The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Cause Neither Lost nor Gained

“If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph” – T. S. Eliot

Has that strange sound from beneath the high altar of St. James’ Anglican Cathedral in Toronto finally ceased?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

The forty-second General Synod of the Canadian branch of the Ecclesia Anglicana convened in Vancouver, British Columbia on the tenth of July. Prominent on the agenda was a motion to alter the canon governing holy matrimony to allow for the performance of same-sex marriages. Canon law requires that such a motion pass two consecutive General Synods. At each of these Synods it must receive a two-thirds supermajority from the lay delegates, from the clergy, and from the episcopal college. It received this, albeit through some questionable shenanigans, at the last General Synod in Richmond Hill, Upper Canada, three years ago. This year, however, while it received 80.9 percent of the lay vote, and 73.2 percent of the clerical vote, it was defeated in the House of Bishops who gave it only 62.2 percent, with fourteen bishops voting against the motion, and two abstaining.

It was this motion to which I alluded when I suggested in the concluding paragraph of my Dominion Day essay that John Strachan, first Bishop of Toronto, was probably spinning in his grave. While it is good that the motion was defeated it is important that we recognize that although this was a defeat, of sorts, for liberalism it was not a triumph for orthodoxy. Had orthodoxy triumphed we would be talking about a liberal motion that never made it past its first round through Synod because it was voted down by lay, clerical, and episcopal supermajorities larger than those required to pass it. The reason it is important to recognize this is because the temptation for the orthodox faithful in the Anglican Church of Canada will be to look upon this as the end of a decades long battle of which they are already weary. This is not the end, but rather the beginning. The liberals may not have had the numbers to overcome the constitutional roadblocks that were wisely placed in the way of quick and easy changes to canon law but they clearly outnumber the orthodox and they are not giving up. Indeed, it is quite apparent that they came to Synod with their Plan B already in place in the event they lost the vote. Their Plan B is basically to treat canon law in the same way in which they have long treated the Holy Scriptures, the Creeds, and the traditions of the Church – as texts that can mean anything, which is another way of saying they mean nothing, and therefore mean whatever they want them to mean. It is this sort of thinking, rather than the mere symptom which is their desire to redefine marriage to suit the alphabet soup crowd, that is the essence of the cancer of liberalism that has been eating away at the Church.

Indeed, the breakdown of the vote reveals that the path that lies ahead for the orthodox faithful will not be an easy one. The duty of the orthodox, when a portion of the Church has fallen into grievous error, is to win those who have strayed back to the truth. This is never easy, but it is much more difficult when those who have fallen away have the larger numbers, and especially when they are a majority even among the bishops, those to whom the specific duty of safeguarding the faith had been passed on by the Apostles. It is interesting that the motion received a larger percentage of the lay vote than the clerical vote. Twenty-one years ago Rev. George R. Eves in a book which addressed the growing divide between liberalism and orthodoxy in the Anglican Church of Canada at a time when the battle over same-sex affirmation/blessing/marriage was in its early stages (1) observed that the clergy were a lot more liberal, both theologically and politically, than the laity. If the vote at General Synod accurately reflects the thinking of clergy and laity today – and this is a big if, since it may simply suggest that liberals had control of the lay delegate selection process – then this would appear no longer to be the case. The laity are the largest segment of the Church and if they are also now the most liberal it will be that much harder to reclaim the Church for orthodoxy.

In light of this, the orthodox faithful would do well to remember the words of our Lord and Saviour as recorded in Luke 18:27 “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

The fight for orthodox Christian truth has being going on since the very founding of the Church – the Apostles first encounter with Simon Magus, to whom the Fathers of the second and third centuries traced the origin of the heresy of Gnosticism, (2) is recorded in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts – and will continue, according to prophesies made by both Jesus Christ and His Apostles, until the Second Coming. Explicit warnings against false doctrines and/or exhortations to remain true to the Apostolic faith are found in almost every book of the New Testament. With regards to the outcome of this ongoing war and the battles within it the faithful have both the assurance of the Lord Jesus Christ that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church built upon the Apostolic faith (Matt. 16:15-19) and the warnings given to particular Churches about the judgment that will come if they fall away from the faith. The letters to the angels – which in this somewhat singular use of the term means bishops – of the seven Churches of Asia Minor in the second and third chapters of Revelation are a particularly good example of this. Note the warning to the bishop of Ephesus: (3)

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent (Rev. 2:5)

The falling away that is addressed here was less than the abandonment of the faith for which the term apostasy is usually reserved. Had the Ephesians been guilty of apostasy the warning would hardly have been lesser.

The assurance of Matthew 16 and the warnings of Revelation 2-3 do not contradict each other. The former is made to the catholic Church, the latter to particular Churches. The gates of hell, of which heresy and apostasy are weapons, shall never prevail against the catholic Church, that is to say, the entire or whole Church, but particular Churches within the catholic Church - and, sadly, Church history demonstrates that this is as true of entire dioceses and provinces as it is of individual parishes – can fall to heresy or apostasy. Fortunately, the same history also provides examples of particular Churches that have been recovered from heresy. (4) The orthodox must be ever vigilant for the “faith once delivered unto the saints” but must not succumb to despair when error appears to be in the ascendancy. The present situation in the worldwide Anglican Communion is a particular smaller-scale illustration of this point. However much the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Episcopal Church in the United States have been permeated by the leaven of liberalism, orthodoxy prevails in most of the other provinces of the wider Anglican Communion.

There are those who would object to depicting the marriage debate as one between orthodoxy and heresy. The grounds for this objection, when it is based on something more than mere squeamishness over the use of strong language, have only the most superficial sort of validity. That same-sex marriage has never been formally condemned as a heresy by an ecumenical Council is due entirely to the fact that up until the last twenty to thirty years or so nobody would have ever dreamed that the need for such an anathema might arise. That the Creeds do not contain a line to the effect of “and I believe in one holy, sacred, matrimony between man and woman” is not because this is something about which there has been no “quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus” consensus among the faithful, but because like many other truths about which the Scriptures are clear this one would be out of place there. Creeds, as the formal affirmations of the Church’s faith, are not intended to be comprehensive lists of all the truths she adheres to but of those upon which she rests her confidence in God’s grace. (5)

There is, however, a sense in which the objectors are right, but to the opposite effect of what they intend. The ancient heresies were affirmations of the Christian faith that deviated from orthodoxy on some essential point because of an overemphasis upon another. Sabellianism emphasized the unity of God to the point of denying the Trinity, whereas Tritheism was the reverse of this. Arianism denied the full deity of Jesus Christ, whereas Docetism and Apollinarism denied His full humanity. If this is what heresy is, liberalism is something much worse. Keep in mind the point made earlier about the push for same-sex marriage being merely a symptom. (6) The disease to which it points is a way of thinking in which individual wish-fulfilment is the highest good, truth can be discovered or created by majority vote, and every affirmation of the Creed, every tradition of the Church, and every statement of Scripture is open to an infinite number of re-interpretations to bring it in accordance with these ideas. Heresy affirms the Christian faith while distorting its truths, liberalism denies the Christian faith under the guise of an affirmation. It is far more dangerous than any mere heresy.

This does not make our duty to contend for the orthodox faith against liberalism any less than against heresy. If anything, the duty is greater. The same Scriptural warnings apply – but mercifully, so do the Scriptural promises.

(1) The book entitled Two Religions – One Church: Division and Destiny in the Anglican Church of Canada was self-published by Rev. Eves in 1998 and has just been revised and updated for this year’s General Synod. The updated version is available here:

(2) St. Justin Martyr, Apologia Prima, 26, St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, I.23. St. Hippolytus of Rome, Refutatio Omnium Haeresium, IV.51 and VI.2, 4-15.

(3) At the time the Book of Revelation was written, this would have been St. Timothy, the same St. Timothy whom St. Paul recruited to join his evangelistic mission from the Church in Lystra in Acts 16 and to whom he later wrote two canonical epistles. Since St. Timothy was bishop of Ephesus until his death in 97 AD, he would have been the one addressed regardless of whether St. John’s exile to Patmos took place under Nero or Domitian.

(4) Take the history of the orthodox Church’s struggle with Arianism in the third and fourth centuries, for example. Several provinces which accepted or leaned towards the heresy condemned by the first ecumenical Council in 325 AD were later brought back into communion with the orthodox Church. There was a period, however, not long after the Nicene Council, when the Arians very much appeared to have the upper hand.

(5) Peter Toon made this point with regards to other truths. “Neither the Apostles’ nor the Nicene Creeds mention hell or Satan. To add to either of these the words, “and in one devil, tempter and enemy of souls; and in damnation to hell everlasting,” would sound odd; belief in Satan and hell is of a different nature than belief in God and heaven. The contents of the creeds point to realities which are to lay hold upon us and grip us in faith and love: Satan and hell are to be avoided, not greeted.” Austin Farrer said something that was very similar in Saving Belief: A Discussion of Essentials, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1964.

(6) An even more serious symptom is evident in the apology retiring primate Fred Hiltz made on behalf of the Church to Canadian aboriginals at General Synod and in some of the articles regarding dialogue with the Jewish community that have appeared in recent issues of the Anglican Journal. While dialogue and better relations between these communities can hardly be viewed as a bad thing per se, liberalism is willing to sacrifice the truths of the Christian faith to achieve these goals. One such truth is that there is only one true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The idols of pagans – whether we are talking about the gods such as Zeus and Odin that European peoples worshipped prior to converting to Christianity, the gods that North American aboriginals worshipped before being evangelized, or other pagan deities of other peoples – are demons. Another such truth is that the saving grace of the one true God is only available through the Redeemer He has provided for the fallen race of mankind, His Son Jesus Christ. Liberals appear to be willing to sacrifice both of these truths to achieve “reconciliation” with the aboriginals, and the second of these truths to achieve dialogue with the Jews. Stephen Roney, who is a member of the Roman Church, has pointed out how a denial of these truths is latent in Hiltz’s apology. For why the second truth should not sacrificed to the goal of better dialogue with the Jews see the chapter on evangelizing the Jews in Suicide - The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada?, written by the “Anglican Billy Graham” Dr. Marney Patterson and published by Cambridge Publishing House in Cambridge, Ontario in 1999.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Bishop Strachan and the Soul of Canada

On July 1st, 1867, the British North America Act went into effect and the Dominion of Canada was born, consisting, at the time, of the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but which would eventually grow to include all the provinces and territories under the sovereignty of the British Crown in continental North America. Four months later, on the Feast of All Saints, a man who had called for the confederation of British North America decades before the political realities of the 1860s spurred our statesmen into action on the matter, went to his eternal reward. That man was the Right Reverend John Strachan, the first Anglican Bishop of Toronto. For much of the half century prior to Confederation Strachan had been the spiritual and intellectual leader of Upper Canada. He was also the very embodiment of Toryism in its pure, undiluted form. A much watered-down version of this same Toryism inspired and drove the Fathers of Confederation, a fact that the Liberal Party has always resented, which resentment has been behind their relentless efforts to undo Confederation and re-make the country into their own, warped, image. In these efforts, they have been all too lamentably successful.

