Captain Airhead Throws Off His Mask and Stomps it Into the Ground

  Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Captain Airhead Throws Off His Mask and Stomps it Into the Ground

 Before he became Prime Minister, Captain Airhead was asked about what government he admired the most.   His answer was to praise the “basic dictatorship” of Red China.

This past week he has demonstrated, yet again, that this was not just him saying something stupid off the cuff.   It is how he actually thinks.    It is not like we had no warning.

The week prior to that, Matt Taibbi had said that this was his Ceaușescu moment.    This was in reference to the final days of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu who, as the Iron Curtain was crumbling, Communism was in retreat, and his populace were uniting against him, clung to the delusion that he was secure in power and could do whatever he wanted.   It would appear that Captain Airhead has decided to make this his Tiananmen Square moment instead.   It is astonishing that someone as focused on his image as Captain Airhead – his image is all that there is to him, he has no substance whatsoever – would think this a good move.

In a bid to upgrade himself from Captain Airhead to Generalissimo Airhead, he began the week on St. Valentine’s Day by announcing that he was invoking the Emergency Measures Act to crush a peaceful protest.   The Freedom Convoy protest was initiated by long-haul truckers a few weeks ago when, as governments around the world began easing bat flu restrictions, and provincial governments began to talk of doing the same, Captain Airhead decided to do the opposite.   His Health Minister announced that he would be talking with provincial governments about imposing universal vaccine mandates.   The government of Lower Canada then took the step of announcing that it would introduce a significant tax on the unvaccinated.   Even as this was going on, the Omicron variant was disproving the government’s claims that vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic and that the unvaccinated are to blame for how long it has gone on.   Meanwhile Captain Airhead removed, not a restriction, but an exemption to a restriction – the exemption for long-haul truck drivers to the vaccine mandate for crossing the border with the USA.   There was no reasonable justification for this.   It was just Captain Airhead, like the current occupant of the White House who did the same, being a dick.   The next thing you know, truckers descended on Ottawa in the largest convoy in history, parked their trucks along Wellington Street where Parliament is located, and announced their intention to not leave until all the basic Charter rights and freedoms that had been curtailed during the pandemic had been restored.

Remember that.   The Freedom Convoy was a single issue protest.    That issue is freedom which is not, as the idiots at the CBC tried to claim, a codeword for something nefarious, racist, and extremist.   Freedom is itself a basic right, and specific freedoms are identified as “fundamental” in the second section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   Each of these has been severely curtailed by public health order over the last two years.   Vaccine mandates – telling people that they have to agree to have a foreign substance injected into their veins or lose their jobs, livelihoods, and everything if they don’t – are the biggest affront to freedom we have seen in the name of public health yet.    The freedoms the Freedom Convoy wants restored, not just for themselves but for all Canadians, are these freedoms, freedoms supposedly guaranteed by our constitution, spelled out in the Charter the adding of which to our constitution, Captain Airhead’s father oversaw.    Captain Airhead thinks very little of freedom.   Just before the Freedom Convoy started a video of an interview he had given a Lower Canadian television station last September before the last Dominion election resurfaced.   In it he hurled all sorts of abuse at people who believe that they should be free to decide for themselves what they put in their bodies and actually suggested that we should be asking whether we should tolerate such people as a society.   

The Freedom Convoy has been, despite Captain Airhead’s claim to the contrary, a peaceful protest.   The truckers and the massive number of other Canadians who turned up to support them did not engage in the sort of violent and destructive behaviour that is typical of the kind of protests Captain Airhead endorses, like anti-pipeline environmentalist protests, Black Lives Matters riots, or the Cultural Maoist Year Zero assault on Canadian history that took place last summer.   The most violent incident until this week was when, during a related protest in Winnipeg, somebody drove his vehicle into the crowd.    This person was an Antifa thug, attacking the protestors, not the protestors assaulting anybody else.

Note that I said “until this week”.   There has been more violence this week, but once again it was violence perpetrated against the protestors rather than by them.    This time it was violence by the state.     On Friday, as Captain Airhead suspended the Parliamentary debate on his illegal power grab – and it is illegal, because even if he manages to get enough votes in Parliament to confirm it the situation does not meet the requirements of the Emergency Measures Act itself for its own invocation – he sent his stormtroopers in to crush those protesters who were speaking out for all Canadians who still believe that their freedom belongs to them and is not the Prime Minister’s to give and take away at will.    Ottawa police, armed with riot gear, descended upon the protestors on horseback, trampling and beating them.    Journalists like Andrew Lawton who were there reporting on this violent crackdown on  peaceful protestors were also attacked with pepper spray by the police.   Indeed, the next morning a journalist, Alexa Lavoie was clubbed by the police and shot in the leg with a gun loaded with tear gas.   No, contrary to what the Ottawa police and legacy media are saying, the police are not acting in self defence.

The weekend prior, GiveSendGo, the crowdfunding platform that the Freedom Convoy had turned to after GoFundMe, at the behest of Captain Airhead, had cancelled their fundraiser and announced that they would be giving the money to other causes instead (backing down on this and refunding the donors only when threatened with fraud investigations by American authorities) had been hacked,   The hacked information on the donors was then published, in some cases on social media by people like Captain Airhead’s disgraced former adviser Butts, in others by media organizations sympathetic to Captain Airhead, including the Ottawa Citizen, the Washington Post, and even the Crown broadcaster the CBC.   Predictably this led to donors being harassed and threatened by woke goons and in some cases fired and forced to close their businesses.    The hacking and releasing of hacked information is illegal in itself, of course, and in this case it is also a huge act of violence – incitement – against the protestors – and their supporters – which can be laid at Captain Airhead’s feet.    It failed to accomplish what was presumably Captain Airhead’s intention – bolstering his claim that the protest is an insurrection on the part of Nazis funded by foreign organizations and governments.   The hacked data instead revealed that while there were more American donors, most of the money had come from Canadians, most of the donations were small, and the larger donations were from people who cannot be credibly accused of being the sort of people Captain Airhead claims were funding the Convoy.

His other attempt at backing up his false claims against the protestors by trying to tie them to a cache of arms captured near Coutts failed as well.   The people with the weapons were not part of the main body of the Coutts border blockade, which was peacefully resolved without the use of Captain Airhead’s extra powers, and when Captain Airhead’s new Public Safety Minister attempted to make the connection between the armed group and the Freedom Convoy organizers he was unable to do so convincingly when faced with tough questions from the media.     

Meanwhile in Parliament this week, Captain Airhead and the ministers under him dodged questions about the justification for their actions by giving non-answers, telling outright lies, attacking the members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition collectively and individually, or simply walking out of the House.   

None of this behaviour on his part should surprise anyone.   Even if his remarks about China’s “basic dictatorship” were taken as a poor joke the fact that the man is a control freak, who thinks he can do whatever he wants, who has no shame whatsoever, who will shed false tears about the misdeeds, supposed and actual, of past Canadian leaders, but who never gives a real apology for anything he has done wrong himself has been evident throughout his premiership.   Whenever he praises our “democracy” by “democracy” he means “elected dictatorship”.   Several years ago he bailed out the Crown broadcaster, the CBC, and the larger privately-owned legacy media companies, to the tune of billions of dollars.    When he did so he cited the importance of a free media in a democracy.   He did so with a straight face.   The effect of his bailout, of course, was that the media in Canada became anything but free.  The legacy media, Crown and private, had long had a Liberal bias, but now they began to resemble the sycophantic press of North Korea.   A free media is important to a functioning democracy because it keeps tabs on the government, reports their misdoings, and calls them out.   Captain Airhead has taken a most adversarial attitude towards the few  private media companies who continue to do this.   He has several times banned them from election debates – the courts had to overrule him.   Clearly what Captain Airhead means by a  free media is a media controlled by him and free of dissent from his views.   Such a media is indeed important to “democracy” in his sense of “elected dictatorship”.   

When Canada was founded, the Fathers of Confederation made sure to bestow upon us the best form of government the world has ever known, the parliamentary monarchy system, under which personal freedom has historically flourished like under none other.   It has been almost a century since the first attempt by a Liberal Prime Minister – William Lyon Mackenzie King – to subvert the sovereignty of Crown-in-Parliament and turn the Prime Minister’s Office into a de facto elected dictatorship.   This was a serious assault on our constitution which has had lasting damage, but Mackenzie King’s dictatorial instincts were mild in comparison to those of the first Prime Minister Trudeau, who never met a Communist dictator he didn’t like.    Captain Airhead, however, makes his father look like a humble man with an abhorrence of the abuse of government power by comparison.

By suspending Parliamentary debate on the day he ordered a violent crackdown on a peaceful protest he has made it impossible to conceal his true nature any longer, not that it was particularly well concealed before.    Those who cannot see him for what he is now, never will.    Indeed, those who cannot see him for what he is now, cannot see anything at all. —

Before he became Prime Minister, Captain Airhead was asked about what government he admired the most.   His answer was to praise the “basic dictatorship” of Red China.

This past week he has demonstrated, yet again, that this was not just him saying something stupid off the cuff.   It is how he actually thinks.    It is not like we had no warning.

The week prior to that, Matt Taibbi had said that this was his Ceaușescu moment.    This was in reference to the final days of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu who, as the Iron Curtain was crumbling, Communism was in retreat, and his populace were uniting against him, clung to the delusion that he was secure in power and could do whatever he wanted.   It would appear that Captain Airhead has decided to make this his Tiananmen Square moment instead.   It is astonishing that someone as focused on his image as Captain Airhead – his image is all that there is to him, he has no substance whatsoever – would think this a good move.

In a bid to upgrade himself from Captain Airhead to Generalissimo Airhead, he began the week on St. Valentine’s Day by announcing that he was invoking the Emergency Measures Act to crush a peaceful protest.   The Freedom Convoy protest was initiated by long-haul truckers a few weeks ago when, as governments around the world began easing bat flu restrictions, and provincial governments began to talk of doing the same, Captain Airhead decided to do the opposite.   His Health Minister announced that he would be talking with provincial governments about imposing universal vaccine mandates.   The government of Lower Canada then took the step of announcing that it would introduce a significant tax on the unvaccinated.   Even as this was going on, the Omicron variant was disproving the government’s claims that vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic and that the unvaccinated are to blame for how long it has gone on.   Meanwhile Captain Airhead removed, not a restriction, but an exemption to a restriction – the exemption for long-haul truck drivers to the vaccine mandate for crossing the border with the USA.   There was no reasonable justification for this.   It was just Captain Airhead, like the current occupant of the White House who did the same, being a dick.   The next thing you know, truckers descended on Ottawa in the largest convoy in history, parked their trucks along Wellington Street where Parliament is located, and announced their intention to not leave until all the basic Charter rights and freedoms that had been curtailed during the pandemic had been restored.

Remember that.   The Freedom Convoy was a single issue protest.    That issue is freedom which is not, as the idiots at the CBC tried to claim, a codeword for something nefarious, racist, and extremist.   Freedom is itself a basic right, and specific freedoms are identified as “fundamental” in the second section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   Each of these has been severely curtailed by public health order over the last two years.   Vaccine mandates – telling people that they have to agree to have a foreign substance injected into their veins or lose their jobs, livelihoods, and everything if they don’t – are the biggest affront to freedom we have seen in the name of public health yet.    The freedoms the Freedom Convoy wants restored, not just for themselves but for all Canadians, are these freedoms, freedoms supposedly guaranteed by our constitution, spelled out in the Charter the adding of which to our constitution, Captain Airhead’s father oversaw.    Captain Airhead thinks very little of freedom.   Just before the Freedom Convoy started a video of an interview he had given a Lower Canadian television station last September before the last Dominion election resurfaced.   In it he hurled all sorts of abuse at people who believe that they should be free to decide for themselves what they put in their bodies and actually suggested that we should be asking whether we should tolerate such people as a society.   

The Freedom Convoy has been, despite Captain Airhead’s claim to the contrary, a peaceful protest.   The truckers and the massive number of other Canadians who turned up to support them did not engage in the sort of violent and destructive behaviour that is typical of the kind of protests Captain Airhead endorses, like anti-pipeline environmentalist protests, Black Lives Matters riots, or the Cultural Maoist Year Zero assault on Canadian history that took place last summer.   The most violent incident until this week was when, during a related protest in Winnipeg, somebody drove his vehicle into the crowd.    This person was an Antifa thug, attacking the protestors, not the protestors assaulting anybody else.

Note that I said “until this week”.   There has been more violence this week, but once again it was violence perpetrated against the protestors rather than by them.    This time it was violence by the state.     On Friday, as Captain Airhead suspended the Parliamentary debate on his illegal power grab – and it is illegal, because even if he manages to get enough votes in Parliament to confirm it the situation does not meet the requirements of the Emergency Measures Act itself for its own invocation – he sent his stormtroopers in to crush those protesters who were speaking out for all Canadians who still believe that their freedom belongs to them and is not the Prime Minister’s to give and take away at will.    Ottawa police, armed with riot gear, descended upon the protestors on horseback, trampling and beating them.    Journalists like Andrew Lawton who were there reporting on this violent crackdown on  peaceful protestors were also attacked with pepper spray by the police.   Indeed, the next morning a journalist, Alexa Lavoie was clubbed by the police and shot in the leg with a gun loaded with tear gas.   No, contrary to what the Ottawa police and legacy media are saying, the police are not acting in self defence.

The weekend prior, GiveSendGo, the crowdfunding platform that the Freedom Convoy had turned to after GoFundMe, at the behest of Captain Airhead, had cancelled their fundraiser and announced that they would be giving the money to other causes instead (backing down on this and refunding the donors only when threatened with fraud investigations by American authorities) had been hacked,   The hacked information on the donors was then published, in some cases on social media by people like Captain Airhead’s disgraced former adviser Butts, in others by media organizations sympathetic to Captain Airhead, including the Ottawa Citizen, the Washington Post, and even the Crown broadcaster the CBC.   Predictably this led to donors being harassed and threatened by woke goons and in some cases fired and forced to close their businesses.    The hacking and releasing of hacked information is illegal in itself, of course, and in this case it is also a huge act of violence – incitement – against the protestors – and their supporters – which can be laid at Captain Airhead’s feet.    It failed to accomplish what was presumably Captain Airhead’s intention – bolstering his claim that the protest is an insurrection on the part of Nazis funded by foreign organizations and governments.   The hacked data instead revealed that while there were more American donors, most of the money had come from Canadians, most of the donations were small, and the larger donations were from people who cannot be credibly accused of being the sort of people Captain Airhead claims were funding the Convoy.

His other attempt at backing up his false claims against the protestors by trying to tie them to a cache of arms captured near Coutts failed as well.   The people with the weapons were not part of the main body of the Coutts border blockade, which was peacefully resolved without the use of Captain Airhead’s extra powers, and when Captain Airhead’s new Public Safety Minister attempted to make the connection between the armed group and the Freedom Convoy organizers he was unable to do so convincingly when faced with tough questions from the media.     

Meanwhile in Parliament this week, Captain Airhead and the ministers under him dodged questions about the justification for their actions by giving non-answers, telling outright lies, attacking the members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition collectively and individually, or simply walking out of the House.   

None of this behaviour on his part should surprise anyone.   Even if his remarks about China’s “basic dictatorship” were taken as a poor joke the fact that the man is a control freak, who thinks he can do whatever he wants, who has no shame whatsoever, who will shed false tears about the misdeeds, supposed and actual, of past Canadian leaders, but who never gives a real apology for anything he has done wrong himself has been evident throughout his premiership.   Whenever he praises our “democracy” by “democracy” he means “elected dictatorship”.   Several years ago he bailed out the Crown broadcaster, the CBC, and the larger privately-owned legacy media companies, to the tune of billions of dollars.    When he did so he cited the importance of a free media in a democracy.   He did so with a straight face.   The effect of his bailout, of course, was that the media in Canada became anything but free.  The legacy media, Crown and private, had long had a Liberal bias, but now they began to resemble the sycophantic press of North Korea.   A free media is important to a functioning democracy because it keeps tabs on the government, reports their misdoings, and calls them out.   Captain Airhead has taken a most adversarial attitude towards the few  private media companies who continue to do this.   He has several times banned them from election debates – the courts had to overrule him.   Clearly what Captain Airhead means by a  free media is a media controlled by him and free of dissent from his views.   Such a media is indeed important to “democracy” in his sense of “elected dictatorship”.   

