it weakened the most important rights and freedoms mentioned in it – the fundamental freedoms of Section 2 and the legal rights of Sections 7 to 14, institutionalized the injustice of reverse de jure discrimination – Section 15 b), and provided no protection whatsoever to property rights which in the older tradition which both we and the Americans inherited occupy the spot where the Americans put “the pursuit of happiness” in one of the founding documents of their tradition as it branched off from the older.  Perhaps the most significant single effect of the Charter was to transform our Supreme Court into an American-style activist Court which it had not been up unto that point.   The American Supreme Court has been activist so long that now, when it has finally reversed one of its most notorious activist rulings – Roe  v Wade – and returned the right to legislate protection for the lives of the unborn to the lawmaking assemblies from which it stole it in 1973, the American progressives whose causes have benefited from the vast majority of judicial activism have seen this as illegitimate judicial activism and have been behaving like extremely spoiled children who have finally received long-overdue discipline.   The point, however, is that these changes, arguably the most Americanizing of any the Liberal Party has ever made, were introduced by a Liberal government when the party was controlled by its left-wing, despite that left-wing’s Communist-sympathizing anti-American rhetoric.

Dominion Day is a celebration of the Canada that was formally established as a country when the British North America Act came into effect on 1 July, 1867.    The country was given the name Canada, which name, originally the Iroquois word for “village”, was mistaken by Jacques Cartier for the St. Lawrence region, then applied to the society of French settlers established there, then, after this French society and its territory were ceded to the British Crown by the French Crown after the Seven Years War, and the Americans seceded from the British Crown to establish their Modern, liberal, republic, became the name of two provinces of the British Empire, one French Catholic and the other English Protestant, located in this territory, the latter populated by the Loyalists who had fled persecution in the American republic.   These provinces were united into one in 1841, which proved almost immediately to be a mistake, and the search for a solution to the problems this fusion generated was one of the main reasons for Confederation in which the two provinces were separated once again, but made part of a larger federation of British North American provinces that was given the name common to both.   Dominion was the title the Fathers of Confederation gave the country that would bear the name country.   The title of a country, as distinct from its name, is supposed to tell you what kind of a country it is, that is to say, the nature of the constitution of the state.   If a country has “People’s Republic” as its title, for example, that tells us that it is a Communist, totalitarian, hellhole.   The “Dominion” in Canada’s title tells us that she is a parliamentary monarchy, a kingdom or realm under the reign of the monarch we share with the United Kingdom, governed by her own Parliament.   When the Liberals were waging war against the title “Dominion” from the 1960s to the 1980s, they maintained that it was a synonym for “colony” and was imposed upon Canada from London in the nineteenth century, but none of that was true.  The most charitable interpretation of the Liberals making these claims is that they were ignorant of history, an interpretation that would seem to be supported by the Honourable Eugene Forsey’s account, in his memoirs, of his attempts to educate his Liberal colleagues in the Senate about these things during this period, although a less charitable interpretation might be more appropriate for the top leaders of the party.   The reality is that the Fathers of Confederation had “Kingdom of Canada” as their first choice, were advised by London to pick something less provocative to our neighbours to the South, and chose “Dominion” as a synonym for “Kingdom” from Psalm 72:8.

Dominion Day, as a celebration of this Canada, is a celebration of a vision of Canada that is pretty much the opposite of the Liberal vision of Canada, and an interpretation of her history that is the opposite of the “Authorized Version”.   To call it the Conservative vision and interpretation of Canada would be very misleading, I am afraid, because, those who currently use the moniker Conservative are generally light years removed from Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier   Whatever you want to call it, however, it is the truer vision and interpretation of Canada.    The Confederation Project was not an attempt to do what the Americans had done in 1776 albeit without bloodshed.   It was an attempt to do the opposite of what the Americans had done – to take the provinces of the British Empire in North America, and build out of them a new country without severing ties with the United Kingdom and the Empire, using the Westminster Parliament as its model rather than devising a new constitution from scratch.   For the Fathers of Confederation in 1864 to 1867, as with the English and French Canadians who fought alongside the British Imperial army and its Indian allies from 1812 to 1815, and the ancestors of the same during the American Revolution four decades earlier, the threat to their freedom came from the American Republic, with its “Manifest Destiny”, cloaking its dreams of conquest in the rhetoric of “liberation”.   The British Crown and Empire were not tyrannical forces from which the Canadians needed to be “liberated” (1) but the guardian forces that protected Canadian freedom from American conquest.    The threat of American conquest did not just magically go away on 1 July, 1867.  The efforts of Sir John’s government in the decades that followed, to bring the rest of British North America into Confederation, to settle the prairies, and to build the transcontinental railroad that would unite the country economically, were all carried out with the threat of a United States hoping and wishing for him to fail so that they might swoop in and gobble up Canada looming over head.   Aiding and abetting the would-be American conquerors were their fifth column in Canada, the Liberals.   In Sir John’s last Dominion election, held in March 1891 only a couple of months prior to the stroke that incapacitated him shortly before his death, he faced a Liberal opponent, Sir Wilfred Laurier, who campaigned on a platform of “unrestricted reciprocity”, which is more commonly called “free trade”, with the United States.   Sir John called this treason, pointing out that free trade would create an economic union that would be the wedge in the door for cultural and political union with the United Sates.   That very year Liberal intellectual Goldwin Smith published a book, Canada and the Canada Question, that argued that Confederation was a mistake, that economics is everything, that trade in North America is naturally north-south rather than east-west – this was effectively rebutted by Harold Innis in The Fur Trade in Canada (1930) and Donald Creighton in The Commercial Empire of the St. Lawrence (1937) – and that union with the United States was both desirable and inevitable.   Sir John won another majority government in his last Dominion election by vigorously opposing all of this.

Sir John’s victory over Laurier in 1891 demonstrated that his vision of Canada, rather than the Liberal vision, was shared not just by the other Fathers of Confederation but by most Canadians.  That this remained true well into the Twentieth Century was evident in how the Liberals were the most likely to lose elections in which they most stressed the free trade plank of their platform and in the Loyalist spirit demonstrated by the Canadians who rallied to the call of King, Country, and Empire in two World Wars.   Even the Grit Prime Minister during the Second World War, who had mocked the Imperial war effort during the First World War, who was the very embodiment of the Liberal continentalist free trader, and who was actually an admirer of the dictator who led the other side – following his brief interview with Hitler in 1937, Mackenzie King wrote a gushing entry about him in his diary, in which he described the German tyrant in almost Messianic terms, comparing him to Joan of Arc, and employing language that would have sounded just as creepy had Hitler turned out to be the man of peace he thought him to be – had enough of that spirit to do his duty and lead Canada into the war alongside Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth.   Unfortunately, one of the consequences of that conflict was that the United States became the leading power in Western Civilization and immediately began to reshape the West into its own image.   To make matters worse around this same time mass communications technology, especially the television, became ubiquitous both a) facilitating the permeation of English Canadian culture with the mass pop culture produced in the culture factories of Los Angeles, and b) greatly increasing the influence of the newsmedia, which had been heavily slanted towards the Liberals since even before Confederation when George Brown edited the Globe, which evolved into today’s Globe and Mail.   These are among the foremost of the factors which produced the shift in popular thinking away from the truer, founding, vision of Canada celebrated in Dominion Day to the Liberal vision celebrated in Canada Day.   They are also among the factors that led George Grant, Canada’s greatest philosopher, traditionalist, and critic of technology, to pen his jeremiad for our country, Lament for a Nation, in 1965.

If the exponential growth in media power due to the development of mass communications technology and the post-World War II Americanization of Western Civilization as a whole are responsible for the shift in popular thought to the Liberal vision, how then do we explain this subsequent shift to the new, “woke” Left view, in which Canada, and everything that traditional Canadians celebrated about her in Dominion Day and Liberals in Canada Day, are regarded as cause for weeping and gnashing of teeth rather than celebration?

While the media certainly had a role in this as well – they were the ones, last year, remember, who, when various Indian bands began announcing that they had found ground disturbances – and this is all that they have found, to this date – on the grounds of former residential schools or in unmarked sections of cemeteries, irresponsibly reported this as “proof” of a conspiracy theory about the residential schools having been death camps where priests murdered kids by the thousands – it is our educational system that must bear the blame for the fact that so many people were stupid and ignorant enough to believe this stercus tauri.  It has been sixty-nine years since Hilda Neatby wrote and published So Little for the Mind: An Indictment of Canadian Education in which she lambasted the education bureaucrats who in most if not all Canadian provinces had decided in the decade or so prior to her writing to impose the educational “reforms” proposed by wacko, environmentalist (in the sense of taking the nurture side in the nature/nurture debate rather than the sense of being a tree-hugging, save-the-planet, do-gooder, although he may have been that too), atheist, secular humanist, Yankee philosopher John Dewey upon Canadian public schools.    This meant out with a curriculum focused on giving children facts to learn, expecting them to learn them, and acquainting them with the literary canon of the Great Conversation so that by exposing them to the Swiftian “sweetness and light” of Matthew Arnold’s “best which has been thought and said” they might be inspired to rise above their natural barbarism or philistinism and learn to think and ask questions and strive for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.  It meant in with a curriculum that was “child-centred”, which in practice meant dumbed down so as to minimize or eliminate content of which the child cannot immediately recognize its pragmatic utility to himself, although Dewey and his followers, who were decades ahead of everyone else in terms of solipsistic, narcissistic, psycho-babble, dressed it up in terms of helping the child maximize his potential.   Those sympathetic to the methods of Dewey et al. thought of these reforms as a positive shift from a passive education in which the teacher gives the student the content to be learned and the student receives it to an active education in which the student is trained to learn by self-discovery.   Neatby recognized these methods for what they really were – the means of transforming schools from institutions that provide their students with the intellectual tools necessary to live in control of their own lives as free people into institutions that train people to be docile, unquestioning, members of a more planned, more controlled, and more collectivist sort of society.   Her warnings largely went ignored, although she was commemorated with a stamp twenty-two years ago.   Even though the environmentalist presuppositions underlying Dewey’s system have been thoroughly debunked in the intervening decades, his theories survive as the dominant educational philosophy, albeit having been periodically translated into the latest forms of newspeak.      Meanwhile university level academics have mostly stopped criticizing the way the schools under the new system are failing to prepare students for a university education, but have instead accommodated the universities to the situation by transforming them into indoctrination centres in which their unquestioning and docile but also navel-gazingly narcissistic “student” bodies have their heads stuffed with every conceivable form of left-wing group identity politics – there are entire divisions of universities now dedicated to specific forms of this – and the deranged post-Marxist crackpot left-wing theories – intersectionality, Critical Theory (Race and otherwise), etc. – that support them.   The subversion and perversion of our educational system just described is the reason so many were quick to unthinkingly and unquestioningly accept the media’s irresponsible claims that the discovery of soil disturbances by ground-penetrating radar constitutes proof of the conspiracy theory that government-funded, church-operated, schools were murdering their students in some giant plot involving the highest officials of church, state, and a host of other institutions, that a defrocked United Church minister (2) pulled out of his rear end decades ago.    It is the reason so many were willing to commit the chronological snobbery of judging ex post facto our country’s past leaders by the left-wing standards of today’s progressives, the injustice of accepting a condemnation of our country in which only the accuser has been allowed to be heard and the defence has been denied the right of cross-examination and of making a defence by the mob shouting “disrespect” and “denial” every time anyone raised a question or pointed out contra-narrative facts, and the impiety of thinking the worst of the generations that went before us.   Note how the words “colonialism” and “imperialism” are constantly on the lips of such people, being used negatively in precisely the manner described by Robert Conquest in Reflections on a Ravaged Century in which he concluded that this usage, so different from how these terms are used by real historians, has reduced these words to “mind-blockers and thought-extinguishers”.   This bespeaks the failure of the educational system.