John Strachan was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1778, while the American Revolution was underway. (1) When he was fourteen, his father died in an accident at the local granite quarry of which he was the overseer, and the support of his mother and sisters fell upon him. He was able, through tutoring and teaching, to both provide that support and to fund his own studies in divinity at the University of Aberdeen. After a number of disappointments in his efforts to improve his situation in Scotland, he was told that an academy had been founded in Kingston, Upper Canada with the intention that it would grow into a college, and that the principalship of the school was offered to him. He accepted the offer and crossed the Atlantic only to discover that the school was just theoretical. Nevertheless, he found a patron in the Hon. Richard Cartwright, the United Empire Loyalist from Albany, New York who had rebuilt his family’s fortune as a businessman in Kingston, and served as a judge and legislator in the province. Cartwright made Strachan the tutor of his eldest sons, and soon other leading Loyalist families put their sons under his tutelage as well.

One of the Loyalists who sent his sons to study under Strachan was Dr. John Stuart, the founding rector of the Anglican parish in Kingston that would eventually evolve into St. George’s Cathedral (the basis of the fictional St. Nicholas’ Cathedral that features in Robertson Davies’ Salterton trilogy). It was Dr. Stuart who persuaded Strachan to seek ordination in the Church of England. Strachan had come from a family that was mixed religiously, and while the theology he had been taught in Aberdeen was that of his mother’s Presbyterianism, he was more drawn to the non-juring, Scottish Episcopal Church of his father, and would become a staunch advocate of the beliefs, practices, and rights of that Church’s English counterpart. In 1803 he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England, by Dr. Jacob Mountain, the first bishop of the diocese of Quebec, which at the time included all of the Anglican Churches in what is now Quebec and Ontario. The following year he was ordained a priest. His first assignment was to the mission church in Cornwall.

His entering into Holy Orders ought not to be considered a change in careers. He certainly did not see it that way himself and, if anything, his educational efforts increased after his ordination. This is entirely in keeping with his philosophy of education, in which the Church was the institution best suited to provide a sound education on a solid religious foundation. Accordingly, one of the first things he did upon taking up the ministry in Cornwall was to establish a grammar school which quickly achieved distinction. His student roster resembles a Who’s Who of the next generation of judicial, executive, legislative, and ecclesiastical leadership of Upper Canada. The school was basically a traditional, British, parochial grammar school – a classics based curriculum, daily prayer services, and an emphasis on character formation, especially the instillation of a sense of civic and religious duty – but with a larger role for what we would today call STEM classes. The non-existent academy that had lured him to Canada he thus ended up creating himself.

It was during his ministry in Cornwall that he met and married Ann, the daughter of the local physician, and the young widow of Montreal businessman Andrew McGill. He also became a close friend of his wife’s brother-in-law from her first marriage, James McGill, and convinced him to bequeath his large estate for the purpose of founding of a college. This, of course, is how McGill University came to be. Strachan was named a trustee of the college in McGill’s will and was intended by McGill to be the school’s first principal, although his commitments in Upper Canada ultimately prevented him from taking this position in Lower Canada.

In 1812 Strachan accepted the post of rector of the Anglican parish in York. At the time the future city of Toronto was just a small town, but an important one, being the capital of Upper Canada. Sir Isaac Brock, the Lieutenant Governor of the province, appointed him the chaplain to the military garrison stationed at York at the same time that he assumed the rectorship. This was immediately prior to the outbreak of war. The grasping and covetous Yankees, believing that all of North America was destined to belong to their republic, declared war on the British Empire on the assumption that her preoccupation with the Napoleonic war in Europe, would render British North America vulnerable to their plans of conquest. At the cost of much bloodshed, they were proven to be mistaken as the Canadians took up arms and fought alongside the Imperial army and such Indian allies as the Ojibwas and the Iroquois Confederacy to repel the invaders who arrogantly saw themselves as liberators. In all of this, Strachan played a major role, not only through his role as military chaplain and by using his pulpit to promote patriotic Loyalism, but as the main organizer of the “Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada”, to raise support for the relief of the wounded, widows, and orphans. He also had the unfortunate task of having to negotiate terms in 1813 when American forces overwhelmed the defenders of York and forced the Imperial troops to retreat to Kingston. He was able to secure the release of the starving, sick, and wounded militia men who had been taken prisoner, but was unable, due to the inability of the American general to control his men, to completely prevent the burning and looting of York. (2) Had he not already been a man of strong Loyalist, royalist, and Tory principles, firmly and fundamentally opposed to liberalism, republicanism, and everything else the United States stood for, this experience would have made him one, and it steeled him in these convictions.

After the war Strachan found himself fighting the forces of liberal, secular, American republicanism in the domestic form of the subversive Reform movement – the movement from which the Liberal Party of Canada, eventually sprung. The Reform movement, created by pamphleteers and yellow journalists, had as its initial goal the transformation of Canada into a Yankee style republic, but when they found that this would not sell – the republican revolution attempted by William Lyon Mackenzie in 1837 received little support and was easily defeated (3) – they moderated this into a demand for “responsible government.” This consisted of a two-fold transfer of power – first, from the Imperial to the provincial government, second from the executive branch of the provincial government to the legislative assembly. Even in this modified version, the Reformers, like the American Revolutionaries before them, followed in the footsteps of the seventeenth century Puritan Whigs, who had usurped the authority, rights, and privileges of the Crown because they saw the concentration of power in the elected assembly which they were able to control as the easiest path to shoving their radical agenda down everyone else’s throats. “Responsible government” is a nonsensical phrase – unfettered democracy is, and always has been, the least responsible form of government, and the well-spring of all tyranny. (4)

Strachan had been appointed to the Executive and Legislative Councils of Upper Canada in 1815 and 1820 respectively. He was not the first or only clergyman to serve in this capacity, but his presence there was regarded as intolerable by the Reformers. Nor did the fact that many of his former pupils also served on these Councils reconcile the Reformers to his presence.

When Upper Canada had been separated from Lower Canada in the late eighteenth century, the Crown had set aside land for the support of “Protestant clergy” with the obvious intent of establishing the English parochial system in the former. Strachan was a strong believer and defender of the original intent of the Clergy Reserves, whereas the Reform Movement took the position that the legislature should confiscate the land, sell it off, and use the proceeds to support – secular – education. Others did not go as far as this, but wanted the Reserves divided between the Church of England and the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland. Still others wished to divide the Reserves further, including the non-conformist and enthusiastic sects as well.

Strachan, as we have seen, was a pioneer in the development of Upper Canadian education. This was related to his support for the re-creation of the parochial system because he believed firmly that schools administered by the Church, with a sound, orthodox, religious foundation for learning, were the best way to elevate and refine a culture, and civilize a society. He held this to be true of higher education as well and in 1827 around the time that he was made Archdeacon of York he obtained a Royal Charter along with an endowment of land for King’s College, an Anglican university of which he would serve as the president. The Reformers demanded that the university be confiscated and secularized.

The Reformers won in each these battles and it is worth noting that similar struggles were taking place in the United Kingdom at the same time. The Warden, the first of Anthony Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire, tells the story of a saintly clergyman, whose income as warden of an almhouse supported by a land bequest dating back centuries, comes under attack by a newspaper editor bent on reform, who makes up for what he lacks in the way of brains and information with an overabundance of self-important ideals. While the story is fictional, Trollope drew from real situations and people in writing his novels, and there are obvious parallels between this and the Clergy Reserves fight in Upper Canada. Not long after the battle for King’s College in Canada, liberal reformers in Britain successfully used their strength in Parliament to force secularizing reforms on Oxford University, diverting much of its endowments from their intended purposes in theological education, and weakening the school’s ties to the Church by making religious services and subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles optional. (5) This helps to illustrate the sad point that George Grant made in Lament for a Nation that our vulnerability to Americanization despite our Tory Fathers best efforts to shield us against it is largely due to liberal rot having already set in throughout the British Empire, including the mother country herself.

At the heart of each of these three conflicts can be seen the same basic clash of ideals. The Reformers were motivated by a liberal ideal that had first been enunciated by the Anabaptists and one extreme branch of the Puritans and which later was enshrined in the Constitution of the American republic, the doctrine of separation of Church and State. This is a false ideal from the perspective of both sound theology and sound politics. The reasons why it is bad theology are too long to get into here. (6) Politically it is unsound because it reduces religion to a matter of personal choice and hinders if not outright prevents its being the force for social and civil good that it is supposed to be. Strachan understood this and fought for Church establishment on sound, orthodox, principles. He lost each of these battles – he resigned his positions on the Executive and Legislative Councils, was forced by the legislative assembly to sell the Clergy Reserves, and saw King’s College confiscated by the legislative assembly and secularized into the University of Toronto. In both cases the legislative assembly grossly exceeded their authority thus illustrating what I said earlier about democracy being the well-spring of tyranny for the confiscation of endowed property and the perversion of educational institutions into the opposite of what their founder intended constitutes a form of tyranny. They got away with it because the Imperial government, not wanting to risk another American revolution so soon after the first one, was unwilling to check the provincial legislature when it stepped out of bounds. Nevertheless, while the Reformers defeated Strachan’s vision of Church establishment, they fell short of achieving their own goal of separation of Church and State which goes beyond mere non-establishment. (7)

Strachan’s response to these losses is most admirable and shows tremendous character. After the legislative robbery of King’s College, he raised the funds to create a new Anglican university, Trinity College, for which he obtained a second Royal Charter! In 1839 the Church of England in the Canadas had grown sufficiently that is was deemed appropriate to divide the Diocese of Quebec and form the Diocese of Toronto of which he was consecrated the first Bishop. He continued to promote the growth of the ministry of the English Church, and despite the loss of the Clergy Reserves was successful enough to warrant the formation of two more Dioceses out of his own, the Diocese of Huron in 1857 and the Diocese of Ontario in 1862. Even before his efforts to create an established, parochial, system failed, he had the foresight to plan for a day when the Church would have to govern and support itself apart from Royal patronage, and in 1851 formed the first Diocesan Synod, setting the precedent that would be followed by the Anglican Church throughout the Dominion of Canada.