When Canada was founded, the Fathers of Confederation made sure to bestow upon us the best form of government the world has ever known, the parliamentary monarchy system, under which personal freedom has historically flourished like under none other.   It has been almost a century since the first attempt by a Liberal Prime Minister – William Lyon Mackenzie King – to subvert the sovereignty of Crown-in-Parliament and turn the Prime Minister’s Office into a de facto elected dictatorship.   This was a serious assault on our constitution which has had lasting damage, but Mackenzie King’s dictatorial instincts were mild in comparison to those of the first Prime Minister Trudeau, who never met a Communist dictator he didn’t like.    Captain Airhead, however, makes his father look like a humble man with an abhorrence of the abuse of government power by comparison.

By suspending Parliamentary debate on the day he ordered a violent crackdown on a peaceful protest he has made it impossible to conceal his true nature any longer, not that it was particularly well concealed before.    Those who cannot see him for what he is now, never will.    Indeed, those who cannot see him for what he is now, cannot see anything at all. — Gerry T. Neal
Labels: Alexa Lavoie, Andrew Lawton, Freedom Convoy, GiveSendGo, Justin Trudeau, Matt Taibbi, Nicolae Ceaușescu, Pierre Trudeau, Tiananmen Square, William Lyon Mackenzie King

Canada’s “Conservatives”, Put Your Sabres Away and Give Your Heads a Shake

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Canada’s “Conservatives”, Put Your Sabres Away and Give Your Heads a Shake

When Erin O’Toole was ousted as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Candice Bergen – not the Murphy Brown actress, the Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar – was made interim leader, it began to look, much to my surprise, like there might be some hope for the party after all.   While the Freedom Convoy protest was underway in Ottawa, the Conservatives led by Bergen actually did their job as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition for the first time since Captain Airhead became Prime Minister.   They dug in and stood on principle, calling him, the Prime Minister that is, to account for his inflammatory and entirely inappropriate response to the protest, and for his dangerous and illegal invoking of the Emergency Measures Act to crush the protest.   Then, as Captain Airhead’s tyrannical power grab was eclipsed by a crisis on the international stage, they did something so stupid that it completely erased the credit they had earned over the previous weeks.    They supported the government in its move to hinder Canadians from accessing information about the crisis other than that spun from an anti-Russia perspective and urged the government to expel the Russian ambassador.   By doing the former, they adopted the same condescending attitude towards Canadians that we have come to expect from Captain Airhead’s Grits and Jimmy Dhaliwal’s anti-working class socialists, i.e., the attitude of “you cannot be trusted to examine all the information available and come to an intelligent decision for yourselves so we will control what you can see and hear and tell you what to think”.   By doing the latter, they were essentially asking the Prime Minister to declare war on Russia.

Captain Airhead does not need this sort of crazy advice from Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.   He gets enough of it from his deputy prime minister.   The only reason, other than the Lord’s command to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” for not wanting the ground to immediately open up underneath Captain Airhead and drop him screaming into the abyss, is the very practical reason that should that occur Chrystia Freeland would take his place.   Of all the ministers of the Cabinet, yes, including Captain Airhead himself, she is by far the worst.     Since that Cabinet includes such creeps as Bill Blair, Jean-Yves Duclos, Steven Guilbeault, Patty Hajdu, David Lametti and Marco Mendicino that is saying a lot. Moreover she is herself at her absolute worst when it comes to anything having to do with Russia, Ukraine and geopolitics in general., although she is almost as abysmal with regards to her actual current portfolio which is finance.

The worst cabinet minister

By offering the Prime Minister this advice and taking the stance they are taking the Conservatives are acting as if Stephen Harper were still their leader.   Presumably, they would not object to this characterization and regard it as a compliment.   It is not intended as such.   Stephen Harper was the best Prime Minister the Dominion has had since 1963 but this is not saying much.   The entire lot of post-Diefenbaker Prime Ministers have been terrible.   Harper was merely the least vile of them.  Even so he was bad enough that this writer vowed never to vote Conservative again as long as he led the party, intending, since the other options at the time were much worse, to follow the advice of the late, great, P. J. O’Rourke, i.e., “don’t vote, it only encourages the bastards”.    Harper had his good qualities, and his bad qualities.   What can be seen of Harper on display in the present hawkish attitude of the Conservatives towards Russia is one of his worst traits.

Harper liked to boss other countries around and self-righteously lecture them about their internal affairs and their relationships with their neighbours.   This is a trait he shared with Captain Airhead.   Granted, there are a couple of big differences in the manner in which they did this.   Harper, for the most part, only lectured other countries on serious matters.   Captain Airhead lectures other governments for not being “woke” enough, that is to say, not conforming with the latest ridiculous and self-righteous form of identity politics promoted by the Cultural Maoists who dominate academe and the media, both news and entertainment.   Harper’s style was also radically different from Captain Airhead’s.   Harper came across as someone who was trying to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s advice “talk softly and carry a big stick” but miscalculating the softness of his tone while hoping that nobody would notice that he didn’t have the big stick.   Captain Airhead’s style is much more clownish than this.   It summons up the image of a scrappy little chihuahua running up to a much bigger dog that could easily bite his head off and obnoxiously yipping in its face before running to hide behind a big bruiser of a bulldog, with the bulldog representing either the “international community” acting in concert, or the United States.   It is not a good image for a leader of our country.

If even a tenth of what we have been fed by the newsmedia about the Russian invasion of Ukraine is reliable – and that is a big if, because while all lies must contain some truth in order to be believable, a tenth is a much larger percentage than what we can usually expect from the media and that percentage goes down the more univocal the media is in its take on any given event – the Ukrainians are, of course, much to be pitied.   Having sympathy, however, for people who are suffering under an invasion and all its attendant woes, is not the same thing as having the ability to do anything about it.   Pretending that they are the same is both dangerous and stupid.   Especially in this situation.

Even the United States would be insane to go to war with Russia over Ukraine.    While my reason for saying this rests upon different factors that I will briefly explain later, let me add that the invasion of Ukraine could have been avoided entirely had the United States behaved differently and better over the last few decades.   Although  Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is clearly guilty of invading another country, the explanation for his actions is not, as most politicians and media, both liberal and conservative, are claiming, his own imperialist ambition.   It is the response of the leader of a country that has been backed into a corner by American-NATO expansionism.  It is the response of a bear that has been poked one too many times.     

In a pact with the devil made in order to defeat the Third Reich, the Western Allies agreed to hand Eastern Europe over to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War.   Almost immediately after this the Cold War began.   This conflict between the American and Soviet superpowers was necessarily “cold” because the nuclear arms possessed by both made a “hot” war unthinkable.   In the Cold War nuclear arms race, each side tried to get the better of the other by obtaining a first strike advantage – the ability to obliterate the other side’s capacity to retaliate.   Both sides had to settle, however, for the deterrent that was appropriately named MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction.   The Cold War only came to an end when both sides, having entered into negotiations under American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev, agreed to step back from the arms race.     

Before the Communist regime in Russia fell, the Soviet Union dissolved, and Ukraine became independent of Russia, Reagan’s successor, George H. W. Bush and the other leaders of NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, formed in the Cold War to protect Western Europe against Soviet invasion – promised Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO would not seek to expand its membership further than the re-unified Germany.   Whether Bush was sincere in this promise or not is debatable.   The following year, the year in which the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place, saw Operation Desert Storm, in which an American-led coalition went to war with Iraq in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.  In connection with this action Bush declared his vision for a “new world order” in which a coalition of free, democratic, countries, led by the United States, would be the world’s police, acting against countries that aggressed against their neighbours in the way Iraq had.   As the implications of this unfolded in the two terms each of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, NATO was transformed from the defensive alliance it had been in the Cold War into the muscle enforcing America’s new, liberal international, world order.   In the process of accomplishing this the United States replaced both the anti-Communism of the Cold War era which opposed a totalitarian ideology and system rather than a nation and the diplomacy backed by strength of the Reagan-Bush era, with an arrogant and foolish anti-Russian attitude.   This manifested itself early in Clinton’s presidency when he decided to meddle in the conflicts in the Balkans that were tearing apart what from the First World War to the end of the Cold War had been Yugoslavia.   Ethnic hostility fueled these conflicts and invariably Clinton sided with Muslim groups, like those in Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo against Christian groups, especially the Eastern Orthodox Serbs, the group with the closest and deepest ties to Russia.   At the end of his presidency Clinton committed the war crime of ordering NATO to conduct an indiscriminate bombing campaign against Serbia.   At the same time he brought Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO in violation both of the letter as well as the spirit of American and NATO assurances to Russia.

After Bill Clinton finished serving out his wife’s two terms as president – contrary to all of the rot one hears blaming the horrors of war on masculinity and patriarchy the military misbehavior of the Clinton administration, whose Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once asked Colin Powell “what’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it”, like that of the Obama administration, the current American administration, and even Captain Airhead’s Cabinet which can do nothing but posture, are all the clear consequence of estrogen poisoning and toxic femininity – he was followed by George H. W. Bush’s morally retarded son, who began his presidency by giving the digitis impudicus to Russia in the form of  withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and placing missiles in Poland.   He brought seven countries that had either been Soviet republics or Warsaw Pact members into NATO and in the last year of  his presidency declared Ukraine and Georgia eligible for NATO membership.  Russia could hardly have failed to notice that his and Clinton’s actions were moving America’s military reach closer and closer to their own borders.

The Obama administration with Hillary Clinton as its Secretary of State was even worse.   In 2014 they sponsored the second of two colour revolutions against Russia-sympathetic, elected Ukrainian governments – George W. Bush had sponsored the first.   In what was absurdly called the Revolution of Dignity that grew out of the Euromaiden protests, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in a coup carried out by groups like Svoboda, the party re-organized from the Social-National Party (yes, it was exactly what that sounds like) and the various groups of the so-called Right Sector coalition (the Banderite group Trident, the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-Defense, Social-National Assembly, Patriot of Ukraine, and a few others, all of which were self-identified Nazi groups) with the backing and support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.   While it would be going too far to say that the coup established a Nazi-style Reich regime in Ukraine – the new government was more of a US-NATO puppet regime – later in that year the Azov Regiment, which wears its neo-Nazism on its sleeve, quite literally, (1) was organized and incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.   The Ukrainian government has employed this unit in its harassment of the ethnic Russian population of the Donbass region of south-eastern Ukraine.   The Russian separatists in Donbass sought to join the Russian Federation in 2015 and were turned down by Putin.   After eight years of harassment by the Ukrainian government and its Nazi army their independence was recognized by Putin just before Russia launched her  invasion of Ukraine.   This came a matter of months after the present American administration renewed its efforts to bring |Ukraine into NATO with the clear intention of arming its border with Russia.

Had the United States not behaved in this way, had she not replaced her justified opposition to the evil ideology of Communism with an ugly, stupid and bigoted Russophobia and done everything in her power to drive the Russian bear into a corner and start poking at it with Ukraine being her most recent proxy, the present conflict between Russia and Ukraine could have easily been avoided entirely.

While this does not necessarily mean that Putin’s actions are justified, nor does it make the sufferings of the Ukrainians any less horrible, it does mean that neither the United States nor her allies have any moral ground to stand upon in condemning these actions.

In 2001, the United States and a coalition of her allies, including Canada, invaded Afghanistan with the intention of toppling the Taliban government there.   In 2003, the United States and a smaller coalition, invaded Iraq for the purposes of regime change.    Were these actions justified?

While this writer would answer no, at least with regards to the second war, most of those who saw both of these invasions as justified are among the loudest condemning Putin today.    The burden therefore is upon them to explain why the United States is allowed to invade countries and topple governments it doesn’t like while Russia is not allowed to invade a country that had belonged to her until 1991 to prevent the Americans from turning it into a military base with which to threaten her on her very doorstep.    One could take the ethical position that it is always wrong for one country to invade another, a position that is  commendable for its internal consistency, even though this writer does not believe it to be correct.   This position is not available to those who regard the invasions of Afghanistan and/or Iraq as justified.    Some might argue that it is wrong for one country to invade another, but it is alright for coalitions of countries under the supervision of some international agency to do so.   This would presumably be close to the answer that liberal Democrats in the United States and Liberals here in Canada would give.   Internationalists are prone to this sort of thinking.   It is obviously wrong, however.   If it is wrong for one country to do something, it does not become right when two or more agree to do it.   Indeed, it is arguably much worse.   It compounds the wrongness of each country invading on its own by involving the others and ganging up on the victim.   Others would try to argue to the effect that it is okay for “good guy” countries to invade “bad guy” countries but that it is not okay for “bad guy” countries to invade “good guy” countries.   This sort of thinking is puerile, a Modern version of the heresy of Mani, the result of reading too many superhero comic books and watching too many Hollywood action movies.   Sadly, it is all too ubiquitous among the post-Cold War generation of neoconservatives who unfortunately have been the most influential group when it comes to geopolitics in both the American Republican Party and the Canadian Conservative Party for the last thirty years. (2)

The ethical side of this conflict is not remotely as easily resolved as all of those jumping on the anti-Russia bandwagon – some going to absurd lengths, such as suggesting a ban on the works of Dostoevsky – think, although Edward Feser had made a strong case that neither the Russian invasion of Ukraine nor a military response from the United States and allies can be justified by the terms of Just War.    Ultimately, however, it is the pragmatic side of the matter that dictates that the sort of response that many are calling for is utterly insane.

Even before the United States developed the first nuclear weapons and became the first and to this date only country to use them it was generally agreed that about the stupidest military move anyone could make was to attack Russia.   Two notorious conquerors, Napoleon Bonaparte in the nineteenth century and Adolf Hitler in the twentieth, successfully overran Europe before going to their doom by making precisely this mistake.   The advent of nuclear weapons, of which the Russians have their own formidable stockpile has not made attacking Russia any less of a suicidal thing to do. 

Unless the United States and other Western countries are willing to risk escalating the conflict into nuclear Armageddon there is not much they can do to back up their angry rhetoric against Russia which makes that rhetoric only so much empty posturing.

Such posturing is bad enough coming from the United States, a nuclear superpower.      It is simply clownish for Canadian politicians to engage in this kind of sabre rattling.    While clownish behaviour is about all we can expect from Captain Airhead and his horrid deputy,  we ought to be able to expect Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to, well, oppose the government when it is doing something this stupid instead of egging it on to take it to the next, far worse, level.