So no, I will not be participating in any “New Day” that is the product of what passes for thinking in the minds of those whose acceptance of the left-wing narrative that our country is something to be mourned rather than celebrated testifies to the ruin of our educational system.    Nor, as an unreconstructed old Tory, will I be celebrating the Liberal vision for our country on “Canada Day”.   I shall once again raise my glass – or rather cup of coffee – to Sir John A. Macdonald and celebrate Canada’s true holiday, Dominion Day. — Gerry T. Neal 

Happy Dominion Day!

God Save the Queen!

(1)     For all of Jefferson’s Lockean rhetoric about natural law, unalienable rights, and the consent of the governed his 1776 accusations of “absolute tyranny” against George III and Parliament were nonsensical propaganda of the most risible sort, considering that the British government was one of the least intrusive governments in the world both at that time and in all of history up to that point.   

(2)     This is actually, in a twisted way, rather impressive.   It is far easier to be ordained in the United Church of Canada than to be defrocked.  

Technocracy Triumphant — Manitoba Court Cancels The Charter Rights You Thought You Had

THRONE, ALTAR, LIBERTY

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2021

Technocracy Triumphant  — Manitoba  Court Cancels The Charter Rights You Thought You Had

Taking the attitude “who am I to judge” is, under many circumstances, appropriate and admirable.   There is one circumstance, however, when it is extremely inappropriate and reprehensible.   That is when you are a justice of Her Majesty’s bench before whom one person or group has brought another person or group, complaining that the latter has injured them in violation of the law and asking you for redress of their wrongs.   If you happen to be in that situation then your job – your only job – is to hear the case, weight the evidence, and issue a ruling, in short – to judge.   To plead humility as an excuse for not doing so is to abandon your duty.

Earlier this year, in the late spring, Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba heard evidence that lawyers representing the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms presented on behalf of the Gateway Bible Baptist Church in Thompson, along with six other congregations, two ministers and one other individual in two related but distinct constitutional challenges to the provincial bat flu public health orders. (1)   One of these challenged the sweeping powers with insufficient accountability that had been given to the Chief Public Health Officer.   The other challenged portions of the public health orders themselves on the grounds that they violated the fundamental freedoms named in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in such a way as could not be justified by the “reasonable limitations” clause of the Charter’s Section 1.    The evidence in these challenges was heard in May.   After taking the summer to deliberate or take a vacation or go for the world’s record in thumb twiddling or whatever, last week on the twenty-first of October Chief Justice Joyal finally ruled in these cases.   For the purposes of distinction the ruling with regards to the constitutionality of the powers of the Chief Public Health Officer will be called “the first ruling” and the ruling with regards to the constitutionality of portions of the orders will be called “the second ruling”.

The Chief Justice ruled against the applicants in both cases.    In one sense, however, the second ruling could be called a non-ruling.   In paragraph 292 we find the following:

I say that while recognizing and underscoring that fundamental freedoms do not and ought not to be seen to suddenly disappear in a pandemic and that courts have a specific responsibility to affirm that most obvious of propositions.

This is very good and right.   The problem is that the next sentence begins with a “but.”   Apart from the bad grammar involved – Chief Justice Joyal is old enough to have still had the rule never to begin a sentence with a conjunction like “but” drilled into him in grade school – buts have this nasty habit of leading into material that completely negates everything that precedes the “but”.   Here is what followed:  

But just as I recognize that special responsibility of the courts, given the evidence adduced by Manitoba (which I accept as credible and sound), so too must I recognize that the factual underpinnings for managing a pandemic are rooted in mostly scientific and medical matters. Those are matters that fall outside the expertise of courts. Although courts are frequently asked to adjudicate disputes involving aspects of medicine and science, humility and the reliance on credible experts are in such cases, usually required. In other words, where a sufficient evidentiary foundation has been provided in a case like the present, the determination of whether any limits on rights are constitutionally defensible is a determination that should be guided not only by the rigours of the existing legal tests, but as well, by a requisite judicial humility that comes from acknowledging that courts do not have the specialized expertise to casually second guess the decisions of public health officials, which decisions are otherwise supported in the evidence.

This constitutes an abdication of the very responsibility he had just acknowledged.   If fundamental freedoms still exist in a pandemic, and it is the court’s special responsibility to affirm this, this means that the court cannot defer to the public health authorities, the medical experts, on the question of whether their own measures are reasonable and justified.   If civil authority A is accused of trampling on the public’s fundamental freedoms, and the court defers to the expertise of civil authority A on the question of whether the latter’s actions are reasonable and justified, this translates into “civil authority A can do whatever he sees fit, there are no limits on his powers to which the court will hold him accountable”.    Indeed, saying that courts should be guided not just by the “rigours of the existing legal tests” but a “humility” that forbids them to “casually second guess” the decisions of public health officials is tantamount to saying that medical science is a higher authority than the law.  (2)

In the sections of the ruling that immediately follow the paragraph from which we have quoted, we see what this “judicial humility” looks like in practice.   In these pages Chief Justice Joyal considers the question of whether the public health orders meet the standards of the Oakes test.    The Oakes test was established by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1986 to determine whether legislation or other government action that infringes upon Charter rights and freedoms is nevertheless permitted under the “reasonable limitations” clause.     To pass, the infringement must first be shown to serve a “pressing and substantial objective”.   Second, the infringement must be show to be proportional, which means that it must a) be shown to be rationally connected to the objective, b) be shown to only minimally impair the right(s) and/or freedom(s) in question and c) be shown to provide a benefit to the public that is greater than the harm done by impairing the right(s) and/or freedom(s).  (3)  For each of the stages of this test, the Chief Justice essentially takes the position that because Brent Roussin decided, after weighing all the information available to him, that each public health order he issued was what was necessary at the time, therefore the orders meet the standards of the test.    Such a ruling in effect declares that Brent Roussin, as Chief Public Health Officer, is above the law insofar as he is acting in the capacity of his office.   If the court defers to him as to whether his actions in the capacity of his office meet the standards of constitutionality set in the Oakes test or not, then he is above the Oakes test and the Charter and cannot be held accountable to either.

The ramifications of this extend far beyond the issues pertaining to the public health orders and the pandemic.  What it means is that while we remain in form the country that we were, governed by a parliament under the reign of a constitutional monarch, in which Common Law and Charter nominally protect our rights and freedoms, in actual practice we have become a medical technocracy.

Anyone inclined to think that this is a good thing, or even a tolerable thing, is invited to consider the words of C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.  (God in the Dock, 1948)

This description fits the rule of medical technocrats to a tee.  

That a de facto medical technocracy is inimical to the freedom that permeates our parliamentary form of government, our constitutional monarchy, and the Common Law is the real issue at the heart of the other challenge.   This was the challenge to the constitutionality of the provincial legislature’s having named Brent Roussin dictator, with Jazz Atwal as his Master of Horse, for the duration of the pandemic, which had to be framed, of course, as a challenge to the sections of the Manitoba Public Health Act (2009) which provided for this situation.   These are sections 13 and 67.   Section 67 empowers the Chief Public Health Officer to take special measures if he “reasonably believes” that “a serious and immediate threat to public health exists because of an epidemic or threatened epidemic of a communicable disease” which “cannot be prevented, reduced or eliminated” without the special measures.   Section 13 allows him to delegate his own power under the Act to a deputy.  

Chief Justice Joyal ruled that this two-fold delegation of power, first from the legislature to the Chief Public Health Officer, second from the latter to his deputy was constitutional.   In the course of explaining his decision he made a number of statements that suggest a troubling sympathy with the technocratic impulse of the age.   He gave his approval to the province’s claim that with the “emergence of new threats such as SARS, West Nile, monkey pox and the avian flu” it was important that the government focus on the “modernization of the PHA”.   The modernization of the Public Health Act, that is to say, bringing it in line with contemporary trends around the world, means making it more technocratic.   In this context the Chief Justice asserted with regards to the centralization of the public health system in the person of the Chief Public Health Officer that:

the act sets out the powers afforded to public health officials to address communicable diseases and importantly, it also constrains those powers so as to ensure an appropriate balance between individual rights and the protection of public health  (first ruling, 12).

Does it ensure such an appropriate balance?   As this is the quod erat demonstrandum, this forthright assertion of it would seem to be a classic example of petitio principia, especially when we consider the weakness of everything that was then put forward in support of the assertion. After providing quotations from speeches in the legislative assembly at the time the new Public Health Act was being debated that show that the legislators acknowledged the need for such a balance, the Chief Justice finally specified the constraints this Act supposedly places on the powers it gives to the Chief Public Health Officer (first ruling, 17).   Not a single one of these is a real check that prevents the office of the Chief Public Health Officer from being corrupted into a medical technocratic tyranny by the excessive emergency power vested in it.

The first of these is that the official must believe there is a public health emergency that requires special measures to be taken.   The third is that the orders require the prior approval of the Minister of Health.   The fourth is the stipulation in section 3 of the Public Health Act that the restrictions on rights and freedoms of the special measures be as few as possible, the equivalent to the “minimal impairment” requirement of the Oakes test.  In practice, the attitude of deferral to the specialized medical expertise of the Chief Public Health Officer on the part of the Minister of Health ensures that none of these constitutes a real constraint.   The sixth, which is that the Chief Public Health Officer must be a physician, is a limit on who the Minister of Health can appoint to the office not a limit on use of the powers of that office by the officeholder.   The seventh and final “constraint” pertains only to the secondary matter of the sub delegation of the Chief Public Health Officer’s powers to his deputy.  This leaves the second and fifth, both of which warrant special comment and so have been reserved for last.

