The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lorne Gunter and the Pod People

I think that perhaps one of the pod people from Don Siegel’s 1956 The Invasion of the Body Snatchers has replaced Sun Media’s Lorne Gunter. That is the only way I can make sense out of his November 12th column, arguing that Sportsnet was right to fire Don Cherry.

“As much as it pains me to say”, Gunter wrote, “I think Sportsnet was right to dump the long-time namesake of Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada.” Nota bene, Gunter did not say “had the right to” but “was right to.” Gunter is not merely defending Sportsnet’s right as an employer to terminate their contract with Cherry but their actual decision to do so.

This is the opposite of my own position, articulated here, and therefore obviously misguided, dunderheaded and just plain wrong.

How does Gunter or his pod person doppelganger justify this expression of mental flatulence?

By saying that this time Cherry “went too far.”

How did he do that?

By excoriating “’you people’ – meaning immigrants – for not wearing poppies to honour Canada’s veterans on Remembrance Day.”

Gunter went on to talk at length about the distinction between what Cherry said to Joe Warmington in his post-firing interview on Monday, i.e., that everyone in Canada should wear a poppy and what he said on Saturday night. Yes, the two statements are very different, and yes, saying that everyone should wear a poppy would have been a lot less controversial than singling out immigrants for criticism. Just because the latter is more controversial, however, does not necessarily make it wrong, much less an offense worthy of losing one’s position.

Gunter maintains that by identifying the group he was talking about as immigrants Cherry was “criticizing them for their national origin.” This is palpable nonsense. Cherry may have been criticizing immigrants, but he was not criticizing immigrants qua immigrants, id est, for being immigrants. He was criticizing them for not wearing poppies. This negates what Gunter then had to say about the words “you people.”

Gunter wrote:

But “you people” is a lumping term. It lumps together all people with a specific characteristic and blames them equally, whether or not as individuals they deserve a particular accusation.

That is pure drivel. In hermeneutics – the discipline of Scriptural interpretation – class, we were taught to distinguish between exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is when you take your interpretation from out of the text of Scripture itself. Eisegesis is when you read your interpretation into a text. That is exactly what Gunter is doing here. “You people” in the context of Cherry’s Saturday night harangue, clearly does not mean “all immigrants” but only the ones who don’t wear poppies.

In my last remarks on this matter I made reference to the 2000 comedy by the Farrelly Brothers, Me, Myself and Irene. In the introductory scenes to that movie, Jim Carrey’s character, Rhode Island state trooper Charley Baileygates has just married his first wife and brought her home. As he prepares to tip the limousine driver, portrayed by Tony Cox, he asks if “you people” take cheques. By “you people” he obviously means the limo company, but Cox’s character takes it to mean “black people” and gets combative. Baileygates’ wife intervenes – on behalf of the limo driver – and excoriates her new husband for his racist talk, and when he denies having said anything racist, the driver switches gears and re-interprets “you people” as a reference to his diminutive stature.

What Peter and Bobby Farrelly saw as a hilarious joke nineteen years ago, has become the sad, sober reality of the present day.

Having disposed of the ridiculous assertion that the words “you people” turned Cherry’s remarks into a swipe at all immigrants regardless of their personal behaviour, the question becomes one of whether or not it was justifiable to specify them as a group in addressing the problem of neglect of poppies on Remembrance Day. Gunter’s colleague Tarek Fatah, who similarly reads volumes into Cherry’s words, but disagreed with Gunter’s conclusion that the firing was justified, answered this question in his column.

If there was any doubt about Cherry’s assertion, it was removed the next evening by Mississauga-based-Pakistani-Canadian broadcaster Tahir Gora. He tweeted: “I attended 2 events Nov 10th evening organized by two diaspora groups in which I couldn’t find a single person wearing poppy – I can’t name those diaspora groups otherwise I would be called a ‘racist’ by politically correct media and politicians. But Don Cherry makes a point.

Fatah then went on to describe his own observations on Monday, in downtown Toronto, of how few people were wearing poppies.

Cherry did not say that immigrants were the only ones not wearing poppies nor did he say that all immigrants were not wearing poppies. It would seem, however, that neglect of the poppy is a problem in certain immigrant communities, and this more than justifies Grapes’ mention of them in his commentary.