(1) Contrary to the lies of professional anti-hate “experts”, individuals and groups still crazy enough to align themselves with National Socialism today do so proudly and advertise the fact.   Most of the Ukrainian groups mentioned, including the Azov Regiment, for example, use or have used, the Wolfsangel and the swastika as symbols.   The Ukrainian groups are the real deal.   Groups like this in Canada and the United States are smaller, powerless, and generally, much like the World Council of Anarchists in G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, consist almost entirely of government agents.   The two most publicized such groups in relatively recent Canadian history, for example, the Canadian Nazi Party of the 1960s and 1970s and the Heritage Front of the 1990s, were creations of the Canadian government, in the case of the former the Liberal government working in conjunction with the Canadian Jewish Congress, in the latter case CSIS acting on the orders of Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government.   The intent in both cases was to generate a Nazi-scare among the public.   In the earlier instance this was to gain public support for government measures taken ostensibly to suppress such groups but in reality to expand government surveillance and curtail certain civil liberties  and basic freedoms.   In the latter instance it would seem the motive was to discredit the right-of-centre Canadians primarily from the West who were exiting the Progressive Conservatives in dissatisfaction to form an alternative prairie populist party by smearing them through guilt-by-association with the Heritage Front which popped up right around the same time.  Professional anti-hate “experts” demonstrate the fraudulent nature of their profession in the way they do not focus their attention on real, self-identified, neo-Nazi groups like those in Ukraine but instead try to smear Christian fundamentalists, libertarians, populists, immigration reformers and basically anyone who disagrees with the left-liberal agenda as being closet neo-Nazis.    The same anti-hate “experts” who spent decades trying to get elderly Ukrainian Canadians stripped of their citizenship and kicked out of the country because they served the SS, usually as translators, often under duress, in the Second World War, despite no evidence that these men were guilty of war crimes, seem to have less of a problem with the present Liberal government’s providing funds and training for the Azov Regiment.   They provided the media with a condemnatory statement but did not pursue the matter with the vehemence with which they have persecuted the elderly Ukrainian fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers of Canadians.   Nor have they shown much interest in the Azov Regiment’s biggest cheerleader in Canada, the deputy prime minister, who has twice been denied entry to Russia or the Soviet Union as it was the first time this happened over her involvement with the Euromaiden seditionists and their predecessors.   It is true that accusing ethnic Ukrainians living in the West of Nazism is a KGB disinformation tactic going back to the Cold War – John Demjanjuk , the American equivalent of the elderly Ukrainian Canadians mentioned above, was a famous victim of just such a disinformation campaign, but in the case of the deputy prime minister, who cries disinformation every time her unsavoury connections in Ukraine are brought up the boy crying Wolfsangel happens to be right and her cries of disinformation have long ago been debunked by every researcher willing to dig into the matter.   Note that the anti-hate “experts” alluded to are heavily funded by the  Canadian Liberal government.

(2) I am using “neoconservative” in its American rather than Canadian sense here.   From the perspective of those, such as this writer,  who hold to traditional British-Canadian Toryism, all of American conservatism is neoconservative, being a form of liberal republicanism.  In the  context of American conservatism, neo-conservatives were originally Cold War liberals who moved to the right in the last decades of the Cold War when the New Left was in  its ascendancy in American left-liberalism.   While these were notably hawkish in comparison with some other elements of the American right, such as the libertarians, their hawkishness was nothing in comparison with the next generation of American neoconservatives who emerged in the post-Cold War era preaching American unipolarity, a vision that resembled George H. W. Bush’s new, liberal internationalist, world order, except that in it the United States is even more prominently at the top of the order, the sole global hegemon.     This is the sort of thinking that has been too influential in the American Republican Party and Canadian Conservative Party in recent decades.   George Grant warned that the world was heading towards just such an unipolar American hegemony in his Lament for a Nation (1965), reminding us that in the wisdom of the ancients a “universal and homogenous state” would be the ultimate tyranny. — Gerry T. Neal

The Donatist Dilemma & How This Church History Applies to Church Leaders’ Cowardice During COVID

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Donatist Dilemma & How This Church History Applies to Church Leaders’ Cowardice During COVID

In the early centuries of Christian history the orthodox had to contend with hundreds of heretical and schismatic movements.   Except among apologists and ecclesiastical historians, only a handful of these are remembered by name today.   Gnosticism, the first proponents of which challenged the authority and teachings of the Apostles themselves, was not the name of a specific heretical movement but the collective term for a large class of heretical movements.     Valentinianism, after Valentinus of Alexandria, was one such movement that was widespread in the second century and was the main heresy against which St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote.   The ideas that the term Gnosticism usually brings to mind today more properly belong to Marcionism, named after Marcion of Sinope.    Historians are divided as to whether Marcionism is properly classified as Gnostic or whether it is best regarded as a heresy that deviated from both Gnosticism and orthodox Christianity.

The heresies that are still widely known by name are the major heresies that were addressed by the four earliest ecumenical Councils, the two that put together the most basic and fundamental of Christian Creeds (1) in the fourth century, i.e., the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) and the First Council of Constantinople (381 AD), and the two that resulted in the Christological clarification of the Definition of Chalcedon in the fifth century, i.e., the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) and the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD).   In one way or another the heresies addressed by these Councils deviated from orthodoxy as to the Person and Nature of Jesus Christ.   Arianism, which takes its name from Arius of Alexandria and which was the principal heresy addressed by the Creed-forming Councils of the fourth century, denied the full deity of Jesus Christ and taught that He was a created being possessed of a lesser divinity than the Father.   Nestorianism, named after Nestorius of Constantinople, the principal heresy addressed by the fifth century Councils, stressed the distinction between the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ to the point where the unity of His Person was compromised.   This latter is a good illustration of the general nature of heresy which is not, as is often supposed, merely “wrong doctrine”.   Heresy is a truth taken out of the context of other equal or more important, balancing truths, and so twisted by exaggeration into an error that is far more dangerous than something that it is merely and entirely false.   G. K. Chesterton in his biography of William Blake (1910)said that “A fad or heresy is the exaltation of something which, even if true, is secondary or temporary in its nature against those things which are essential and eternal, those things which always prove themselves true in the long run”.   T. S. Eliot in After Strange Gods (1933) wrote that “the essential of any important heresy is not simply that it is wrong: it is that it is partly right.”

If we were to poll Christians, asking them to name and rank a few of the early heresies, it is unlikely that we would find many for whom Donatism would be at the top of their list.   Indeed, while I hope I am too cynical and am completely wrong in this, I suspect that if we were to instead provide that name and ask people to identify it, many would associate it with Donatello, the fifteenth century Florentine Renaissance sculptor – or the Ninja Turtle who bears his name. 

Donatism has nothing to do with either sculptor or Ninja Turtle, of course.   It takes its name from the fourth century figure Donatus Magnus, a priest from the Berber settlement of Casae Nigrae in Numidia, which is now the town of Negrine in Algeria.   With Donatus and his followers, it was not a dispute over doctrine that separated them from the orthodox Church as it was with the aforementioned heresiarchs Valentius, Marcion, Arius and Nestorius and their sects, but rather a dispute over practice.   It would be more accurate therefore to describe Donatism as schismatic rather than heretical, although the schism, as we shall see, eventually corrupted the doctrine of the schismatics.   It deviated from orthopraxis (sound practice), however, in much the same way that heresy deviates from orthodoxy (sound doctrine) – by taking a part of sound practice and emphasizing it to the point that other parts fell by the wayside.    The part of sound practice they so over-emphasized was holiness or separation from the world. (2)

The Donatist schism had its origins in the persecution of Christians in the reign of Diocletian.   This was the largest and harshest persecution of Christians in the history of the Roman Empire.   Previous persecutions had usually been local affairs, conducted with the authority or at least toleration of a regional governor.   This one came down from the very top and in theory covered the entire Empire, although in actuality certain regions were far more severely affected than others.   The severity of this persecution made it unpopular which contributed to the Roman Empire’s reversing course ten years after it began and issuing the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity throughout the Roman Empire and granted it protection against persecution.

North Africa was a region that was particularly severely affected by the Great Persecution, as it had been during the lesser persecutions of the previous century.   It was almost, in a sense, the epicentre of the Persecution.   In 302 AD, Diocletian had issued an edict outlawing the Manichaeans, ordering that their leaders be burned along with their books and any of their followers who didn’t recant.   The Manichaeans were the followers of Mani, a third century Persian religious teacher who blended ideas from Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Gnosticism, and whose teachings were noted for their dualism.   Their teachings had spread from the Persian Empire westward and had become particularly influential in the academic centres of Egypt and North Africa. (3)   Diocletian had been persuaded that they were a subversive movement acting on behalf of the Persian Empire to infiltrate and weaken Rome.   Later that year, Diocletian’s ire would fall upon orthodox Christians when St. Romanus, a deacon of the Caesarean Church, denounced the pagan sacrifices that took place in his court at Antioch.   He was already ill-disposed towards Christianity because he blamed Christian members of his court for the failure of his attempts at divination after the Roman victory against the Persians in the Battle of Satala and the renewal of peace with the Sassanid dynasty.   Diocletian was, therefore, already half persuaded when his co-emperor Galerius (4) began to talk him into extending towards orthodox Christianity the same policy he had taken towards Manichaeism – persecution with the end of total extirpation.   While he initially proposed a more moderate persecution, his resistance to Galerius’ proposal was overcome when the two sent away to the oracle at the Temple to Apollo in Didyma and were told that Apollo was silent because of the presence of Christianity in the Empire.   In February of 303 AD, he and his co-emperors began issuing a series of edicts that forbade Christians from assembling to worship and ordered the Christian Scriptures and other Christian literature to be burned, Christian Church buildings to be destroyed, and Christian clergy to be imprisoned and stripped Christians of all the legal rights of Roman citizens.

Although all Christians were targeted by this persecution, the clergy – the bishops and priests who led, taught, and officiated in the Churches – were particularly hit hard.   While many of these remained faithful to the point of martyrdom, many others did not.   These handed over their copies of the Bible to the Roman soldiers to be burned.    Often they handed over the names of other Christians as well.   This earned them the label traditores, meaning “those who handed over” which is the root of our word traitor.  (5)

Mensurius, who was Bishop of Carthage at the time, removed the Scriptures from the Church building and hid them in his own home, substituting heretical writings in their place for the soldiers to seize.    While he thus cleverly avoided becoming a traditor himself, this act was not exactly impressive to those who contrasted his example unfavourably with that of those who submitted to arrest, torture, and death.   It did not help his image any that the contrast was particularly great with his own predecessor in the See of Carthage, St. Cyprian, who had been martyred in the earlier persecution under Valerian, less than half a century prior to this.   Mensurius then forbade the Carthaginian Church from honouring as martyrs any who initiated their own martyrdom by defiantly turning themselves in to the Roman authorities.    Needless to say, he was far from being the most admired bishop in the Christian Church at the time.  

Mensurius died in 311 AD, about six years after the Great Persecution had begun to wane.   The Edict of Milan was still two years away, but North Africa was governed by Maxentius (6) who had already liberated the Christians.   Caecilian, who had served as archdeacon under Mensurius, was chosen as his successor, and among those participating in his consecration was Felix, Bishop of Aptunga.   Immediately this succession met with protest.   Caecilian had been an even more zealous advocate of Mensurius’ position vis-à-vis the voluntary martyrs than Mensurius had been himself and so was most objectionable to those who found that position odious.   These then claimed that his consecration was invalid because of the participation of Felix.   Felix had been absent from his See during the Persecution and so had avoided arrest.   The opponents of Caecilian accused Felix of being a traditor, and maintained that this invalidated the consecration.

The matter was appealed to Secundus, Bishop of Tigisis who was the closest Primate (7), and Secundus with the support of 70 other bishops ruled against Caecilian.    These then chose and consecrated Majorinus, who had been a lector in the Carthaginian Church, as bishop.   With two different groups claiming two different individuals to be the validly consecrated holder of the same bishopric, a schism was born.   Each side excommunicated the other, albeit on different grounds.   Those who supported Majorinus as the validly consecrated Bishop of Carthage maintained that those in fellowship with Caecilian were tainted by association with the sins of the traditor alleged against Caecilian himself and against Felix who consecrated him.   Those who supported Caecilian excommunicated those in fellowship with Majorinus on the grounds that their actions were schismatic.   This schism was very much a local affair as outside of North Africa the supporters of Caecilian were a clear supermajority.   The Patriarch of Rome was asked to look into the matter and with the backing of the Roman Synod he ruled in favour of Caecilian in 313 AD, as did the Council of Arles of 314 AD to which the decision was appealed.   These rulings were upheld in the ecumenical Councils later in that century.   Majorinus died two years after his consecration and was succeeded in the schismatic line by Donatus Magnus and so the schism came to take the name of Donatism.

The error of the Donatists, as we noted at the outset of this discussion, grew out of a matter of practice rather than a matter of doctrine.   When it comes to the actions of the traditores, orthodox Christians and Donatists were in agreement that it was reprehensible to collaborate with the persecutors of the faith by handing over Scriptures, sacred items, and the names of the brethren.   The Donatists, however, in their zeal for the holiness and purity of the Church, good things in themselves, insisted that the betrayal of the traditores forever disqualified them from being restored to their positions of leadership in the Church and thus invalidated their every ministry from administering baptisms to celebrating the Eucharist to, in the case of bishops, ordinations and consecrations of other bishops.   As easy as it is to see where the Donatists were coming from in this, had the Lord Jesus Christ thought the same way, St. Peter would never have been restored to his position as Apostle after he denied Christ three times on the evening of His betrayal and arrest, would never have been empowered to preach the sermon on the first Whitsunday through which  three thousand souls were converted, would never have opened the door to the evangelism of the Gentiles by bringing  the Gospel to Cornelius, and would not have written the two epistles under his name that are part of the Sacred Canon.   Yet even before the denial had taken place, indeed, just before the Lord predicted it, He said unto St. Peter “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Lk. 22:31-32).   After St. Peter had denied Him, and after He had risen from the dead, He called him to feed His sheep three times – one for each denial – and then, prophesying his eventual martyrdom, repeated to him the call to “Follow Me” (Jn. 21:15-19).   The difference between the Lord’s response to St. Peter and the Donatists’ response to the traditores shows us how their emphasis on holiness was at the expense of other elements of orthopraxis such as forgiveness and restoration and thus the equivalent of heresy in practice.   Ultimately, this error in practice translated itself into an error in doctrine, the error that the efficacy of the Church’s Ministries of Word and Sacrament as conduits of the grace of God is dependent upon the spotless purity of the ministers.   The controversy over this was still raging almost a century later when St. Augustine of Hippo, than whom there was no clearer and stronger expositor of the grace of God between St. Clement of Rome and the Reformation, answered the Donatists in his De Baptismo.

What message is there in this historical episode for our own day?

There are a number of parallels between the Diocletian Persecution and the bat flu madness of the last two years.   There are huge differences too, of course.   Whereas Diocletian and Galerius saw their persecution of Christianity for what it was – a deliberate attempt to extirpate the Christian faith and religion – the governments of the present day deny to themselves that they are doing anything of the sort.  Since they allow Christians and people of other religions to “worship” online, they have convinced themselves that their having forbidden Christians and those of other faiths to meet and assemble in person for much of the last two years is not the same thing as Diocletian’s outlawing of all Christian assembly.   Having convinced themselves of this, they have also persuaded themselves that in having Christian ministers arrested for holding services where their congregations could, well, congregate is not the same thing as when Galerius ordered bishops and priests to be arrested.   They obviously see no similarities between their attempts to prevent the spread of any information that disagrees with their narrow, official, narrative about the bat flu and, indeed, to stomp it out as “misinformation” and the Roman Empire’s efforts to burn all copies of the Christian Scriptures and other sacred literature.   Some would say that because with regards to each of these parallels the difference is that what the Roman Empire did was that much more severe the comparison is therefore inappropriate.   Others will, more astutely, note that this difference is what allows today’s governments to convince themselves that they are not engaged in persecution which self-deception makes what they are doing that much more dangerous than the open persecution of the Roman Empire or in more recent times of the Communist countries.