The second “constraint” is that under subsection 2 of section 67 “the types of orders that can be made are clearly delineated”.   This is true, but the types so delineated are so extensive that this is not much of a limitation even without taking into consideration how much further deferral to the expertise of the Chief Public Health Officer would stretch them.

The fifth is the stipulation in subsection 4 of section 67 that “an order requiring a person to be immunized cannot be enforced if the person objects.”    Although this looks like a real constraint on the Chief Public Health Officer’s powers, for several months now he has gotten away with making a total mockery of this stipulation by doing everything short of strapping objectors down and forcing the needle into them to compel them to be “immunized”.

Therefore, quite to the contrary of what Chief Justice Joyal claims (first ruling, 18) these constraints provide no real protection against the danger of the powers the Public Health Act confers upon the Chief Public Health Officer in a public health emergency being used to run roughshod over our rights and freedoms. Whatever the intention of the legislators in 2009, the Public Health Act fails to provide an appropriate balance between individual rights and the protection of public health.   Instead, it places all the weight on the side of the latter. 

It needs to be stated here that the need for an appropriate balance between individual rights and freedoms on the one hand and the public good on the other is a truism.   The art of statecraft – politics in the best sense of the word – could be said to reduce to finding just this balance.   The problem, at least in Canada, is that for decades now we have only ever seemed to have heard this truism trotted out whenever someone is insisting that individual rights and freedoms need to make cessions to the public good.   Balance requires that there also be cessions from the public good to individual rights and freedoms.   Indeed, since the vast majority of decisions that need to be made in any complex society have to do with the good of individuals and small groups, rather than the good of the society as a whole, and it is individual rights and freedoms that ensure that those making such decisions are the ones most competent to do so, which with only rare exceptions means the individuals and small groups directly concerned, balance arguably requires far more cessions to individual rights and freedoms from the public good, than the other way around.

The basic assumption of technocracy is contrary to all of this.   This is the assumption that technical knowledge – the kind of specialized knowledge in any field that qualifies one as an expert – renders one competent to make decisions for other people if the expert’s field at all touches upon those decisions.   This assumption is laughably false – technical expertise in one field does not translate into technical expertise in another field, much less all fields, and it is rare that a decision requires information from only one field.   The most technical knowledge ought to qualify an expert for is to advise people in the making of their own decisions, not to make those decisions for them.   Indeed, were we to assume that the greater an individual’s expertise is in one specialized field, the greater his ignorance will be in all others, and the more utterly incompetent he will be at making decisions for himself, let alone other people, our assumption would be wrong, but a lot less wrong than the assumption inherent in technocracy.

Technocracy is odious enough when it takes the form of the army of civil servants, passing the endless regulations that boss people around and tell them what to do in their own homes and how to run their own businesses, by which Liberal Prime Ministers have so effectively circumvented the constraints of our Crown-in-Parliament constitution in order to impose their will upon Canadians.   A medical technocracy enacted in a public health emergency is far worse.   Throughout history, mankind has been much more often plagued by tyranny than by insufficient government power, by too many rules than by too few, and the exploitation of emergencies, real or manufactured, and the fear they engender in the public, is the normal means whereby a tyrant seizes unconstitutional power.   For this reason it is imperative than  in any emergency, those empowered to deal with the emergency be subjected to even greater scrutiny and held to even stricter accountability, than in ordinary circumstances.   This is the opposite of the attitude of deference that Chief Justice Joyal contended for in 281-283 of the second ruling, and which he reiterated in the first sentence of 292, “In the context of this deadly and unprecedented pandemic, I have determined that this is most certainly a case where a margin of appreciation can be afforded to those making decisions quickly and in real time for the benefit of the public good and safety.” (4)

This deference is fatal to the court’s role as the guardian of fundamental freedoms.    Chief Justice Joyal acknowledged (284), as, in fact, did the province, that these freedoms were violated, and that therefore the onus is upon the government to justify the violation.  (5)  When the court gives this “margin of appreciation” to “those making decisions quickly and in real time”, however, is it possible for the province to fail to meet this onus in the court’s eyes?

Consider the arguments that the province made that it met the “minimal impairment” requirement of the Oakes test.   Chief Justice Joyal reproduced (303) the reasons the province offered in support of this contention from paragraph 52 of their April 12, 2021 brief.  Reason c) begins with “Unlike some other jurisdictions, there was no curfew imposed or a ‘shelter in place’ order that would prevent people from leaving their home other than for limited reasons”.   That you cannot validly justify your own actions by pointing to the worse actions of someone else is something that anyone with even the most basic of training in logical reasoning should immediately recognize.   The same reason includes the sentences “It was still possible to gather with family and friends at indoor and outdoor public places, up to the gathering limit of 5 people” and “An exception was also made for people who live on their own to allow one person to visit.”   Offering these as “reasons” why the public health order forbidding people to meet with anyone other than members of their own household in their own homes for over three months only “minimally impaired” our freedoms of association and assembly is adding insult to injury.  That is called throwing people crumbs, not keeping your infringement on their freedoms to a minimum.   “Minimally impair” is not supposed to mean to impair the freedom to the point that it is minimal.

Reason e) which pertains to freedom of religion is no better.   The province declared that there was an “attempt to accommodate religious services”.   The first example of this that they gave is that “Religious services could still be delivered remotely indoors, or outdoors in vehicles”.   It seems rather rich of the province to offer the latter up as proof that they tried to only minimally impair freedom of religion when, in fact, the churches that offered such services had to fight to obtain that concession. 

Had Brent Roussin forgotten that he had initially banned drive-in services when he ordered churches to close in the so-called “circuit break” last fall?  

Or rather had he remembered that it was Chief Justice Joyal who on the fifth of December last year had ruled that drive-in services were in violation of the public health orders before he, that is Roussin, amended the orders to allow for these services?  

Either way it is rather disingenuous of him to make this allusion in this context.  

The next sentence is even worse.    “As well, individual prayer and reflection was permitted.”    So, because he didn’t ban people from praying by themselves in the privacy of their own homes, which even officially Communist countries never attempted, he is to be credited for only “minimally impairing” our freedom of religion by forbidding us to obey God’s commandment to forsake not the assembly of ourselves, forbidding us to sing God’s praises as a community of faith, and forbidding us from partaking of the Holy Sacrament?   Indeed, what this sentence tells us is that the person who wrote it thinks a) that individuals need the permission of government to pray and reflect in private, b) that it is within the powers of government to withhold such permission and forbid private prayer and reflection, and c) government’s not having done so means that their violations of our freedom of religion and worship have been minimal and reasonable.      

Any sort of cognitive filter that allows a Chief Justice to look at this sort of nonsense and conclude from it that the province has met its onus of justifying its impairment of our fundamental freedoms as the minimum necessary under the circumstances is clearly a dysfunctional filter that ought to be immediately discarded.

Indeed, the province’s arguments illustrate the point made above about technocracy being inimical to freedom, constitutional government, and the balance between individual right and public good.   Technical knowledge or specialized knowledge in a field of expertise, as stated above, does not translate into expertise in another field, much less expertise in all fields.  Indeed, it tends towards a certain kind of deficiency in general reasoning that could be regarded as a sort of tunnel vision.   It is called déformation professionelle in French and is similar to what is called the Law of the Instrument, illustrated in Abraham Maslow’s proverb about how if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.   A physician’s technical expertise is in the field of medicine – treating sickness and injury and promoting health.   He will therefore be inclined to subordinate everything else to the goals of his profession.   In an epidemic or pandemic, this inclination will be all the more exaggerated.  To a medical expert in such a situation, the answer to the question of what public health orders constitute the minimal necessary restrictions on fundamental freedoms will look very different than it does to those who do not share this narrow focus.   

Consider the words that George Grant in his important discussion (Technology and Justice, 1986) of the implications of the increasing technologization of society identified as encapsulating spirit of technological thought, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s “when you see that something is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it.”  The significance of these words is that the technological mind is inclined to reject external limitations, such as those of ethics, that stand between it and the actual doing of whatever it finds itself capable.    Modern medical thinking is thoroughly technological and Oppenheimer’s thought, translated into that of a physician and epidemiologist overseeing a pandemic, would be “when you see that you can slow the spread of the disease by doing A, you go ahead and do A”.   A might have a thousand other effects, all negative, but the mind that prioritizes slowing the spread of an epidemic over all other concerns can acknowledge this and still come to the conclusion that the benefit outweighs the harm, demonstrating that its ability to make calculations of this sort is seriously impaired.  (6)

It is absolutely essential that those charged with the duty of protecting our fundamental rights and freedoms and holding government to its constitutional limits, recognize how the very nature of medical expertise tends towards the skewing of the medical expert’s perspective in this way and that therefore he is the last person to whose opinion government ministers and judges should defer in determining whether public health orders infringing upon fundamental freedoms are constitutionally justified out of necessity.

For the courts to fail to recognize this is for the courts to shirk their duty and acquiesce as our country succumbs to the tyranny of technocracy. (7)

 (1)   The applicants were the churches: Gateway Bible Baptist Church (Thompson), Pembina Valley Baptist Church (Winkler), Redeeming Grace Bible Church (Morden), Grace Covenant Church (Altona), Slavic Baptist Church, Christian Church of Morden, Bible Baptist Church (Brandon); ministers: Tobias Tissen (pastor of Church of God, Restoration in Sarto, just south of Steinbach) and Thomas Rempel (deacon of Redeeming Grace Bible Church); and individual:  Ross MacKay.

(2)   Tom Brodbeck’s editorial commenting on these rulings for the local Liberal Party propaganda rag – or paper of record, depending upon your perspective – was given the headline “Case Closed, Science Wins”.

(3)   There is an unfortunate tautology here in that proportionality is the term used for both all three stages of the second step of the test taken together and the third stage of the same.

(4)   The pandemic is “unprecedented” only in the sense that the measures taken to combat it have been unprecedented in their extremity.   The Spanish Flu which ended about a century before the bat flu pandemic began killed between 25-50 million people.   The bat flu has killed about 5 million over the course of a similar span of time.   Not only is the total of the Spanish Flu much larger than that of the bat flu, it represents a much larger percentage of the world’s population which was considerably smaller at the time.   It took place at a time when health care and medical treatment options were far more limited than they are today, and yet public health orders never came close to what they are today, despite the earlier pandemic having started in a time of war when people were already accustomed to emergency restrictions.