If Bishop Strachan, the orthodox Churchman who stood for “Apostolic Order and Evangelical Truth” can see the huge leap away from both that the Anglican Church of Canada is planning on taking in its next General Synod, he is undoubtedly spinning in his tomb, beneath the High Altar of St. James, the parish he pastored in Toronto the building of which, having to be rebuilt due to fire, re-opened as his Cathedral upon his return from his consecration at Lambeth Palace in 1839. This is all the more true if he can also see how Papa Doc and Baby Doc Trudeau have done their worst to turn the Dominion of Canada that had just come into being prior to his departure from this life into a crummy, Communist, Third World, dunghole and how the educational system of Canada, that he put so much thought and effort into, and which at its height produced such minds as Marshall McLuhan, George Grant, Harold Innis, Robertson Davies, Northrop Frye, Donald Creighton and Eugene Forsey has so decayed that it is now churning out unreflective morons who buy wholly in to the militant “wokeness” that has come to infest our country and fail to recognize it for what it is, a cruel totalitarianism that is far closer in spirit than anything else in Canada today to the regime against which we and the rest of the British family of nations bravely went to war in 1939. Whereas Bishop Strachan fought for Canada’s soul, today’s progressives have sold it.

Happy Dominion Day
God Save the Queen!

(1) For the biographical details included in this essay I consulted Alexander Neil Bethune, Memoir of the Right Reverend John Strachan, D. D., L.L.D., First Bishop of Toronto, Toronto, Henry Rowsell, 1870. The author had attended Strachan’s Grammar School in Cornwall, later became a divinity student under him, was appointed chaplain by Strachan upon his elevation to the episcopacy, then later archdeacon, and was chosen and consecrated by Strachan as coadjutor bishop in his final days, and thus ultimately succeeded him as bishop of Toronto.

(2) The following year, the Yanks experienced payback when the Imperial forces burned the city they had built on the marshy territory between the Potomac River and Tiber Creek. However, since most Americans rightly consider the swamp gas that is still emitted from the goings on in that city to be the source of a major part of their woes, perhaps we should think of this not so much in terms of payback but as doing them a favour.

(3) Mackenzie went into exile but later returned and was elected to the legislative assembly. His attempt at violent revolution ought to have barred him from even running for public office. Ideally, the ban would have extended to his descendants as well. His grandson and namesake, became Canada’s longest-serving Prime Minister and was also Canada’s third or fourth worst Prime Minister after the two Trudeaus, and possibly Pearson, depending upon which you consider to be worst, the treasonous betrayal of your country to both the Americans and the Soviets simultaneously (Pearson) or sabotaging our system of king/queen-in-Parliament and granting near dictatorial power to the Prime Minister’s Office (Mackenzie King). Any one of the notorious Black Donnellys of Kingston, even if they had been guilty of ten times the crimes of which their neighbours accused them before lynching them in 1880, would have made a better Prime Minister than any of these contemptible, lowlife, creeps.

(4) The most responsible form of government, is the traditional mixed king/queen-in-Parliament system, which still survives in Britain and Canada although badly damaged by the efforts towards democratic absolutism of liberals in both countries in the seventeenth and twentieth centuries respectively. The Whig Interpretation of History maintains that this system emerged from the triumph of the Puritans over the Stuarts in the seventeenth century, but this is nonsense. It is the Stuarts who were the champions of the balanced, responsible, Westminster system against the Puritans and the Whigs who sought to subvert it. Also nonsense is the Liberal “Authorized Version” of Canadian history which re-writes our story from one of noble Loyalism into a version of the American struggle for independence. That the majority of Canadian historians teach the Liberal version lends it no credibility. It is merely more evidence that the Liberal Party of Canada operates like the Communist Party of North Korea, where only the Kim-approved official version of Korean history is allowed to be taught. Which is one reason why aspersions cast by the Canadian Historical Association on the “academic merit” of the work of others ought to be treated as nothing more than a laughable joke. For real Canadian history the best writers were Donald Creighton and W. L. Morton.

(5) See the second volume of Edward Meyrick Goulburn’s extensive biography of John William Burgon, for an account of how Burgon, later the Dean of Chichester Cathedral but at the time the vicar of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin – the position held by John Henry Newman before his defection across the Tiber – fought, heroically but unsuccessfully, against these reforms. The biography was published by John Murray of London in 1892.

(6) I shall, Deus Vult, address this issue in full in a later essay. The orthodox view of the matter is that the Church and State are distinct kingdoms, under God, with their own sphere of authority. As members of the Church, baptized kings like other Christians, are subject to the authority of the Apostolic ministry, as members of the State, Bishops, like other subject-citizens, are subject to the authority of the king. Bishops govern the Church through the ministry of the keys, kings govern the State through the ministry of the sword. Church and State are complementary and distinct, but not separate. See George Hickes, The Constitution of the Catholick Church and the Nature and Consequences of Schism, 1716, especially the 42 propositions in the section found on pages 62 to 129, as well as the section on Church and State, Part V, found in the second volume of William Palmer’s A Treatise on the Church of Christ Designed Chiefly for the Use of Students of Theology, London, J. G. & F. Rivington, 1838.

(7) Liberal writers such as Michael Harris and Warren Kinsella have sometimes claimed that separation of Church and State is a Canadian value. If this is not just a simple matter of confusing our history and tradition with that of the United States, then they presumably have the outcome of the battles over the Church Reserves and King’s College in mind. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that non-establishment is the full equivalent of separation of Church and State, which it is not. This still would not make the separation of Church and State a Canadian value. By Canada, the Liberal writers mean the Dominion of Canada, the country founded by the Confederation of British North America. The above battles affected only Upper Canada – Ontario. They did not affect the other provinces of British North America, not even Lower Canada – Quebec – in which the Roman Catholic Church was firmly established and remained so until the Quiet Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s. Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, just passed, does indeed seem to have created a separation of Church and State, but only in the province of Quebec. Warren Kinsella in a recent column condemned it as fascist. Whether he is right or wrong is a subject for another time, although I will say that in my opinion Quebec would have been better off going the route of undoing the Quiet Revolution and re-establishing the Roman Church than taking the path of complete secularization. I merely wish to point out the extremely amusing irony of the self-contradictory position Kinsella has taken.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How Captain Airhead Makes Andrew Scheer Look Much Better Than He Really Is

The Conservative Party of Canada really ought to be paying Captain Airhead a salary. He is the best publicity man they have. He has been doing a much better job of promoting their cause in the upcoming Dominion election than their own lackluster leadership. I do not mean merely that he makes them look good by being such a lousy, awful, and indeed, downright, horrible, alternative, although that is certainly the case. What I mean is that if there were a speck of truth to be found in any of his recent, scare-mongering, accusations against the Conservatives, the party would certainly rise in my esteem as it would that of any sensible and sane person. Evelyn Waugh once said that the problem with the Conservative Party was that it “has not turned the clock back a single second” and the Canadian incarnation of the party has given no indication that it plans to do so any time in the near future. Yet Justin Trudeau would have us believe that the Conservatives, if elected, would set the clock back by about a hundred years. My response to which is to say that if this happens, it would be a good start, but we need to go much further than that.

To say this, of course, is to commit the unpardonable sin of the Modern Age, blasphemy against the spirit of progress. It is a sin to which I gladly, and unrepentantly, plead guilty. Readers of C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia might recall how in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Governor Gumpas of the Lone Islands, upon being told by King Caspian that the slave trade “must be stopped”, protests “But that would be putting the clock back”, adding “Have you no idea of progress, of development?” to which Caspian replies “I have seen then both in an egg…We call it ‘Going Bad’ in Narnia.” Needless to say, I subscribe to Caspian’s – and Lewis’ – view of progress. This is the view of genuine British and Canadian Toryism – that progress does not happen, and if it does it is a bad thing and we need to put a stop to it. Sadly, the Canadian Conservative Party of our day, like the British Conservative Party of Waugh’s day, have abandoned the more authentic views of their tradition for something closer to American republicanism, which worships at the altar of the same idol of progress as liberalism and the Left. Justin Trudeau is deluded if he seriously thinks otherwise.

I am not going to dwell at any length on Trudeau’s accusations that Andrew Scheer is in bed with “racists”, “white supremacists” and “white nationalists” as I have already dealt with this in another essay. It shows how extremely unhealthy, the political climate has become in present day Canada, that these labels can be attached to people who do not so describe themselves and who neither subscribe to a racialist ideology like National Socialism nor have engaged in violent rhetoric or action either as individuals or organized groups towards other races. All that one needs to do is to oppose a particular kind of racism – the anti-white racism manifested in the immigration policy of making the country as diverse as possible as fast as possible and hence as least white as possible as fast as possible, in the progressive notion that all whites and only whites are racists, and in the cartoonish re-writing of history into a bad melodrama in which whites are assigned the role of the moustache-twirling, villain in the top hat and large black coat and everyone else plays the helpless maiden whom he has tied to the railroad track. Heck, one does not even have to actively oppose this anti-white racism himself – it is sufficient to be seen in the same room as someone who does. My respect for Mr. Scheer and the Conservative Party would skyrocket if they actually did take a bold, consistent, and principled stand against this pervasive form of progressive anti-white racism, but I am not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. The accusations against them are entirely of the “you were seen with so-and-so, who said such-and-such” variety. Indeed, the disgusting manner in which Scheer threw Michael Cooper under the bus, the fact that he seems to have enforced silence upon his party about the Grits’ disturbing plans to bring back the vile Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and the way in which Warren Kinsella, of all people, has been defending Scheer against Trudeau’s charges using arguments amusingly similar to those that I would have used to ridicule Kinsella’s book Web of Hate twenty years ago, all point inevitably to the conclusion that Scheer, like Harper before him, is on the same side as Trudeau on these issues, leaving the many Canadians who wish for the freedom to think differently from Kinsella, Richard Warman, Bernie Farber, Harry Abrams, Helmut-Harry Loewen and others of that ilk, without anyone in Parliament to speak for them.

