The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blaming Victims and Excusing Perpetrators

Imagine the following scenario. A young woman is walking down the side-walk one night when, as she moves through a darkened section of the street, all of a sudden she is set upon by a young thug who pulls her into an alley and forces himself upon her. After he finishes the rapist beats her and leaves her for dead but she is discovered in time, taken to the hospital, and survives.

After such a gruesome happening, the police, naturally, question her for as many details about her assailant as she can remember. Her friends and family help organize a neighbourhood watch in the hopes of preventing future such incidents and possibly helping the police catch the rapist.

Suppose that then someone were to come along and say that the police and the young lady’s family and friends all had a wrong attitude towards the whole situation. Rather than wanting the rapist to be tracked down, caught, and punished, this thoughtful individual suggests, the young lady should be looking at herself, peering deeply into the belly button showing in her bare midriff and asking what it is about her that invited this violent sexual assault.

Do you think that the person who were to offer this kind of suggestion would survive long and with all of his appendages still attached?

There is a phrase that has been widely used in recent decades which, taken at its literal meaning, would describe the malefaction of which our hypothetical Job’s comforter is guilty. That phrase is “blaming the victim” and when applied to a scenario like the one discussed it is quite clear what is wrong with it. You have two individuals, one of whom commits an atrocious crime against the other, and the victim is told that she and not the perpetrator bears the moral responsibility for what happened. Yet interestingly the expression is seldom used in this kind of context by those who use it the most often.

The people who use this expression the most are those who consider themselves to be the vanguard of moral and intellectual enlightenment, i.e., liberals, leftists, and other forward-thinking progressive types. Indeed, if I am not mistaken, they are the ones to have actually coined the phrase in the first place. Ordinarily, however, when they use it, the victims they have in mind are not individuals who have been the object of specific criminal acts but rather groups whom they have declared to have been the victims of society, and especially Western civilization, down through history. You know who I mean – all races except whites, all religions except Christianity, women, homosexuals, etc.

In a society dominated by the progressive way of thinking – and all Western societies, to one extent or another, usually a very large extent, are controlled by this way of thinking, even when a nominally “conservative” party is in power – these groups are “official victims” and their status as such is one of privilege. That privilege, progressives think, should include that of being above criticism and so, when anyone criticises one of these groups, or even select members of these groups, the progressive takes great offence and considers it the equivalent of holding the victim of a crime responsible for the act of its perpetrator. In the mouths of progressives, therefore, blaming the victim, is often simply a fancier way of saying “you’re a racist”, “you’re a sexist” or “you’re a homophobe”. Actually, pretty much everything progressives ever say can be reduced to these slurs which don’t really mean much more than “you disagree with me, and I can’t defend and articulate my position as well as you, so I’m going to call you a bad name”.

Thus, to a progressive, blaming the victim includes such things as making the observation that certain races in the United States have higher rates of illegitimacy, poverty, and crime than others or pointing out that the adherents of one particular religion are far more likely to strap bombs around themselves and blow up a shopping centre or hijack an air-plane and fly it into a building than any other. To speak the truth is to blame the victim to the progressive.

When normal people think of victims they think of those who have been on the receiving end of robbery, assault, murder, rape, kidnapping, or the like and not groups with social grievances of some sort or another. Normal people usually think “excusing the perpetrator” to be a worse problem than blaming the victim and, if you think about it, blaming the victim is best understood as being a form or aspect of excusing the perpetrator. The liberal’s preference for the former phrase is understandable, of course, in that they themselves are the chief practitioners of the latter. No matter how heinous and violent the crime you can always rely upon liberals to plead for leniency for the perpetrator, to argue that it is not really his fault and that society is to blame, and to condemn anyone who demands that the victim be given justice and a real sentence be handed down as atavistic vengeance seekers, out for blood.

Some might argue that when it comes to cases of rape, feminists, who are progressive and liberal, are more like normal people in their demands that perpetrators be brought to justice. A few years ago, there was an incident here in Manitoba which bears a certain resemblance to our hypothetical situation. Robert Dewar, then a Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, came under heavy criticism from feminists after he handed down a conditional sentence in a rape case. A conditional sentence is a sentence that is served outside of prison in the community under certain restrictions – a rather light sentence for a crime as serious as rape. It was not the leniency of the sentence itself which drew the feminists’ ire, if you recall, but the fact that Justice Dewar chose that moment to lecture the victim on the imprudence and impropriety of her trashy attire. While the judge had clearly picked a bad time and place to make that speech, the point is that the feminists were far more outraged over his “slut shaming” than over the fact that he let a rapist off with a slap on the wrist. Anyone who pays attention to what feminists say knows that in recent years they have launched a campaign against slut shaming, i.e., criticism of the contemporary cultural trend for young women – and more than a few older women – to dress, talk, and act like cheap prostitutes and that they object to the counsel of modesty under any circumstances as a “patriarchal” attempt to restrict the freedom of female sexual expression. As for their demands that rapists be brought to justice, the observer of feminism will also be aware that in recent feminist lingo the meaning of “rapist” has been extended to include men who women are ashamed of having slept with and so allow themselves to be convinced after the fact that the sex was not truly consensual.

If progressive liberals are the chief practitioners of excusing the perpetrator when it comes to real crimes they are also no slouches when it comes to blaming the victim on a grandiose scale. Consider the liberal response to the terrorist attack in Paris a couple of weeks ago – or, for that matter, to any of the episodes of jihad that have kept the news media occupied for the last couple of decades. They wring their hands over the violence of it all, of course, but their primary concern always seems to be that the ordinary people of France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States, or wherever the attack has taken place, might develop negative thoughts and feelings towards Muslims out of all of this. Their advice to Western Christians after one of these incidents is scarcely indistinguishable from that of the person in our scenario who advised the victim to think about what she had done to provoke the rape. Instead of thinking about military retaliation against ISIS, or even securing our borders and preventing the warriors of jihad from gaining access to our countries, they tell us we ought to be thinking about what is wrong with us to have provoked this kind of animosity.

I am not suggesting, of course, that we should ignore the problems with our own societies and civilization, of which there are plenty. To say that a rapist should not be excused for his crime on the grounds of his victim’s attire is not to say that skanky appearance and behaviour should never be criticized. Those who insist, however, that our response to a violent, murderous, attack upon our civilization ought to be to concentrate on our own faults and failings, do not in so doing take the high moral ground as they imagine. Instead, they sink into the same swamp as those who excuse rapists by saying “she was asking for it – look at the way she was dressed”.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Barbaric Cultural Practices

Earlier this year, and especially during the long federal election campaign, the Liberal and New Democrat parties, the liberal media, progressive bloggers, and other assorted lefties, were able to get a lot of mileage out of the phrase “barbaric cultural practices”. The previous government, led by Stephen Harper, had banned the wearing of the niqab during citizenship oath ceremonies in 2011, a ban which was struck down by a Federal Court on the grounds that it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms*. Harper’s government vowed to take the matter to the Supreme Court and then, in the last month of the election campaign, promised to establish an RCMP tipline for reporting cases of “barbaric cultural practices”.