(5)  Many of the news articles reporting on these rulings have been extremely misleading.   Several have reported that the Chief Justice ruled that no Charter rights were violated.   This is true only in the sense that there is a distinction between rights and freedoms and that the Chief Justice ruled against there having been a violation of Section 7 and Section 15 rights.   With regards to Section 2 fundamental freedoms, however, he ruled – and the province admitted – that these had been violated, and that therefore there was a burden of justification on the government to prove these violations to be constitutional in accordance with Section 1.  As the discussion of Section 2 was by far the most important part of the case, to summarize the entire ruling as if it were all about the Sections 7 and 15 challenges, is to utterly distort it.  

(6)   Suppose that a virus is spreading which, if unchecked, will cause 10 000 deaths.   The public health officer, if he takes Action B, can prevent the epidemic and all of those deaths.   However, Action B will itself cause 10 000 other deaths.   The number of deaths will be the same whether action is taken or not.   Should the public health officer take this action or do nothing?   It would be odious to attempt to resolve the dilemma by comparing the value of the 10 000 lives lost the one way, with the value of the 10 000 lives lost the other.   The person who makes the case for the public health officer’s taking Action B, therefore, would have to reason along the lines that since it is the public health officer’s duty to combat epidemics and save lives threatened by disease, and the intent behind Action B would be to save the 10 000 threatened by the epidemic not kill the other 10 000, Action B should be taken and the 10 000 lost to it considered collateral damage.   The person who would argue the other side would point out that the 10 000 lost to the epidemic would die of natural causes, that the 10 000 lost as a result of Action B would die as the direct consequence of human action, and that the human moral culpability for taking an action that directly results in a death is greater than the human moral culpability for not taking an action that would prevent a death by natural cause, ergo it is worse to take Action B than to not do so.   Which of these two arguments is the most persuasive.  I would suggest that for people who are both normal and capable of rational, human, moral thought, the second of the two arguments is likely to be the most persuasive, and that those persuaded by the first of the two arguments are most likely to be found among medical experts.

(7)   That technological science was leading us to a universal technocracy which would be the worst of all tyrannies was a warning sounded frequently throughout the Twentieth Century by such thinkers as Jacques Ellul (The Technological Society, 1954, Perspectives on Our Age, 1981), C. S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man, 1943, That Hideous Strength, 1945), and René Girard (I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning, 1999).   In Canada, George Grant played the role of Cassandra on this theme, which runs through his entire corpus of work from Philosophy in the Mass Age (1959) to Technology and Justice (1986).   It was central to the thesis of his 1965 jeremiad Lament for a Nation that by succumbing to the technologically driven capitalism of America, Canada was losing the pre-liberal traditions that informed her founding, and would be drawn like the rest of the world into the “universal homogenous state”, a technocracy that the ancients had predicted would be the ultimate tyranny.   Technological science, as he argued in the first essay of Technology and Justice, begins as man’s mastery of nature, but progresses into man’s master of himself, which translates into his mastery of other people.   He did not shrink from implicating modern medicine along with other more obvious culprits in this.POSTED BY GERRY T. NEAL 

Don’t Trust the “Experts”

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Don’t Trust the “Experts”

Until a short time ago the word “misinformation” referred to statements purporting to be factual which fell short in some way, whether in letter or spirit, of the ancient and ageless transcendental landmark known as truth.   “Disinformation” meant the same, but with the additional connotation that the erroneous information was being spread in mala fide by those with a deliberate intent to deceive.   Both words have been in the soi-disant news far more frequently in recent days than has been the norm in the past.   Indeed, it would almost seem that other words have dropped out of the vocabularies of our regular commentators on passing events, because they have been using these multiple times per day.   It would appear, however, that the words have undergone a change in meaning.   They now seem to mean anything which differs or disagrees with whatever the media’s approved experts happen to be saying at any given moment even if it conforms with what they had been saying in the moment immediately prior to that one.

This is indicative of just how far we have apostatized from the wisdom of the ancients who sought the illumination of the eternal beacons of Goodness, Beauty and Truth to light their path.   To the extent that the media, the information machine which has far too much influence over how we perceive and think of the world, acknowledges truth today, it is truth in the old leftist sense of whatever advances the cause of the revolution.   This, of course, is not truth at all in the proper and older sense of that permanent standard, recognized as a basic aspect of being itself, which we strive to attain by conforming our indicative or descriptive speech to reality, i.e., things as they are in themselves.

Ultimately what we are seeing is the result of centuries of assault on the foundations laid for Western thought, at least in its Classical and Christian phases, by the Attic philosophers, specifically the Socratic school and especially Socrates himself.   I addressed this matter earlier this year in an essay about how Western academe has betrayed the very foundation of its venerable tradition, the first of a series that scrutinized the corruption of the various branches of the universities.   It is worth revisiting now as the media is once again telling us to blindly trust the experts as they impose all sorts of invasive restrictions on us in total disregard of our prescriptive and constitutional civil rights and basic freedoms in the name of keeping us safe.

If the message of the Socrates who has come down to us primarily through the writings of Plato could be summarized in one sentence, which, of course, it cannot, that sentence would be “don’t trust the experts”.   For Socrates’ career as a philosopher basically consisted of going around and pestering experts, those who claimed to have authoritative knowledge about courage, justice, piety and the like, with questions that demonstrated that the experts didn’t really know what they were talking about and didn’t possess the kind of knowledge they professed.   He was, in other words, someone who spent his entire life doing the exact opposite of what those who say “shut up and listen to the science” tell us to do when we question the climatologists’ prophecies of doom by pointing out holes in the theory of anthropogenic climate change or question the epidemiologists’ insistence that we must sacrifice all of our freedoms and necessary social interaction and put ourselves in house arrest for weeks and months at a time to prevent the spread of the Chinese bat flu.   

“Isn’t it true that human beings have historically thrived better in warmer periods than colder periods?”

“Isn’t it true that climate has been constantly changing through history and that this has affected how people live rather than the other way around?”

“What about that Danish study from this summer in which masks were found not to reduce the spread of the virus?”

“What about all the deaths that lockdowns cause?”

“Why should we believe that the same health authorities who support abortion and euthanasia are taking our freedoms away because they want to save lives?”

“Why all this hype about a virus that is non-lethal for well over 99 percent of people under 65 and in good health,  most of whom will experience only mild symptoms or none at all?”

The answer we hear to these questions and countless others like them is always “Shut up, listen to the science, and trust the experts”.

Some might raise the objection to my point that today’s experts differ from the ones to whom Socrates was, in his own words as recorded by Plato in the Apologia, a “gadfly”, in that they have science to back up their claims to authoritative knowledge.

Let us consider that argument and see whether it can bear up under scrutiny.

Science, although it bears the Latin word for knowledge as its name, is not synonymous with knowledge but is rather a specific type of knowledge.   The admirers of Modern science see the history of its development as one of unprecedented and exponential expansion of human knowledge to the benefit of the species.   This is not, however, the only way to look at it.   From a different perspective Modern science can be seen as a contraction rather than an expansion of knowledge.   Furthermore, it is rather difficult to deny that science has done harm to the species as well as good.

Whether science is an expansion or contraction of knowledge depends on what measuring stick you are using.   Allow me to illustrate.  Imagine two men with studies in their home in which their personal libraries are kept.   The one man keeps all of his books in a single bookcase.   The shelves are crammed full and overflowing.   The other man has several bookcases around the room, but none of them is full and there is plenty of space for other books.    Which of the two has the larger library?

The answer depends upon how you are determining library size.   If the measurement is in bookcases the second man obviously has the larger library.   If, however, we are measuring in number of books, the first man might have the larger library.   Indeed, for the sake of making the point of the illustration let us stipulate that he does have more books in his one bookcase than the other in his many.  Therefore the answer to the question of which has the larger library is different when size is measured by bookcases than by books.

Now here is how that illustration applies to science: pre-modern science was integrated into philosophy which concerned itself with the whole of reality.   Pre-modern science like Modern science, involved specialized knowledge of different aspects of reality, but, being integrated into philosophy as it was, it recognized the general knowledge of the whole that philosophy sought after to be the higher and greater knowledge, and therefore did not exclude any part of that whole as an area of interest for its more concentrated study.   The science that emerged from the transition into the Modern Age, by contrast, was far less integrated into philosophy, which itself was undergoing a radical transformation, and not, in my opinion, for the better.   Neither Modern science nor Modern philosophy shared the pre-modern hierarchical ranking of general knowledge of the whole as higher and superior to specialized knowledge of the parts.   Furthermore, Modern science narrowed the areas in which it was interested, excluding several parts or aspects of the whole of reality that pre-modern science had not so excluded.

In other words, when it comes to the parts of the whole of reality that science concerns itself with, Modern science is actually interested in less than pre-modern science.   This is often overlooked since Modern science has subdivided those fewer parts of reality that have retained its interest into multiple fields to facilitate its scrutiny of each.   Think of it as being like a food store that originally sold all different kinds of food – meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy, grains, etc. – then limited itself to fruit, but multiplied the kinds of fruit it offered, now including all the exotic varieties alongside every available type of the staple apples, oranges, pears, peaches and bananas.   Although it has actually narrowed what it has to offer, someone who only ever entered the store to buy fruit might miss this because for him the variety has increased.   The point is that when measured by the criteria of the portion of reality that Modern science takes an interest in compared with pre-modern science, the development of Modern science is clearly a contraction of knowledge rather than an expansion.

When it comes to the areas in which Modern science has retained an interest, it has, undeniably, expanded one type of knowledge about those areas, and that exponentially.   That type of knowledge is the kind that answers such questions as “How does this work?” and “What is this made of?”    That providing highly detailed answers to such questions in no way answers such questions as “what is this thing in itself?” and “what is the good of such things?” was beautifully illustrated by C. S. Lewis in the exchange on the nature of a star between Ramandu and Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and explained more prosaically in a number of his non-fictional writings.

The reason Modern science can answer the one type of question well and in great depth but is hopeless at answering the other type of question is the same reason why it is interested in some parts of the whole that is reality and not others.   Finding the answers to the first type of questions with regards to the areas in which it is interested serves the end of Modern science.   Finding the answers to the second type of questions does not serve that end.   Nor is there anything in the areas of reality which Modern science has excluded from its interest that would serve that end.