A similar comparison could be made between the response of the Churches to the almost universal medical technocratic tyranny of the bat flu scare and the actions of the traditores.   Again, there are huge differences, but not such as necessarily mean that the Churches of the present day come out favourably in the comparison.   Complying with an order from the state that the Church not assemble is, in one sense, not as extreme a betrayal of the faith as handing over the Scriptures to be burned and handing over the names of other Christians to those seeking to arrest them, but it is a betrayal in that the teachings of the Scriptures, as interpreted by the faithful in all places and all times from the Apostles to the present  (8) is that a state ban on Church assembly is a clear and obvious exception to the Scriptural injunction of civil obedience. (9)    If it is less extreme in this sense, it is greater in that it is far more widespread than that of the traditores was.    The compliance of the Churches with these tyrannical public health orders was almost universal.   The leaders of the Churches have undoubtedly persuaded themselves that they are not guilty of the same thing as the traditores and even that their compliance with this medical totalitarianism is virtuous, an act of sacrifice for the safety and wellbeing of others, especially the most vulnerable among us.    However, just as governments are capable of more and greater oppression and persecution when they have deceived themselves into thinking that they are acting for the public good instead of oppressing and persecuting people, so this self-deception on the part of the Churches compounds rather than mitigates the problem.    Those who regard their sinful betrayal of the faith not as a sinful betrayal of the faith but as a virtuous act of self-sacrifice are incapable of the repentance and confession that the orthodox Churches of the fourth century required from the traditores before their restoration.                                                                                                                                           

This leaves anyone who is trying to follow Christ in accordance with what historically and traditionally have been regarded as orthodox faith and orthopraxis and who has not bought into the Great Deception of the bat flu madness caught on the horns of a terrible dilemma.   To anyone trying to follow Christ in this manner, Church is essential not optional.   For almost two years, however, the leadership of the Churches have acted as if the opposite is true.   They have closed their doors, tried to get us to live a lie by pretending that watching a tiny Church service broadcast online and saying the words along with them is a form of assembling together as a Church (it is not), and allowed attendance on occasions that the public health tyrants permitted provided that a stringent list of requirements all arising out of a worldly spirit of fear that would drive the sanctity out of the Church were adhered to.   The Christian leaders who have most conspicuously and admirably resisted the public health tyranny have for the most part come from sects that are either extremely schismatic, enthusiastic (in the theological sense of the word which is not a good thing), heretical – sometimes grossly so – or all of the above.  

Should the public health scare ever end, what ought we to do?

If we wait for the leaders of our Churches to acknowledge and repent of the sins of betraying the faith and leaving us without the ministry of the Church in any real sense for the duration of the public health scare before resuming fellowship with them we will be waiting a very long time and run the risk of becoming Donatists in spirit, if not in letter.

If, on the other hand, we just try to pick up where we had left off in March 2020, forgetting the entire horrible interlude, and pretending that there was no betrayal or apostasy to forgive (since offering forgiveness in the absence of acknowledgement of wrongdoing cheapens forgiveness), we will have traded the Scylla of Donatism for the Charbydis that is its opposite.

There is no obvious solution to this dilemma short of the public health scare being brought to an end with the Second Coming of Christ in Glory to judge both the quick and the dead.   Whatever we end up doing, we should devote much prayer and contemplation to the matter.

 (1)   The Nicene-Constantinopolitan, the Creed that was put together by and in the first two ecumenical Councils of the early Church, is the most basic and fundamental Christian Creed in that it is the only Creed universally accepted among all the Churches that can claim organic lineage from the Apostolic Church.   This is further attested to by the fact that the addition of a single word – filioque – to the Latin text of this Creed, was the most important doctrinal issue that separated the Eastern Greek-speaking Church from the Western Latin-speaking Church in the eleventh century.   The Apostles’ Creed is shorter and simpler than the Nicene-Constantinopolitan, but it does not seem to have ever been as universally accepted and used as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan.     The traditional account of its origin – that it was composed on the first Whitsunday by the Apostles themselves, with each of the Apostles, St. Matthias having been chosen as Judas Iscariot’s replacement already, contributing one of the twelve lines – is very old.   St. Ambrose of Milan and Rufinus of Aquileia both spoke of it as a well-established account less than a century after the Council of Nicaea.     If true, this would be an incontrovertible argument for the priority of the Apostles’ Creed over the Nicene-Constantinopolitan as the basic Creed of Christianity (not that the two, which are very similar, and could almost be taken for the longer and shorter forms of a singular Creed, contradict each other), but if true, it would be difficult to explain how it fell so quickly out of use in the Greek-speaking Churches of the East.     In its earliest form, the old Roman Symbol used in the baptismal rite of the Church of Rome – in the sense of the Church particular to that city, not in the sense of the “Roman Catholic Church”, i.e., all Churches that remained in communion with the Roman Patriarch after the Great Schism and the Reformation – it predates the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and goes back to at least the early part of the second century.   Nevertheless, although a strong case can be made that it was originally written in Greek – see Rev. John Baron The Greek Origins of the Apostles’ Creed Illustrated by Ancient Documents and Recent Research (1885) for the case that the Greek text of the Creed that Marcellus of Ancyra brought with him to Rome during his exile was the original form – the history of its usage is almost entirely Latin and Western.

(2)   “World” is the word we use in English where the Greek-speaking Church used κόσμος.   In Scriptural and ecclesiastical usage these terms have a positive sense in which they are basically synonyms of “Creation”, i.e., everything God made.   The Latinized transliteration of κόσμος as “cosmos”, a synonym for “universe”, is a secularized equivalent of this.   This positive sense of these words can be narrowed to focus on one aspect of Creation if the context requires it.   For example, the world in “For God so loved the world” in John 3:16 is Creation but with a focus on the people who live in it.    There is also a negative sense in which these words are used by the Scriptures and the Church and this is obviously the sense intended when we speak of holiness as separation from the world.   In this sense, world or κόσμος means the fallen state of Creation, human sin or rebellion against God not merely as it touches each of us as individuals, in which case the word for it would be flesh as a rendition of the Greek σὰρξ in its specialized New Testament usage, but as it permeates and corrupts human organized society.

(3)   Manichaeism had a strong presence in these places both before and after the Persecution. St. Augustine, prior to his conversion to the orthodox Christian faith of his mother, had been associated with the Manichaeans for about a decade.  He had come under their influence as a student at the University of Carthage.   This was about seventy years after Diocletian had ordered Manichaeism rubbed out.

(4)   This was the period of the Roman Tetrachy.   Although Diocletian’s treatment of the Manichaeans and Christians was undoubtedly tyrannical, in one sense he behaved atypically for a despot and divided his power with others.   Two years after becoming emperor in 284 AD, he named one of his cavalry comrades Maximian his co-emperor, assigning the Western Empire to Maximian and governing the Eastern Empire himself.   Seven years later, he named two other co-emperors, Galerius and Constantius to serve as Junior Emperors under him and Maximian.    The Senior Emperors took the title Augustus, the Junior Emperors took the title Caesar. The Tetrarchy was short lived.  Constantius’ son Constantine succeeded his father in 306 and was awarded both imperial titles.    In less than two decades he had consolidated his reign over the whole Roman Empire, although the division between East and West was lasting and would re-assert itself after his reign.   A famous episode in the process of consolidating his rule was the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD in which he defeated Maximian’s successor Maxentius, leaving him the sole Western claimant to the Imperial title.  This was the battle in which in response to a vision he fought under a standard bearing the ☧, the Christian monogram formed by combining X (Chi) with P (Rho) the first two letters of the word Christ.

(5)   While the word “traitor” is derived from traditor(es), the word “tradition” comes from the same source as traditor.   The concept common to both is of something having been handed or given over.   The source is the Latin verb trado “I hand over, surrender”, tradere “to hand over, surrender”, a contraction of the compound formed by combining the preposition trans meaning “across” and the verb do, dare meaning “give”.   This verb takes the form traditus “having been handed over” in its fourth part, the passive perfect participle.   “Tradition”, which preserves the passive voice of this form of the verb, means “that which has been handed over” in the sense of that which has been handed down to us from those who have gone before us and lacks the perjorative connotations of traditor(es) which is formed from the same part of the verb, by modifying it with the suffix that indicates the agent of the action of the otherwise passive form and which is pejorative because the handing over indicated in this case was an act of cowardly betrayal.

(6)   Vide supra, note 4.

(7)   The Bishop of Carthage was also the Primate of North Africa but for obvious reasons could not adjudicate this case.   Secundus was Primate of Numidia.

(8)   This is the test of Catholicity – ecumenicity, antiquity, and consent – proposed by St. Vincent of Lerins in his famous canon – “quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est” (“whatever is believed everywhere, always, and by all”) in Commonitorium 2:6.

(9)   The examples of Daniel when forbidden by Darius to pray to the true God in the sixth chapter of Daniel, and of the Apostles when forbidden by the Sanhredrin to preach and teach in the name of Jesus in the fourth and fifth chapters of Acts, set the Scriptural precedent followed by the Churches that continued to meet during the persecutions including the Diocletian. Posted by Gerry T. Neal

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 

A Fatal Confusion

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Fatal Confusion

Faith, in Christian theology, is not the greatest of virtues – that is charity, or Christian love, but it is the most fundamental in the root meaning of fundamental, that is to say, foundational.   Faith is the foundation upon which the other Christian theological virtues of hope and charity stand.   (1) Indeed, it is the foundation upon which all other Christian experience must be built.   It is the appointed means whereby we receive the grace of God and no other step towards God can be taken apart from the first step of faith.  The Object of faith is the True and Living God.   The content of faith can be articulated in more general or more specific terms as the context of the discussion requires.   At its most specific the content of the Christian faith is the Gospel message, the Christian kerygma about God’s ultimate revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ.   At its most general it is what is asserted about God in the sixth verse of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, that “He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”.  

Whether articulated in its most general terms or its most specific, the faith Christianity calls for us to place in God is a confidence that presupposes His Goodness and His Omnipotence.   This has led directly to a long-standing dilemma that skeptics like to pose to Christian believers.  It is known as the problem of evil.   It is sometimes posed as a question, at other times it is worded as a challenging assertion, but however formulated it boils down to the idea that the presence of evil in a world created by and ruled by God is inconsistent with God’s being both Good and Omnipotent.   The challenge to the Christian apologist, therefore, is to answer the question of how evil can be present in a world created by and ruled by a Good and Omnipotent God.    This dilemma has been raised so often that there is even a special word for theological and philosophical answers to the dilemma – theodicy.

Christian orthodoxy does have an answer to this question.   The answer is a complex one, however, and we are living in an era that is impatient with complex answers.    For this reason, Christian apologists now offer a simple answer to the question – free will.    This is unfortunate in that this answer, while not wrong, is incomplete and requires the context of the full, complex answer, to make the most sense.  

The fuller answer begins with an observation about how evil is present in the world.   In this world there are things which exist in the fullest sense of the word – they exist in themselves, with essences of their own.    There are also things which exist, not in themselves, but as properties or qualities of things which exist in themselves.   Take redness for example.   It does not exist in itself, but as a property of apples, strawberries, wagons, etc.   Christian orthodoxy tells us that while evil is present in the world, it does not exist in either of these senses.   It has no essence of its own.  Nor does it exist as a created property of anything that does.  God did not create evil, either as a thing in itself, or as a property of anything else that He created.   Just as a bruise is a defect in the redness of an apple, so evil is present in the world as a defect in the goodness of moral creatures.  

If that defect is there, and it is, and God did not put it there, which He did not, the only explanation of its presence that is consistent with orthodoxy is that it is there due to the free will of moral creatures.   Free will, in this sense of the expression, means the ability to make moral choices.     Free will is itself good, rather than evil, because without it, no creature could be a moral creature who chooses rightly.    The ability to choose rightly, however, is also the ability to choose wrongly.   The good end of a created world populated by creatures that are morally good required that they be created with this ability, good itself, but which carries with it the potential for evil.

One problem with the short answer is the expression “free will” itself.   It must be carefully explained, as in the above theodicy, because it can be understood differently, and if it is so understood differently, this merely raises new dilemmas rather than resolving the old one.    Anyone who is familiar with the history of either theology or philosophy knows that “free will” is an expression that has never been used without controversy.   It should be noted, though, that many of those controversies do not directly affect what we have been discussing here.  Theological debates over free will, especially those that can be traced back to the dispute between St. Augustine and Pelagius, have often been about the degree to which the Fall has impaired the freedom of human moral agency.   Since this pertains to the state of things after evil entered into Creation it need not be brought into the discussion of how evil entered in the first place although it often is.

One particular dilemma that the free will theodicy raises when free will is not carefully explained is the one that appears in a common follow-up challenge that certain skeptics often pose in response.     “How can we say that God gave mankind free will”, such skeptics ask us, “when He threatens to punish certain choices as sin?”

Those who pose this dilemma confuse two different kinds of freedom that pertain to our will and our choices.      When we speak of the freedom of our will in a moral context we can mean one of two things.   We could be speaking of our agency – that we have the power and ability when confronted with choices, to think rationally about them and make real choices that are genuinely our own, instead of pre-programmed, automatic, responses.   We could also, however, be speaking of our right to choose – that when confronted with certain types of choices, we own our own decisions and upon choosing will face only whatever consequences, positive or negative, necessarily follow from our choice by nature and not punitive consequences imposed upon us by an authority that is displeased with our choice.    When Christian apologists use free will in our answer to the problem of evil, it is freedom in the former sense of agency that is intended.   When skeptics respond by pointing to God’s punishment of sin as being inconsistent with free will, they use freedom in the latter sense of right.   While it is tempting to dismiss this as a dishonest bait-and-switch tactic, it may in many cases reflect genuine confusion with regards to these categories of freedom.   I have certainly encountered many Christian apologists who in their articulation of the free will theodicy have employed language that suggests that they are as confused about the matter as these skeptics.

Christianity has never taught that God gave mankind the second kind of freedom, freedom in the sense of right, in an absolute, unlimited, manner.   To say that He did would be the equivalent of saying that God abdicated His Sovereignty as Ruler over the world He created.    Indeed, the orthodox answer to the problem of evil dilemma is not complete without the assertion that however much evil may be present in the world, God as the Sovereign Omnipotent Ruler of all will ultimately judge and punish it.     What Christianity does teach is that God gave mankind the second kind of freedom subject only to the limits of His Own Sovereign Rule.    Where God has not forbidden something as a sin – and, contrary to what is often thought, these are few in number, largely common-sensical, and simple to understand – or placed upon us a duty to do something – these are even fewer – man is free to make his own choices in the second sense, that is to say, without divinely-imposed punitive consequences.    

Today, a different sort of controversy has arisen in which the arguments of one side confuse freedom as agency with freedom as right.    Whereas the skeptics alluded to above point to rules God has imposed in His Sovereign Authority limiting man’s freedom as right in order to counter an argument made about man’s freedom as agency, in this new controversy man’s freedom as agency is being used to deny that government tyranny is infringing upon man’s freedom as right.

Before looking at the specifics of this, let us note where government authority fits in to the picture in Christian orthodoxy. 

Human government, Christianity teaches, obtains its authority from God.   This, however, is an argument for limited government, not for autocratic government that passes whatever laws it likes.   If God has given the civil power a sword to punish evil, then it is authorized to wield that sword in the punishment of what God says is evil not whatever it wants to punish and is required, therefore, to respect the freedom that God has given to mankind.    Where the Modern Age went wrong was in regarding the Divine Right of Kings as the opposite of constitutional, limited, government, rather than its theological basis.   Modern man has substituted secular ideologies as that foundation and these, even liberalism with all of its social contracts, natural rights, and individualism, eventually degenerate into totalitarianism and tyranny.

Now let us look at the controversy of the day which has to do with forced vaccination.      As this summer ends and we move into fall governments have been introducing measures aimed at coercing and compelling people who have not yet been fully vaccinated for the bat flu to get vaccinated.   These measures include mandates and vaccine passports.   The former are decrees that say that everyone working in a particular sector must either be fully vaccinated by a certain date or submit to frequent testing.   Governments have been imposing these mandates on their own employees and in some cases on private employers and have been encouraging other private employers to impose such mandates on their own companies.   Vaccine passports are certificates or smartphone codes that governments are requiring that people show to prove that they have been vaccinated to be able to travel by air or train or to gain access to restaurants, museums, movie theatres, and many other places declared by the government to be “non-essential”.    These mandates and passports are a form of coercive force.   Through them, the government is telling people that they must either agree to be vaccinated or be barred from full participation in society.    Governments, and others who support these measures, respond to the objection that they are violating people’s right to choose whether or not some foreign substance is injected into their body by saying “it’s their choice, but there will be consequences if they choose not be vaccinated”.

The consequences referred to are not the natural consequences, whatever these may be, positive or negative, of the choice to reject a vaccine, but punitive consequences imposed by the state.    Since governments are essentially holding people’s jobs, livelihoods, and most basic freedoms hostage until they agree to be vaccinated, those who maintain that this is not a violation of the freedom to accept or reject medical treatment would seem to be saying that unless the government actually removes a person’s agency, by, for example, strapping someone to a table and sticking a needle into him, it has not violated his right to choose.  This obviously confuses freedom as agency with freedom as right and in a way that strips the latter of any real meaning.