The progressives condemned this as racist and xenophobic. Harper, they maintained, was appealing to fear, negativity, and hatred, and this was “unCanadian” because Canada is the land of tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism. Actually, Canada was nothing of the sort prior to the premiership of Trudeau the Elder, which began in 1968. It was the Trudeau Liberals who created the new Canada of tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism – that is to say tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism that were imposed on the country from the top down, administered by arrogant bureaucrats, and protected by the suppression of dissent. The older, traditional, British Canada was a much superior country.

The merits of the older British Canada, and the rather odious nature of the kind of “tolerance” and “diversity” introduced by the Trudeau Liberals which make a mockery of the ordinary meaning of these terms are, of course, beyond the understanding of today’s progressives. Nor do they seem to be capable of grasping that it is one of their own chief ideals that Stephen Harper was fighting for in his campaign against “barbaric cultural practices”.

This is not intended to be laudatory of Stephen Harper. The ideal in question is that of the equality of the sexes, or, as the progressives now insist upon mislabelling it, “gender equality”, an ideal I do not share with Harper or the progressives and, indeed, regard as worthy only of ridicule. Auberon Waugh put it best, I think, years ago when he wrote:

I have never understood how equality can be said to apply, except in the most superficial sense. to any human relationship. By this I do not mean that we are all graded in some divinely-imposed pecking order, but that our essential differences make talk of equality meaningless. Study of the sexes is bound to identify the differing characteristics of each, and I cannot see how anything useful is achieved by asserting that chalk is equal to cheese, or should be equal to cheese and must be made equal.

I don’t believe in “general equality” but the progressives all seem to believe in it and none of them more so than that vapid young twit who is our new Prime Minister and who has made a grand gesture of support for this ideal in the way he chose the Ministers for his new Cabinet.

These same progressives accused Stephen Harper of waging a “war on women”. Which, however, actually accomplishes more for the fairer sex – choosing your Cabinet Ministers on the basis of their sex so you can have an equal number of men and of women, or actively trying to keep such practices as honour killings and female circumcision from becoming prevalent in Canada? It is practices like these, which target the female sex, that the Harper government condemned as barbaric.

In 2011, the year the Harper Conservatives won a majority government, the federal government updated the “Discover Canada” brochure that is given to those who wish to immigrate to and become citizens of Canada. Among the changes was the addition of forced marriage to the following list: “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, “honour killings,” female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence” and goes on to say that those who commit these things will all be severely punished under our criminal law. Now that last part may have been more a statement of wishful thinking than an accurate description of how our criminal justice system actually functions but that is beside the point. “Spousal abuse”, runs both ways, and in fact there is recent evidence that women are more likely to be abusive in relationships than men, which, of course, would have come as no surprise to Rudyard Kipling, but this too is beside the point as the government clearly had male-on-female abuse in mind when it put that into the pamphlet. For that is what all of these “barbaric cultural practices” have in common, they all target females. The title of the subsection of the brochure that this is found in, by the way, is “The Equality of Women and Men”.

At the time, Justin Trudeau, then Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal Shadow Minister for Immigration condemned the Harper government for the use of the word “barbaric”, even though it was not itself a new addition to the publication. He received so much negative feedback over this he was forced to make a retraction the next day.

Every time the Harper government spoke of “barbaric cultural practices” it was with regards to practices in which women are treated cruelly or unfairly. The niqab controversy was no exception to this although the face veil is obviously not on the same scale as murdering one’s daughter or sister because she shamed the family by having a boyfriend, dressing inappropriately, or being raped, or removing a young girl’s clitoris to prevent her from growing up to become promiscuous. While I may not think much of the “gender equality” Mr. Harper and Mr. Trudeau both believe in, unlike Mr. Trudeau four years ago, I have no problem agreeing that these practices are utterly barbaric. Indeed, one of the things most objectionable about the false ideal of equality, is that those who believe in it tend to make a big deal out of peccadilloes while letting major injustices like these slide.

Consider the example of feminism. “The women’s movement” is a modern phenomenon, whose raison d'être is to promote the rights of women. Yet it has never concentrated its efforts on fighting honour killings or cliterodectomy or anything of the like. Instead, it has focused on such things as the “glass ceiling” and the “77 cents on the dollar” and to combat these largely imaginary bogeys, has created a barbaric cultural practice of its own, i.e., abortion on demand. It could be argued that this is because feminism is a movement which began in, grew up in, and still mostly belongs to, the Western world where the former practices were mostly unknown until quite recently. That is the whole point, however. That a revolutionary movement seeking radical societal transformation in the name of women developed in the West, where it really only became a force after women had been given the vote and barriers to their education, owning property, and having professional careers had for the most part disappeared, and not in parts of the world where girls have their genitals mutilated and may be murdered by their relatives if they “shame” their family is because the modern Western mind has been thoroughly permeated and polluted by the false ideal of equality.

Ironically, feminism is part of the larger progressivism which is itself responsible for practices like female genital mutilation and honour killings, once unknown in countries like Canada, becoming more and more common in large Western cities. For progressivism is not just about the equality of the sexes, it is about the equality of races and cultures as well and for decades now, what this has meant, is that it has insisted that all cultures ought to be equally welcome in Canada and other Western countries. This is what the first Prime Minister Trudeau’s policy of “official multiculturalism” was all about and it is clearly the reason that the younger Trudeau, heir to this dogma in which he was undoubtedly indoctrinated from an early age, initially took a foolish offence to the description of forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and honour killings as barbaric a few years ago. To call these things barbaric is to say that all cultures are not equal after all, which, of course, they are not.

Trudeau and other progressives are no more capable of admitting this than they are of admitting that there is a fundamental contradiction in their ideology – that equality of the sexes and equality of cultures are mutually incompatible ideals. They can be rejected together with consistency – which is my own position – but they cannot be consistently affirmed together. Stephen Harper got this partially right, the Trudeaus have always gotten it completely wrong, and Canada has paid a heavy price for their error.

*It has been drawn to my attention that I was mistaken in thinking that the ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal was based on the Charter. The ban, which was an instruction from the Ministry to the judges administering the citizenship oath rather than a law, was overturned because it conflicted with an older rule that requires such judges to give maximum religious freedom in the swearing-in ceremony. Thank you to the person who noticed and notified me of this factual error.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Man of 2015

It is only just that we award credit to those to whom credit is due and a certain amount of credit is due to Justin Trudeau. It is less than a month since the Shiny Pony became Canada’s shiny new Prime Minister and he is already living down to our lowest expectations. It is too early, perhaps, to declare him to be our worst Prime Minister ever. It will take him longer than this to break his father’s record in that respect. He is well on the way to getting there, however.

On November 4th, David Johnson, who as Governor General is the Queen’s Canadian viceroy, swore in Trudeau and the thirty people selected to be the Crown Ministers who, along with the Prime Minister, will make up the Cabinet. Fifteen of these were men and fifteen were women because the new Prime Minister had decided it was important that the Cabinet have an equal number of penises and vaginas. “Gender balanced” was the way he described it. At one time it was understood that people have sexes and words have genders, but no longer.

Now, if a Prime Minister were to submit to the Crown a list of choices for Ministerial appointments that consisted entirely of men, he would, of course, be denounced as sexist. Let’s think about that for a moment. If we assume, for the sake of argument, that the word sexist actually means something and is not just a verbal weapon used by liberals, progressives, and social justice warriors – a rather dubious assumption - what is it about a list of appointees that consists solely of men that would make it sexist?