This is because the end of Modern science, that for which it seeks and strives, is not truth at all, but power and control.   As C. S. Lewis opened his lecture on “The Abolition of Man”, the third of the lectures transcribed and published together under the same title in 1943, “’Man’s conquest of Nature’ is an expression often used to describe the progress of applied science”.   Lewis’ entire lecture is well worth reading to understand the implications, positive and negative of this, as is the entire book in which it can be found and, for that matter, his treatment of the same subject in That Hideous Strength, the third and longest of his “Space Trilogy” in which theological and philosophical discussion is presented in the form of science fiction.   That this is the goal of Modern science, however, rests not merely on the assertion of one of its more distinguished critics.   We also have the word of one of its earliest advocates.   Sir Francis Bacon famously expressed the end of Modern science as the mission statement of his fictional Salomon’s House in his unfinished novel The New Atlantis (1626), “the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”

It is because this is its purpose that Modern science is interested only in those parts of reality which it can bend to serve the human will and only in the kind of knowledge that serves that purpose, such as what those things it wishes to bend and harness into service are made of and how they work.   Answers to the questions of what things are in themselves, what their good is, how they fit in to the larger whole of reality, and how they contribute to the good of that whole, are entirely irrelevant to that purpose, as indispensable as they are to Truth.   Indeed, true knowledge of the good of things in themselves and the part they play in the order of reality as a whole, would in many cases run counter to the goal of Modern science for it would identify a good for all things which is not imposed upon them by the will of man, and to which man is obligated to bend his will.

The history of Modern science itself demonstrates that truth is entirely irrelevant to it at the theoretical level.   Theory is the essential link between scientific fact gathering – observation and recording – and scientific application – the use of those facts to bend the nature of things into the service of the will of man.   It begins as hypothesis – an interpretive explanation of what has been observed – which, if it survives testing by experimentation, becomes theory, that is to say, an explanation that is accepted and taken to be true for the purpose of devising further hypotheses and developing practical applications.   This is the means whereby science has obtained its great success at manipulating the nature of things to serve man’s will.   This success, however, has never required that the theories underlying human invention actually be true.    Indeed, most if not all of what are considered to be Modern science’s greatest successes, are the culmination of a series of advancements, each based upon a theory that has subsequently been shown to be false.    Success for Modern science is measured by whether it works, not by whether it is true.   The philosophy of science took a major step towards acknowledging this in the twentieth century, when Sir Karl Popper successfully replaced “verifiability” with “falsifiability” as the litmus test of whether a theory is truly scientific or not.   To be scientific, Popper argued, a theory must be falsifiable, that is, susceptible to being shown to be false.   Logic, of course, would tell us that if a theory is capable of being shown to be false, it is, therefore false, and, indeed, Gordon H. Clark argued convincingly that all scientific theories are false, by the standards of logic, for they all involve the fallacy of asserting the consequent.

Now perhaps you are wondering whether any of this matters or not.   Since science presumably aims at using the mastery over nature it seeks to benefit mankind is not the question of whether it works all that really matters?  This objection would have more validity if everything science had accomplished had been beneficial.   Some things science has given us – the ability to preserve food longer for example – are unquestionably beneficial.   Other things science has given us – nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction – are decidedly not so beneficial, quite the opposite as a matter of fact.

This is directly related to everything we have seen about how Modern science has divorced its inquiries from an appreciation of things as they are in themselves, contemplation of the whole, and Truth as it was classically and traditionally understood.   A science that seeks only such knowledge as can be used to bend nature to man’s will is a science that recognizes no limits on man’s will.   Such a science is incapable of distinguishing between a good use of its mastery of nature and a bad use.   Goodness like Truth, from which it can be distinguished but never separated, is a transcendental, an element of the permanent order of reality that cannot be bent to serve human will but which requires man to bend his will instead to his own peril if he refuses.  Since Modern science is based upon an assertion of the will in rejection of these limitations it dooms itself to using its power in an evil way, as in the example given in the previous paragraph.

I offer the above as grounds for continuing the Socratic tradition of not trusting the experts.   Modern science, for the reasons given, is cause for regarding today’s experts as being less reliable than those of Socrates’ day, not more.  

Someone may, however, object that this does not apply to the medical experts we are being told to trust today because their science is devoted to the end of saving people’s lives and health and that this ensures that medical science cannot serve evil ends like the science that went into creating the nuclear bomb.   The response that jumps to mind is to point to all the harm and destruction done – small businesses going bankrupt, massive job losses, mental health breakdowns, alcohol, opioid and other addictions, suicides, the erosion of social capital, distrust of family, friends, neighbours, the development of a snitch culture, the trampling of basic freedom and constitutional rights, the cruel locking away of people in the last days of their lives from their loved ones, the brainwashing people into regarding such things as a friendly handshake or a warm hug as sources of contagion, the cancelling of weddings, birthday parties, holidays, and all the joys of life, forcing people to merely exist rather than truly live, etc. – by the lockdowns that so many of these medical experts have been demanding and imposing for the sake of preventing the spread of a disease that most often produces only mild symptoms, has over a 99 percent survival rate for those under 65-70 and in good health, and which poses a threat mostly to the very old and very sick.   Medical experts who would recommend such a thing demonstrate thereby that they are completely unworthy of our trust.

George Grant devoted his philosophical career to the contemplation of the significance of the transition from ancient to Modern thinking, focusing specifically on the shift from the view in which the permanent order of reality held us accountable to standards such as goodness, justice, and truth to the view in which the only “goodness”, “justice” and “truth” are values we impose on reality by bending it to our will.    He frequently quoted Robert Oppenheimer’s statement “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it” as encapsulating the thinking behind Modern technological science and showing why such thinking precluded bending and submitting to the order of the universe.   He contrasted this unfavourably with the old adage a posse ad esse non valet consequentia as epitomizing the older and wiser way of thinking.  He spoke and wrote frequently about the troubling paradox of freedom, wherein the prevalent liberalism of the Modern Age made freedom its highest value, but understood freedom as the unshackling of the will from the constraints of the order recognized by ancient wisdom, and in developing the science and technology necessary to so “free” the will as to make every desire attainable, created the conditions for unprecedented levels of social control that were eliminating freedom in the older sense of protected civil liberties and rights and ironically, in the name of freedom, were moving us closer to tyranny.   That medical science was as much a part of this problem as any other he recognized when he wrote:

The proliferating power of the medical profession illustrates our drive to new technologies of human nature.  This expanding power has generally been developed by people concerned with human betterment.

Yet nevertheless, the profession has become a chief instrument for tightening social control in the western world, as is made evident by the unity of the profession’s purpose with those of political administration and law enforcement, the complex organization of dependent professions it has gathered around itself, its taking over of the cure of the ‘psyche’, and the increasing correlation of psychiatry with a behaviourally and physiologically oriented psychology. It becomes increasingly necessary to adjust the masses to behave appropriately amidst such technological crises as those of population and pollution and life in the cities. (“Thinking About Technology”, in Technology and Justice, 1986, pp 16-17.

Posted by Gerry T. Neal

SCHADENFREUDE

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2019

Schadenfreude

On the fourth Sunday in Lent we were given a sermon on the “love thy enemy” passage in the Sermon on the Mount. While it is probably not entirely within the spirit of that passage to engage in schadenfreude over one’s enemies’ misfortunes, I find it impossible to resist doing so since this era of triumphant liberalism afford few opportunities for such to a man of the right.

The Liberal Party of Canada has, over the years, made itself odious to all sorts of Canadians but most consistently to two distinct groups who despise them for very different reasons. The old Tories of the kind frequently but erroneously called “Red,” (1) i.e., the ones who prize Canada’s British and Loyalist history, traditions, and heritage, her constitutional monarchy, Westminster parliamentary system of government, and Common Law, her ongoing ties to the British Commonwealth and who associate all of this with an older, more organic, more rooted, vision of society than modern, individualistic, commercialism see the Liberals, quite correctly, as a party of rootless, modernizers who can conceive of value in no terms other than those of a price tag and whose goal is to sell out the Dominion and everything for which she once stood to Yankee capitalism for a quick buck. On the other hand, the rugged, rural, inhabitants of the prairie provinces of the Canadian West whom the Liberals and their academic and media fellow travelers dismiss with “redneck” and other, worse, epithets, have long loathed the Grits as being a party of totalitarian socialists who a) tax them to death, b) ignore, or worse, aggravate, their economic difficulties, and c) display the same arrogant contempt towards them that the Obama/Clinton Democrats display towards middle and working class red state Americans. Both of these negative views of the Liberals are entirely valid. (2) Someone like myself, who has belonged to both groups simultaneously for all of his life – a Redneck Tory, would be one way of putting it, I suppose – has particularly good reason to look upon the Liberal Party with utter abhorrence.

The Liberal Party has always been bad but it has sunk to new depths of depravity under the current leadership of Captain Airhead who, more than any of his predecessors, has brought shame and disgrace upon the office of Her Majesty’s First Minister in this Dominion. Will Ferguson divided Canada’s Prime Ministers into two categories, “Boneheads” and “Bastards”, but Captain Airhead has the distinction of being both. Smug, arrogant, self-righteous and preening, all of his public statements and actions, before and after taking office, have been calculated to project, with the cooperation of a fawning media, a carefully crafted image of himself. Since that image was that of the opposite of, at first, his predecessor Stephen Harper, then later of American President Donald Trump, it has all along resembled a bad caricature of the worst sort of loony leftist. He began his term by trying to import the migrant crisis that has been threatening to inundate Europe and create a Camp of the Saints scenario for half of a decade, creating a miniature version of America’s southern border crisis on the 49th Parallel, and at the end of his term, signed an insane and evil United Nations accord on migration which in effect, amounted to an agreement to surrender the Dominion’s essential right to maintain and police her own borders. Any and all criticism of this, or, for that matter, any of his other policies, was met with accusations of “racism”. He used the federal summer jobs funding program to coerce employers into agreeing with abortion on demand, having previously evicted pro-lifers from the Liberal Party, and otherwise attempted to shove his “woke” notions down all Canadians throats by legislation, or at any rate Parliamentary motions, condemning “Islamophobia” and protecting the new found “right” of individuals to choose or even make up their own gender identity. Jumping on board the bandwagon of an environmentalist movement that had long ago lost sight of its original, legitimate, goal – the conservation and preservation for future generations of natural resources and aesthetics – and gone to seed on apocalyptic, end-of-the-world, alarmism, he sabotaged and destroyed Canada’s energy industry and then, just this year, pulled the world’s most tasteless April Fool’s prank, by slapping down a carbon tax that will accomplish nothing but a needless rise in the cost of living, which hurts the poor and the working class the most. All the while his extravagance with the public purse has made his father, previously noted for his record deficits, look like a model of budgetary austerity in comparison. Speaking of money, he had the audacity to take the image of our first – and greatest – Prime Minister, the man who spearheaded the Confederation project and led the Dominion for most of its first two decades, fighting tooth and nail to get the railroad built and prevent the country from splitting up and falling into the avaricious hands of the republic to our south, off of our ten dollar bill and replace it with that of a woman who achieved fame, decades after the fact thanks to the Liberals’ desperate sifting of Canadian history for an equivalent of the figures in America’s Civil Rights Movement, for sitting down in a theatre.