What makes this even worse is that the freedom/right that is at stake in this controversy, each person’s ownership of the ultimate choice over whether or not a medical treatment or procedure is administered to his body, is not one that we have traditionally enjoyed merely by default due to the absence of law limiting it.   Rather it is a right that has been positively stated and specifically acknowledged, and enshrined both in constitutional law and international agreement.   If government is allowed to pretend that it has not violated this well-recognized right because its coercion has fallen short of eliminating agency altogether then is no other right or freedom the trampling over of which in pursuit of its ends it could not or would not similarly excuse.  This is tyranny, plain and simple.

Whether in theology and philosophy or in politics, the distinction between the different categories of freedom that apply to the human will is an important one that should be recognized and respected.   Agency should never be confused with right, or vice versa.

(1)   Hope and charity, as Christian virtues, have different meanings from those of their more conventional uses.   In the case of hope, the meanings are almost the exact opposite of each other.   Hope, in the conventional sense, is an uncertain but desired anticipation, but in the Christian theological sense, is a confident, assured, expectation.   It is in their theological senses, of course, that I mean when I say that hope and charity are built on the foundation of faith. — Gerry T. Neal

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

THRONE, ALTAR, LIBERTY

THE CANADIAN RED ENSIGN

The Canadian Red Ensign

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2021

“My Body, My Choice”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stand Up to the Mob– The Statue Wreckers & Their Establishment Enablers!

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, June 11, 2021

Stand Up to the Mob– The Statue Wreckers & Their Establishment Enablers!

When a mob vandalizes or tears down statues that have been in place for generations of nation-builders, whether statesmen like Sir John A. Macdonald, Father of Confederation and first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada, or educators like Egerton Ryerson, one of the chief architects of the Upper Canadian – Ontarian for the hopelessly up-to-date – public school system, back the in days when schools were a credit to their builders rather than a disgrace, this tells us much more about the mob than about the historical figures whose memory they are attacking.   It is far easier to tear something down than it is to build something, especially something of lasting benefit.   It is also much quicker.   What these acts tell us is that the members of these mobs, whether taken individually or collectively, who are howling for the “cancelling” of the memories of men like Macdonald and Ryerson, do not have it in them to achieve a thousandth of what such men accomplished.  Driving them down this quick and easy, but ultimately treacherous and deadly, path of desecration and destruction, is the spirit of Envy, which is not mere jealousy, the wish to have what others have, but the hatred of others for being, having, or doing what you do not and cannot be, have, or do yourself.   It was traditionally considered among the very worst of the Seven Deadly Sins, second only to Pride.    This makes it almost fitting, in a perverse sort of way, that last weekend’s mob assault on the statue of Ryerson at the University that bears his name, took place at the beginning of the month which, to please the alphabet soup people of all the colours of the rainbow, now bears the name of that Sin in addition to the Roman name for the queen of Olympus.

The toppling of the Ryerson statue came at the end of a week in which the Canadian media, evidently tired of the bat flu after a year and a half, found a new dead horse to flog.   Late in May, a couple of days after the anniversary of the incident which, after it was distorted and blown out of proportion by the media, sparked last year’s wave of race riots and “Year Zero” Cultural Maoism, and just in time to launch Indigenous History Month, yet another new handle for the month formerly known as June, the Kamloops Indian Band made an announcement.   They had hired someone to use some fancy newfangled sonar gizmo to search the grounds of the old Indian Residential School at Kamloops and, lo and behold, they had discovered 215 unmarked graves.  

The Canadian mainstream media was quick to label this discovery “shocking”.   This speaks extremely poorly about the present state of journalistic integrity in this country.   When used as an adjective, the word shocking expresses a negative judgement about that which is so described but it also generally conveys a sense of surprise on the part of the person doing the judging.   There was nothing in the Kamloops announcement, however, that ought to have been surprising.   It revealed nothing new about the Indian Residential Schools.   That there are unmarked graves on the grounds of these schools has been known all along. The fourth volume of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report is entitled Missing Children and Unmarked Burials.  It is 273 pages long and was published in December of 2015.    According to this volume the death rate due to such factors as disease – tuberculosis was the big one – and suicide was much higher among aboriginal children at the Residential Schools than among school children in the general population.   The TRC attributed this to the inadequacy of government standards and regulations for these schools which fell under the jurisdiction of the federal government rather than the provincial education ministries like other schools, as well as inadequate enforcement of such standards and regulations, and inadequate funding.   Had the TRC been the impartial body of inquiry it made itself out to be it would also have compared the death rate among Residential School children to that among aboriginal children who remained at home on the reserves.     At any rate, according to the TRC Report, unless the families lived nearby or could afford to have the bodies sent to them, they were generally buried in cemeteries at the schools which were abandoned and fell into disuse and decay after the schools were closed.    All that this “new discovery” has added to what is already contained in that volume is the location of 215 of these graves.   One could be forgiven for thinking that all the progressives in the mainstream Canadian media who have been spinning the Residential School narrative into a wrecking ball to use against Canada and the men who built her are not actually that familiar with the contents of the TRC Report. EGERTON RYERSON'S  TOPPLED HEAD.jpg

The Canada-bashing progressives have been reading all sorts of ridiculous conclusions into the discovery of these graves that the actual evidence in no way bears out.   The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was hardly an impartial and unbiased body of inquiry.   Its end did not seem to be the first noun in its title so much as painting as unflattering a portrait of the Indian Residential Schools, the Canadian churches, and the Canadian government as was possible.  Even still, it did not go so far as to accuse the schools of the mass murder of children.   The most brazen of the progressive commentators have now been pointing to the discovery of the graves and making that accusation, and their slightly less brazen colleagues have been reporting the story in such a way as to lead their audiences to that conclusion without their outright saying it.   This is irresponsible gutter journalism at its worst.   The Kamloops band and its sonar technicians have not discovered anything that the TRC Report had not already told us was there, and bodies have not been exhumed, let alone examined for cause of death.   Indeed, they did not even discover a “mass grave” as innumerable media commentators have falsely stated, with some continuing to falsely say this despite the band chief having issued an update in which she explicitly stated “This is not a mass grave”.   The significance of this is that it shows that the media has been painting the picture of a far more calloused disposal of bodies than the evidence supports or the band claims.

The media, of course, are not acting in bona fide.  This time last year, they were using the death of George Floyd to promote a movement that was inciting race riots all across the United States and even throughout the larger Western world.   Coinciding with this was a wave of mob attacks on the monuments of a wide assortment of Western nation-builders, institutional founders, statesmen, and other honoured historical figures.   The New York Times, the American trash rag of record,  had been laying the foundation for this for months by running Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project, a revisionist distortion of American history that interprets everything by viewing it through the lens of slavery, in its Sunday Magazine supplement.    What we are seeing up here this year is simply the Canadian left-wing gutter press trying to reproduce its American cousin’s success of last year.

Those who use their influence to support statue-toppling mobs have no business commenting on history whatsoever.   By their very actions they demonstrate that they have not learned a fairly basic historical lesson.   Movements that seek to tear down a country’s history – her past cannot be torn down, but her history, her “remembered past” to use John Lukacs’ definition, can – never end well but rather in disaster, destruction, and misery for all.   The Jacobins attempted this in France in the 1790s when they started history over with their Republic at “Year One”, and endued up with the Reign of Terror.   It has been a pretty standard feature of all Communist revolutions since.    Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, when they took over Cambodia in 1975, declared it to be “Year Zero”.   Watch the film “The Killing Fields” or read my friend Reaksa Himm’s memoir The Tears of My Soul to find out what that was like.  Anybody who fails to grasp the simple historical fact that these are terrible examples and not ones to be emulated has no business passing judgement on the errors of the historical figures who built countries and institutions, led them through difficult periods, and otherwise did the long and difficult work of construction, enriching future generations, rather than the short and easy work of destruction that can only impoverish them.

There are undoubtedly those who would feel that this comparison of today’s statue-topplers who are now likening our country’s founders to Hitler with the Jacobins, Maoists, Pol Pot and other statue-toppling, country-and-civilization destroyers of the past is unfair.    It is entirely appropriate, however.   It is one thing to acknowledge that bad things took place at the Indian Residential Schools and to give those who suffered those things a platform and the opportunity to share their story.   It is another thing altogether to use those bad things to paint a cartoonish caricature so as to condemn the schools, the churches that administered them, and the country herself, wholesale, and to silence those whose testimony as to their experiences runs contrary to this one-sided, un-nuanced, narrative.   It is one thing to acknowledge that admired leaders of the past were human beings and thus full of flaws, or even to point out examples of how they fell short of the standards of their own day or of timeless standards.   It is something quite different to use their flaws to discredit and dismiss their tremendous accomplishments and, even worse, to condemn them for failing to hold attitudes that are now all but ubiquitous but which nobody anywhere in the world held until the present generation.  

When the so-called Truth and Reconciliation process began – I don’t mean the appointment of the Commission but the proceedings that led to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement which brought about the creation of the Commission, so we are talking about two and a half decades ago – the discussion was primarily about physical and sexual abuse that some of the alumni of the schools had suffered there, over which they had initiated the lawsuits that led to the Settlement.   With the creation of the TRC, however, the discussion came to be dominated by people with another very different agenda.   Their agenda was to condemn the entire Residential Schools system as a project of “cultural genocide”.

The concept of “cultural genocide” is nonsensical.   Genocide, a term coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944, means the murder of a “people”, in the sense of a group with a common ancestry and identity.  The Holocaust of World War II is the best known example. The mass murder of Tutsis in Rwanda towards the end of that country’s civil war in 1994 is a more recent example.   The concept of “cultural genocide” was thought up by the same man who coined the term.   It refers to efforts to destroy a people’s cultural identity without killing the actual people.   Since the equation of something that does not involve killing actual people with mass murder ought to be morally repugnant to any thinking person, the concept should have been condemned and rejected from the moment Lemkin first conceived it.    Soon after it was conceived, however, the leaders of certain Jewish groups began using it as a club against Christianity.   Christianity teaches that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah, the Redeemer prophesied in the Old Testament Who established the promised New Covenant through His death and Resurrection and Who is the only way to God for Jews and Gentiles alike.   Christianity’s primary mission from Jesus Christ is evangelism – telling the world the Gospel, the Good News about Who Jesus is and what He has done.   While not everybody believes the Gospel when they hear it and it is not our mission to compel anybody to believe, obviously the desired end of evangelism is for everybody to believe.   Since rabbinic Judaism has long taught that a Jew who converts to Christianity ceases to be a Jew, the Jewish leaders in question argued that evangelism amounts to cultural genocide – if all the Jews believed the Gospel, there would be no Jews any more.   On the basis of this kind of reasoning they began pressuring Christian Churches to change their doctrines and liturgical practices as they pertain to the evangelism of Jews.  Sadly, far too many Church leaders proved to be weak in the face of this kind of pressure.

Canada’s Laurentian political class showed a similar lack of backbone when it came to defending our country against the smear that the Residential Schools were designed to wipe out Native Indian cultural identities.   Indeed, their attitude throughout the entire “Truth and Reconciliation” process was to accept the blame for whatever accusations were thrown against Canada and to refuse to hold the accusers accountable to even the most basic standards of courtroom justice.   Imagine a trial where the judge allows only the prosecutor to call witnesses, denies the defense the right to cross examine, and refuses to allow the defense to make a case.   That will give you a picture of what the trial of Canada by the TRC over the Residential Schools was like.

The reality is that had Canada wanted to erase Native Indian cultural identity she would have abolished the reserves, torn up the treaties and declared the Indians to be ordinary citizens like everyone else, insisted that they all live among other Canadians, and that their children go to the same public schools as everybody else.   In other words, she would have done the exact opposite of what she actually did.   The Canadian government’s policy was clearly to preserve Indian cultural identity, not to eradicate it.   Had they wanted to do the latter, residential schools would have been particularly ill-suited to the task.   The TRC maintains that the idea was to break Indian cultural identity by taking children away from the cultural influence of their parents. If this was the case one would think the government would have had all Indian children sent to these schools.  In actuality, however, in the approximately a century and a half that these schools operated, only a minority of Indian children were sent there.   This was a very small minority in the early days of the Dominion when Sir John A. Macdonald, whom the TRC et al seem more interested in vilifying than anyone else, was Prime Minister.   The government also ran day schools on the reserves and in those days the government only forced children to go to the residential schools when their parents persistently neglected to send them to the day schools.    The Dominion had made it mandatory for all Indian children within a certain age range to attend school – just as the provinces had made it mandatory for all other children within the same age range to attend school.  It was much later in Canadian history, after the government decided to make the schools serve the second function of being foster group homes for children removed from unsafe homes by social workers that a majority of Indian children were sent to the residential schools.     Even then, the eradication of Indian cultural identity is hardly a reasonable interpretation of the government’s intent.

The TRC, in the absence of serious challenge from either Canada’s political class or the fourth estate, created a narrative indicting our country and its founders for “cultural genocide”, featuring a one-sided caricature of the Indian Residential Schools.   Now, after a discovery that adds nothing that was not already contained in the TRC Report, left-wing radicals egged on by the mendacious and meretricious media, have gone far beyond the TRC in their defamatory accusations of murder against the schools and their Pol Potish demands that we “cancel” our country, her history, and her historical figures.   It is about time that we stood up to these thugs who in their envy and hatred of those who did what they themselves could never do by building our country wish to tear it all down.   It is slightly encouraging that the Conservatives were able to stop the motion by Jimmy Dhaliwal’s Canada-hating socialist party to have Parliament declare the Residential Schools to have been a genocide.   I didn’t think they had the kives – the Finnish word for “stones” the bearing of which as a last name by a local reporter brings to mind how the biggest man in Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men was called “Little John” – to do so.

For anyone looking for more information about the side of the Indian Residential Schools story that the Left wants suppressed I recommend Stephen K. Roney’s Playing The Indian Card: Everything You Know About Canada’s “First Nations” is WRONG!, Bonsecours Editions, 2018 and From Truth Comes Reconciliation: An Assessment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, edited by Rodney A. Clifton and Mark DeWolf and just published by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy here in Winnipeg earlier this year.

Since the progressive wackos are calling for Canada Day to be cancelled, I encourage you this July 1st to fly the old Red Ensign, sing “God Save the Queen” and “The Maple Leaf Forever”, raise your glass to Sir John and celebrate Dominion Day with gusto.   The only thing we need to be ashamed of in Canada is the way we have let these ninnies who are constantly apologizing for everything Canada has been and done in the past walk all over us.   While I seldom recommend emulating Americans in this case I say that it is time we forget about our customary politeness and take up the attitude of old Merle, who sang “When they’re runnin’ down my country, man, They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me”.  — Gerry T. Neal Labels: Egerton Ryerson, Jagmeet Singh, John A. MacDonald, John Lukacs, Mark DeWolf, Merle Haggard, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pol Pot, Raphael Lemkin, Reaksa Himm, Rodney Clifton, Stephen K. Roney, Year Zero

Christians Defending Bat Flu Tyranny and Oppression are Deluded and Deceived

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, June 4, 2021

Christians Defending Bat Flu Tyranny and Oppression are Deluded and Deceived

The last Anglican priests that I spoke to in person were those of my own parish in March of last year, the day before the bishop’s order shutting down the diocese went into effect.   Since then, I have spoken to one of the priests by phone once, and communicated with the others through e-mail.   Oh, I could have seen them in person again, had I started attending services when the parish partially re-opened last summer.   That would have meant a compromise of conviction however.   I will not darken my parish door again as long as I am told to register in advance to do so, to impede my breathing in that hot, stuffy, building for the hour and a half that I am there by covering my nose and mouth with a stupid diaper that has reminded me of nothing so much as a the Mark of the Beast since it was first introduced, and to “socially distance” while there.   As far as I am concerned telling people to pre-register to book a place in Church because only a limited few will be admitted constitutes turning people away from the Ministry of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament and is an act of blasphemy crying out to heaven for vengeance.   To be fair to my parish – and the entire Anglican Church of Canada – I did not include the practice of Communion in one kind in the above list of deal-breakers, since I think they are using pre-intinction as a means of distributing the Sacrament in both kinds and thus are not in technical violation of the Thirtieth Article of Religion (and the basic principles of the English Reformation).   I watch their services on Youtube but I refuse to regard this as “participating in an online service” or anything more than watching a broadcast of somebody else performing a service.   This is because I have taken to heart Aleksandr Soltzhenitsyn’s instructions on the day of his arrest in 1974 to those oppressed by Communist tyranny.   Those instructions were to “live not by lies”.   When the government refuses to respect the constitution’s limits on its powers and claims for itself the right to completely suspend our basic freedoms of assembly, association, religion, and, increasingly, speech, in its self-delusion that a respiratory virus can be stopped by government action, subjects the entire population to the absolute rule of medical technocrats, and goes out of its way to demonstrate its contempt for religion, classifying Churches and synagogues and mosques as “non-essential” while liquor and cannabis stores and abortion clinics are classified as “essential”, it comes disgustingly close to the Soviet-style Communist tyranny that Soltzhenitsyn suffered under and about which he warned the West.   While it is true that rights and freedoms are not absolute, as our governments have been saying in response to challenges to their actions, this is not at all at issue.   It deflects from the fact that they have been acting like their authority to limit our rights and freedoms is absolute – this is what “nothing is off the table” means – and this is the essence of totalitarian tyranny.