Unless, of course, we believe that immigrants are a sacred class, above criticism and reproach. This appears to be Justin Trudeau’s belief, but I never took Lorne Gunter to be in Captain Airhead’s camp before.

While I have disagreed with things that Gunter has written several times in the past, those disagreements were all of the type that naturally occur between an old-fashioned Tory and a neo-conservative. He is a republican, I am a royalist and a monarchist. He thinks of the heritage of Western civilization in the modern terms of classical liberalism, whereas I would emphasize more our heritage from classical antiquity and Christendom. He is an enthusiastic supporter of capitalism and the free market, I merely dislike these things less than I loathe socialism. It is very rare, however, that I have disagreed with him on matters pertaining to the politically correct suppression of words and ideas that offend and the crusade of the woke to destroy the lives and careers of all who disagree with him. Indeed, this is the first such instance of which I can think.

Which is why I am leaning towards the hypothesis that he has been replaced by a space alien look alike. What other theory could possibly explain his having become someone who thinks like a woke social justice warrior overnight?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Grapes, You are an Inspiration to us All!

It was greatly to my disgust that I learned, yesterday, that Sportsnet had fired the legendary Canadian institution, Don Cherry, over remarks he made on Coach's Corner this past weekend. Here is what he said on Saturday:

“You know, I was talking to a veteran. I said ‘I’m not going to run the poppy thing anymore because what’s the sense? I live in Mississauga, nobody wears — very few people wear a poppy. Downtown Toronto, forget it! Downtown Toronto, nobody wears a poppy.’

He says, ‘Wait a minute, how about running it for the people that buy them?’

Now you go to the small cities, the rows on rows.

You people love — that come here, whatever it is — you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy. These guys paid for your way of life, the life you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price.

Anyhow, I’m going to run it again for you great people and good Canadians that bought a poppy.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it needed to be said, and kudos to Grapes for saying it.

Of course, the lily-livered whiners, the woke snowflake mob, got all triggered by the words "you people" and started throwing conniptions. (See the opening scenes of the 2000 Farrelly Brothers film Me, Myself and Irene staring Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger for a hilarious satire of those who read all sorts of ridiculous things into just this phrase).

For a day and a half these modern day Salomes were all over the social media demanding that Don Cherry's head be given them on a platter. Corrupt mainstream media outlets, such as the CBC which for decades carried Hockey Night in Canada in which Coach's Corner was featured, provided them an additional platform to make these demands. Finally, on Remembrance Day, the sniveling scoundrels at Sportsnet, issued a statement about how Cherry's patriotic call to respect and honour our veterans was "divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for" and so he would no longer be appearing on their program.

In an interview with Joe Warmington, Cherry said that this was not a problem and that "I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers."


This is exactly how everybody ought to respond when some politically correct mob takes offence at his words and calls them "racist", "sexist" or some other of the growing list of -ists and -phobics. If there were more of these refusals to grovel and apologize, there would be a lot less of these politically correct mobs.

Don Cherry is an inspiration to all of us who are sick and tired of wokeness, political correctness, cancel culture and all the rest of that nonsense. Let us follow his example.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

No, Andrew Scheer’s “Social Conservatism” Did Not Lose the Election

In light of the public discussion that has taken place since the Dominion Election on October 21st, a point that I made in my reflections on the outcome of that election deserves reiteration. The views which Andrew Scheer, Conservative leader, was said to hold on abortion and same-sex marriage, are not the reason the Conservatives failed to win the election, nor are they even a significant contributing factor to the loss. The evasive, wishy-washy, manner in which Mr. Scheer handled these matters when they were raised during the campaign may have been a contributing factor, but the right-wing views attributed to him were not.

The vast majority of commentators in the mainstream media, being overwhelmingly progressive, maintain otherwise, of course, but in this, as in most things, they are completely wrong. Indeed, on some level they know that they are wrong, which is the very reason they insist so strongly and so frequently on their mistaken notion that social conservatism cannot be sold to the Canadian public. They want it to be true and believe that if they tell Canadians it is true often and loudly enough that will make it true. The principle they are operating upon is one famously spelled out by an infamous, Austrian psychopath in the tenth chapter of his memoirs, ninety-four years ago.