It has been with much joy and pleasure, therefore, that I have been watching Captain Airhead’s image and popularity implode over the past couple of months. If there has been a cloud amidst all the silver lining of the SNC-Lavalin Affair it is that it took an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, corruption scandal to bring about the collapse of his reputation after all the evils mentioned in the preceding paragraph failed to do so. Perhaps the best way to look at that is to regard it as a case of the straw finally breaking the humpy back of the camel. To briefly summarize the scandal, a large corporation that has been a significant contributor to Liberal Party funds and which is based in the home province of the Prime Minister has been under prosecution for bribing a foreign government and last year our government snuck a bill in with the budget that allows for slap-on-the-wrist treatment of white collar crimes of this nature. When Jody Wilson-Raybould was shifted out of her Cabinet position of Minister of Justice and Attorney General in January of this year, rumours began to circulate that this was because she had refused to give in to pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to apply the new rules retroactively to SNC Lavalin. As Jay Currie observed, the real scandal in all of this ought to have been the revelation that the government snuck legislation in to give their friends a break. Instead, what everyone jumped on was the compromise of an independent judiciary by inappropriate political interference in a prosecution. To put the same matter in Canadian rather than Yankee terms, as our press should have been doing all along although they have probably long ago forgotten what little they ever knew of Canadian civics, the rulings of the courts of the Queen-on-the-bench are not to be decided and dictated for political reasons by the ministers of the Queen-in-Council. Whether we speak Canadian or American it is a rotten and corrupt thing to do – and the Prime Minister’s being guilty of it would not have come as news to anyone still capable of remembering that we were not always at war with Eastasia. What, after all, did his inappropriate tweets following the Gerald Stanley jury acquittal last year constitute if not an unashamed and public display of such interference? Indeed, this was a far worse instance of such interference and one in which Jody Wilson-Raybould was equally guilty for it had all the appearance of promising changes to the jury selection process that would compromise such ancient principles as the right of the accused to presumption of innocence and the right of the accused – not the victim – to a trial of his peers and put in the place of the justice based on such principles, a primitive form of blood-based-vengeance, as if the Oresteia were being played out in reverse. It was at this point that Captain Airhead and the then-Justice Minister should both have received a summons to Rideau Hall and been told that Her Majesty no longer requires their services. Of course this didn’t happen and for that we ought to burn an effigy of William Lyon Mackenzie King annually for it was that, longest sitting Grit premier, who subverted the Westminster system and undermined the accountability of the Prime Minister’s Office turning it into a virtual dictatorship whenever there is a majority government..

As the SNC-Lavalin scandal developed, Captain Airhead’s team tried desperately to salvage their leader’s reputation, but their every effort, beginning with the self-immolation of Seymour Butts – my apologies to Matt Groening and his creative staff for appropriating what was originally a joke of theirs but I refuse to sully my own Christian name by admitting that it is shared by this man – was like adding fuel to the fire. Now, the very people who for the past four years swooned at the very mention of Captain Airhead’s name, are falling over themselves in their efforts to get as far away from him as possible. The scandal having broken on the eve of the next Dominion election things have gotten so bad for the Airhead Grits that they can think of nothing else to do than recycle the lame tactics that failed to win Hilary Clinton the last American presidential election by telling us that Andrew Scheer is courting the “far right” and, most hilariously since it has come a week after Robert Mueller announced that he could find no evidence that the Trump team had colluded with Russia, warning us about Russian interference in the upcoming election.

There is a lesson in this for Captain “Because it is 2015” Airhead if he is capable of learning it. Those who ride to the top on the crest of the wave of fashion, will crash and crash hard, when the tide goes out.Taylor Swift may very well have been right and she and whoever she was singing to at the time will “never go out of style”, but Justin, baby, you just ain’t her.

(1) This is due mainly to the socialist sympathies of George Grant and Eugene Forsey. While Grant attempted to argue that “socialism” was “conservative” his argument depended entirely upon a clever redefinition of socialism and he, like Forsey, acknowledged that this positive view of socialism was not that of the Tories as a group.

(2) This is true despite the fact that one view sees the Grits as being capitalist while the other sees them as being socialist. Capitalism and socialism are but two sides to the same coin which is the economy of the Modern Age. The true reactionary seeks wisdom, economic and otherwise, in the older traditions that predated the Modern Age. George Grant was a man who sought to do just that and this is reflected in his admirable criticism of capitalism but it was lamentable, pun intended, that he chose to stay within the limits of Modern thinking in using the term “socialism” for the opposite of where capitalism had gone wrong. Friedrich Hayek, on the other hand, was a man who made no effort whatsoever to think outside of the Modern box, and while he produced an otherwise admirable critique of socialism, could see it in no other terms than a return to pre-Modern feudalism, which it was not.

STATE OF THE DOMINION – 2018

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2018

State of the Dominion – 2018

Today, on the 151st anniversary of the founding of the Dominion of Canada, let us take a look at the state of the Dominion. We will start on a positive note – contrary to what liberals would like us to believe Canada still is the Dominion of Canada. This is because the Fathers of Confederation gave our country the title of Dominion – as a substitute for their original choice of Kingdom – and the name Canada. This happened decades before the word Dominion became a more general description of self-governing bodies within the Empire as it evolved into the Commonwealth. When the Liberals repatriated the British North America Act in 1982 and renamed it the Constitution Act they did not excise the section and article that titles our country Dominion (II.1) and so we remain the Dominion of Canada. The late, great, Canadian constitutional expert, the Honourable Eugene A. Forsey, was fond of pointing this out as one of the inadvertently positive results of the repatriation process of which he was overall, and quite rightly, critical. Another observation of Forsey’s is worth mentioning at this point – that the BNAA, albeit under a new name and with some bells and whistles added –remains our constitution. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not itself our constitution but a set of amendments to it. The common liberal notion that Pierre Trudeau gave us a “new constitution” in 1982 is a myth. Last, but not least, among the positives, Queen Elizabeth II does indeed still reign over our country as Head of State. It speaks very poorly of the intelligence of Justin Trudeau’s supporters that one of them chose to deride me for saying this in a recent essay even though it is an easily demonstrated statement of fact. Perhaps this liberal does not understand the difference between “reign” and “rule.”

Now we must turn to the negative side of the leger. Sadly, there is much more to be found here than on the positive side. There has been a growing tendency among true Canadian conservatives, i.e., those who wish to conserve the legacy of Confederation and the Loyalist tradition behind it, since the end of the Second World War to focus on the negative. This tendency stands in marked contrast to the more optimistic tone in the writings of the leading such Canadian conservative man of letters from the era that ended with the War, economist, political scientist, and humourist, Stephen Leacock. This is because the post-War conservatives have had much that is negative to focus on due to the success of a series of “revolutions within the form” that have been perpetrated by the Liberal Party. The first such revolution took place in the 1920s during the premiership of William Lyon Mackenzie King. John Farthing, in his posthumously published (1957) Freedom Wears a Crown, noted how this revolution seriously undermined Parliament’s ability to hold the government accountable leaving the Prime Minister and Cabinet with the near-dictatorial powers with which they have plagued Canada ever since. The book for which George Grant will forever be remembered, his Lament for a Nation, was published in 1965, two-years in to the second “revolution within the form” (1) that took place during the premierships of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. Lament was a jeremiad based upon the author’s conviction that the fall of the Diefenbaker premiership two years previously, due to its insistence on not allowing Canadian policy to be dictated by Washington D.C., spelled the failure of the Confederation Project of building a conservative country that could withstand the continental gravity pulling it towards the orbit of American liberalism. Diefenbaker himself sounded the alarm about the radical changes being introduced in the early years of the Pierre Trudeau premiership in his Those Things We Treasure: A Selection of Speeches on Freedom and Defence of Our Parliamentary Heritagepublished in 1972. The same year, historian Donald Creighton’s collection of essays – in many cases originally lectures – Towards the Discovery of Canada, was, if anything, more pessimistic in tone than Lament. Creighton, although the son of a Methodist minister, did not allow Christianity’s optimistic view of history as ultimately culminating in the Kingdom of God to moderate his nationalist pessimism in the way Grant did. Towards the end of the Trudeau premiership and the completion of the second revolution, Winnett Boyd, Kenneth McDonald, and Orville Gaines published a series of books under their BMG label demonstrating how Trudeau’s policies were further subverting Canada’s parliamentary form of government and Common Law rights and freedoms, moving us closer to Soviet Communism, and, in the final book in the series, Doug Collins’ Immigration: The Destruction of English Canada, deliberately engineering radical changes to the demographic makeup of English Canada and in the process unnecessarily importing racial strife that would make it impossible to maintain order without a more authoritarian, if not totalitarian, style of governing.

The fact that all of the above books, with the exception of Grant’s, have been allowed to go out of print and that the leadership of the present Conservative Party shows little to no interest in their contents is itself a good reason for negativity and pessimism among traditional Canadian conservatives.

Today, we are in the midst of the third “revolution within the form”, being carried out under the leadership of the son of the architect of the second, a man operating without the benefit of either brains or a brain trust, even as we continue to be hit with the repercussions of the second revolution. As an example of the latter, consider the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling in the Trinity Western University case. Trinity Western University is a conservative, evangelical, Christian university in British Columbia. It requires, as schools of this nature generally do, that its students agree to a Christian lifestyle covenant for the duration of their study. For some time now TWU has been working towards establishing a law school. While the law societies of most provinces have agreed to accredit the school and admit its graduates to the bar, the law societies of Ontario and BC have refused to do so. They consider TWU’s covenant to be discriminatory towards the alphabet soup gang, apparently holding the position that members of that group are incapable, unlike heterosexual singles who are also required to practice chastity by the same covenant, of refraining from acting upon their desires for the number of years it takes to get a law degree. The law societies’ decision has nothing to do with the quality of the legal education that would be available at the proposed school. What the law societies are doing is, ironically, exactly what they are complaining that TWU is doing – making their religious ethical convictions, in this case “thou shalt not discriminate”, into a standard that excludes others from membership in their community. There is a huge difference, however, in that the law societies are not the same kind of organization as TWU. TWU is a self-confessed, faith-based institution and the right of such institutions to require their members to adhere to the standards of their faith is well-established and time-honoured. The law societies are not institutions of that kind and have no such well-established and time-honoured right. The Supreme Court ought to have ruled in favour of TWU and prior to 1982 would have done so. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, however, transformed the Court into an agent of moral, social, and cultural revolution, which agrees with the law societies’ efforts to force TWU to abandon either its Christian principles or its efforts to establish a nationally-accredited law school, because it ultimately shares their Cultural Marxist agenda of replacing the Christian principles of the old Canada with the modern, secular, pluralistic ideals of the new.