What I am more interested in addressing here are Captain Airhead’s accusations of what he considers to be sexism. Back when Stephen Harper was Conservative leader the Liberals were constantly accusing him of having a “hidden agenda,” i.e., to re-criminalize abortion. Trudeau, who has constructed a political image of himself as a “male feminist” which has taken a severe beating over the last couple of years for reasons that I will not get into here, and who as part of that image takes a rather clownish, over-the-top, hard-line, “it’s a woman’s right” stance on abortion, has revived the old “hidden agenda” line for use against Scheer. He has been able to use recent events south of the border, where several states have passed strong anti-abortion legislation now that there is a perceived right-wing majority on the Supreme Court in the hopes of provoking a legal battle that will end in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, to help him stoke the fears of his feminist support base.

Again, if there were the slightest amount of truth to Trudeau’s accusations, the Conservative Party’s stock would certainly rise in my books. I remember very well, however, that while Stephen Harper allowed pro-life people to run for his party at a time even as the other major party leaders began telling them they were persona non grata, this was the extent of his “support” for the pro-life cause. Pro-life people were allowed to run as Conservatives but woe unto them if they actually tried to do something to end abortion. There is not the slightest amount of evidence that things are any different now. This is extremely unfortunate for Canada because the current status quo on abortion, of which Trudeau is so proud, is an ever growing bloodstain on our country that cries out to heaven for divine justice, and there are no realistic options for changing that status quo, that do not require action by the Conservatives in the Dominion parliament. Even if it could be accomplished at the provincial level, which it cannot, the provincial Conservatives seem to have no more inclination to do so than their federal counterparts. The right-populist premier of Upper Canada assured the media last month, after progressives threw a tantrum when one of his MPPs pledged at a pro-life rally “to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime” that his government “will not re-open the abortion debate.” Even more recently the provincial Conservative government here in Manitoba has announced that an abortion pill will now be fully covered by the public. There are many health care products and services which are necessary to help people who are suffering from excruciating pain or are in danger of going blind which are not fully covered by the public, but a pill that murders babies soon will be.

It is difficult to think of anything that puts the lie to the entire left-liberal concept of progress more than this matter of abortion. The progressive position is that a pregnant woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy. Canadian progressives, including the leadership of the Liberal Party, take the most extreme degree of this position, which allows for no qualifications such as “up to this-or-that stage of development”, insists that this “right” be protected against even interference of the persuasive variety, requires that the public pay for it, insists that the debate is closed and that the other side should be made to shut up, and boasts that their victory shows how advanced we have become in our thinking. Their entire position, however, is based upon a lie. The position that a woman has or ought to have the right to terminate her pregnancy could scarcely be formulated, much less justified, apart from the notion that the pregnancy is something that concerns her, her body, and her health alone. “Pro-choice” lingo such as “the procedure”, “reproductive rights”, “control of her own body” is all carefully selected to create this impression. Yet, obviously, pregnancy is not simply a matter of a woman, her health, and her body. It also concerns her baby, whose very life is at stake in the pregnancy. An abortion is not merely a medical procedure undergone for the health of the pregnant woman. It is the termination of the life of a baby.

Far from being an advanced state of ethical thinking the so-called “pro-choice” position of the progressive left is a regression into the darkest form of paganism. In the times of ancient paganism, infanticide was not an uncommon way of keeping the family within the means of its resources. The story of Oedipus is but one of the ancient legends that address the cruelty of the practice of exposure by telling of a child rescued from this fate by a kindly couple. Worse, the worship of several pagan idols required the sacrifice of children, usually the first-born. Several of the most important ethicists of ancient Greece and Rome condemned this practice in Carthage, the city-state in what is now Tunisia in northern Africa which was Rome’s rival for control of the Mediterranean world in the third and fourth centuries BC. The Carthaginians would sacrifice their children to an idol, whom the Greek and Roman commentators identified with Kronos or Saturn from their own mythologies, by placing them in the heated arms of a huge bronze statue. This is a practice they inherited from Tyre, the Phoenician city-state in what is now Lebanon, of which Carthage was originally a colony. The Phoenicians shared this practice with their southern neighbours, the tribes of Canaan, and this practice is clearly identified in the Old Testament as one of the worst forms of the wickedness that brought divine judgement upon the Canaanites in the form of Israel being sent to conquer and drive them out of the Promised Land. Later, when the Israelites apostatized into the idolatry of their neighbours, this practice is again pointed to by the Prophets as having particularly defiled their land and led ultimately to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. A curse was pronounced upon the place outside Jerusalem where these sacrifices took place and by the time of the New Testament it was regarded as a defiled place, fit only for burning refuse and the bodies of criminals, and lent its name to the fate of those to be condemned at the Final Judgement.

Even before the Exodus, and the giving of the Mosaic Law which strictly forbade the Israelites from participating in the abominations of Canaan, such as child sacrifice, and required that they redeem their firstborn with animal sacrifices instead, the Book of Genesis draws a contrast between the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the false gods of the pagans. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, but prevents him from actually going through with the sacrifice, for it is faith and not his son, that God wanted from Abraham. Abraham, when asked by Isaac where the lamb for the sacrifice is, makes the prophecy that God Himself will provide a lamb, a prophecy that we see fulfilled in the New Testament when John the Baptist, speaking of Jesus, says “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The pagan idols, who are really devils, require their worshippers to sacrifice their children, the true and living God, gave His only-begotten Son as the sacrificial Lamb Who would take away the sin of the world.

As the Christian religion grew and spread throughout the ancient world, its influence led, among other things, to the Roman Empire’s finally banning infanticide. If anything actually deserves to be described as an enlightened ethical step forward in the right direction this was it. By using this language to describe the revival of pagan baby murder, the Left demonstrates just how much its concept of “progress” really is King Caspian’s “going bad” after all. It also reveals itself to be just another form of ancient, pagan, devil worship.

The question for Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party is, what God do you serve? Scheer, who was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, claims to be a Christian but this is also the case with Justin Trudeau. As long as Scheer, like his predecessor Harper, prevents the members of his party from actively combating the evil of baby murder and instead requires them to join in the loony Left’s crusade against its chimerical bugbear of “white racism”, it is not the true and living God that he is serving.

Fortunately for him, he has Justin Trudeau to make him look so much better than he really is. How much better for us, it would be, however, if instead of relying on this, he were to come out and take a bold stand on the things for which the Conservative Party ought to be standing. He could start by promising the turn the clock back a century and a half, to right after Confederation before the Liberal Party got their grubby hands on the country and things started to go downhill.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Ethics and Economics

I seldom write on economic themes. There is a reason for this. Most political opinion writers overrate the importance of economics. This includes virtually all mainstream “conservative” writers. The economics of these “conservative” writers are, of course, liberal economics, because the field of political economy is almost entirely a debate between liberals on the one hand, who hold in one version or another, to the ideas of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Frederic Bastiat, and the various schools of socialism on the other, of which the discredited Marxism, is both the most popular and the least interesting. There is no such thing as economic conservatism – fiscal conservatism is not an economic theory but a budget policy. The closest thing to an economic conservatism is economic nationalism, the economic theory that the Republican Party in the United States inherited from the Federalists through the Whigs and adhered to until the late twentieth century and which the Conservative Party in Canada adopted under Sir John A. MacDonald and abandoned about the same time as the Republicans, who have since rediscovered it under Trump. Even economic nationalism is a form of economic liberalism, however, being essentially Adam Smith’s theory modified by men like Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay, and Friedrich List to favour industrial protectionism rather than free trade.

I usually describe my views as being Tory rather than conservative. While Tory is still in use as a nickname for the Conservative Parties of the United Kingdom and the Dominion of Canada, I use it to denote the ideas associated with the predecessor of the Conservative Party. The original Tories were the parliamentary supporters of royal monarchy and of the established, orthodox, Church of England when these things came under attack by the Calvinist Puritans in the seventeenth century. They were the British equivalent of the original political “right wing”, i.e., those who championed the monarchy and Roman Catholic Church in France during the period of the French Revolution. The Tories were reorganized into the Conservative Party by Sir Robert Peel in 1834. Twelve years later, with the support of the Whigs (Liberals) and Radicals (Leftists), Peel passed a bill repealing the Corn Laws. In doing so he abandoned the agricultural protectionism that had been the primary element in Tory economic policy and embraced the free trade doctrine of liberalism. This demonstrates the difference between a Tory and a conservative. A Tory stands for the traditions and institutions that liberalism attacks, a conservative is someone whom liberalism has put in the place of the old Tories to maintain the appearance of having an opposition.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the theory of political economy was still in its infancy and it was the opponents of the Tories and the continental Right who developed both the theory of economic liberalism and socialism. This shows that while the Tories had economic policies, such as the aforementioned agricultural protectionism, they were less interested in economics as a theory than their opponents, which in turn demonstrates that they did not regard it as being as important as their opponents did. This in itself is an important Tory economic insight – that economics is a lesser rather than a greater matter – and it is for the sake of this insight, that I try to devote to economics only such a fraction of my writing as is in inverse proportion to that which other opinion writers spend on it.

The ancients knew how and where economics fit into the larger scheme of things. To them, what we call economics was a part of politics, in the sense of the science or theory of statecraft. Politics in turn, was a subdivision of ethics, the science or theory of the rights and wrongs of human behaviour. (1) Ethics was primary, politics secondary, and economics tertiary. The fundamental error of modern economics, liberal and socialist alike, is to make economics primary, and to make ethics and politics subservient to economics. This produces a distorted view of human nature – one that has been dubbed the Homo oeconomicus model – and perverts ethics and politics, as well as economics.

I would not waste words addressing socialism were it not for the fact that I keep encountering people who seem incapable of distinguishing between socialism and the ethical teachings of Jesus Christ. I will make the distinction simple. Think of someone saying to others “all my possessions, are yours.” Then think of a group of people saying to someone “all of your possessions, are ours.” The former is an expression of the attitude of sharing which Christianity encourages us to practice. The latter is socialism. The former is one aspect of the highest Christian virtue, Charity. (2) The latter violates both the eighth and the tenth commandments (3), and is in essence Envy, the second worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. (4). Envy is not merely jealousy, in the sense of wanting what is another’s, but goes much further and involves hating others for what they have and wishing to tear them down and destroy them. Socialism is worse than mere Envy, however, for it is Envy, attempting to disguise itself as Charity. It is thoroughly anti-Christian, and utterly repugnant in every way. About the only other thing worth saying about it, is that every other militant left-wing movement today – feminism, the anti-white racism that wears the mask of anti-racism, the alphabet soup movement – are simply versions of socialism in which the hated “haves” are re-defined in such non-economic terms as sex, race, and sexual identity/orientation, and everything that I have said about socialism in this paragraph, also applies to these in spades. See the thirty-eighth of the Anglican Articles of Religion for the above distinction between Christianity and socialism worded another way.