Andrew Scheer in an interview with the Canadian Press shortly after the election said that he believed it was possible for someone with conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage to be Prime Minister of Canada. He was right, but it would have been better if he had been saying this firmly, strongly, and consistently prior to the election. A few days later, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh responded by saying “You cannot have Mr. Scheer’s beliefs and be the Prime Minister of Canada. It’s pretty clear.” One wonders if he was able to say this with a straight face. Of all the electable parties in Canada, Mr. Singh’s takes the position furthest to the left on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, and they were the biggest losers in the election, dropping from third to fourth place in total number of seats, and going down four percentage points in the popular vote. Mr. Scheer’s party, by contrast, increased their number of seats and their percentage of the popular vote. If the election results say anything about social conservatism, and it does not, it is not what Mr. Singh thinks.

Let me put it to you plainly. Some people claim to believe that it is every woman’s right to terminate the lives of her children, at least prior to their births. Of these lunatics, the number that would have voted Conservative had someone other than Andrew Scheer been leading the party is miniscule. It is probably not enough to make the difference between the win or the loss of a single seat.

Conversely, there are sane people in our country, a lot more than the mainstream media would like you to think, who rightly consider it to be morally outrageous that in Canada women are legally able to obtain abortions right up to the moment of birth. This includes people with a wide range of differing opinion as to what legal limitations there ought to be on abortion. Some would like to see it prohibited only in the third trimester, others would like to see it restricted to the first, and others still would ban it altogether. There are those who would make an exception in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, while others would say that to do so is to punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. Some maintain that abortion should be permissible when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mothers, others would say that while saving the life of the mother is certainly a priority, termination of the pregnancy is permissible only as an unintended consequence, never as the intended outcome. There are also differences of opinion as to who bears the burden of criminal guilt over abortion – the doctor, the mother, or both – and what the penalty ought to be. Those of us who take the most hardline anti-abortion position possible and would ban any and all abortions from the moment of conception with no exceptions but with strict penalties for all involved are, sadly, a minority but those who think that there should be legal restrictions of some sort are much larger in number, almost certainly the vast majority.

Let us make two unwarranted and absurd assumptions about such people. The first is that these are all aware of the difference between their own position and the post-1988 status quo and therefore of the fact that Parliamentary legislation would be necessary to arrive at the place in which they want the country to be. The second is that they view everything other than abortion through the lens of ceteris paribus and so choose whom to vote for based solely on this one issue. How, given these assumptions, would Scheer’s campaign have appealed to such people in the last election?

The answer is that while Scheer’s pro-life and socially conservative background would not have driven them away, like it would all the hard-line pro-choicers who would never vote Conservative anyway, his insistence, in response to progressive badgering, that he would not re-open the issue, would have given them no incentive to vote Conservative. What Scheer was saying was that the Conservatives, under his leadership, would in practice, act no differently than the Grits or the Socialists. In which case there was no reason whatsoever for pro-life, socially conservative, people to vote for the party that has long taken their votes for granted, while doing nothing to deserve them.

The conclusion is inevitable – while Scheer’s stated views in the past on abortion and same-sex marriage were not a significant contributing factor to the Conservative loss his waffling on these same issues during the campaign was. The weasely, mealy-mouthed, evasive manner in which he conducted this waffling, did not help things much either.

For decades progressive politicians and pundits have been telling the Conservatives that they need to limit their platform to fiscal conservatism because social conservatism loses elections. For far too long, the leadership of the Conservative Party has been listening to them. The exact opposite is the case. How many people practice rigid, self-denying, austerity in their private lives? Of these, how many make it their political priority that the government do the same? Fiscal conservatism is rational, sensible, and responsible, but it appeals only to economic eggheads and not the public. For most people, the immediate benefit to themselves of government spending programs will always outweigh their portion of the collective cost of government. This is the obvious political application, perhaps even more valid than the original ecological application, of Garrett Hardin’s famous parable of the “tragedy of the commons.” Nobody has ever won an election on fiscal conservatism alone. It has to be packaged with other, more appealing, policies. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were no exceptions to this rule.

This is the lesson that Andrew Scheer and the Conservative leadership ought to learn from our last Dominion election.