To many liberals today it would come as news that Canada ever had Christian principles to begin with. Former Liberal Party strategist Warren Kinsella and Mike Harris – the journalist not the 22nd premier of Ontario – are among the liberals that I have seen claim that Canada is a secular country that believes in separation of church and state. This absurd claim confuses the Canadian political tradition with its American counterpart but Kinsella and Harris are hardly the first liberals to be so confused. The Liberal Interpretation of Canadian History – what Donald Creighton mockingly called “the Authorized Version” – has always been based upon the false notion that Canada’s story is a repeat of America’s story – a former colony struggling to gain independence from the British Empire – rather than the truth that the those who built our country deliberately chose not to go down that path but to build our country within the evolving Commonwealth on a foundation of loyalty and continuity. This truth does not sit well with liberals – but then no truth ever has.

It is not just the Supreme Court. Justin Trudeau, who duped the Canadian electorate into voting his party a majority government in 2015, has been another aggressive promoter of the Cultural Marxist agenda. Not that he possesses the intelligence to actually understand the theories of Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Theodore Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Derrida or Michel Foucault. Cultural Marxism seems to be instinctual with him. He has made it a policy, starting this year, that employers receiving grants to hire student workers under the government’s Summer Jobs program must attest to their agreement with Liberal Party ideals including his crackpot notion that women have a right to murder their unborn babies. In other words “orthodox Christians need not apply.” The best that can be said about this is that it is merely an attempt to use the taxpayers’ money to bribe the faithful into giving up their convictions rather than dragging them before Human Rights tribunals and fining them or forcing them to attend the re-education camps euphemistically known as “sensitivity training classes” if they refuse to do so. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this means that Trudeau is less of a soft-totalitarian than his father. It just means that these other methods of cramming far-left views down Canadians throats are being reserved for new battles, like his war against “transphobia” and “Islamophobia”, rather than ones seen by the Liberals as having been won long ago.

It is, of course, only orthodox believers in the religion of the old Canada that the Liberals intend to press to give up their traditional beliefs. Neo-conservatives have recently called attention to the fact that the Islamic Humanitarian Service of Kitchener, Ontario, whose Sheikh Shafiq Huda was recorded calling for violent action against Israel at a recent al-Quds day march in Toronto, has been approved for a grant under the Summer Jobs program despite its leader’s conduct being as out of sync with the ideals employers are expected to sign on to as the pro-life views of Christians. When the neo-conservatives accuse the Liberal government of hypocrisy, however, they miss the point altogether. The Liberal Party’s Cultural Marxist agenda is one of replacing the old Canada with the new. Christianity, the faith of the old Canada, has to be forced to bow the knee to the idols of the new. Practitioners of other religions do not have to because they are part of the “diversity” that is one of the chief of those idols. In the 2015 election campaign, Trudeau campaigned against the previous neo-conservative government’s use of the expression “barbaric cultural practices.” The practices in question – forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and the like – are in fundamental conflict with the feminism that Trudeau espouses but to call anything that people from other cultures do “barbaric” is to sin against diversity. While Trudeau wastes millions of our tax-dollars on schemes for promoting “gender equality” around the world, at home the only throats he will shove it down are those of orthodox Protestants and Catholics and traditional English and French Canadians. The neo-conservatives, since they share most of the same ideals as the liberals – their objection to “barbaric cultural practices” was based upon the inconsistency of those practices with egalitarian liberalism – are reduced to pointing out the inconsistencies in Liberal practice, having no resources with which to resist and combat the Liberals’ increasingly radical left-wing agenda.

A large part of Canada’s trade has always been with the United States. For decades, however, the old Canada resisted the Liberal Party’s call for free trade with the United States. There were several reasons for that. Confederation took place only a few years after the Republican Party had come to power in the United States and put into place Alexander Hamilton’s “American system” of growing a strong manufacturing base through tariff protectionism and internal infrastructure improvements. Sir John A. MacDonald’s Conservatives knew better than to waste their time trying to negotiate reciprocity with a country that was not interested in it and furthermore recognized that due to the larger population and economy of the United States a free trade arrangement would lead to the subjugation of Canada – economically, culturally, and perhaps eventually politically. Goldwin Smith, the nineteenth century Manchester School free-trader and Liberal intellectual, made no effort to hide the fact that this was exactly what he desired for Canada in his Canada and the Canadian Question(1891). Confederation, Smith maintained, was a mistake – the formation of an unnatural country against the natural north-south trade flow of the continent, an argument which was amply refuted by Harold Innis in The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History (1930) and Donald Creighton in The Commercial Empire of the St. Lawrence 1760-1850 (1937). Canada, Smith argued, should apply for entry into the United States. To allow this to happen would go against the very purpose of Confederation – uniting the provinces of British North America into a single country that could resist the expansionism of a United States that was preaching its “Manifest Destiny” to rule all of North America and which had threatened Canada with annexation more than once. The Tories introduced, therefore, their National Policy, which was a similar sort of protectionist nation-building to what the Republicans were engaged in south of the border at the time. In 1891 and again in 1911 Sir Wilfred Laurier sought election with promises of free trade – and both times he was soundly defeated. Sir John A. MacDonald, denouncing the “veiled treason” of reciprocity, defeated him in 1891 despite the collapse of his health that led to his death shortly after the election. In 1911 the poet Rudyard Kipling, in a front page editorial against reciprocity for the Montreal Daily Star that was reprinted across the Dominion wrote: “It is her own soul that Canada risks today. Once that soul is pawned for any consideration, Canada must inevitably conform to the commercial, legal, financial, social, and ethical standards which will be imposed on her by the sheer admitted weight of the United States” and the Canadian voting public evidently agreed. By 1988, however, Canada had already undergone the first two “revolutions within the form” and the objections to free trade were largely forgotten or regarded as having no abiding relevance in the late twentieth century. When the Free Trade Agreement was negotiated between Canada and the United States it was Brian Mulroney, the leader of what had been Sir John A. MacDonald’s party, that did the negotiating and signed the treaty into law. The Liberals were forced into temporarily disavowing their historic pro-free trade position in 1988, but they quickly resumed it when they returned to power led by Jean Chretien in time to oversee the evolution of the Free Trade Agreement into NAFTA. In the decades that followed, as free-trade opponents predicted, Canadian businesses were bought up by American ones and Canadians increasingly came to resemble Americans in the places they worked, shopped, and ate at. Many Canadians, however, seemed to think this was a small price to pay for cheap consumer goods and economic growth – a further indication of the Americanization of our culture feared by the Fathers of Confederation. Twenty-five years after the initial Free Trade Agreement, American-born Diane Francis of the Financial Post revived Goldwin Smith’s arguments with her Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country, demonstrating that the kind of annexionist thinking that had led the old Canada to fear free trade was not quite dead after all. For the history of the resistance against just such an outcome see David Orchard, The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. (1993, 1998)

We have just been reminded of another reason why free trade was considered unwise – that we would be that much worse off if free trade were entered into and then rescinded than if we never agreed to it and became dependent upon it to begin with. In 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States on a populist platform that included, among other things, a revival of the Republican Party’s old economic nationalism. Trump vowed to put the interests of his own country ahead of international and global concerns, promising that if he could not renegotiate NAFTA to his liking he would “scrap it.” The attitude Trudeau and his Trade Minister took, in entering into the renegotiation talks, was clearly not that of leaders who cared a fig about the interests and well-being of their country. They insisted on bringing into the talks all sorts of trendy, left-wing, nonsense that had no relevance to trade whatsoever but appealed to Trudeau’s international liberal fan base. Trump, evidently sick of having to put up with this, has begun slapping tariffs on Canada. Things were made much worse when, after the G7 Summit in which the leaders, including Trump, had agreed to a united communication, Trudeau seized the opportunity to gloat, provoking a barrage of insults from the American President and a hardening of his trade policies. In response, the Liberal government has declared that it will impose retaliatory tariffs against the United States, but this is not the same thing as protective tariffs incorporated into a larger National Policy as MacDonald had put in place. It amounts to a trade war being fought against a country with a much larger economy than ours by people who are fundamentally emotionally and intellectually incapable of placing what is best or even good for their own country ahead of their global, international, popularity. That is a recipe for disaster.

The Laurentian political class behind Trudeau has, behind its mask of indignation, been rejoicing over Trump’s verbal assaults on Trudeau because they have been bolstering up his support which had been declining drastically due to his own incompetence and egotism. The greatest fear of said political class, however, is of a populist revolt similar to the one that put Trump in power. That such is possible in Canada was demonstrated at the provincial level in Ontario with the election of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives and the decimation of Wynne’s Grits. The political class has every reason to fear because the arrogance and contempt they have displayed to ordinary Canadians has long exceeded even that with which Hillary Clinton dismissed ordinary Americans as a “basketful of deplorables.” In Canada, as in the United States, the most important issue over which the political class and the average citizen are at odds is immigration. In the 1960s the political classes of every nation within Western civilization adopted liberal views of immigration – that border laws should be lightly enforced, if at all, that immigrants should be accepted in larger numbers than ever before, and that restrictions based on race, religion, and ethnicity were not acceptable. Dissent from these views was condescendingly taken as evidence of irrational racial and cultural prejudices that would have to be eliminated through education. In Canada, the Diefenbaker Conservatives had removed racial and cultural restrictions on admission in the early 1960s, but the Liberals in the late 1960s gave the immigration system a complete overhaul. They introduced the points system of evaluating individual immigrant applications, a fair and ethnically neutral system, that nevertheless contained a large backdoor in the “family reunification” policy that allowed them to operate an ethnically biased policy under the guise of an ethnically neutral one. This policy, which Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau seemed to believe to be the solution to the existing tension between English and French Canada, was to make the country as diverse as possible as fast as possible. This was never a popular policy, as polling has always shown, and they took a particularly heavy-handed approach to dealing with dissent. (2) Laws which severely limited what could be said publicly in criticism of this were added to both the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Twice, to my knowledge, government agents actually helped found and lead neo-Nazi groups (the Canadian Nazi Party of the 1970s and the Heritage Front of the 1980s and 1990s) for the purpose of creating a public fear of resurgent Nazism that could be used to tar all criticism of unpopular liberal immigration with the Nazi brush. Under Brian Mulroney’s leadership the Conservatives refused to criticize any of this and indeed embraced it all. The result was that by the end of the 1980s anyone who expressed the same restrictionist views of immigration that Conservative Stephen Leacock had expressed in his final book While There is Time (1945), that Liberal leader William Lyon McKenzie King, who led the Dominion in World War II, had held, and that the Rev. J. S. Woodsworth, first leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation had defended in the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of his Strangers Within Our Gates (1909) was suspected of Hitlerist sympathies. Even Preston Manning’s neo-conservative/right-populist Reform Party refused to challenge the Laurentian class’s manufactured and imposed consensus.