Those who are capable of intelligent and sane thought would answer that it is the fact that those on the list were chosen on the basis of their sex, or, to put it a bit more precisely, that sex was a criterion in the selecting of those who would be on the list. If this, however, is what makes a list that contains only men sexist, then Justin Trudeau’s “gender balanced” Cabinet is also sexist, because sex is just as much a criterion for selection in the one as it is in the other.

This conclusion can be avoided by saying that it is not the use of sex as a criterion of selection, per se, that would make an all-male Cabinet sexist, but rather the fact that it is men who are chosen, but to say this would be a more overt admission of misandry than most progressives, except perhaps the most radical of feminists, are usually comfortable with because they like to operate under the delusion that they are morally and intellectually superior to other people. Similarly, American anti-racist liberals are unlikely to admit that in the fall of 2008, Barack Obama became the first person to be elected President of the United States on the grounds of his skin colour, and that they were the ones to so choose him on those grounds.

When asked why he choose a “gender balanced” Cabinet, Justin Trudeau answered “because it’s 2015”. While it is good to know that our Prime Minister is capable of reading the date on a calendar, showing a level of intellectual achievement of which he had previously given no indication, what is implied in his answer is the idea that in 2015 we have attained some sort of enlightenment that previous generations lacked so that of course we now know that it is absolutely vital for the health of our country that half of its Cabinet Ministers – at least – be women. Almost a century ago Owen Barfield and C. S. Lewis coined a term for this way of thinking. They called it “chronological snobbery” and if there were an award for the most chronological snobbish remark of the year, “because it’s 2015” would certainly deserve to win it. Ironically, however, Mr. Trudeau’s chronological snobbery is itself clearly behind the times. It is indeed, 2015, the year in which the most recent quantum leap forward in the socially progressive enlightenment of mankind took place. I refer, of course, to the apogynosis of Bruce into Caitlyn Jenner. The earth-shattering consequences of this event are still unfolding in school divisions across North America as tough decisions have to be made about who should be allowed to enter which washroom or locker room, a question which was not a significant puzzler up until now. Even feminist icon Germaine Greer has come under the wrath of the next generation of more-enlightened-than-thou social justice warriors who recently circulated a petition to have her invitation to lecture at Cardiff University revoked on the grounds of her “transphobia”. Yet Mr. Trudeau’s choices for lady Cabinet Ministers are all cis female to the best of my knowledge. That is so 2014!

Now given the events of this weekend perhaps it is time we questioned whether the kind of attitude that comes out in expressions like “because it is 2015” is really what we want in our leaders. Friday, November 13th, proved to be a very unlucky day indeed for the residents of Paris when, on that evening, ISIS launched a multipronged terrorist attack on their city that has left 129 dead, so far, and almost 400 wounded. At least one of those who carried out this act of jihad on behalf of the Islamic State had entered Europe claiming to be a Syrian refugee.

One of the first things Justin Trudeau did after winning the federal election last month was to announce that he would be withdrawing our bombers from the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. This, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, but Trudeau is doing it for all the wrong reasons. Throughout the entirety of his political career he has demonstrated a sappy and juvenile naivety about terrorism, Islam, geopolitics, war, and all things military. In a speech this March, explaining his opposition to the previous government’s intention of expanding Canada’s military efforts against ISIS into Syria, he gave as one of his reasons that such a mission “could very well result in Assad consolidating his grip on power in Syria.” As obnoxious as the previous government’s hawkishness could be, at times, at least Stephen Harper could tell the difference between an enemy of Canada and of all Western civilization, like ISIS, and a regime that, however unpleasant it may be, is no enemy. A month ago, just before the election, Trudeau said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “irresponsible and harmful” in the Middle East, when, in fact, Putin has demonstrated far better sense with regards to that region than any other world leader. In his election campaign Trudeau promised to bring 25, 000 “Syrian refugees” into Canada by the end of the year and a representative of his office told the press, this weekend, that the Paris attack has not altered his intention to follow through on this. Why let a small thing like a terrorist attack ruin a perfectly bad idea?

What the attack on Paris is telling us, if we have the ears to hear, is that if Justin Trudeau is a man of 2015, what the countries of the West do not need, is the leadership of men of 2015. What we rather need is the leadership of men of 732. Whether there are any of that vintage yet to be found remains to be seen.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Contemporary Compassion is not Christian Compassion

When you read or sing the Psalms you cannot help but notice how frequently God is described as being “full of compassion”. In the Authorized Version this expression occurs no less than five times in Psalms 78, 86, 111, 112, and 145. Furthermore, the Psalms are hardly the only place in the Bible where the word compassion is used as an attribute of God. The Synoptic Gospels frequently speak of Jesus being “moved with compassion” or “having compassion” on someone or some group of people.

These are verses which are very difficult for contemporary readers to understand for the reason that the word “compassion” has become completely and utterly debased in our day and age. It has been stripped of all that made “full of compassion” an expression of praise in the Psalms and reduced to a mere sentiment.

Something similar could be said about the word “charity”. In the Authorized Version of St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians charity is the greatest of what are traditionally known as the three theological virtues – the other two being faith and hope – of which a famous, extended description is given in the thirteenth chapter. The English word charity is derived, through the French, from the Latin word for this virtue, caritas, which in Latin versions of the Scriptures is frequently used to translate the Greek agape. Today, however, the first thought the English word suggests is that of “giving to the needy” and it seldom expresses anything beyond that. Organizations that provide help and relief to those who are poor, sick, or otherwise in need are called charities. No-one, unless he is reading the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians in the old AV, is likely to associate charity with long-suffering, seemliness, bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things, and all the other qualities listed in the fourth through seventh verses, and verse three which reads “ And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” would be incomprehensible to anyone reading it with the contemporary meaning of charity in mind.

It is for this reason that the translators of most of the more recent English versions of the Holy Scriptures use the word love instead. This can hardly be said to be an improvement, however, as the word love has been as debased as the words charity and compassion. In Greek and Latin, the basic word for love was closely related to the word for friend and Greek had several other words when a more precise concept of love was called for. In English today, the word love would almost never be used of friendships – at least male friendships – thanks mostly to the imposed new acceptance of homosexuality. Sexual love has eclipsed all other concepts of love – and not the exalted eros discussed in Plato’s Symposium, either, but a version of the latter that has been stripped of all of its higher connotations, and reduced to a romantic affection tacked on to animal lust. So substituting love for charity in translations of 1 Corinthians 13 produces no net gain in comprehensibility.

While the decay of the English language is obviously what I have been describing here, it is also the rot and ruin of Western ethical thought and, for that matter, Western thought in general. That thinking and language stand and fall together ought to go without saying. Language is the medium through which we communicate our thoughts and, what is more, words are the very building blocks out of which we build our thoughts in the first place, at least if we are talking about the kind of thinking necessary for a civilized life that goes beyond the merely animal and mechanical. The Cultural Marxists, who have been so effective over the last sixty years or so, in tearing down Western civilization from the inside out, clearly understand this, which is why there is so much emphasis on linguistic theory and literary criticism on the intellectual side of what was accurately called the New Left forty-five years ago, and why their most devastating instruments, such as the phenomenon of so-called “political correctness”, involve the manipulation of language.

Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish émigré who became a godfather of sorts to American neoconservatives, and George Grant, Canada’s greatest conservative thinker and patriot of the old British Canada as she was before the evil Trudeau gang first got their hands on her, were among those who a generation or two ago observed that Western ethical thought had taken a turn for the worse in the twentieth century, as modern Western man had come to think in terms of “values” rather than “virtues”, and traced this shift back to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche in the nineteenth century. Virtues were central to the old, pre-modern, Western tradition of ethical thinking, with roots in both the ancient Athens of Plato and Aristotle and Jerusalem, birthplace of Christianity. Virtues, were praiseworthy habits of behaviour, that manifested themselves in praiseworthy acts or deed, and which presupposed the existence of an established, transcendent, hierarchical order of good, that was not created by man, but to which man must conform himself through the cultivation of virtue, to achieve happiness. Nietzsche believed that the ideas of the modern philosophers who had preceded him and the discoveries of modern science had rendered belief in this order impossible and had left man with two paths open to him, that of a “last man”, content to live out his mediocre existence as a cog in the great societal machine modernity is building, or that of an “overman” who will create a new set of values to fill the void left by the collapse of the old order. That we have come to speak of values rather than virtues, demonstrates how pervasive the Nietzschean version of modern thought has been. Virtues, point to an unchanging order beyond ourselves, values we create for ourselves.

This can clearly be seen in the “Canadian values” of the Trudeau Liberals. People have been driven from their careers, in Canada, for expressing ideas on immigration and multiculturalism that were no different from those held by Stephen Leacock, Conservative economist, social critic and humourist, W. L. Mackenzie King, Liberal Prime Minister, and J. S. Woodsworth, Methodist clergyman and founder of the CCF, the predecessor to today’s NDP, on the grounds that these ideas are contrary to “Canadian values”. “Canadian values”, therefore, have little to do with what real Canadians thought or think, but are rather what Pierre Trudeau decided and declared they would be.

Social conservatives, tend to express their opposition to abortion, divorce, homosexuality, and the like as a defence of “family values.” George Grant, himself an outspoken opponent of this kind of moral decay, argued that this was a mistake, because it is self-defeating to use the language by which the modern replacement for the old moral order has been effected, to defend the old order.

If the replacement of virtues, grounded in a transcendent order, with man-created values, was a step down the stairway of moral and ethical decay, their further replacement with sentiments, of the sorts represented by the current meanings of “compassion”, “charity” and “love”, was a slide down the bannister in comparison.

When the Psalmist says that God is “full of compassion” he is not singing about God’s feelings so much as about His actions. Similarly, whenever the Gospel writers speak of Jesus “having compassion” or being “moved by compassion” they are describing something He does, whether it be healing the sick (Matt. 14:14), casting out a demon (Mk. 5:19), or feeding the multitude (Mk. 8:2). Compassion in the Bible is that within God which motivates Him to act in a benevolent way towards people. It is far more, then, than a mere feeling. This is further evident in the way the Scriptures enjoin compassion upon men. They are clearly telling people how to act, not how to feel, because it would be pointless to do the latter, as feelings cannot be produced at will or in obedience to commands.

Today, however, the word compassion denotes a feeling. Worse, it is a feeling for which people demand and expect all of the praise and credit that is due to a virtue. Jesus in His earthly ministry condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. In His famous Sermon on the Mount, after going through three pairs of Old Testament verses and expounding them in such a way as to show that the righteousness God demands of people is an internal righteousness and not just an external adherence to His Commandments, Jesus warned those assembled to hear Him against practicing their alms “before men, to be seen of them”, as the hypocrites do, drawing an amusing hyperbolic picture of a hypocritical Pharisee walking into the synagogue blowing a trumpet to announce that he was giving alms, but to give their alms in secret, for “thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” What He was here condemning in the Pharisees, was doing something good – giving alms, for the wrong reason – to be praised by men. The Pharisee who was blowing his own horn, was at least doing the alms-giving for which he received the praise he wanted. Today, the “caring” and “compassionate” expect credit for shedding a few tears for the plight of the unfortunate and having warm fuzzy feelings towards them, whether or not they actually do anything to alleviate their condition. The Pharisees had nothing on them when it comes to hypocrisy.

Perhaps, however, I am being too hard on them. When you look at what has actually been done in the name of the huggy-feely type of compassion these days, you will find that much of it falls into two basic categories. One of these is harm done under the guise of helping, such as all the “poverty relief” money that was funnelled into the support of Third World Marxist guerillas in the twentieth century by the kind of churches who have reduced the “Christian” message to nothing but the debased, sentimental, kind of compassion by getting rid of more trivial aspects of the faith, such as the idea that the Son of the true and living God, came down to earth from heaven, was born a man by the Virgin Mary, died on the cross to take away the sins of the world and reconcile fallen man to God, descended to hell, shattering its gates and releasing the captive spirits of the saints, before rising in triumph from the grave and ascending back into heaven, to sit at His Father’s right hand. The other is to make other people pay the costs of your supposed “compassion” while you get all the credit. Most, if not all, government policies and programs that are labelled “compassionate” are examples of this.

If this is what modern “compassion” looks like in action, perhaps it were better that it be nothing more than a feeling after all.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Old Canada and Young Voters

In my last essay, commenting on the results of last week’s federal election, I quoted myself as having said that it proved what I, ala Evelyn Waugh, had been saying about the queen needing a better method of selecting her ministers than popular election, and that if elected officials are to be retained in our government we need a more limited franchise. Lest anyone make the mistake of thinking this to be a partisan comment, my breakdown of the election results into the good and bad – the good being that Mulcair and Harper lost, the bad being that Trudeau won – it should be apparent that any other outcome to that election would also have supported my position.

That having been said, there are those who took umbrage with my sin against the modern dogma of the universal franchise, but I am in no way repentant over it. A broad franchise makes more sense in the context of a small group of people with very similar interests electing their local officials than it does when we are talking about the government of a large country like Canada. Most people know and understand the affairs, interests, and concerns of the local area in which they live and work much better than they do those of their country as a whole. A broader franchise, therefore, makes more sense when a town is electing its mayor and council than when a province is electing its legislature and when the country is electing its Parliament.

The past election demonstrated just how appalling the dearth in understanding of Canadian civics has become in our country. Whatever one may think of either Justin Trudeau or Stephen Harper, the results of the election show that our voters thought in terms of an American Presidential election – that they were choosing the next Prime Minister. That is not how our system works, however. We vote to form a Parliament, the elected portion of which is made up of representatives of the areas in which we live. We choose who will represent our area in the House, and in accordance with tradition and our constitution, the person who can command the most support in the House becomes Her Majesty’s next Prime Minister and forms the next government. If we understood our system better and thought in terms of who the best person to represent the interests of our riding would be rather than which party leader would make the best Prime Minister a broader franchise would more justified than it is at present.