In our day and age, capitalism has clearly won the war with socialism that was such an important part of the last century. While there are many factors that brought this about, the main reason is that something that holds out the promise of becoming rich to everyone, will appeal to a lot more people that something that only promises to bring down the rich. It has frequently been observed that the “capitalism” that has triumphed includes a great deal of “socialism”, i.e., progressive income taxation, the welfare state, etc. in it. What is less often noted is that this has been true of capitalism from the very beginning.

Max Weber, the German sociologist, in his 1905 book The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, famously argued that capitalism was the product of Calvinist ethics. Objections have been made to this thesis, but their validity depends entirely upon the definition of capitalism as being the theoretical system of economic liberalism put into practice. If this definition is valid, then the fact that market based economies pre-dated the Reformation and that certain late Medieval thinkers anticipated the ideas of economic liberalism, would invalidate Weber’s thesis. History, however, does not support the definition. The term capitalism, has historically been applied to the industrial system, characterized by factories and mass-production. This system was not created by the theory of economic liberalism. Rather, it was the other way around. Economic liberalism, although some of its concepts had been anticipated by the aforementioned antecedents, was drawn up in the eighteenth century, as a theoretical justification of this system which the Industrial Revolution, building upon social, economic, and political changes of the preceeding two centuries, had already started to build. The system was given its name by Marxism, the rival theory formulated in the nineteenth century as a rationale for revolution which aimed at replacing capitalism with socialism. The ideas that contributed the most to the actual creation of capitalism, were those of the Puritans, who were the intellectual ancestors of both the liberals and the socialists.

Puritanism began in the reign of Elizabeth I in the late sixteenth century. Protestants, who had fled to Switzerland to escape persecution during the reign of Mary, returned, radicalized by the entire experience, and determined that the Church of England needed to be remade in the image of the Geneva model. This coincided in history with a period of rapidly increasing international trade, and Puritanism was most popular among the merchants and traders of the English middle classes, who were becoming rich through the new growth in commerce. It also gained the support of a younger faction of the aristocracy that was less concerned about the family honour and public duty traditionally associated with their class than with exploiting their estates for pecuniary gain. These latter, determined to throw off their inherited feudal responsibilities to their tenants, began procedures such as the enclosure of the commons, the result of which was that droves of peasants were driven from the countryside where they had lived for generations into the city to seek employment. That employment was provided by the new factories being built by the two aforementioned groups with their newly amassed fortunes. This is how capitalism was born. The process was well underway by the time Adam Smith's book appeared on the scene. As aforesaid, economic liberalism was an ex post facto rationalization of capitalism, not the rational foundation upon which it was built.

The Calvinism that the founders of capitalism were attracted to included theological justifications for property confiscation that, had they been made at a later period and applied to wealth gained through industrial capitalism, would be called socialist. Wealth-yielding property, in pre-capitalist Britain, largely consisted of land. Apart from the Crown lands, and the lands owned by the nobility and the local squires, the Church was the largest owner of landed property which was the source of the livings of the clergy. The Puritans wanted the government to confiscate these lands. In the seventh book of his magisterial response to the Puritan spokesman Thomas Cartwright, Richard Hooker exposes this as being the true motive behind their insistence upon replacing the historical and traditional episcopal government of the Church with the experimental presbyterian model that Calvin had introduced in Geneva. (5) In Geneva, this model had been a make-shift solution to the problem of church government in conditions which made the preservation of the episcopacy difficult, if not impossible and when Calvin attempted to make a case for it out of the Scriptures, this was more of an after the fact rationalization than a setting forth of solid convictions. The Puritans, living in England where the same conditions did not exist, took Calvin’s arguments, like they took all of his teachings, to an extreme and declared the Geneva discipline to be divinely ordained. (6) The elimination of the order of bishops would have made it much easier to confiscate the lands of the episcopal sees and liquidate them into commercial wealth.

Thus we see that the founders of capitalism had the same confiscatory attitude towards the wealth and property of the old Christian order that socialists would later have towards capitalist wealth and property. Which is one reason why capitalism and socialism ought to be regarded as two sides to the same coin – or two stages in the development of the same disease – rather than as rivals and opponents. By the time the Whigs got around to working out their elaborate rationalism of capitalism, in the eighteenth century, the calls for state confiscation were gone, but interestingly, the same contempt for landed property remains. Read Adam Smith’s remarks in the first chapter of the third book of Wealth of the Nations about how the landowner’s natural inclination to improve and cultivate his land stands in the way of the progress to be brought about if he invested his money in manufacture and trade instead, or his arguments for selling off the crown lands in the first part of the second chapter of the fifth book or any number of similar places throughout his magnus opus and take note how much his words seem to convey the same, smug, attitude that is so often, rightly, condemned in today’s tax-and-spend liberals and socialists, of “we know how to spend your money so much better than you do.” When we look back to the origins of capitalism in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, then we begin to understand the capitalism of today’s Western world, all of the countries of which now have as standard features almost all of the ten innovations proposed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the second section of the Communist Manifesto, and where capitalist corporations even more than progressive politicians are attempting to squash all dissent to the left-wing cultural, moral, and social revolution that is underway.

While what we in the twenty-first century call capitalism would be unrecognizable to its Puritan creators and its eighteenth and nineteenth century liberal apologists, both of whom, if they could see it today, would probably denounce it as strenuously as the socialists do, the aspects of it which warrant denunciation can be traced back to the errors of the Puritans and liberals, especially the prime error of modern economic thought, the removal of political economy from its ancient and traditional subordination to ethics. Note that the private ownership of property, the profit motive, or even the general idea of economic freedom provided it is not turned into an absolute, are not among those aspects. Generally speaking, socialists always latch on to the wrong things to criticize in capitalism, (7) being blind to its actual flaws because these are part of their own system too.

The removal of economics from its traditional subordination to ethics began prior to the eighteenth century when classical liberals established economics as a discipline in its own right. It began with Calvinism's modifications to traditional Christian moral theology. As with its innovations in so many other areas of Christian theology and practice, these were more extreme than those of any other form of Protestantism other than the Anabaptist sects. It is not that Calvin or his followers taught that what previous Christians thought was right was wrong and vice versa, although there is a very important and relevant exception to this that we will shortly look at. It was more a matter of emphasis. The most important virtues in traditional Christian ethics were the four cardinal virtues - Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude - prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans and regarded by the Church Fathers as the highest virtues attainable by human effort, and the three theological virtues attainable only by God's grace - Faith, Hope, and Charity or Christian love. While Prudence and Temperance retained their place in Calvinist ethics, or, perhaps were even given a promotion, they were joined there by thrift, industry and other similar virtues that had been recognized as virtues to be sure, as the Book of Proverbs would otherwise have to be thrown out of the canon, but much lesser virtues. These virtues, the ones stressed by the Puritans, have in common the fact that they facilitate the material gain of those who cultivate them. To put it another way, they serve man's economic interests, and this new emphasis upon them demonstrates that for Calvinism, in practice if not openly admitted in theory, ethics was subordinate to and served the interests of economics.

This can be seen in other ways as well. In the seventieth and seventy-first chapters of the fifth and longest book in Richard Hooker's work already alluded to, he rebuts the Puritan objections to the Church's festival days. One of their principal objections, and probably the real objection to which all the others were mere dressing, was that these were unnecessary days off from trade and labour. This is the same objection that Ebenezer Scrooge made against Christmas in Charles Dickens' story. The difference is that Scrooge, as far as Dickens tells us, objected only to Christmas, the Puritans attacked all festival and feast days. If the argument be raised in counter to this, that when it came to the weekly day off work, the Puritans were noted for their excessive strictness, for having a rather large stick up their backsides on the matter, for out-Phariseeing the Pharisees themselves, note that Puritanical Sabbatarian severity was directed not against working on Sunday, as there was no dispute over that at the time, but against people enjoying themselves on Sunday. These are the people, remember, who once put a man in the stocks for kissing his wife on the threshold of his own house when he returned from sea on a Sunday. Could it be that the reason they foamed and raged against the royal proclamations by which Kings James and Charles the First declared harmless amusements after Church to be lawful for their subjects on Sundays was because they couldn't stand the thought of anyone being happy when he wasn't working? H. L. Mencken defined Puritanism as the "haunting fear, that someone, somewhere, may be happy" and while he had a general attitude in mind, more than the historical ecclesiastical faction, it certainly seems to be a fitting description. Anthony M. Ludovici made an excellent case that Puritan revisions to worship - extreme simplicity, iconoclasm, stripping the churches of what was aesthetically pleasing in decoration and music, and basically reducing the liturgy to excessively long sermons, in which some jackass or another preached either sedition against the king, the virtue of hard work, or both, were all done for the purpose of making Sunday so horrible that everyone would regard normal work days as the relief from the day of rest. (8)

The most important change which Calvin and his followers made to traditional Christian ethics, however, has to do with usury. Perhaps you remember the episode of The Simpsons where Homer applied to his boss for a company loan. Mr. Burns, who to Homer's surprise handles the request personally, says "By the way, are you acquainted with our state's stringent usury laws?" Homer's response is to slowly repeat the word indicating that he was unfamiliar with it. Burns then says "Oh, silly me. I must have just made up a word that doesn't exist" and tells Homer to sign and the money is his, before giving one of his patented super-villainous laughs. Most people today are as ignorant as Homer as to the meaning of usury precisely because they think it means what Mr. Burns thought it meant. The modern, legal, definition of usury is interest in excess of the limit set by the civil authority. From ancient times, however, usury has simply meant the charging of interest - a rent on the use of a sum of money - regardless of the rate. Dr. Johnson defined it simply as “money paid for the use of money.” For as long as the word and the thing it denotes have been around, it has been condemned by the greatest moral thinkers as a pernicious, predatory, and utterly vile practice. Plato denounced it in his Laws, and Aristotle followed suit in his Politics. Twenty years before the death of the latter, ancient Rome outlawed usury altogether, and when the practice returned despite the law, it was railed against by the Catos, elder and younger, and by Cicero. Meanwhile, the Mosaic Law, in both Exodus and Deuteronomy, strictly forbade the charging of interest to members of the commonwealth of Israel, and while permission was granted to charge use on loans to Gentiles, the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures - which use a word derived from the word for serpent bite to speak of interest - speak of it in terms of absolute condemnation. The fifteenth Psalm lists as a trait of the one who "shall dwell in Thy tabernacle" and "rest upon Thy holy hill" that he "hath not given his money upon usury" and the denunciations of the Prophets, especially Ezekiel, of the injustice-generating usury that ranked with idolatry among the chief evils that brought judgement upon both the schismatic Samaritan kingdom and eventually Jerusalem and Judah are no less vehement than those of Cato. The Church Fathers, building upon both of these foundations, condemned interest on loans to the poor, forbade the clergy to lend on use in their canons and early Councils, including the first ecumenical Council of Nicaea, and decried its practice among the laity, to whom the aforementioned prohibition was extended early in the Middle Ages. The Scholastics such as St. Thomas Aquinas, developed the rational argument against usury, using Aristotle's arguments as their starting point. See the Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 78, especially Article 1.