Skip ahead to the present day. In the United States, Donald Trump, fighting against the political establishments of both American parties, has been trying to stop the flood of illegal immigrants into the United States across the Rio Grande. Justin Trudeau, however, last year tweeted an open invitation to all those rejected by the United States. Surely it does not require more than a modicum of intelligence to see that those rejected by another country are not the ideal pool from which to draw your own country’s immigrants? That thought appears never to have crossed Trudeau’s mind, however, obsessed as he is with his image as the “compassionate” anti-Trump. This is an image he has been cultivating since the election that brought him to power which happened to coincide with the year in which the plot of Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints came true and Europe was swamped with an invasion of those whose most effective weapon was Europe’s own liberal humanitarianism. Trudeau promised to bring thousands of these over here, which he did upon winning the election, after which he had his picture taken with them, and then promptly forgot about them as they were now the problem of ordinary tax-paying Canadians. After Trudeau’s ill-conceived open invitation tweet Canada suddenly found herself with her own brand new border crisis just like the American one. Trudeau and his Laurentian backers are deceiving themselves if they think the average Canadian is any more pleased with this than the average American.

Our political, academic, and media elite classes, fearing that they have built up a massive reservoir of resentment against their arrogantly imposed consensus which a populist reformer could easily tap into if he were willing to defy all their rules, have been going bananas with a Trump Derangement Syndrome that exceeds that of the American Left. Luckily for them no such reformer has yet appeared on the federal horizon. Unluckily for Canada, even if one were to appear, the best we could hope for would be that he would stop the third revolution dead in its tracks. What we really need is for the previous two revolutions to be rolled back and our country put back on the course set for it by the Fathers of Confederation.

Much as I would like it to, I am not going to be holding my breath waiting for that to happen. So, to avoid ending on a negative note, I will quote the thought with which George Grant ended his Lament fifty three years ago:

Beyond courage, it is also possible to live in the ancient faith, which asserts that changes in the world, even if they be recognized more as a loss than a gain, take place within an eternal order that is not affected by their taking place. Whatever the difficulty of philosophy, the religious man has been told that process is not all. “Tendabantque manus ripae ulterioris amore.” (3)

Happy Dominion Day,
God Save the Queen

(1) I have borrowed this expression from Garet Garrett’s essay “The Revolution Was.” Garrett used it to describe the American New Deal in the 1930s.

(2) Not coincidentally, the men who dreamed up this draconian scheme of silencing their opponents were admirers of the totalitarian police state of the Soviet Union. According to Elizabeth Bentley’s testimony to an American Congressional Subcommittee about the Soviet spy ring she had operated in the United States during the Second World War, Lester Pearson, who was attached to the Canadian embassy in Washington at the time, was one of her informers. This part of his ignoble career is often overlooked because of his toadyish attitude towards the Soviets’ rivals, the Americans, as when he engineered Diefenbaker’s downfall to please Kennedy, but when the man won his Nobel Peace Prize in the 1950s for selling out Britain, whose side Canada had traditionally always taken as a family matter, along with France and Israel, it was to both the United States and the Soviet Union that he had prostituted himself. Pierre Trudeau’s sympathies with Communism were well known. He led the Canadian delegation to a Communist conference in Moscow back during Stalin’s dictatorship, prior to his disastrous entry into Canadian federal politics as editor of the far left Cité Libre he engineered the Marxist revolt against the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec known as the Quiet Revolution for which, for some reason, he was never excommunicated, and while in power federally made no attempt to hide his admiration for Mao and Castro. Since Pearson and Trudeau’s leadership of the Liberal Party took place smack in the middle of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union both men were able to fend off criticism over all of this by writing off anti-Communism as a kind of “American paranoia” as if the old Canada had not been solidly anti-Bolshevik long before the Cold War, and indeed, before the period just prior to the Cold War, when the American President whose policies ensured that the Second World War would end with the Soviet conquest of Eastern Europe, was kissing Stalin’s backside.

(3) The Latin quotation is from the sixth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. The English translation given by Grant in a footnote is “They were holding their arms outstretched in love toward the further shore.”

Captain Airhead Strikes Again!

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

SATURDAY, JUNE 24, 2017

 

Captain Airhead Strikes Again!

It has been almost two years since a gullible Canadian electorate was duped into giving the Liberal Party a majority government in the last Dominion election. This means that that government, headed by Captain Airhead, is approaching the half-way point in its four year mandate. It has recently been reported that the Grits have passed less than half the legislation in that time than the previous Conservative government had. This is not surprising. The Prime Minister has been far too busy flying around the world, handing out money, and looking for photo-ops, all at the taxpayers’ expense, to actually do the job of governing the country. John Ibbitson, writing in the Globe and Mailmade the observation that “the amount of legislation a Parliament creates matters less than the quality of that legislation.” As true as that is, the quality of the bills the Trudeau Grits have passed is enough to make one wish that they had, the moment they were sworn in, called a term-length recess of Parliament and sent every member on a four-year paid Caribbean vacation.

One example of this is Bill C-16, which passed its third-reading in the Senate on Thursday, June 15th and which was signed into law by the Governor-General on Monday, June 19th. Bill C-16 is a bill which amends both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. To the former it adds “gender identity or expression” to the list of grounds of discrimination prohibited by the Act. To the latter it adds the same to Section 318, the “hate propaganda” clause of the Code. The Canadian Human Rights Act and Section 318 of the Criminal Code were both inflicted upon us by the present premier’s father in his long reign of terror and it would have been better had the present Parliament passed legislation striking both out of existence rather than amending them to increase the number of ways in which they can be used to persecute Canadians. When, a century and a half ago, the Fathers of Confederation put together the British North America Act which, coming into effect on July 1, 1867, established the Dominion of Canada as a new nation within what would soon develop into the British Commonwealth of Nations, their intention was to create a free country, whose citizens, English and French, as subjects of the Crown, would possess all the freedoms and the protection of all the rights that had accumulated to such in over a thousand years of legal evolution. The CHRA and Section 318 do not belong in such a country – they are more appropriate to totalitarian regimes like the former Soviet Union, Maoist China, and the Third Reich.

The CHRA, which Parliament passed in 1977 during the premiership of Pierre Trudeau, prohibits discrimination on a variety of grounds including race, religion, sex, and country of origin. It applies in a number of different areas with the provision of goods and services, facilities and accommodations, and employment being chief among them. Those charged with enforcing this legislation have generally operated according to an unwritten rule that it is only discrimination when whites, Christians, and males are the perpetrators rather than the victims, but even if that were not the case, the very idea of a law of this sort runs contrary to the basic principles of our traditional freedoms and system of justice. It dictates to employers, landlords, and several other people, what they can and cannot be thinking when conducting the everyday affairs of their business. It establishes a special police force and court – the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal respectively – to investigate and sit in judgement upon those private thoughts and prejudices. Those charged do not have the protection of the presumption of innocence because the CHRA is classified as civil rather than criminal law.

There are more protections for defendants under Section 318 because it is part of the Criminal Code but it is still a bad law. Incitement of criminal violence was already against the law long before Section 318 was added. It is not, therefore, the incitement of criminal violence per se that Section 318 was introduced to combat, for the existing laws were sufficient, but the thinking and verbal expression of thoughts that the Liberal Party has decided Canadians ought not to think and speak.

Bill C-16 takes these bad laws and makes them even worse. By adding “gender identity and expression” to the prohibited grounds of discrimination the Liberals are adding people who think and say that they belong to a gender that does not match up with their biological birth sex to the groups protected from discrimination. Now, ordinarily when people think they are something they are not, like, for example, the man who thinks he is Julius Caesar, we, if we are decent people, would say that this is grounds for pity and compassion, but we would not think of compelling others to go along with the delusion. Imagine a law that says that we have to regard a man who thinks he is Julius Caesar as actually being the Roman general! Such a law would be crazier than the man himself!

Bill C-16 is exactly that kind of law. Don’t be fooled by those who claim otherwise. The discrimination that trans activists, the Trudeau Liberals and their noise machine, i.e., the Canadian media, and everyone else who supports this bill, all want to see banned, is not just the refusing of jobs or apartments to transgender people but the refusal to accept as real a “gender identity” that does not match up with biological sex. Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto who has been fighting this sort of nonsense at the provincial level for years, and who testified against the Bill before the Senate committee that reviewed it, has warned that it could lead to someone being charged with a “hate crime” for using the pronoun – “he” or “she” – that lines up with a person’s birth sex, rather than some alternative pronoun made-up to designate that person’s “gender identity.” Supporters of the bill have mocked this assertion but we have seen this sort of thing before – progressives propose some sort of measure, someone points out that the measure will have this or that negative consequence, the progressives ridicule that person, and then, when the measure is passed and has precisely the negative consequences predicted, say that those negatively affected deserved it in the first place.

Indeed, progressive assurances that Peterson’s fears are unwarranted ring incredibly hollow when we consider that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has said that “refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity” would be considered discrimination under a similar clause in Ontario’s provincial Human Rights Code, if it were to take place in a context where discrimination in general is prohibited, such as the workplace. Bruce Pardy, Professor of Law at Queen’s University, writing in the National Post, explains that this new expansion of human rights legislation goes way beyond previous “hate speech” laws in its infringement upon freedom of speech. “When speech is merely restricted, you can at least keep your thoughts to yourself,” Pardy writes, but “Compelled speech makes people say things with which they disagree.”

It is too much, perhaps, to expect Captain Airhead to understand or care about this. Like his father before him – and indeed, every Liberal Prime Minister going back to and including Mackenzie King – he has little to no appreciation of either the traditional freedoms that are part of Canada’s British heritage or the safeguards of those freedoms bequeathed us by the Fathers of Confederation in our parliamentary government under the Crown. For a century, Liberal governments have whittled away at every parliamentary obstacle to the absolute power of a Prime Minister backed by a House majority. The powers of the Crown, Senate, and the Opposition in the House to hold the Prime Minister and his Cabinet accountable have all been dangerously eroded in this manner. Last year the present government attempted to strip Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition of what few means it has left of delaying government legislation. The motion in question was withdrawn after the Prime Minister came under strong criticism for behaving like a spoiled, bullying, petty thug in the House but it revealed his character. These Opposition powers are a necessary safeguard against Prime Ministerial dictatorship but Captain Airhead, the son of an admirer of Stalin and Mao, regards them, like the freedoms they protect, as an unacceptable hindrance to his getting his way as fast as he possibly can. Years ago, George Grant wrote that the justices of the American Supreme Court in Roe v Wade had “used the language of North American liberalism to say yes to the very core of fascist thought – the triumph of the will.” This is also the modus operandi of Captain Airhead and the Liberal Party of Canada.