It is not just the Trudeau supporters who show this lack of understanding but the Harper supporters as well. On the night of the election after the Trudeau victory was apparent countless numbers of irate Harper supporters began calling for Alberta and Saskatchewan to separate and form a “Republic of Western Canada”. They too were thinking entirely in terms of the country’s premiership rather than the representative of their ridings. Furthermore, their willingness to indulge in the silly sentiment of “you’re not going to play my way, I’ll take my ball and go home”, anti-patriotic, separatism that is reminiscent of nothing so much as the way left-wing Hollywood actors talk every time it looks like a Republican might win residence in the White House, shows how little they understand of the conservatism they profess to stand for. So, of course, does the suggested name for their hypothetical break-away country. As I have said before and will say again a true conservative is a monarchist not a republican.

Those who find the thought of limiting the franchise objectionable seem to have overlooked the fact that there are already limits on who can vote. You cannot, for example, vote if you are under the age of eighteen. This is a very reasonable limitation and while I have encountered people who think this is unfair and arbitrary and that the age should be lowered I would argue, myself, that it ought to be raised by a decade or two. The absurd cult of youth and its accompanying notions that we are in constant need of change and newer fresher ideas is an indicator of degeneracy and a culture and civilization gone mad. Young people think they know, if not everything, so much more than their elders, when, of course, in most cases the opposite is true. Wisdom, which is even more important than knowledge for wise statesmanship, is even rarer among youth as it is usually something that develops with age and experience.

Stephen Marche, in a recent column for the Huffington Post, maintains that “Trudeau Won Because Youth Want the Old Canada Back”. Yet if there is anything his article demonstrates it is that most youth don’t have a clue what the old Canada was. Nor, for that matter, does Marche himself. Old Canada was the British country built on a foundation of Loyalism that gradually grew up and obtained control of her own affairs within her own Parliament under the shared monarchy, within the British Empire and without severing ties to the British family of nations. Within the old Canada was an even older Canada, the French Canada that had been ceded to the British Crown after the Seven Years War, and was guaranteed her French language and culture and her Roman Catholic religion by royal decree. French Canada remained staunchly traditionalist Catholic until the “Quiet Revolution” of the 1960s, while English Canada had a very Victorian culture and society. Anyone who wants to know what that Canada was like will find it described in the histories written by Donald Creighton and W. L. Morton, but will probably find a more meaningful encounter with old Canada in the novels of Mazo de la Roche, Lucy Maude Montgomery and Robertson Davies and in the short stories of Stephen Leacock. This is the Canada that I want back. It is not the Canada that Stephen Marche is talking about.

By “old Canada”, of course, Marche means “Canada before Harper” but the way he describes it his “old Canada” is younger than I am, going back no farther than 1982, the year in which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was passed. He calls the Charter our “founding document” and suggests that a Trudeau running for Prime Minister is “not the same as a Clinton or a Bush running for President” but would be “closer to a Washington or a Jefferson”. This is truly ignorant in a most grotesque fashion. This comparison would be true of a MacDonald or a McGee, an Archibald, Brown, or Campbell, a Cartier or a Tache, but certainly not a Trudeau. If a comparison must be drawn between the Trudeau family and an American political family the most suitable name is that of Kennedy.

Marche quotes Stephen Harper as saying “You won't recognize Canada when I'm through with it”, a sentiment which demonstrates Harper to have been unworthy of the leadership of the Conservative Party but which would have been appropriate in the mouths of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau in the 1960s. For twenty-one years, with one brief intermission, the Liberal Party under the successive leadership of these men, waged a relentless war on Canada’s British and Loyalist heritage, turning a country in which people saw the Common Law protections of their basic rights and freedoms as their birthright as free subjects of the Crown, whether English speaking Protestant or French speaking Catholic, into a country that was expected to be grateful to Trudeau for the much abridged version of their rights and freedoms contained in the Charter. This was hardly an improvement.

The attack by the Pearson-Trudeau Liberals on our British traditions and institutions created a national identity crisis that has not truly been resolved since and which has generated our unhealthy national obsession with not being American. The old Canada defined itself positively rather than negatively as a British country, built on a foundation of Loyalism, that treasured its rich inheritance of parliamentary monarchy and Common Law, in which the language, religion, and culture of French Canada was recognized and protected. We did not need to obsess about what made us different from the Americans – that was obviously implicit in our retaining the identity which the Americans rejected in 1776. When Pearson and Trudeau, while keeping the outward form of our government, tried to create a Canada that no longer identified herself as British, the result was a Canada obsessed with how she is “not American”.

This has manifested itself in all sorts of foolishness in the form of declaring something to be “American”, then declaring us to be the exact opposite, usually getting both the United States and Canada completely wrong in the process. Capitalism, Christian fundamentalism, and militarism have all been declared to be “American”, therefore Canada must be socialist, secular or religiously liberal, and a country that is particularly devoted to peace. All of this, however, is utter hogwash.

The American government of the 1930s and 1940s was far friendlier to socialism, and to the USSR, than any Canadian federal government prior to 1968 ever was, and most of the “socialist” policies introduced in North America in the twentieth century were introduced by the United States first, with Canada following the American example. These include the progressive income tax (USA – 1913, Canada –1917), the New Deal (USA – 1933, Canada – 1935), and the expanded welfare state of the “Great Society”, introduced in the United States in 1964-1965 by LBJ whose presidency ended the same year the premiership of Pierre Trudeau, who brought us similar programs as part of his concept of a “Just Society”, began.

The idea that Canada is a “secular” country compared to the “fundamentalist” United States is even more absurd. It is the United States that has historically been the secular country. The idea of separation of church and state has been enshrined in the First Amendment of her Bill of Rights since 1791. In 1962 and 1963, the Supreme Court of the United States drove the Bible and prayer from public schools in America, and, Christian fundamentalists have not succeeded in restoring them since, nor in restoring the state bans on abortion struck down by SCUSA in Roe v. Wade in 1971, demonstrating that Christian fundamentalists simply do not have the clout in the United States that liberals seem to think they do. Separation of church and state has never been part of the Canadian tradition or constitution, and the Lord’s Prayer and the Bible remained in Canadian schools until the end of the 1980s. Our Supreme Court did not become an aggressively activist force on behalf of secular humanism, the way the American Supreme Court had been for decades, until Pierre Trudeau added his Charter to our constitution in 1982. Our abortion laws, passed shortly after Confederation, while liberalized somewhat by Pierre Trudeau in 1969, were not struck down completely until 1988.

In both of these cases, socialism and secularism, not only were these not characteristics of old Canada, of Canada as she was through most of her history, far from making us “different from the Americans” as ignorant liberals maintain, it was by following the example set by the United States that they were introduced to Canada.

What about militarism then? Surely Canada’s “peace-keeping” role in geo-politics is distinctive?

Justin Trudeau and his supporters have made much out of the fact that Stephen Harper’s neoconservative, sabre-rattling is a radical departure from Canada’s tradition, which it was, but they ignore the fact that the “peace-keeping” role they look back to was itself a relatively recent break from Canada’s tradition, and one which, ironically, has the same ultimate origins as Harper’s neoconservatism, in the United States. All American foreign policy since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt has been one version or another of Wilsonianism, the policies of the American President who led the United States into the First World War, Woodrow Wilson. The idea is basically that of a global association of states, led by the United States, which would police the world, protecting the rights of small nations, and “making the world safe for democracy”. Versions of this differ depending upon how large of a role is envisioned for the United States, whether democracy was to be spread or merely protected where it developed on its own, and other such considerations, but if Stephen Harper’s approach is a Canadianized version of the version of Wilsonianism that has been favoured by the Republican Party for the last three decades – neoconservatism, Lester Pearson’s concept of peace-keeping was no less Wilsonian in nature and American in origin.