To put the matter as simply as possible, you can transfer ownership of goods justly in one of two ways. You can sell it, that is exchange it for something both parties accept as being of equal value, or give it away. With some goods, you can sell or give away the temporary use of the good rather than the good itself. If you sell the use of the good, this is called renting, if you give it away without charge, this is called lending. If you sell the good itself, you cannot also sell its use. Not honestly and justly at any rate. You cannot sell a person a house and then charge him rent on it. Some goods cannot be rented or lent. All goods that are used up in consumption are like this. You cannot rent or lend an apple, for example, at least for its ordinary use, i.e., eating, because once it is used it is gone and cannot be returned. Money is like this. Its ordinary use is to be spent, and once it is spent, it is gone. You cannot rent or lend money, except when you rent or lend it for some reason other than spending, as you might with a rare coin, for example. When we speak of lending someone money, the transaction we are describing is actually the sale of money itself, with an agreement for payment at a later date. When I "lend" you five dollars, I am selling you five dollars today, in exchange for another five dollars at a later date. It is immoral and unjust to charge interest on such a "loan" because a) it would be selling both the item itself and its use, and b) it is an item the use of which cannot be sold.

The conclusion of the reasoning above, that usury, the charging of interest on loans of money, is inherently unjust and sinful was the consensus of pre-Reformation, orthodox, Christian moral theology. It is a consensus backed by the extremely negative way in which the practice is spoken of in Scripture. It also has the support of the consensus of the best thinkers of the ancient world, and if we look outside the Western tradition, we find similar support in the ancient Eastern traditions as well indicating its ample qualification for being considered to be among the universal precepts of the natural law, the "Tao" which C. S. Lewis discussed and defended in The Abolition of Man. (9) The Scholastics who articulated the reasoning behind the rule that usury is sinful, also made a casuistical - and I am not using this word in its pejorative sense (10) - exception for commercial loans. The reasoning behind the exception is as sound as the reasoning behind the rule - such "loans" are really investments in which the financier purchases equity in a profitable enterprise, with an arrangement for the entrepreneur to buy back the equity in instalments over a period of time in which the financier is entitled to his percentage of the profits, which constitute the interest on the loan. While the reasoning is sound, this exception does not have the same ancient and universal support as the rule itself and it could be counter-argued that this is an instance where semantics are very important and that while this kind of financial arrangement is just, using the language of an intrinsically unjust kind of transaction to describe it, opens up a slippery slope towards a more general acceptance of the latter kind of transaction.

Which is exactly what happened. In the Protestant Reformation of continental Europe, Dr. Luther and Philip Melanchthon, and indeed almost all the Protestant Reformers, upheld the pre-Reformation view of usury. Dr. Luther was, as with most matters, quite colourful in his denunciation of usury. In England, Henry VIII lifted the long-standing total ban on usury and set a legal interest rate, but this, like his seizure of the monastic property, was a matter of pure greed and not of a change in theology. His son, Edward VI, the first truly Protestant king of England, reinstated the ban. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the other English Reformers upheld the traditional view and the greatest Anglican divines such as Bishop Lancelot Andrewes and Archbishop Laud condemned interest-taking in their preaching. It was John Calvin who took the next step down the slippery slope.

Calvin, in a letter in 1545, took the position that usury was not inherently wrong. He qualified his position, of course, by saying that it was wrong to charge interest on loans to the poor, loans for consumption, etc., and in fine, these qualifications left him basically in the same place as the Scholastic casuists - interest on commercial loans is acceptable, all other interest is bad. It made a huge and radical difference, however, that he arrived at that place from the opposite direction. When you start from the position X is right, except when Y you will find it a lot easier to justify specific instances of X than when you start from X is wrong, except when Y. Calvin’s English followers, who had a tendency to run with his doctrines in directions that would have brought them to the fate of Servetus had they done so during his life and within his sphere of authority, latched on to the usury is not inherently sinful part of his doctrine, and overlooked the many qualifications. It was in their interest to do so. The boom in international trade, from which they stood to make their fortunes, depended upon an ample and expanding supply of liquid wealth, either in the form of currency or of credit. By the eighteenth century, Whiggism, the secular heir of Puritanism, had in the doctrines of economic liberalism, lifted usury out of the depths of depravity to which traditional ethics had assigned it and elevated it to the level of a great benevolent virtue benefiting all of mankind.

Usury has been the lifeblood of capitalism from its earliest days. The enterprising individual looking to strike it rich, whether by trading goods abroad or by manufacturing a new product, unless he already had a fortune to stake, needed to borrow to raise the capital to risk in his venture. This is the kind of usury that the Scholastics saw as the exception to the rule, but which Calvin made the rule rather than the exception. Today, however, the usury flowing through the veins of globalist, corporate capitalism is the kind which Scholastics and Calvin alike, both unequivocally condemned – the lending of money at interest for the sake of consumption rather than production. For the capitalist system to work at all, people need to buy the goods it produces, which means that they need to be affordable. At first this was accomplished by manufacturing in bulk to keep the unit price low. Today it is accomplished by the financing of consumption. The major retailers have either gone online, where credit card is the simplest means of making a purchase, or they entice their customers with reward points to get and use a store credit card, or both. Such a system which encourages people to borrow money to buy items that will not help them pay the money back and which are used up in their use causing the debt to keep piling up, so that it is common for people to end up paying an amount in interest that exceeds by far the principal that they borrowed in the first place, surely deserves all the opprobrium which the ancients and the Christian Church heaped on usury.

Indeed, it is even worse than I have depicted above, for the “money” upon which interest is charged, is fake money. This requires a bit of an explanation.

Money is the means of exchange. Without it, all trade would have to be conducted on a barter basis – “I’ll give you my cow in exchange for a bushel of your apples.” In a commercial exchange, money is a symbol accepted as vicarious for the goods and services offered in a barter exchange. When Person A offers Person B x amount of money for a loaf of bread, x amount of money represents a good or service that Person A had earlier produced and received that money for, just as when Person B then takes that same money and offers it to Person C in exchange for a carton of milk, it now represents the bread of loaf which Person B had sold to Person A. That is how real money works. Its value is based entirely upon goods and services, already produced and sold. When usury was condemned as a mortal sin by the Church and condemned as a crime by the state, real money was the only money.

When usury was legalized, however, and much of the Church began to weaken in its moral opposition to it, this opened the door to fake money. Lending institutions, instead of handing over to their borrowers the coin of the realm, would issue notes of credit that could be exchanged for such. These were circulated as currency and became the first paper money. These promissory notes were issued far in excess of the amount of real money the lenders kept on hand to make good on them with. While Adam Smith praised this practice, called fractional reserve banking, in the second chapter of the second book of Wealth of Nations for allowing “twenty thousand pounds in gold and silver” to “perform all the functions which a hundred thousand could otherwise have performed” the flip-side to this is that a) it is the source, or rather the very definition, of inflation, which robs real money of much of its per unit value and b) the new “money” created in this way by usury, does not stand for goods and services already produced, but for those goods and services yet to be produced. It is money based on debt rather than production, and thus fake money. It is a gross understatement to say that the dawn of electronic financial transactions has made this problem much worse.

If it is wrong, and it is, to take real money, sell it to someone on a pay-at-a-later-date plan, while also charging rent on its use in the meantime, how much more so it is to do this with fake money. There is an economic case against this, as well as an ethical one, in that a system that runs on an ever-expanding currency based on future production – contemporary capitalism – is, like contemporary socialism, operating in accordance with the fraudulent insurance scheme that landed Charles Ponzi in prison a century ago and is therefore one big bubble that must inevitably burst. Just as the bankruptcy of Greece a few years back gave a foretaste of the collapse of the socialist Ponzi scheme, so the sub-prime mortgage crisis of twelve years ago foreshadowed the bursting of the capitalist bubble. I must, however, reiterate my main point, which is that modern economics, of which capitalism and socialism are but two sides to the coin, went astray when men began to make their ethics subject to their economics, rather than the other way around. By inverting the order of ethics above economics, they inverted the entire hierarchy of goods, placing the lowest of material goods, money, the value of which is entirely derivative from real material wealth, i.e., the things people need and use in their everyday lives, and the things which help them produce those things, at the top and making it something to be desired for its own sake, and ignoring entirely the realm of higher goods, whether they be the civil goods sought by the cultivation of the cardinal virtues, or the heavenly goods which can only be sought through the theological virtues. It is no wonder then, that in the midst of material abundance, the happiness that the ancients saw to be the true end of human activity, is as elusive as ever, or perhaps, more so than ever.

It is appropriate therefore, to close with the following words of wisdom, as true today as ever, and by which modern thought is weighed in the balance and found wanting:

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)

(1) The eighteenth century Scottish Whig Adam Smith is regarded as the father of modern economics. His training was in moral philosophy, of which he was professor at the University of Glasgow where he succeeded his mentor Francis Hutcheson, and his treatise on that subject, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), predates his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) by seventeen years.

(2) The term Charity has been debased to mean merely “giving to the needy” but originally it was the English term for the highest degree of love, the kind called ἀγάπη in Greek and caritas in Latin, which is also the highest of the three theological virtues (Faith and Hope are the other two), that depend on the grace of God. The thirteenth chapter of St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians is a description of it.

(3) That is the eighth and the tenth as Protestants (and Jews) number them, “thou shalt not steal” and “thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, etc.” By the Roman Catholic numbering three rather than two of the commandments are violated by socialism.