My purpose here is not to knock the clergy of my parish.   I have explained why I haven’t seen any of them in person since last March to lead in to the fact that apart from them, the last Anglican clergyman that I had spoken to in person, earlier the same month, was the Right Reverend Donald Phillips.    Donald Phillips was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land in 2000, the year after I had left what is now Providence University College in Otterburne and moved to Winnipeg.   He served the diocese in this capacity until his retirement upon the consecration of his successor, the current incumbent, the Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft, in November 2018.   When I was confirmed in the Anglican Church as an adult, he was the bishop to do it.

It was at the Centennial Concert Hall that I ran into him and his wife Nancy about a week or so prior to the lockdown.  2020 was the 250th year since the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven.   As part of its celebration of this anniversary, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performed all five of his Piano Concertos and his Choral Fantasy over the course of the two evenings of the 6th and 7th of March.   The performances, conducted by WSO Music Director Daniel Raiskin, featured Russian pianist Alexei Volodin.   The vocals were provided by the University of Manitoba Singers and the Canadian Mennonite University Chorus.    The 2019/2020 season was the first time in several years where I had opted to buy tickets for only a handful of concerts rather than the “Ultimate Classics” package that comes with one performance each for all the shows in both of the Masterworks series.   I lost my usual seat doing it this way, but was able to take in both of evenings of “Back to Beethoven” as the Piano Concerto marathon was called.    These were the last WSO performances that I attended.   They are likely to be the last WSO performances that I shall ever hear because the lake of fire will freeze into a solid block of ice before I ever pay concert admission to watch a livestreamed performance and am certainly not going to be bullied into taking an experimental new kind of vaccine that took less than a year to develop about which the long term side effects cannot possibly be known just to regain as “privileges” the rights that were stolen from me by power-mad paranoid hypochondriacs shortly after the concerts I have just described.

I have seldom attended a symphony, opera, or anything else at the Centennial Concert Hall without encountering at least one, and usually several, people whom I know, and this was no exception.   Indeed, I was seated right next to one old acquaintance for the Friday evening performance.   It was also in the Friday evening performance – some people went to both concerts, others showed up only for the one or the other – that I ran into Don and Nancy.  They were seated in the row behind me, a few seats down – very close to where my subscription seat had been, actually.  I chatted with them briefly in the intermission and after the concert.   Did any of us suspect at the time that shortly thereafter the diocese would be essentially closed and everyone forced into social isolation for over a year by public health orders?

All of the above is a very long introduction to the real purpose of this essay.   On the 9th of last month the diocesan newspaper, the Rupert’s Land News, posted an article to its website by the bishop emeritus, entitled “Christians Protesting COVID-19 Health Orders are Misguided and Missing the Greater Call”.     This article also appeared on the website of the Winnipeg Free Press on May 12th.   If it was not already obvious that I am of a very different opinion, the fact that the Winnipeg Free Press carried the article should confirm it.    It is almost a matter of principle for me to disagree with whatever they publish, especially on matters of religion.   I read it, nevertheless, for while I have disagreed with our previous bishop on other issues in the past, I have always found what he has to say, whether as a homilist or in the Rupert’s Land News, very interesting.   

Towards the end of his article, he raised the following hypothetical objections to his article:

Some might call into question the whole nature of what I am saying.  Should a Christian publicly challenge the actions of other Christians?   Is that not being judgmental?

His answer was “Not when the integrity of the proclamation of the Gospel is at stake”.  

Very well then.   Since nothing in recent memory has threatened the integrity of the proclamation of the Gospel more than the quisling behaviour of the Church leaders who collaborated with totalitarianism in the Third Reich and behind the Iron Curtain,  I claim our retired bishop’s justification for his remarks as my own for my rebuttal.

He begins by saying that one of the pastors with whom he disagrees – he does not mention any names but it was Tobias Tissen of the Church of God Restoration, just outside Steinbach – had been quoted as having said “We have no authority, scripturally-based and based on Christian convictions, to limit anyone from coming to hear the word of God.   We have no authority to tell people you can’t come to church.  That’s in God’s jurisdiction.”

Retired Bishop Don answers this by saying “the New Testament presents quite a different picture of the responsibility of the Church for itself”.

He proceeds to justify this statement by making reference, first to the bestowing of the “keys of the kingdom” in St. Matthew’s Gospel, and second to the Pauline epistles in which the Apostle “constantly confronts and admonishes churches to teach, direct, and sometimes even discipline their members so as not to hinder or distort the mission of the Gospel in the world and Christ’s command to his Church”.

This is an interestingly novel way of interpreting these passages.   Yes, the “keys of the kingdom”, regardless of whether they are understood as having been given to St. Peter and his successors alone, all of the Apostles and their successors collectively, or the entire assembly of Christian disciples (the Church) collectively, have traditionally been understood to include the authority  to exclude from the fellowship of the Church.   In most Christian communions the technical term for the exercise of this authority is excommunication.    Some more radical sects use the word “shunning” with the same basic meaning but often with additional connotations of a more complete social ostracism.     This is not where the novelty lies.   What is novel in this interpretation is the suggestion that this authority can be legitimately exercised other than as corrective discipline in cases where someone refuses to repent of open sin or is found to be teaching serious doctrinal error.   Had our retired bishop not intended to suggest this it would have made no sense to bring the keys up in this context.   It is rather surprising, therefore, that he tries to bolster the suggestion with an appeal to St. Paul.   In his first epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul instructs them to excommunicate a man who has been committing “such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles”, meaning a type that was condemned and considered extremely shameful by the rather tolerant pagan culture of the time, an assessment to which  all the extent classical literature pertaining to the myth of Oedipus indeed, bears testimony.   In his second epistle to the Corinthians, however, he told them that the punishment had been sufficient and to forgive and comfort the man, who presumably had since repented.    The picture this paints of excommunicative authority is of a means of corrective discipline, to be applied as a last resort in extreme circumstances, and lifted as soon as repentance makes possible.   This hardly supports the idea that the keys can or should be used to bar people from the Ministries of Word and Sacrament, not as an act of corrective discipline, but as an instrument of public health policy.

Novelty is not a quality that is valued very highly when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture and doctrine in the Anglican tradition which has long appealed to the Vincentian canon as the gold standard litmus test of catholicity and orthodoxy.    In addition to the novelty of the Right Reverend Phillips’ interpretation of the keys, however, there is another problem in its conflict with Scriptural teaching on a multitude of other issues.

One example of this is the Scriptures’ teachings with regards to civil obedience.   If the pastors protesting the bat flu restrictions are at fault their error is in practicing Thoreau/Gandhi/King style civil disobedience, for which there is no Scriptural justification.   Civil obedience is commanded of Christians by St. Paul in the thirteenth chapter of his epistle to the Romans.   There are, however, clear exceptions.   The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament illustrates these.   If the civil authorities require the worship of a false god, believers in the True and Living God are not to obey, as the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into the fiery furnace demonstrates.   If the civil authorities forbid the worship of the True God, believers are not to obey, as the example of Daniel himself in the incident that led to his being cast to the lions shows.   While the latter is the most obviously relevant of the two, I would argue that the first also applies here, in that the kind of trust and obedience the public health orders have been asking of us is the kind that properly belongs to God alone, making an idol out of medical science (George Bernard Shaw said, almost a hundred years ago, that we have not lost faith, we have merely transferred it from God to the General Medical Council, and never has the truth of this been more apparent than at present).   The Lord Himself summed it all up in the twelfth chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel when He said “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”.  While a general civil obedience is rendering unto Caesar (the civil authority) that which is Caesar’s, obeying when they forbid the worship of the True God or require the worship of a false one, is to render unto Caesar that which is God’s, and that is forbidden of Christians by the Highest Authority.

Another example is the Scriptures’ teachings with regards to sickness.     In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to separate those with leprosy, a far worse disease than the one that is frightening so many today, from the general community, to which they would not be readmitted until such a time as a priest had examined them and found them to have recovered.     There is not a hint anywhere in the Old Testament, that banning all healthy Israelites from the Tabernacle or Temple, let alone confining them to their own dwellings and forbidding them any social interaction with their extended kin, friends, and neighbours, would be an appropriate or acceptable manner of preventing the spread of contagious disease.   This is not surprising as it is an experimental new form of hyper-quarantine, first implemented in totalitarian countries like Red China, which the epidemiologists of what used to be the free world initially, although sadly mistakenly, thought they would never be able to get away with here.   The Old Testament isolation requirements for lepers, of course, had the effect of heaping further suffering upon those already inflicted.   Thus, when Jesus Christ arrived to fulfil the Messianic promise of a New and better Covenant, one of the most prominent signs announcing His identity as the Promised Redeemer was that He allowed the lepers to come near Him and healed them, even, in one notable instance, using tactile contact as the means of healing.   He healed all who came to Him with any affliction and instructed His Apostles to do the same.   The book of Acts records them doing precisely this.   The Jacobean instructions in what is widely believed to be the first book of the New Testament to have been written are “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.”   Rather a far cry from “Is there a nasty cough going around?  Let everyone stay away from the church, lock themselves in their houses, and never see anyone else without wearing a mask”.

Given what we have seen in the previous paragraph, is it surprising that in the two millennia of Christian history, which have seen plagues far worse than the bat flu ravage Christian countries and at times all of Christendom, never did the leaders of the Church see their duty, mission, and call in terms of shutting all the local churches down and denying the faithful access to the Word and Sacrament.   Rather they saw it as their duty to keep the churches open, so that in times of great physical peril – much greater than today – access to the source of spiritual health, more important than physical health, was not cut off and hope, therefore, was kept alive, as well as to minister to the physical needs of the sick and dying, even at the risk of their own health and lives.   When cholera hit Canada in 1832 and 1834, for example, John Strachan, who would become the first Bishop of Toronto in 1839 but was at the time the rector of the parish of St. James, refused to flee the city but remained to fulfil his priestly duties, visit the hospitals, minister to the sick and dying, and bury the dead.

Previous generations of Church leaders did not see keeping the churches open in times of far worse plagues than this comparatively moderate one as hindering or distorting “the mission of the Gospel in the world, and Christ’s command to the church.”

Our former diocesan chief shepherd asks the question “And what is that Gospel?” to which he provides an answer “It is the supreme command of Jesus Christ ‘to love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you’”.

This is a very enlightening answer.   Not enlightening in terms of the question asked.   In that regards it is just plain wrong.   It is enlightening in that it reveals much about the source of confusion here.

The Gospel is not the command to love one another.   The Gospel is not a commandment of any sort.   It is a message.   As its very name tells us, whether euangelion in Greek, or Gospel – contracted from the Old English “godspel” (“god” = “good” + “spel = “news”) it is Good News.   It is spoken in the indicative mood, not the imperative.   In the ministry of John the Baptist and in Jesus’ own early preaching ministry, when the Gospel was preached only to national Israel and the events around which the Gospel narratives of SS Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are centred had not yet taken place, that Good News was that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, i.e., the Messianic promises are being fulfilled before your very eyes.   After the Great Commission to take the Gospel to all the nations of the world, the Ascension, the descent of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost to empower the Church, and the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, the Gospel in its mature and universal form was concisely stated by St. Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians.   It is that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by witnesses.

That this, and not the New Commandment, is the Gospel cannot be stressed enough.   The New Commandment is not “News” of any sort, Good or otherwise.   That we are commanded to love one another was hardly something unheard of prior to the Incarnation.   When Jesus said the Greatest Commandment was to love God and the second was to “love thy neighbour as thyself” He was quoting commandments already familiar from the Old Testament.   Nor was His statement that the whole of the Law was summed up in these a new revelation.   Indeed, while most often the Gospels place the two greatest commandments in His own mouth, in one notable instance He turned the question back on a lawyer who had been interrogating Him and got the answer He wanted (Luke 10:25-28) demonstrating that the idea was nor original with Him.   The similar “Golden Rule”, which appears in His Sermon on the Mount, is common to the ethical systems of almost all religions, and was notably stated, albeit in its negative “do not” form rather than the positive form Jesus used, by Rabbi Hillel, who died when Jesus was about twelve or thirteen (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat a, passage 6), and who said of it “that is the entire Torah, and the rest is interpretation”.     There is a kind of theology that sees in the command to love one another the essence of the Christian kerygma and treats everything asserted about Jesus Christ in the ancient Creeds as accidental trappings that can be discarded.  This theology, and note that I am not suggesting that the Right Reverend Phillips holds this theology, merely that his unfortunate wording here expresses a thought that belongs to this theology rather than orthodox Christianity, is nonsense.   If that were true there would have been no need for Christianity.   While there is a difference between the New Commandment and all these earlier commandments to love each other, that difference depends entirely upon the facts of the Gospel as stated by St. Paul.  Apart from that Gospel, the message of Christ’s death and Resurrection, the New Commandment is meaningless.   It is the Gospel that tells us what “as I have loved you” means.   Christ gave the New Commandment on the evening of His betrayal, to His disciples whom He had already told of His upcoming death and Resurrection, but like so many other things He said in St. John’s Gospel, it was these events themselves that made it comprehensible.

Isn’t it interesting that the example the New Commandment tells us to follow is that of One Who gave up His life for others?   Isn’t it also interesting that the New Testament repeatedly describes this act as one of “redemption”.   Today, the verb “redeem” and the noun “redemption” are often used in a sense that retains some of their connotations from New Testament usage but omits their original basic meaning.   To redeem meant to purchase someone out of slavery and set him free.   The New Testament writers use these words of the death of Christ to depict that act as one of purchasing freedom for mankind from slavery to sin.   Therefore, the New Commandment tells us that we are to love one another in the same way as He Who gave up His life to restore us to freedom.

This is interesting because the Right Reverend Phillips’ interpretation of the New Commandment which he confused with the Gospel itself is that we are to love others by doing the reverse of what Christ did – giving up our freedom for them.

Now he does go on to support his argument with evidence from St. Paul:

In 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul outlines the many ways in which he sacrifices his own self, his rights and privileges, his freedom in Christ, in order to effectively witness to the love of Christ.  “I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some,” he said (1 Corinthians 9.22)

For the Christian disciple, the effective demonstration and proclamation of the love of God for all people must take precedence over any personal demand or freedom.