What are the odds that they will learn it?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Greta Syndrome – A Diagnosis

It is sad to see what has become of the Kingdom of Sweden. At some point in the twentieth century, I think around the time of the Second World War, their political class developed a naïve and superstitious faith in the ability of social scientists to improve their customs and mores through radical experimentation. Perhaps the Nazis slipped some mind-altering substance into their water supply during the war that has been producing this lingering effect. Whatever the cause, the result has been that they have taken progressive social engineering to an extreme beyond what can be found in most other Western countries. This is most obvious when it comes to their policies and laws with regards to gender identity and the raising of children.

Sweden boasts of the fact that she was the first country to pass a total ban on corporal punishment. This happened back in the 1960s and about sixty countries have followed their example. Many other countries have passed partial bans, prohibiting it in schools but not in the home. From the über-progressive Swedish perspective this is something in which their country can take pride – they were ahead of the times, trend-setting, fashionable and forward-thinking. From the proper perspective, that is to say, my own, their being ahead of the times, trend-setting, fashionable, and forward-thinking is something of which they ought to be deeply ashamed. What it really means is that they have gone stark, börking, mad.

King Solomon, who was a far more trustworthy authority than some wacko sociologist or psychologist, wrote “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)

Everywhere you look today you will find evidence that Solomon knew what he was talking about and that progressive social engineers are full of a nasty-smelling natural fertilizer. A few decades ago they took the strap out of the schools and now, at least in large urban centres, it has become necessary to go through airport-style security checks in order to enter them. At approximately the same time, quacks purporting to be experts on child-raising began peddling the message of permissiveness in cheap books and on bad television shows. They condemned methods that have been tested and proven over the course of centuries as barbaric and cruel. Spanking in particular, they likened to child abuse. As parents – and legislators – began listening to them and taking them seriously, authority in the home collapsed.

The anti-corporal punishment message caught on due to its superficial appeal to the feelings of parents. Parents love their children, people do not want those they love to suffer pain, corporal punishment inflicts pain, and therein lies the temptation to believe those who preach against spanking. Note carefully, however, the wording of King Solomon’s proverb quoted above. True love is not the empty, sentimental, feeling that is so often called by that name in the age in which we live. It also includes a commitment to meet one’s obligations towards those one loves. At the very minimum, parents have an obligation to their children to raise them – to instruct them in the right path and correct them when they go wrong. What the progressive and liberal theory of child raising really amounts to is the idea that parents should let children raise themselves. While this is certainly in keeping with the liberal ideal which makes complete individual self-determination out to be the highest good it is not consistent with genuine parental love.

It can hardly be surprising, therefore, that the country that took the first step down this path of utter madness is also the country that produced the most celebrated case of juvenile delinquency in the world today. There are many who would object to this description of Swedish enfant terrible Greta Thunberg but consider the actions that made her famous and then tell me that the träsko doesn’t fit.

After bullying her parents into depriving themselves of essential nutrients by going vegan she launched her career as a youthful rabble-rouser by encouraging children to play hooky from school in order to attend protest rallies demanding that governments ruin the lives of all the families that depend upon the petroleum industry – or raising livestock – for their livelihood. Her justification for all of this horrendously bad behaviour is her fear of climate change. Not real climate change but the bugbear of the eco-socialists.

Real climate change is a matter of long cyclical patterns of warming and cooling that have been going on since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of time. A multitude of factors, most if not all of which are beyond human control, contribute to it. It is not a bad thing, it is a part of the way things are. Periods of warming are nothing to be feared. People thrive in warmer periods. One thousand years ago, Thunberg’s Viking ancestors were able to farm Greenland thanks to one.

The eco-socialist version is a fictional horror story in which carbon emissions produced by human industry are the principle driving factor in climate change which threatens all life on the planet with extinction. It was thought up to serve the libido dominandi of men like George Soros and the late Maurice Strong who seem to have taken the supervillains in the movies based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels as their role models.

A lot of people have been duped into believing this nonsense, of course, but they do not all go around encouraging truancy and rebellion, throwing temper tantrums before assemblies of world leaders, and stirring up strife in other countries. Some would try to explain Thunberg’s aberrant behaviour by pointing to her having Asperger’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but I think that it is unfair to lump all who suffer from these conditions in with peace disturbing troublemakers like Greta.