(4) The worst is Pride, but Envy is inseparable from Pride. These are the Satanic sins, the ones by which the devil fell from grace and brought evil into the world. (Wis. 2:24, 1 Tim. 3:6)

(5) Richard Hooker, Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Book VII, chapters twenty-one through twenty-four, especially the first and the last of these, and in the latter especially paragraphs twenty-two to twenty-four.

(6) If any form of church government is of divine ordinance it is the episcopal. The “Scriptural evidence” for the Calvinist discipline, in which the church is governed without bishops, by a council or court of elders, some of whom are ministers (teaching elders) others of whom are elected laymen (ruling elders), consists entirely in the fact that the New Testament uses the terms πρεσβύτερος and ἐπίσκοπος interchangeably in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. These words, which have the literal meanings of “elder” and “governor”, are usually rendered by “priest” and “bishop” in English when used of offices in the church, these words being Anglicized versions of the Latinizations of the original Greek words. While it is true they are used of the same office in the New Testament, the conclusion that Calvin and his followers drew, that the New Testament knows only two orders, that of elder/overseer and that of deacon, rather than three does not follow. It ignores the fact that the Apostle Paul who wrote to Timothy and Titus instructions about choosing and ordaining presbyters and deacons, and Timothy and Titus who received those instructions, were themselves, obviously, of a third and higher order, one which is not named in the Scriptures, for the simple reason that during the time the New Testament was being completed it consisted, apart from Timothy and Titus, of the Apostles themselves. When, in the next generation after the Apostles, it was decided that the title Apostle should be reserved for those who had been called to that ministry by the Risen Christ in Person, a new title was needed for this order and ἐπίσκοπος was appropriated from the order of presbyters immediately beneath it, as being the most fitting description of their governing role. See Hooker, op. cit., Book VII, chapters four to fourteen as well as William Sclater IV, An Original Draught of the Primitive Church, London, Geo. Strahan, 1717, and Bishop John Sage, The Principles of the Cyprianic Age, London, Walter Kettilby, 1695 for the case from Scripture and early Christian literature that no form of church government other than the episcopal was known in the early centuries of Christianity.

(7) Socialists, amusingly, still attack capitalism as a violation of distributive justice, despite the fact that in the last century, the countries unfortunate enough to be subjected to experiments in the most extreme form of socialism, ended up with conditions where the bulk of their populace would have to stand in line ups for measly amounts of necessities such as bread, whereas consumer goods, essential and non-essential, were readily available even to the very poor in capitalist countries. When socialists talk about the “1%” controlling all the wealth of a capitalist country, they mean capital, the productive wealth. Stephen Leacock masterfully rebutted their way of thinking a century ago when he wrote: “’But,’ objects Mr. Bellamy or any other socialist, ‘you forget. Please remember that under socialism the scramble for wealth is limited; no man can own capital, but only consumption goods. The most that any man may acquire is merely the articles that he wants to consume, not the engines and machinery of production itself. Hence even avarice dwindles and dies, when its wonted food of “capitalism” is withdrawn. But surely this point of view is the very converse of the teachings of common sense. ‘Consumption goods’ are the very things that we do want. All else is but a means to them. One admits, as per exception, the queer acquisitiveness of the miser-millionaire, playing the game for his own sake. Undoubtedly, he exists. Undoubtedly his existence is a product of the system, a pathological product, a kind of elephantiasis of individualism. But speaking broadly, consumption goods, present or future, are the end in sight of the industrial struggle. Give me the houses and the gardens, the yachts, the motor cars and the champagne and I do not care who owns the gravel crusher and the steam plow.” Stephen Leacock, “The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice”, 1920, part six.

(8) Anthony M. Ludovici, A Defence of Aristocracy: A Textbook for Tories, pp. 189-190. Ludovoci wrote “Not only was all amusement forbidden, but the Church services themselves were made so insufferably tedious and colourless, and sermons were made to last such a preposterous length of time, that Sunday became what it was required to be by these employers of slaves — the most dreaded day in the week.” He had borrowed this insight from Nietzsche, the “well-known German philosopher” whom he then proceeded to quote as having said “It was a master stroke of English instinct to hallow and begloom Sunday to such an extent that the Englishman unconsciously hankers for his work and week-day again.” It is Nietzsche, rather than Marx, who ought to be considered to be the great nineteenth century critic of capitalism. Western man had two paths open before him, Nietzsche argued. One of these, the path he urged man to take, was that of the Ubermensch or Superman, his concept of which is illustrated by the heroes and heoines of Ayn Rand’s novels, not by DC Comics’ Clark Kent. It was far more likely, he lamented, that capitalism would lead man down the other path, the path of the Letzter Mensch or Last Man, a path of contentment and complacency, devoid of any sort of heroism whatsoever. While the history of the twentieth century has falsified the predictions of Adam Smith with regards to free trade and Karl Marx with regards to – well, everything he said – it has amply justified Nietzsche’s gloomy prediction about the Letzer Mensch, although his preferred alternative is just as loathsome. The only redeeming characteristic of Francis Fukuyama’s regurgitation of the Whig Theory of History is that he uses this insight of Nietzsche’s to call into question whether the outcome of the march of progress to universal democratic capitalism is all it is cracked up to be.

(9) Lewis does not include the prohibition on usury specifically in the Appendix to The Abolition of Man, which includes “Illustrations of the Tao”, although there are some more general principles that would cover it there, but he does mention it in Mere Christianity as “is one bit of advice given to us by the ancient heathen Greeks, and by the Jews in the Old Testament, and by the great Christian teachers of the Middle Ages, which the modern economic system has completely disobeyed.” He could have added quotations from the ancient Hindu Vedas, Islamic Koran and Buddhist Majjhima Nikāya to show just how universal the ancient moral consensus against usury was, abundantly qualifying it for inclusion as a natural law principle.

(10) In the non-pejorative sense, casuistry is the application of general and universal moral rules to specific instances. The English Common Law is a secular example. See Thomas Fleming, The Morality of Everyday Life: Rediscovering an Ancient Alternative to the Liberal Tradition, Columbia and London, The University of Missouri Press, 2004 for a fuller description and defense of casuistry.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

True Allegiance and The Liberal Party’s Politics of Fear

The Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker, the last true Conservative and the last patriot of the true Canada, to serve as Her Majesty’s First Minister in this Dominion, in a speech given early in the premiership of the first Trudeau, remarked how he could remember a time when one could disagree with the Prime Minister without being considered a bigot. The implication, of course, was that this was no longer the case. The speech is included in the collection published by Macmillan of Canada in 1972 under the title Those Things We Treasure. This book, along with John Farthing’s Freedom Wears a Crown, should be required reading for every Canadian. The latter is a philosophical defence of the Westminster system of parliamentary monarchy against the rival republicanisms of the United States and the Soviet Union, and a warning to Canadians about how our system had been compromised and undermined in the Mackenzie King years. Diefenbaker’s book was a timely protest against how the actions of Pierre Trudeau were further undermining that system as well and also the traditional freedoms of Canadians and the culture of political civility associated with it.

At the time the Chief made the remark alluded to above the progressive tactic of smearing opponents on the right with the label “racist” was fairly new. It would soon become the standard progressive response to any criticism from the right and has been so beaten to death over the decades that in the last few years, progressives, finding that people have become desensitized to the word “racist”, have been turning to stronger terms like “white supremacist.” Milo Yiannopoulos in a recent interview with David Horowitz remarked:

When somebody calls you a racist, this is far worse than somebody who casually drops the N word, cause when you call somebody that name, the only person who looks bad is you. Whereas, when you call somebody a racist, you are creating a set of obligations for them to defend themselves, which will, whatever they do, indelibly associate their name with that crime. Way worse.

This is very true and it is worse yet to call somebody a “white supremacist” for this expression suggests an organized, ideological, form of racism and not merely prejudiced thoughts and attitudes.

Unsurprisingly, the Liberal Party of Canada and its leader, swamped by the mire of the SNC-Lavalin Scandal and sinking in the polls with the next Dominion election only months away, has fallen back in desperation on this updated version of their old tactics. They have been issuing demands that Andrew Scheer denounce “white supremacy” and “white nationalism.” They have continued to make these demands even after Scheer had complied with them. Scheer, in my opinion, ought not to have complied. The implication of such demands is that Scheer is under a presumption of guilt of sympathizing or collaborating with neo-Nazism until he proves otherwise by making a sufficient denunciation, and that those who make these demands have the right to decide when the denunciation is sufficient. Arrogant, bullying, demands of this sort ought neither to be acknowledged nor complied with. Especially when coming from someone against whom charges of ties to extremists of a different sort, Sikh separatists, are far more sustainable, having generated an international incident two years ago and just now resurfaced with the Liberal government’s redaction of last year’s terrorism report.

The other implication of these demands is that white supremacism is a significant problem in Canada and a realistic threat to our civilization. This is total bunk, a fact which nobody knows better than the Liberals themselves. It was a Liberal government in 1977, the government led by the father of the present Prime Minister, that passed the Canadian Human Rights Act after selling the Act to the public, with the assistance of the media, by generating a fear that Nazism was on the verge of being reborn here on Canadian soil. This had been facilitated by the formation of the Canadian Nazi Party which contained, maybe, one actual disciple of Adolf Hitler. It otherwise consisted of agents provocateurs supplied by the government and by private activist organizations that had an interest in seeing this legislation passed. There was not the slightest possibility of this group, or any white supremacist group, establishing a Fourth Reich in Canada but the manufactured, bogus, threat of such was used by the Liberals and their allies, to pass a bill which, despite its title, did nothing to protect the lives, property, and freedoms of people under the jurisdiction of Canadian law from the threat of abusive state power, but instead authorized state meddling in all sorts of private interactions and imported, from the Soviet system, thought police and tribunals which, since the media, except for a brief time about a decade ago when it felt its own liberty threatened, has largely refrained from criticizing or even reporting their doings, have been effectually allowed to function as secret police and tribunals. It was this system set up by the Canadian Human Rights Act, and not the phony “Nazi menace” invented to dupe the public into supporting it, which was and is the real threat to our freedom and order, civilization and way of life.

The Liberals also know as well as anyone else that the Conservative Party is not a front for white supremacists and that Andrew Scheer is not a crypto-neo-Nazi. If anything they are pathetically progressive and liberal on all issues pertaining to race and ethnicity, not only when compared to the Conservatives of a century ago, but to the Liberals and socialists of that era as well. The noise to the contrary, that the Grits are currently generating, is, of course, intended as a distraction from the scandal that has been engulfing them, but it is also an example of the very “politics of fear and division” which they accused the previous Conservative government of in the last Dominion election.