St. Paul wrote his epistles to the Corinthian Church at a time when some had cast aspersions on his authority as an Apostle.   A principle theme of both letters was to answer his detractors and establish confidence in this authority.   This is what the Apostle is obviously concerned with through most of the ninth chapter of 1 Corinthians.   In the first verse he gives his Apostolic credentials, in the second he declares that if he is not an Apostle to others he certainly is to the Corinthians for they are the seal of his Apostleship.   He then goes on to talk about all the privileges and freedoms which he has as much as any of the other Apostles but which he refrains from for the sake of the work.   The main point in all of this is that he, as a spiritual minister, is entitled to pecuniary support from them, but has refrained from claiming his right to the same.   This is spelled out quite plainly in verses seven to fifteen

I wonder what St. Paul himself would have thought if someone from the Corinthian Church had written back to him and said that two thousand years in the future, someone would take his words about giving up the financial support to which he was entitled, so as to more effectively carry out the ministry of preaching the Gospel to which he was called and which he is bound by necessity to preach, as evidence that the entire Church should shut down, close its doors, and bar people from coming to hear said Gospel preached.   I suspect he would be livid.   I doubt very much that he would be any more impressed by the same application being made of his words later in the chapter, about meeting every type of person to whom he is sent in their own walk of life so as to more effectively share the Gospel with them.

His Retired Grace then refers to another quotation from a different pastor – again unnamed, but this time it was Heinrich Hildebrand of the Church of God in Aylmer, Upper Canada.  Hildebrand had said “We are here to fight for God, we are here to defend the vulnerable.”

I could have told you what the bishop’s response to this would have been without having read it myself.  However, here he is in his own words:

Surely the vulnerable we need to be worried about are those being exposed to the COVID-19 virus by persons not following the public health orders.   Surely it is those languishing on ventilators in ICUs in hospitals across our country who are the most vulnerable!

I guess it all depends upon how we answer the question “vulnerable to what?”   Even if, however, the answer is “the bat flu”, the Right Reverend Phillips’ thinking appears to be rather muddled on the subject.   Those most vulnerable to the virus are not those who are exposed to it but those with complicating factors such as age, obesity, a compromised immune system, and other chronic conditions that make this virus more than just the non-lethal respiratory annoyance it is to the vast majority who contract it.   When such people, the actual most vulnerable, have come into contact with the virus it has seldom been because of “persons not following the public health orders”.   That is a lie, invented by arrogant politicians and public health officials such as those of our own province, in order to create a scapegoat for the failure of their own policies.  The fact of the matter is that the worst and most lethal outbreaks have taken place in nursing homes where the virus spread got in and spread without any health order violations in spite of such places have been locked down quicker and stricter than anywhere else.

The bat flu, however, is not the only answer to the question “vulnerable to what?”    Suppose that we supply “the public health orders themselves” as the answer to that question.   We then get a very different picture of who the most vulnerable are.

Yes, public health orders hurt people.   The kind of public health orders that have been enacted to slow or prevent the spread of the bat flu are especially harmful.   This has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization, and even by our provincial chief public health officer.   Take the mental health crisis for example.   The Canadian Mental Health Association reported last December about how the “second wave of the pandemic has intensified feelings of stress and anxiety, causing alarming levels of despair, suicidal thoughts and hopelessness in the Canadian population.”   It would have been more accurate for them to attribute this to the “second wave of lockdowns”.    Viruses don’t have this effect.   Mendacious media scaremongering might contribute to it, but overall this is exactly the sort of thing one would expect to see among people who have had all their social and community events cancelled for a year, have been forbidden any social interaction with their friends, and have been told their businesses or jobs are non-essential and must shut down.   Public health orders are the primary cause of this problem.   People are not meant to live this way, it goes against the social nature that God gave us, and when you force people to live in these conditions there will be disastrous consequences.

Since our bishop emeritus made use of the superlative degree of comparison in his own remarks about those vulnerable to the bat flu, I think it is fair game for me to do the same in my remarks about those vulnerable to the public health orders.   Yes, some people are more vulnerable to the ill-effects of public health orders than others.   Somebody who is single and lives alone will be more adversely affected by an order forbidding get-togethers with all except his own household than somebody who has a happy domestic life.   Somebody who is in an abusive and unhappy relationship will be worse off because of a stay-at-home order than somebody who is happily married.   Those who are independently wealthy, whose jobs can be done from home, and whose businesses are in no danger of being declared “non-essential” will not have the kind of hardships that lockdowns impose on those about whom none of these things can be said.    Since the beginning of the bat flu scare the people who have been most likely to shoot their mouths off about how this never-before-tried experimental universal quarantine is “necessary” to fight a virus milder than most of those that caused pandemics in the last century, to lecture the rest of us about how unquestioning obedience to these orders is the loving thing to do and how expressing concern about economic devastation and the rapid evaporation of civil rights and liberties and their constitutional protections is somehow “selfish”, have been the people on the “least affected” side of each of these spectrums for whom the lockdowns have been mostly an inconvenience.

I will close with an observation that is related to the previous paragraph but is not specifically in response to our former bishop’s article.  I note the irony that the clergymen who have been the most vocal in support of the public health orders have been the ones who preach the most about “social justice”.  Indeed, I cannot think of a single dissenter from among their ranks.   The dark irony of this is not just found in the fact that the public health orders, shutting down restaurant dining rooms and indoor public places like libraries and limiting homeless shelter capacities were put into effect before winter ended last year and again just before winter started having absolutely brutal consequences for the very poorest members of our society, while everyone who keeps droning on about “social justice” was glad to be ordered to stay home in their own warm bed.   It can also be found in the fact that the economic result of the public health orders and the lockdown experiment has been to greatly enrich the multi-billionaires of the social media tech companies, internet delivery services, and the hopelessly corrupt pharmaceutical industry while bankrupting and driving out of business all the little guys, whose entire life’s work, and often the life’s work of their parents and grandparents before them has been wiped out through no fault of their own, but by the arrogance of some health bureaucrat who arbitrarily ruled their livelihood to be “non-essential”.   This is accomplishing an economic transition to societies in which small, individually or family owned farms and businesses are unfeasible, and everyone must either sell their labour to some giant, multinational, corporation to survive, or live off of a government allowance.   This is what Hilaire Belloc called “the Servile State” 109 years ago.   At the time, the expression “social justice” was still in its infancy and to those who believed in it in its original sense, the Servile State depicted by Belloc was pretty much the opposite of what they called and strove for, the worst possible of worlds.   Today’s “social justice” clergy have been calling for “universal basic income”, citing the pandemic and the “necessary” public health response to it as demonstrating the need for this measure, the most immediate effect of which would be to greatly accelerate the transition to the Servile State.    Of course what they mean by “social justice” includes such things as Critical Race Theory, the inalienable right of biological males to participate in female sports, and every other notion of this type that left-wing academics have dreamed up and their students have uncritically accepted and regurgitated under the delusion that by doing so they are thinking for themselves, but precious little to do with anything that the expression meant a century ago.   Should any of them be interested in the original version, I recommend to them the essay by that grand old Canadian economist, political scientist, wit, and Anglican layman, Stephen Leacock entitled “The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice”.   I wonder what Leacock would have had to say about people who consider it to be an expression of Christian love to wish government control, greater and more intrusive than any extended or even dreamed of by the totalitarian regimes of his own day – he died in 1944 when Stalin and Hitler were both still in power – on their neighbours?   Gerry T. Neal

Labels: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, COVID-19, Daniel Raiskin, Donald Phillips, Geoffrey Woodcroft, George Bernard Shaw, Hienrich Hildebrand, Hilaire Belloc, Hillel the Elder, John Strachan, Stephen Leacock, Tobias Tissen

Freedom Under Siege: Bill C-10

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, May 7, 2021

Freedom Under Siege: Bill C-10

I have never thought very highly of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was added to our constitution in 1982.   Note the wording there.   The Charter is not itself our constitution but merely a part of it and a late addition at that.   Those who make the mistake of calling the Charter itself our constitution have bought in to the American superstition that a constitution is a piece of paper that keeps a government from going bad through its magical powers.    A constitution is a country’s system of law and government, the institutions that comprise it, and the traditions that inform their motions.   The largest part of it is unwritten and this is true even in the American republic.  Documents like our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the one the Americans call their Constitution are merely parts of the Canadian and American constitutions respectively.   They are the laws that define and set limits to the power of government institutions.   They have no power to keep government within those limits apart from the loyalty of those who hold public office in obeying them, the willingness of the courts to uphold them, and the faithful vigilance of the public.

My low estimation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not because I don’t like the rights and freedoms that are listed in that document.   With a few exceptions, such as the “equality rights” written in Animal Farm style doublespeak in Section 15, these are rights and freedoms that I consider to be among the most valuable elements of our Common Law tradition.   It is rather because the Charter has made these rights and freedoms less secure rather than more.   In part this is due to flaws in the Charter itself such as the “notwithstanding clause” in Section 33 and the broad loophole in Section 1 which effectually nullify the Charter as far as the whole point of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms, that is to say that they are supposed to limit what the government can do so as to protect us from the abusive exercise of its powers, goes.   The Charter’s loopholes and exceptions protect the government instead of us and for this reason former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was right to say that it is not worth the paper it is written on.   It is also, however, because the Charter has encouraged a way of thinking about our rights and freedoms in a way that is the fundamental opposite of that which has historically belonged to our Common Law and traditional institutions of constitutional monarchy and parliament.   It encourages us to think of our rights and freedoms as privileges bestowed upon us by government to be limited or taken away by government freely as it sees fit, rather than our own property.

The consequences of this way of thinking having become pervasive have been most evident over the course of the last year.   Section 2 of the Charter identifies four freedoms as being fundamental.   The first of these is freedom of conscience and religion.   The third is the freedom of peaceful assembly.  The fourth is the freedom of association.    The whole point, remember, of having the Charter designate these freedoms as essential is to place limits on government power, to tell the government that it must keep its hands off of these things.   Yet ever since the World Health Organization declared the spread of the Wuhan bat flu to be a pandemic last March, our provincial governments have treated these freedoms as if they were completely non-existent, much less fundamental and protected by constitutional law and the Dominion government has constantly been urging the provincial governments to clamp down on us in violation of these freedoms in even more severe ways.

In 1986 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of R v Oakes.  David Oakes had been arrested with drugs in his possession and under what was then Section 8 of the Narcotics Control Act was presumed to be guilty of trafficking.   He challenged the constitutionality of Section 8 on the grounds that it violated the presumption of innocence, a civil right spelled out in Section 11 (d) of the Charter and which had been long established as part of the Common Law tradition.     That the provision of the NCA being challenged did indeed violate the civil right in question was easily demonstrated, but the Court then had to decide whether the violation was justifiable under the “reasonable limits” loophole in Section 1 of the Charter.   The Court’s ruling established what has ever since been the litmus test for this question.    The Court ruled that for a law which violates a Charter right or freedom to be justifiable under the “reasonable limits” clause, it first had to have a “pressing and substantial” goal.   Second, it had to meet the three qualifications of a) being “rationally connected” to the goal of the law, b) only impairing the rights and freedoms in question minimally, and c) not overwhelming the benefit hoped to be achieved with its negative effects.

It is quite obvious that the public health measures fail to meet the second of the three qualifications of the second part of the Supreme Court’s Oakes’ test.   When the public health officer tells you that you cannot have any visitors to your home, even if you meet outside, as is currently the case in Manitoba, he is clearly not trying to only “minimally impair” your freedom of association.   What he is doing is disregarding freedom of association entirely.   The provincial legislature is not allowed to do this constitutionally, nor can it delegate to the public health officer the authority to do so.   The legislature cannot delegate what it does not legitimately possess itself.   When the public health officer orders churches, synagogues, and mosques not to meet for the largest part of a year, cancels the most important festivals of these religions, and only permits re-opening at a severely reduced capacity that requires churches to betray the tenets of their own faith and turn worshippers away, he is similarly disregarding freedom of conscience and religion rather than making sure that his orders only “minimally impair” this freedom.    There is also plenty of evidence that the public health orders fail to meet the third qualification of the Oakes’ test as well.   The costs of lockdowns, measured in the destruction of lives due to the breakdown of mental health and the rise in substance abuse and suicides, the erosion of community and social capital, and the devastation of businesses and livelihoods, has been tremendous and far exceeds any questionable benefits of these insane, unjust, evil and oppressive restrictions.   Indeed, I believe the case could be made that the public health measures fail every single element of the Oakes’ test.

The provincial governments have gotten away with all this stercus tauri because they have until fairly recently met with only minimal resistance on the part of the Canadian public.   This can be attributed to a number of causes.   One of these, of course, is the hysterical and irrational fear generated by the mainstream corporate media that have been deceitfully and despicably portraying a virus that produces no to mild symptoms in most people who contract it, from which the vast majority of people who actually do get sick recover, and which in many if not most jurisdictions has an average age of fatality that is higher than the average expected lifespan of the general public, as if it were the second coming of the bubonic plague.   Another cause is the new attitude which has been encouraged among Canadians, especially by the Liberals, since 1982, of regarding our rights and freedoms as privileges bestowed upon us by the government in the Charter rather than what they are, our lawful property as free subjects of the Crown which it is the government’s duty to respect.  

The assault on our freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, and association have come from the provincial governments.    At the same time the second of the four freedoms designated as fundamental in the Charter has come under attack from the Liberals who are in power in the Dominion government.    This is the freedom of “thought, belief, opinion and expression”.   Whereas our freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, and association have never been this besieged before in Canadian history, our freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression has taken hits every time the Liberal Party led by a Trudeau has come to power in Ottawa.   It has been less than ten years since we finally got rid of one of the vilest elements of Pierre Trudeau’s legacy, the notorious Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.   While the entire Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 is, in fact, an affront to freedom of thought because, despite its title, it has nothing to do with protecting our rights either as Canadians or human beings from government abuses, but is instead all about prohibiting the crimethink of discrimination on the part of individual Canadians, Section 13 was the Act’s worst provision by far.   By defining any electronic communication of information “likely to” expose someone protected against discrimination “to hatred or contempt” as an act of discrimination it in effect forbade all negative criticism of groups protected against discrimination or individuals belonging to such groups, regardless of the truthfulness or justice of the criticism in question.  

Section 13 was finally abolished during the premiership of Stephen Harper thanks to a private member’s bill repealing the foul section that received enough support from Conservative MPs and Liberal MPs of the pre-Trudeau variety – these had not yet been purged from the party – to pass Parliament.    Neither Stephen Harper nor his Minister of Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, who is currently overseeing the throwing of pastors in gaol and the barricading of churches in Alberta, had much to do with this for although they had spoken out against Human Rights Tribunals and their unjust infringement upon freedom of thought and speech on their road to power, in office they betrayed most of what they had once stood for, apparently having sold their souls to get there.  The demise of Section 13 has long been lamented by Pierre Trudeau’s son, Captain Airhead, and when he became Prime Minister in 2015 he dropped a number of hints that he would be seeking to revive it.   The appeal of Section 13 to Captain Airhead was based on more than just the fact that it had been originally introduced when his father was in power.   More than any previous Liberal leader, Captain Airhead has been of the mindset that once a progressive goal has been attained, all debate about it ought to cease.   This was evident even before he became Prime Minister when he purged the party of its pro-life members.   More than any previous Liberal leader, he has enthusiastically endorsed fringe progressive causes that could not possibly achieve widespread popular support on their own merits without measures that intimidate and suppress dissenters.   More than any previous Liberal leader he has been prone to tell Canadians who disagree with him that they are not welcome in their own country.   He has used the expression “there is no place for X in Canada” far more liberally than any previous leader and with a much wider range of Xs. (1)   In all of this he has demonstrated the sort of sick, censorious, mindset to which something like Section 13 appeals.    In December of 2019, after he won re-election in the sense that he managed to squeak out a plurality despite falling majorly in the polls from where he had been four years previously, he instructed his Cabinet that fighting online “hate speech” would be one of their priorities in the new session of Parliament.   Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was specifically charged with finding a way to force social media platforms to remove what the Liberals consider to be “hate speech” within twenty-four hours of being told by the government to do so.   This would be Section 13 magnified to the nth degree.