No, I think the explanation is to be found in Sweden’s spanking laws. Had Sweden allowed Greta’s parents to discipline her properly, she may still have been taken in by the eco-socialist propaganda, but they would have been able to exert their authority to prevent her from acting on her fears in such an inappropriate, socially destructive manner.

We have not yet banned corporal punishment entirely in the Dominion of Canada, although it is probably on the Liberals’ agenda. Only parents are allowed to exercise this kind of discipline, however.

That is, perhaps, a pity. Had it been otherwise, when Greta recently travelled to Alberta to demand the total destruction of the province’s economy, their premier Jason Kenney could have turned her over his knee and publicly given her a lesson that would have done her a world of good.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Aftermath Reflections

The Canadian Dominion Election of 2019 is now over. Since disappointment consists of hopeful expectations being shattered I suppose my response to the results is one of disgust rather than disappointment. As I said in My Druthers prior to the election I did not expect it would turn out in the way in which I wanted.

The Grits, led by Captain Airhead, survived the election. They no longer have an absolute majority. They won 157 seats in the House of Commons, which is twenty less than they had when the last Parliament was dissolved and twenty seven less than they received in the last Dominion election. Most of the mainstream media are hailing this as a victory for Airhead. Andrew Coyne of the National Post, who is often more perceptive than the average MSM commentator, has argued to the contrary, that the Liberals “didn’t win the 2019 federal election, they just lost less than the Conservatives.” This is an interesting perspective, but I doubt that Captain Airhead himself sees it that way. Others have said that this reduction from majority to minority status will be a humbling experience for the Prime Minister. I think it is safe to say that it will be nothing of the sort. Trudeau has never shown the slightest capacity for learning from his mistakes. Having won the most seats, even after the Kokanee Grope, SNC-Lavalin, and blackface scandals, among his other huge embarrassments, he will be more insufferably smug and cocky than ever, and will treat his minority mandate as a blank cheque to do whatever he wants.

The ancient Greeks had a word that describes Trudeau’s attitude perfectly - ὕβρις. Hubris was an intense, overweening, pride, in defiance of the limitations of divine law, especially, at least as Aristotle describes it, by humiliating those one sees as his inferiors for his own pleasure. In Greek thought, hubris inevitably led to the destruction of those who practiced it. Nemesis, the dread daughter of Nyx, goddess of the night, was the figure whom their mythology assigned the task of wreaking divine vengeance upon the proud and arrogant. This concept was not limited to the pagan Greeks. In the Book of Proverbs it says “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” and the falls of both Satan and man illustrate the point. It may not have come this election, but eventually Trudeau’s arrogance will be his own undoing.

Of the three major parties, the biggest loss in this election was that of the New Democrats. They won only 24 seats, fifteen less than they had at dissolution and twenty less than they received four years ago. This is despite the fact that around the time of the blackface scandal the progressive media dumped Trudeau and threw all their resources into promoting the NDP and their leader Jagmeet Singh. Indeed, they even tried to make the blackface scandal all about Singh, as if Captain Airhead somehow owed Singh a personal apology for his clownish antics. There was, of course, no demand that he apologize to those whom he truly owed an apology, id est, all those whom he has himself labelled “racist” for disagreeing with his hyper-progressive, “woke” agenda. From this point on it was almost impossible to turn to any of the major news networks on television and not find Singh either giving an interview or speaking at some rally. Polling companies began reporting that Singh’s popularity was on the rise, and even the neo-conservative press got in on the action regurgitating the progressive talking point about how “likeable” Singh was, which, frankly, I never understood as I find the man to be quite unbearable. Despite all of this, the NDP ended up going down almost four percentage points in the popular vote which translated into a significant seat loss for them. I am not sorry to see this happen, even though it contributes to the Grits winning the plurality. It shows that the progressive media cartel’s ability to mold Canadian public opinion is not as infallible as is often assumed. It is also nice to see a man who has displayed contempt for the constitutional monarchy of the country he wants to lead and contempt for the customs and protocols of its Parliament fall flat on his face.