Lester Pearson won his Nobel Peace Prize, for his efforts as Minister of External Affairs under Louis St. Laurent, in the formation of the United Nations Emergency Force and the resolution of the Suez Crisis in 1956. Hopefully, he received his thirty pieces of silver alongside his medal, for the outcome he worked for was a complete betrayal of everything Canada had traditionally stood for. In response to the nationalization of the Suez Canal by the Soviet-backed Egyptian regime of General Nasser, Israel, Great Britain, and France invaded Egypt with the intention of recapturing the canal and toppling the Nasser regime. American President Dwight Eisenhower demanded that Britain, France, and Israel withdraw. Pearson had been working towards the creation of the first United Nations Emergency Force, in which troops from countries not directly involved in the conflict would, under the aegis of the United Nations, police the area and enforce the ceasefire. This brought about the de-escalation of the situation, but at the cost of the humiliation of Britain and France, accomplishing the ends of President Eisenhower who wished it to be clear that the USA and the USSR were now the true world powers.

Young people today, who have been indoctrinated by Liberal dominated public schools into thinking of Pearson’s “peacekeeping” as our traditional role in world affairs, simply don’t realize what a drastic break from Canada’s true military tradition this was. Canadians at the time did – which was a significant contribution to the Liberals being voted out and John Diefenbaker’s Conservatives being voted in in 1957.

Do you recall what Canadians used to honour most in the history of our nation? I do. It was the way that our forebears, even before the Dominion of Canada came together in Confederation, had, along with the British army, successfully fought off the invasion of American “liberators” in the War of 1812. It was the way Canadian troops had proved themselves on the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme, at Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge, in World War I. It was the way Canada declared war on Germany on September 10, 1939 – exactly one week after Great Britain had – the delay, to honour the fact that since the Statute of Westminster of 1931 our own Parliament determined when and if we were to go to war, the declaration because we knew that in such a conflict, our place was by Britain’s side. It was the way our men had again fought honourably in the noble cause of king and country, at Dieppe and in Hong Kong, in Sicily and on the Atlantic, at Juno Beach in Normandy and in the liberation of the Netherlands.

It was not just by promoting a UN solution to the Suez Crisis that achieved the ends of the United States – and Soviet Union – at the expense of the humiliation of Britain, that Pearson broke with Canada’s older, longer, and more honourable, military tradition. When as Prime Minister he brought in the Maple Leaf flag in 1965, a flag that represents the Liberal Party far more than it does Canada as a country, it was to replace the Canadian Red Ensign which had been made our official flag by order-in-council on September 5, 1945, three days after the formal surrender of Japan ended the conflict in which over a million Canadians had fought under that flag, and over forty-two thousand lost their lives. The replacement of that flag, was a disgraceful insult to those men.

By the end of World War II, Canada had the fourth largest air force and the fifth largest navy in the world. Our armed forces shrunk considerably under the Pearson and Trudeau premierships, during which they were deployed mostly on peacekeeping missions for the UN. This was as much in service of American foreign policy as Stephen Harper’s later, more belligerent, approach was. Don’t let the rhetoric of the UN General Assembly, full of the worst sort of leftist anti-Americanism, fool you. The peacekeepers answer to the Security Council, which ordinarily plays the tune called by the United States, and Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau were well aware of this fact. The new peacekeeping role they envisioned for Canada allowed them to have their cake and eat it too. They could meet Canada’s minimal commitments to the American-led alliances to which we belong, while engaging in verbal abuse of the United States on par with that of any Third World kleptocrat with a seat at the General Assembly. Furthermore, they could claim to be building a Canada full of “caring” and “compassion” because instead of maintaining our military, one of the basic essential functions of a government, they were able to spend more of our tax dollars on other projects. Like propping up the failed governments of wealthy Third World dictators and calling it relief for the poor, replacing Canadians with thousands of Third World immigrants, and establishing a federal kangaroo court authorized, in complete violation of our traditional understanding of justice, to investigate accusations of thought crime (discrimination) that come with stiff penalties and where the onus of proof is on the accused.

Young Canadians may want the “old” Canada of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau back, but I for one want the older Canada of Sir John A. MacDonald and John Diefenbaker. The fact that young Canadians seem largely unaware of the latter and are so easily duped by the myths of the former, just goes to show that the voting franchise should be entrusted to those who have acquired wisdom through age, and not to the young, idealistic, and utterly ignorant.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Circus is Over

The circus that was the Canadian federal election of 2015 is finally over. My response, upon hearing the results, first posted at Free Dominion at 10:24 CST last night was to say:

The projected results of this election, as they stand right now, just go to prove what I, ala Evelyn Waugh, have been saying for some time now - the Queen needs a better method of selecting her ministers than popular election. If we absolutely must have elected officials, then we need a more limited franchise. At least 75% of the current electorate don't deserve the vote and shouldn't have it. The real percentage is probably closer to 95%.

At a future date, we may explore the idea of limiting the franchise at greater length. Now back to the election.

The Liberal Party, headed by Justin Trudeau, has won a majority of 184 seats. The Conservatives, who won a majority in 2011, have been reduced to 99 seats, making them Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The NDP, who were the official opposition during the last government, have been reduced to 44 seats, the Bloc Quebecois are at 10 seats, and the Green Party has a single seat which I assume to be that of its leader Elizabeth May.

The outcome is a mix of the good and the bad. We will briefly consider the good, before looking at what is bad in all of this.

That the far-left NDP, which at one time looked like it might win the election, has been reduced to 44 seats from 103 can only be regarded as a good thing. The NDP was dedicated to the destruction of Canada’s traditional, mixed, constitution. It had vowed to eliminate the Senate, and in response to the Monarchist League of Canada’s question, sent out to all parties earlier this year of whether they and their leader “support the continuance of the constitutional monarchy as Canada's form of governance?” were the only party to give an evasive answer, the three others stating their support for the continuance of the monarchy. The leader of the NDP, Thomas Mulcair, is a man who, displaying an astonishing lack of perspective, simultaneously demanded that Omar Khadr be brought back into Canada and that Conrad Black be kept out. He has also declared that nobody who opposes abortion will ever be allowed to run for the NDP and that the issue should not be open for debate and that evangelical Christians are “un-Canadian”. That he will not be Prime Minister or even leader of the opposition is a blessing. That Pat Martin, the obnoxious jerk who served as NDP incumbent in my constituency of Winnipeg Centre, has finally been ousted, is icing on that cake.

It must also be counted as for the good that Stephen Harper has resigned the leadership of the Conservative Party following his defeat. The party had been in need of a new leader for some time now. Without denying the good that has been accomplished on his watch, such as the abolition of the long-gun registry and the restoration of the “Royal” designation of our Navy and Air Force, the greatest achievement of the Conservative government, the scrapping of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, was brought about by a private member’s bill without Harper’s support and overall he has been a disappointment as a Conservative leader. His courting of the votes of social conservatives while refusing to do anything to halt or reverse the social and moral decay of the country is one example, his Yankee style neoconservative approach to foreign policy coupled with his ludicrous inversion of Teddy Roosevelt’s proverb “speak softly and carry a big stick”, is another. His government’s countless attempts to police Canadians thoughts and words on the internet, culminating in this year’s Bill C-51 was the last straw for me as far as ever voting for the party again while it remained under his leadership was concerned.