In response to this directive, Guilbeault came up with a bill that pursued the same goal as Section 13 through a different avenue.   Last November he introduced Bill C-10, or “An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act” into Parliament.   This bill if passed would place internet media under the same regulatory authority of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as older electronic media such as radio and television broadcasters.   By going this route, Guilbeault could maintain that his goal was not to censor what individual Canadians post on the internet, but to ensure that the companies that make shows and movies available through online streaming follow the same Canadian content guidelines as other broadcasters, a goal consistent with his portfolio as Heritage Minister.   That having been said, the Bill as originally drafted would have given the CRTC regulatory authority over individual Canadians’ user-generated content on social media.   When objections to this were raised the Bill was amended to include an exception for individual user-generated content, but this exception was removed in committee late last month around the same time that the government moved to shut down debate on a motion that the Conservatives had introduced calling for a review of whether or not the bill violated the Charter.   None of this inspires much confidence in the Heritage Minister’s claim that the aim of this bill is cultural protectionism and not censorship of thought.   On Monday, faced with backlash over all of this, Guilbeault promised that they would make it “crystal clear” that the user-generated content will not be subjected to the same sort of regulatory control as television programming.   Needless to say, he ought not to be taken at his word on this.    Indeed, Michael Geist, the law professor at the University of Ottawa who has been one of the foremost critics of Bill C-10, has already said that the amendment the Heritage Committee proposed on Thursday evening fails to follow through on Guilbeault’s promises.

It is worth observing here that with Bill C-10, Captain Airhead and Steven Guilbeault have returned to the very first thing the original Trudeau Liberals did to control the minds of Canadians and limit their freedom of thought.   At the very beginning of the first Trudeau premiership the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker pointed out how the Liberals were threatening freedom of thought through the powers of the CRTC.   In a speech entitled “The Twilight of Liberty”, the second included in the collection Those Things We Treasure (Macmillan, 1972), Diefenbaker said:

The Trudeau Government seems to be dedicated to controlling the thinking of Canadians.   Through the power being exerted by Pierre Juneau, as Chairman of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, (2) private radio and T.V. station proprietors in Canada are frightened to speak, fearful of being subject to the cancellation of their licences.   One such station was CKPM in Ottawa, which dared to have an open line program critical of the Government.  Pierre Juneau did come before a Committee of the House and he uttered lachrymose words in reply to the criticism leveled at him that he wishes to determine what Canadians shall hear, and to deny them the right to listen to what they will.   His attitude was different when he spoke to the Association of Private Broadcasting Companies and in effect stated: “When I ope my lips, let no dog bark.” Under him the broadcasting network owned by the people of Canada is allowed to broadcast what he permits.

Diefenbaker’s warning of decades ago has gone largely unheeded, perhaps because the CRTC’s official raison d’être  is cultural protectionism which appeals to a much broader range of Canadians than its more covert purpose of limiting freedom of thought.   Certainly right-of-centre Canadians of the more traditional variety, such as Diefenbaker himself or this writer, would have no objections to the idea that Canadian culture ought to remain Canadian.   It needs to be pointed out, however, that the CRTC has been a total failure in this regards.    Fifty-three years later, the Canada of 2021 is far more Americanized culturally than the Canada of 1968 was.   Indeed, much of what Canadians regard as distinctly “Canadian” culture today, is merely Hollywood culture with a maple leaf stamped on it.   Read the novels of Mazo de la Roche and Robertson Davies if you want a taste of the more authentic pre-CRTC Canadian culture.    Since the CRTC failed in its official appointed task, probably because its real purpose was thought control all along, there is hardly grounds here for extending its reach over the new online media.    Indeed, the scarcely disguised agenda of censorship and thought control behind the move to so extend its reach, is sufficient reason why this bill, amended or otherwise, must never be allowed to pass.  It is also more than sufficient reason for voting the Trudeau Liberals who dreamed it up in the first place out of Parliament and never allowing them to resume power again.   For as Rex Murphy pointed out earlier this week, “What is more galling and more threatening that the bill itself, however, is the set of mind behind it”, and that won’t go away even if the bill itself does.

(1)       Disturbingly, the leaders of the other parties – including the present leader of the Conservatives – have taken to aping his example in this.

(2)       The full name of this agency was changed into the awkward and absurd redundancy that it is now in 1976, but the acronym remains the same. Posted by Gerry T. Neal

Abundantly Degenerate Liberals: An Expose of the ADL

Throne, Altar, Liberty

The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, April 16, 2021

Abundantly Degenerate Liberals: An Expose of the ADL

The Anti-Defamation League has been in the news again.   When, two years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center (sic) was hit by a series of scandals concerning such matters as its dubious fundraising, amassed wealth, and deliciously ironic allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment leading to the firing of its founder Morris Dees and the resignation of its president Richard Levin, I hoped that some similar fate would befall the ADL.   Sadly, this hope failed to materialize.   Indeed, it might be said that in this period in which the SPLC’s reputation has sunk to an all-time low, the ADL’s influence has soared to new heights.   Due, presumably, to its new director’s connections to Silicon Valley, the ADL has been working alongside Big Tech to censor online speech and purge the internet of opinions of which it disapproves, a campaign that has turned into a blitzkrieg of thought suppression in the course of the last year.   It has now declared war on Tucker Carlson, the most popular talk show host on FOX News, basically for being the only mainstream television news persona with the stones to speak the unvarnished truth about immigration.

The Anti-Defamation League is decades older than the SPLC and is, to the best of my knowledge, the very first organization of this type to have been founded.   Whereas most self-appointed, full-time, anti-racist watchdogs sprung up after World War II, during and after the American Civil Rights Movement, in order to capitalize on that era’s wave of popular sentiment against racism, the ADL predates the First World War going all the way back to 1913.   While it is popular among some of the ADL’s foremost critics on the right today to maintain that the organization started well but got sidetracked during the tenure of its current director who had been a special assistant to Barack Obama, in reality the organization started out bad and became worse.

The ADL started out operating under the Chicago branch of the B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant), a fraternal philanthropic organization that could roughly be said to be the equivalent for Jews of what the Knights of Columbus are for Roman Catholics.   Its founders were two Chicago lawyers, Adolf Kraus who was the president of the order at the time, and Sigmund Livingston who became the first president of the ADL.   Its stated purpose was to combat the defamation of the Jewish people in particular, and ultimately “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens”.   This, as good and noble as it sounds, was a mere façade.  Apart from the fact that the ADL has never seemed to have any qualms about lying about (defaming) its enemies, thus making a mockery of its own name, throughout its history it has blurred the distinction between unfair and unjust words and acts towards Jews qua Jews and justifiable criticism of the same, just as it has blurred the distinction between criticism of Jews qua Jews whether unfair or justifiable and criticism of individuals who are Jewish on the basis of their words and deeds as individuals.   It has also been susceptible to the charge of promoting Christophobia, which, of course, contradicts the second part of its purpose statement.

With regards to the first of these points, consider the incident that sparked the founding of the ADL in the first place.   Earlier in 1913, Leo Frank, the factory supervisor of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia was convicted of murdering 13 year old Mary Phagan, an employee of the factory who had been found raped and strangled in its basement.   Frank was the president of the local chapter of B’nai B’rith and the story became the subject of contentious discussion throughout the United States.   Powerful Jewish individuals in the American northeast such as Adolph Ochs, publisher of the New York Times, and Albert Lasker, the Chicago based advertising baron (he had just become the head of Lord and Thomas which became Foote, Cone & Belding) , became convinced, or at least took the public position, that Frank was innocent and was being railroaded for anti-Semitic reasons.   The founders of the ADL were of the same persuasion and today their interpretation of these events is taken as established in the history books.   It is curious though, that fabricated evidence at the site of the murder pointed to the black nightwatchman Newt Less, and the man whom the supporters of Frank’s innocence maintain was the real culprit, the janitor James Conley whose testimony to being Frank’s accomplice helped convict him, was also black.   For the ADL’s interpretation of the incident to be correct, it would require that in the city of Atlanta, Georgia at the height of Jim Crow, anti-Semitism so trumped anti-black prejudice that a white man was framed for the rape and murder of a 13 year old white girl by a black man, because the white man was of the Jewish faith.   The story did not end with Frank’s conviction.  He appealed, with Lasker covering much of his legal fees, and eventually his sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment.   About two years after his original conviction he was kidnapped from prison and lynched to death near Phagan’s home town.   An ugly ending to the story for sure, but it reinforces the point.   How likely is it that in the Georgia of 1915 a white man would be lynched for a crime of this nature perpetrated by a black man?

I have given much detail about the Frank case because of its instrumentality in the founding of the ADL but it is hardly an isolated incident.   In 1982 the ADL hosted a posh luncheon ceremony in which the legendary sharp-tongued comedian and actress Joan Rivers in an unusually teary-eyed and sentimental performance for her presented the “Torch of Liberty” award on their behalf to one Morris B. “Moe” Dalitz.   A few years later they would name him “Philanthropist of the Year”.   Dalitz, who had made a fortune in bootlegging and illegal gambling during the Prohibition era, had taken his ill-gotten gains and invested them in legal casinos in Las Vegas, where he later expanded his legitimate business interests into a more general property development, earning himself the nickname “Mr. Las Vegas”.   In the post-World War II era he carefully constructed for himself the image of a reformed gangster turned legitimate businessman which he fiercely defended, famously suing Penthouse magazine in the 1970s for an article that maintained that a country club and spa resort that he had built near San Diego was built with mob money and serviced a mob clientele.   Dalitz dropped the suit after the magazine published a letter of apology, although by Rolling Stone’s 1976 account of the case the defendants appeared to have been winning the suit.  A more serious allegation was that beneath his veneer of legitimacy he was the head of operations for the Las Vegas branch of the activities of his life-long friend Meyer Lansky.   Lansky, who died the year after Dalitz received the award from the ADL, was the co-founder, with his best friend Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel whom he later had killed, of Murder Inc., and who went on with Charles “Lucky” Luciano to build the National Crime Syndicate.   He was the biggest mobster in the United States for half of the twentieth century and his criminal empire stretched around the globe.    Siegel had run Lansky’s Las Vegas operations until his murder in 1947, and Dalitz, who began investing in Las Vegas casinos around that same time, was widely believed to have been his successor.    Indeed, there have been allegations that the ADL itself basically functioned as a public relations firm for Lansky and while the ADL never honoured Lansky, who lacked a respectable public image, the way it did Dalitz, and Lansky does not seem to have directly donated to the ADL in his own name (many of his most prominent associates, Dalitz among them, however were substantial donors), there is plenty of circumstantial grounds for believing these allegations to be not entirely false.   At any rate, the ADL had always been quick to make charges of anti-Semitism against those who concentrated on Lansky, Siegel, Dalitz, etc. in exposing organized crime.

With regards to the second point, the ADL’s promotion of Christophobia, this has been evident throughout the history of the organization but became especially prominent during the directorship of Abraham H. Foxman, who succeeded Nathan Perlmutter in that role in 1987 and continued as director until his retirement in 2015.   In 1999, Foxman attacked the Rev. Jerry Falwell for saying that the Antichrist would be a Jewish male.   Regardless of whether one agrees with Falwell’s understanding of Bible prophecy or not, this was hardly an anti-Semitic statement but a logical implication of the very idea of the Antichrist – the devil’s counterfeit of the true Christ who will arise in the last days as the ultimate villain of history.   A counterfeit is a fake that is intended to be passed off as the real thing imitates.   Therefore it has to be as close to the real thing as possible.   Thus, that the ultimate counterfeit of the Messiah would have to be Jewish, can be logically deduced not only from Christian theology, which correctly asserts that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the true Christ, but from Jewish theology, which denies this truth but certainly teaches that the awaited Messiah will be Jewish.   It does not require the belief that the Jews are the source of all evil, are the worst evil in the world, or any other such nonsense, and indeed, obviously contradicts such crudities because it is based upon the ultimate God-sent Deliverer being Jewish.      Foxman, however, betrayed no capacity for understanding these points.

A few years later Foxman began attacking Mel Gibson over his film The Passion of the Christ.   The attacks began long before the film was released and before Foxman had even seen it.   Foxman condemned the movie as anti-Semitic because it portrayed the Gospel accounts of the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Christ accurately – to the point of using the actual tongues of the day with English translations in subtitles – without altering the story to place 100% of the blame for the crucifixion on the Roman authorities and excusing the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the Jerusalem mob.   For Foxman, irrational though this false dichotomy be, it was either place all the blame for the crucifixion on the Romans and completely exonerate the Jewish leaders of two millennia ago or place all the blame for the crucifixion on all Jews of all times including those alive today.   Underlying this irrational point of view was the idea that traditional, historical, Scriptural Christianity had been discredited by the Holocaust- despite the obvious fact that the Third Reich was the product of the shift away from Christianity in Modern German culture – and that therefore Christianity had to change its beliefs, wherever Jews found them to be offensive, even if this involved falsifying the facts of history as recorded in Christianity’s sacred texts of the New Testament.   When groups like the ADL speak of meaningful interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews this is precisely what they mean by it – a one-way discussion in which Jews speak, Christians listen, and then Christians make whatever changes to their own faith and practice that  Jews demand.   Those like Mel Gibson who are too traditionalist to go along with this nonsense are then vilified and condemned.   When, several years later, the actor in a state of inebriation went into a tirade against the Jews, Foxman gloated that he, that is Foxman, had been vindicated in his accusations, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of cause and effect, or of the simple fact that after years of being subjected to Foxman’s style of abuse, which included unbelievably arrogant demands that Gibson denounce his own father (a traditionalist Roman Catholic who rejected Vatican II, pointed to by ADL types as the prime example of a positive outcome of the kind of interfaith “dialogue” described above), if anyone was justified it was Gibson in his tirade and not Foxman by it.  

Abe Foxman retired from his official position at the ADL, if not from his career as America’s foremost equine rump impressionist, six years ago, but the organization can hardly be said to have improved under the leadership of his successor, Jonathan Greenblatt, whose previous gigs included corporate executive and Obama administration advisor, and who looks like someone who crawls out of his parents’ basement only to do a bad cosplay of Lex Luthor at comic book conventions.   Under Greenblatt’s leadership the ADL has moved much further to the Left than it was even under Foxman.  Foxman was a liberal, for sure, but at the beginning of his tenure as National Director the ADL commissioned Harvey Klehr’s 1988 survey of Communist subversive groups in the United States published by Transaction as Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today, something that it would be difficult to imagine the ADL doing under the current leadership.   Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalist Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (sic), has done an excellent job of documenting the ADL’s further-Left shift under Greenblatt at the Center’s e-zine Frontpagemag, including the ADL’s strange new alliance with the segments of the Far Left that are rather less than friendly towards either Israel or the Jews (see here, here and here for examples).

It is Greenblatt who in his capacity as ADL CEO has been writing letters and giving interviews on CNN, demanding that FOX News fire Tucker Carlson for having the audacity to use the word “replacement” in criticizing liberal immigration policy in the United States.   “White supremacists”, use that word after all, and to use a word that “white supremacists” use is to fully embrace and endorse everything “white supremacists” believe, just as to be in the same room as a “white supremacist” or breathe the same air as a “white supremacist” is to implicate yourself in his ideology.   Absurd as that sort of “argument” is, it is what has passed for logic at the ADL for decades, long before Greenblatt took over.   Anybody who has perused the profiles they have put together of people they have accused of “racism”, “hate”, etc. over the years, will recognize the style.

Lachlan Murdoch has, so far, stood by Carlson and refused to give in to the ADL’s demands.   Let us hope that he continues to do so.   There are not many today who have the courage to withstand the ADL’s bullying and intimidation tactics for long, just as there are very few willing to speak the truths that Tucker Carlson has been speaking.

If Murdoch is willing to stand by Carlson for the long haul, then perhaps it is time for FOX News to go on the offensive, and shine the light of exposure upon the bullying, lies, and corruption of the ADL.

Posted by Gerry T. Neal