Let me speak now for a moment to anyone who might sincerely believe that we have a serious problem with white supremacism in this country. I have two things that I would say to such a person.

First, if ideological racism and racial nationalism are serious problems in the world today, then it is all ideological racism and all racial nationalisms which are the problems and not just white supremacism. As Stephen Roney recently put it:

To denounce “white supremacy” as a stand-alone item is to imply that other forms of racial supremacy are fine: black supremacy, Asian supremacy, Muslim supremacy, aboriginal supremacy. The problem is not with supremacy, then; it is with whites. That is extreme racism. And should be called out as such.

Indeed, and to further demonstrate the point that this paranoid obsession with one particular form of racial supremacy amounts to extreme racism in itself, I will draw your attention to the hysteria that was generated on campuses across North America late last year, including the campus of the University of Manitoba here in Winnipeg, by the appearance of posters containing one simple phrase “It’s OK to be white.” The posters were widely condemned as conveying a “white supremacist” message, but if this slogan is “white supremacist”, then to not be a “white supremacist” one must hold that “It’s NOT OK to be white.” Taking that position amounts to racial hatred against white people.

Since the first Trudeau premiership the Liberal Party has conducted an aggressive campaign to drum racism out of Canada, a campaign that has been enthusiastically supported by the media, the academic establishment, the other progressive parties, and yes, even the Conservative Party in both its old and new incarnations, but this campaign, which has only ever seriously targeted white racism has in reality promoted anti-white racism. They have managed to get away with this for so long because anyone who has dared to point it out and speak out against it has been smeared with a lot of nasty labels, such as “white supremacist.” This is the very essence of the “politics of fear and division”, Liberal Party style, and it is about time that Canadians stop giving in to these bullying tactics and send the Grits and other progressives the clear message, that as long as they insist on a non-tolerance policy towards racial prejudice on the part of whites their own promotion of anti-white bigotry will receive the exact same treatment. Or, alternately, we could follow David Warren’s more amusing suggestion:

We need a National Bigotry Day, in which for twenty-four hours we can all find relief from the Political Correctors. And laugh at each other, scoff taunt and mock, because (have you noticed?) all of us deserve it.

The second thing I would say is that if ideological racism and racial nationalism are serious problems in the world today, then the solutions, if there are any, are not be sought in modern and progressive thought. Nationalism – all nationalism, not merely the racial kind – and ideological racism are themselves the products of the Modern Age’s departure from royal monarchism in the political sphere and from orthodox, catholic, Christianity in the spiritual and religious sphere. When in the twentieth century progressives came to reject these offspring of the Modern Age, racism and nationalism, at least for white, Western people, and to regard them as problems, the solution they devised was one-world, globalism, the ideal of a world without borders, in which capitalism and socialism converge, and the flow of goods and people is completely unimpeded. This “solution” proved to be worse than the problem, and in rejection of it populist, nationalist, movements have been springing up all across the Western world to defy the globalist consensus between mainstream liberal and conservative parties. These, it must be added, are no more solutions to the problem of globalism, than globalism was a solution to the problems of racism and nationalism. Neither is the solution to the other because the real problem is the modern thinking that lies beneath both and to address this problem we need truly reactionary thinking that looks back to the older tradition, to royal monarchy and orthodox Christianity.

In a royal monarchy, sovereign authority is vested in a person, and is hereditary, passed down from ancestors to descendants. This is the very embodiment of the accumulated wisdom of the ancients that men in modern times have foolishly thrown away. Whereas Lockean liberalism declared voluntary individual contract to be the basis of society, the ancients knew that families were the building blocks of communities and societies, and that the sovereign authority in a state could not rest upon a contractual foundation, but was an extension of the natural authority of father and mother in the home, through the patriarchs and matriarchs of the extended kin group, to the kings and queens of the realm. The reigning monarch, by holding the sovereign authority in trust, is a symbol of stability and continuity, which are essential to order, which in turn is essential to true freedom, and is an example to the generation living in the present day, of the debt owed to generations past, to conserve what they have left, for generations yet to come. The hereditary nature of the office, derided as archaic and unfair by its democratic and republican foes, is what allows the monarch to be a unifying symbol in a way no elected politician ever could. Furthermore, the monarch as that symbol of unity, gives government a personal face. These last two aspects of the office make it the essential and necessary counter to two of the most obnoxious characteristics of the modern state, the endless factionalism promoted both by government by elected assembly and by meritocratic individualism, and the faceless inhumanity of bureaucracy.

As the symbol of unity and the personal face of the state, the royal monarch is the object of the natural allegiance of her subjects and the sworn allegiance of state ministers and immigrants. When a country is united by its loyal allegiance to the person of the royal monarch, that place as the object of loyalty, cannot be filled by abstract ideas. Filling that place with abstract ideas, is precisely what the liberals of the Modern Age, in rebellion against their kings, set out to do. The most popular such idea was that of “the people.” The liberals had either rejected or forgotten the wisdom of Plato and Aristotle, who taught that democracy was the parent of tyranny which was the opposite of true kingship, and the doctrine of “popular sovereignty” begat tyranny on a scale the world had never before seen in the England of the Cromwellian Protectorate, the France of the Reign of Terror, and the Soviet Union and all subsequent People’s Republics. Nationalism, which began in the eighteenth century and spread throughout the Western world in the nineteenth, was originally a form of this left-wing, rebellion against royal monarchy which defined “the people” for whom the revolutionaries claimed to speak as “the nation”, i.e., a people united by blood, language, history, and culture. (1) The Third Reich, which would never have had the opportunity to rise had the Hohenzollern and Hapsburg thrones not been emptied, defined “the people” in more explicitly racial terms, but otherwise was not significantly different from these other regimes. It would make far more sense to look to what these regimes had in common as an explanation of their common industrial scale brutality than to single out what set the Third Reich apart as the sole reason for its specific atrocities.

Before the Modern Age, what we now call Western Civilization was called Christendom, and in Christian civilization it was acknowledged that there is an allegiance which men owe that is higher even than that which they owe to their king or queen, and that is the allegiance owed to God, the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of all that is. Orthodox Christianity has called itself “catholic” since the earliest centuries. The ancient baptismal Creed confesses faith in “the holy catholic church” and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in “one holy, catholic, and Apostolic church.” The third of the three ancient Creeds begins by saying “Whosoever would be saved needeth before all things to hold fast the catholic faith.” The word “catholic” means “universal”, making it both ironic and inappropriate, that it is used today as a denominational label, but that is the subject matter for another essay. The early church chose this word to designate both itself and its faith both because it was an appropriate designation for the entire church worldwide as distinguished from the church in a particular location and because of the universal nature of the church and her mission.

Jesus, before His Ascension, commissioned His Apostles with the words “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28: ), and “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and told them that “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). When the promise of the coming of the Holy Ghost was fulfilled, as recorded by St. Luke in the next chapter of Acts, the Apostles preached the Gospel to the multitude of Jews who had come from all over the known world to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost – the Old Covenant Feast commemorating the giving of the Law not the Christian Feast of the same name commemorating the coming of the Holy Ghost – and each heard in his own tongue. (2) Eight chapters later, St. Peter was sent to proclaim the Gospel to the first Gentile convert, Cornelius and five chapters after that there were so many Gentile converts that the Apostolic Council met in Jerusalem to address the question of whether they would be required to be circumcised and to follow the diet and rituals of the Mosaic Law. It was ruled that these, which had been given in the Old Covenant to keep national Israel distinct and separate from her idolatrous neighbours, were not to hinder the unity of the new transnational spiritual commonwealth that was the church under the New Covenant. This was a point that St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, would emphasize throughout his epistles. St. John, in his apocalyptic vision, heard the twenty-four elders, representing the church in heaven, singing the new song “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10) All people, orthodox Christianity teaches, are brothers because of our common descent from Adam, and out of this natural brotherhood, which since the Fall has carried the curse of Original Sin, all people are called by the Gospel, to believe and be baptized into the new spiritual brotherhood established by the Second Adam, Christ.

In royal monarchy, our sovereign is the personal object of our civil allegiance. In orthodox Christianity, Christ as the head of the “one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic church” which transcends all boundaries of tribe, race, and nation, is the personal object of our spiritual allegiance. When our civil and spiritual allegiance both belong to the right personal object, they cannot be claimed by the false substitute of the Modern Age, the people, in any of its various guises – race, nation, working class, the whole of humanity, etc. Only thus can we avoid the pitfalls of nationalism and racism, without falling into the opposite pits of one-world, globalism and the virulent anti-white racism that wears the mask of anti-racism.

Canada, although a century younger than the United States and thus founded well in to the Modern Age, because she was built upon the foundation of Loyalism rather than nationalism, was established as a parliamentary monarchy and as an explicitly Christian rather than a secular country. We retain our royal monarchy and our Christianity to this day, if only in the most outward, nominal, and ceremonial ways, despite the Liberal Party’s having done their worst to eliminate these things, and these outward trappings of Christian civilization are the signposts pointing the way back to our true civil and spiritual allegiance, should we ever find the courage and the character to take it.

(1) The American and French Revolutions were arguably the first nationalist movements. The word “nationalism” only goes back to the nineteenth century, but the phenomenon it designates goes back to the previous century. The American Revolutionaries called themselves “patriots,” using “patriotism” with all the connotations of nationalism, but patriotism is a much older concept which simply means “love of country.” Dr. Johnson argued, in both The Patriot (1774) and in conversation recorded by Boswell, that the patriotism espoused by the American rebels was false and hypocritical. Had the word been around to be used at the time he might have said that it was nationalism rather than patriotism.

(2) It has been observed that the miracle of the first Whitsunday was a reversal of the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel, the event through which God divided the human race into different tribes and nations. This does not make the agenda of one-world, borderless, globalism somehow “Christian.” Christ told Pilate that His kingdom was “not of this world”, meaning, not that it was located on Mars or some other planet, but that it was an eternal and spiritual rather than a temporal and civil commonwealth and that is not in political competition with any of the latter. It is only in that spiritual kingdom, the Church, that the effect of Babel is reversed. Progressive, one-world, borderless, globalism is a manifestation of the same human arrogance that brought about the divine judgement at Babel in the first place.