Worst of all, however, was his cuckservatism. If you are not familiar with that expression, is has recently become popular in altright, neoreactionary, and other right-wing movements outside of established mainstream conservatism to refer to the tendency, within the latter, to embrace multiculturalism, Third World immigration, political correctness, feminism, and basically the left-wing “rainbow strategy” of appealing to the interests of everyone except whites, Christians, heterosexuals, males and especially all of these combined. Stephen Harper was and is the quintessential Canadian cuckservative, despite the ridiculous efforts of the left-wing parties and media to portray him as a rabid, xenophobic, racist, bigot. Unfortunately, the man who many believe to be the likely next leader of the party, indeed the first name mentioned by Steven Chase in his look at the question of who will succeed Harper for the Globe and Mail, Jason Kenney, is just as much a cuckservative as he is. As Immigration Minister and Minister for Multiculturalism, the only people he seemed to be interested in banning from the country were controversial speakers, whether of the left, like British Labour MP George Galloway, or the right, like Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of Chronicles Magazine. Worse, he was determined to suppress dissent on the part of Canadians to multiculturalism and mass immigration. As Kevin Michael Grace put it in a 2010 article that demonstrates just how much of a cuckservative Kenney is:

Kenney remains ever vigilant in his search for (secular) heresies.So anyone who criticizes his and Harper`s bemusing obsession with Israel is an "anti-Semite",while anyone who criticizes immigration is a "racist."

Harper’s resignation as Conservative leader, then, must be chalked up on the side of the good that has come out of this election, with the qualification that his successor as leader may end up being as bad as or worse than he is.

The bad side of the outcome of this election is, of course, that Justin Trudeau will now be Prime Minister of Canada with a larger majority behind him than Stephen Harper had for the last four years. If I had my druthers the entire Trudeau family would be permanently banned from ever holding any position of influence in Canada. Justin’s father was the detestable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. An admirer of Red Chinese tyrant Mao Tse-Tung and virtually every tin-pot dictator the Third World ever produced, Pierre Trudeau succeeded Lester Pearson as leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister of Canada in 1968. With the exception of a half-year span in which Joe Clark had a minority Conservative government, he was Prime Minister until mid-way through 1984. During that time he completed the “revolution within the form” that Lester Pearson had begun with the changing of Canada’s flag in 1965. In 1969 he legalized homosexuality and in certain circumstances abortion, and began relocating the visa offices to which prospective immigrants then had to go to apply to immigrate to Canada to Third World countries, with the deliberate intention of altering the ethnic makeup of the country. In 1970, he began the war on freedom of thought in Canada by adding the hate propaganda provisions to the Criminal Code and in 1971 declared Canada to be officially multicultural, which meant that from then on Canada would adapt to immigrants rather than expect them to adapt to Canada. In 1977 he introduced the Canadian Human Rights Act, which attacked and undermined Canadians’ traditional freedoms of speech and association, and in 1982, when the Constitution was repatriated to Canada, the culmination of his revolution was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ever since 1982 the Liberal Party has arrogantly taken credit for giving Canadians the rights and freedoms listed in that foul document, but the only things in the Charter that are worth more than the ink they are written in, the fundamental freedoms listed in section two, and the basic legal rights listed in sections seven through fourteen, Canadians already possessed as their heritage under Common Law as free subjects of Her Majesty. Indeed, Canadians were much freer before the Charter than after, because before 1982 we were brought up to think of ourselves as free to do whatever was not specifically prohibited by law. Since 1982 we have been told to think of our freedoms as those which are specifically defined as such in the Charter. Furthermore, the Charter makes these freedoms and rights less secure than they were before, because section thirty three of the Charter gives the federal and provincial governments the right to pass legislation that violates these rights and freedoms provided it is only temporary. No such exception is made for the sections of the Charter that enshrine multiculturalism, feminism, and bilingualism into our Constitution.

The consequences of the Charter’s making multiculturalism, feminism, and bilingualism inviable, while allowing the government to trample all over the freedoms and rights that are our birthright as free subjects of the Crown, soon became apparent. It turned the Supreme Court of Canada into the instrument of cultural revolution that the American Supreme Court had already been for decades. The ruling in the Singh decision of 1985, which made it next to impossible to deport anyone who claimed refugee status, no matter how obviously bogus the claim, and the ruling in R. v. Morganthaler in 1988 that struck down all existing laws against abortion, are among the examples of Charter based Supreme Court decisions that have radically transformed the country.

All of this is what Justin Trudeau and his supporters proudly look to as their legacy. This is to say nothing of the way Pierre Trudeau courted the good opinion of every Third World shithole while alienating other Western countries, ran Canada heavily into debt, jacked up our taxes, drove inflation through the roof while ruining the economy with heavy-handed statist mismanagement, and turned regional dissatisfaction in both Quebec and the Western provinces into separatist movements that continued to threaten to tear the country apart long after he stepped down from power.

Justin Trudeau gives every indication of being cut from the same cloth as his father. His father was an admirer of Mao, and he expressed admiration for Red China’s dictatorship at a ladies’ fundraiser in Toronto in 2013. His father made abortion legal in cases where three doctors agreed that the mother’s life was in danger, he made the pro-choice position the Liberal party line and told his MPs that they were expected to vote pro-choice on all relevant bills. His father began the browning of Canada by moving our visa officers to our Third World embassies and by allowing the family class of sponsored immigrants to bypass the points system. Justin has promised to eliminate visa requirements for Mexican citizens coming to Canada and to “expand Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria by 25,000 through immediate government sponsorship”, to help private sponsors bring even more in, and to spend $250 million extorted from the Canadian taxpayer to do so. He has promised to continue the moral and intellectual degradation of this country by legalizing marijuana.

Justin Trudeau has accused the previous government of practising “the politics of fear” in its response to Islamic terrorism, but he himself supported the worst of Harper’s anti-terrorism bills, Bill C-51. In fact, the practice of overreacting to terrorism in a way that infringes on the rights and freedoms of ordinary Canadians, goes back to the premiership of his father who invoked the War Measures Act to deal with the FLQ in 1970. In 2001 the Liberal government of Jean Chretien passed anti-terrorist legislation of which the only significant difference with Bill C-51 was that it was set to expire in five years in accordance with the provisions of the notwithstanding clause. As far as the "politics of fear" goes, how else could one describe the way the Trudeau Liberals exploited a completely unrealistic fear of a Canadian revival of Hitlerism and encouraged Canadians to suspect their neighbours and countrymen of harbouring neo-nazi sentiments, in order to discourage dissent from their dogma of egalitarian multiculturalism, thus creating the "political correctness" that has chilled the atmosphere of public debate for the last three decades or so?

Like his father before him, Justin Trudeau has been swept into office by the machinery of the organized media that has endowed him with celebrity status and duped a gullible public into accepting glitter as gold. Let us hope that the second Trudeaumania does not last as long as the first.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Election Issue That Wasn't

On October 19th Canadians will be voting in our next federal election. In accordance with our established tradition the party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons will be asked to form Her Majesty’s next government and its leader will become our next Prime Minister. Several issues have been raised in the unusually long election campaign but, as in all previous elections of the last several decades, there is one issue that has not been raised despite its being of paramount importance.

That issue is immigration. It is not an election issue for the same reason it has not been an election issue in previous elections – no party dares raise the issue for fear of being labelled racist. The fear is a well-founded one because ever since the Liberal Party introduced our present system of immigration in the 1960s our public broadcaster, the CBC, and the private media companies that, thanks to broadcast regulation agency the CRTC, are more echo chambers of the CBC than its competitors, have all levelled that accusation against anyone and everyone who dares point out the flaws in that system.

Wait a moment, you might be saying, hasn’t immigration become an election issue through the Syrian refugee crisis and the death of Alan Kurdi.

No it has not. The leaders of all the parties have tried to turn Kurdi’s death into political capital by promising to resettle large numbers of Syrian refugees here or by accusing the present government of heartlessness and a lack of compassion in its response to the crisis, but nobody has raised the question of the flaws in our refugee policy which is itself only a part of our immigration and refugee system as a whole. Indeed, most accusations that have been made against the present government’s refugee policy condemn its strengths rather than its weaknesses. Our government is responsible, first and foremost, for the good of our own country and viewed from that light, the present government’s policy of giving precedence to refugee applications from groups that have been targeted by ISIS for persecution over the co-religionists of ISIS is basic sense. Only a deranged crackpot would think that it is more important for the government not to discriminate in its processing of refugee applications than for it to attempt to ensure that those it lets in are not agents of the group that is turning people into refugees overseas.

Thirteen years ago Daniel Stoffman addressed the real problems with the way we take in refugees in the seventh chapter of his book Who Gets In (1). He pointed out that there are two kinds of refugees whose applications we approve – those we find in refugee camps overseas, and those who show up here claiming to be refugees. The latter outnumber the former by far and, despite the fact that only a small percentage of this kind are really fleeing for their lives and of these most have arrived at a safe place already before coming here, we approve the vast majority of these applications. The absurdity of this can be seen in all those we have accepted as “refugees” who return to the country where their lives are supposedly at risk for visits and vacations. Stoffman explained the problem by saying that the Immigration and Refugee Board has a preference for those who come here to claim refugee status over those we find in refugee camps because the former are the bread and butter of immigration lawyers, consultants, and the IRB itself. The really ugly side of this is that most of the funds allocated to help refugees each year do not go to actual refugees.

The IRB was a creation of the Mulroney government in 1989. It is only one of the problems with our immigration system. The Immigration Act passed by the Trudeau government in 1976 requires the government to set a target for the number of immigrants it hopes to bring in each year. A target is not the same thing as a cap. A target says the government’s goal is to bring this number of immigrants in each year, a cap says that the government will only accept up to this number of immigrants each year, no more. Under ordinary circumstance setting a cap is more sensible than setting a target.

After the annual target became required, for about ten years it varied yearly in accordance with the economic conditions in Canada. Then, in 1986, the Mulroney government raised the target to the unprecedentedly high number of 250 000. It remained that high for the duration of Mulroney’s premiership, no longer tied to our fluctuating economic conditions and needs. When Chretien came to power he jacked the target up even higher to one percent of Canada’s population which would have been just over 300 000. (2) The target for this year is between 260 000 and 285 000.

At no point did any of these governments go to the electorate and ask for a popular mandate for setting immigration levels so high. They would not have received one had they done so. Opinion polls have fairly consistently shown that most Canadians think immigration levels are too high, that the government needs to do a better job of policing who gets in, and that immigration should not be allowed to radically alter the country's demographics.

Now just to be clear on this point, it is not always wrong for a government to go against the wishes of the majority. Contra modern democratic ideology, it is to accomplish the common good and not the will of the people that governments are established. As an old-fashioned Tory I would insist that where the common good and the will of the people are in conflict the government should seek the former and ignore the latter. There is a rather obvious reason, however, why this does not apply in this case.

Since the end of the post-World War II baby boom, fertility in Canada as in other Western countries have dropped below the level required for population replenishment and has remained low since. While this is part of the reason the Mulroney, Chretien, and Harper governments have kept immigration high – to keep the numbers of the taxpaying workforce up for economic and fiscal reasons – the combination of low fertility and high immigration over an extended period adds up to a policy of population replacement. Left-wing German poet-playwright Bertolt Brecht, in his poem “The Solution”, a commentary on the East German government’s use of force to crush an uprising in 1953, wrote:

Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

This is what a policy of using immigration to make up for low fertility does. Which is why such a policy ought to be brought before the electorate. While the modern idea of the will of the people is a deadly and dangerous “armed doctrine” the people certainly have a right to be consulted about their own replacement and when elected officials and bureaucrats seek to replace Her Majesty’s freeborn subjects without their consent they are working against, not for, the common good.

To dissolve the old people and elect a new one was clearly the intention of the Liberal governments that comprehensively overhauled our immigration system in the 1960s and ‘70s. When, in 1967, the Pearson government passed the Immigration Act that introduced the present system in which those applying to immigrate to Canada are awarded points towards their acceptance based upon such things as their education and ability to speak English or French, they and their supporters in the media and academia declared it to be a “fair” system. The older immigration policy that had prevailed since Confederation under Conservative and Liberal governments alike, of encouraging immigration when needed but only such immigration as would not radically alter the ethnic and cultural composition of the country, they declared to be racist. Their own policy, however, was not as race-neutral as they made it appear to be on paper.

At the time, prospective immigrants were required to apply from outside Canada. Their applications would be processed by our visa officers stationed in our consulates and High Commissions. After Pierre Trudeau succeeded Lester Pearson as leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister of Canada in 1968, he “began the quiet transfer of visa offices from traditional source countries to the Third World”. (3) In 1976 the Trudeau government passed an Immigration Act that came into effect in 1978 and which created different classes of immigrants, allowing those sponsored by relatives already in Canada to bypass the points system. Since Third World families tend to be much larger than those in traditional source countries the combined effect of Trudeau’s actions has been a radical transformation of the ethnic composition of Canada’s large cities where most of the immigrants settle.

There is no way this result could have been anything other than intentional. Furthermore, it is far more indefensibly racist than our original immigration policy was. In a sane day and age, a government would not be required to justify a policy aimed at keeping its country’s ethnic makeup the same. It is the government that seeks to change it that should be made to give account for its actions. To deliberately set out to change your country’s ethnic composition is to commit a form of aggression against your own people.

The only way this matter will ever be brought to a vote is if one of the parties breaks with the consensus of the others and makes it an election issue. Despite there being plenty of reasons for the Conservative, New Democrat, and Green parties to do so, none seem to possess courage enough to weather the accusations of racism that would come their way if they did, and so immigration remains the election issue that wasn’t.

(1) Daniel Stoffman, Who Gets In: What’s wrong with Canada’s immigration program – and how to fix it. (Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2002), pp. 151-174.
(2) The Liberals claimed in their 1993 “Red Book” that the target had already been one percent of the population for the previous decade. Charles M. Campbell demonstrated this to be untrue in Betrayal & Deceit: The Politics of Canadian Immigration (West Vancouver: Jasmine Books, 2000), pp. 13-14.
(3) Ibid., p. 7.