I have mentioned that the NDP went down almost four percentage points in the popular vote. The Grits went down almost six and a half percentage points. The Conservatives went up by two and a half points and, in fact, came out of the election with the largest percentage of the popular vote. Had Captain Airhead kept his 2015 election promise and brought in proportional representation the Conservatives, rather than the Liberals, would have won the plurality. This notwithstanding, I still support the traditional first-past-the-post, for the reasons I have given in the past. The principle of having Members of Parliament represent the actual realities of particular locations (first-past-the-post) rather than the fictional construct of partisan percentages (proportional representation) outweighs, for me, my preferences with regards to the outcome of elections.

Andrew Scheer and the leadership of the Conservative Party are undoubtedly now asking themselves how they failed to defeat an incumbent Prime Minister who seemed to be hell-bent on self-destruction. They will be hearing an awful lot of misguided, foolish, and downright wrong answers to this question from the mainstream media. For what it may be worth, the following is my answer to the same question.

First, in this election the Conservatives relied far too much on the hope that other parties – the NDP, Greens, and the Bloc – would draw votes and seats away from the Liberals instead of focusing on presenting a superior alternative to the Liberals and thus increasing their own percentage of the vote. This is a bad strategy, and in the end the “orange wave” did not materialize, the Greens gained only one seat, and the revival of the Bloc was not large enough.

Second, the Conservatives attempted to sell their leader, Andrew Scheer, to the public as a fiscally responsible, average Canadian husband and father, who would be a more reliable alternative than the irresponsible, privileged and cosmopolitan Trudeau. Their efforts to do so were undermined because Scheer contradicted the image they were trying to present with his own evasiveness. Consider the way he answered questions about his views on abortion and same-sex marriage. I have seen several commentators suggest that Scheer’s answers hurt him because he failed to dispel the fears of those with liberal opinions on these subjects that he was secretly pining to turn Canada into the kind of theocratic caricature that can be found in the pages of a bad Margaret Atwood novel. This is nonsense. His answers hurt him, not because the electorate was afraid of someone whose opinions deviate from the politically correct party line of the Liberals but because they were evasive rather than straightforward. Evasiveness is not a quality that suggests trustworthiness but rather the opposite. This is why all of the scandals the progressive media raised over Scheer – his insurance broker career before politics, his dual citizenship, the bizarre last minute allegations that he hired Warren Kinsella to wage a smear campaign against Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party – hurt him more than the sexual harassment, corruption, and racism scandals hurt Trudeau. They struck at the very quality on which the Conservatives were trying to sell Scheer to the public. Worse, they did so in a way that turned the Canadian public’s conservative instincts, which the Conservatives needed in order to win, against Scheer. Trudeau may be the devil, but as the old adage and the Kylie Minogue song say “better the devil you know.” Scheer could not afford an image of anything less than 100% straightforward honesty.

Every time that the Conservative Party has lost an election in the past, it has been beset with counsellors offering the advice that their platform was too right-wing and that they needed to move to the centre. Their having listened to this bad advice so often in the past is one of the reasons that the centre has moved so far to the left. This time these advisors will be pointing to the People’s Party and saying “see, they ran on a platform considerably to the right, and failed to win a single seat, lost even the seat of their leader Maxime Bernier, and won a mere 1.6% of the popular vote.” The exact opposite of this is true. The Conservative Party cannot win elections by moving further to the centre and helping move the centre further to the left. The only message this sends is that the Conservatives have nothing to offer that is different from the Liberals and the other progressive parties. Canadians have no good reason to vote for a Conservative party that offers only centrist, progressive, liberal, and leftist policies. The fact that Maxime Bernier was unable to sell the public on a more right-of-centre set of policies does not mean that the Conservatives would similarly fail. They will never be able to sell right-of-centre policies to the Canadian public, however, if they do not try, and certainly not if they continue to undermine themselves by wasting their resources in the sponsorship of progressive, anti-racist, attacks on those further to the right.

One thing that the outcome of this election shows is the foolishness of the proposal that the CBC seemed to be seriously pondering last Friday, namely the lowering of the voting age to 16. What we ought to be considering is the opposite of this – raising the voting age. Wisdom is the most desirable quality in an electorate, enthusiasm and idealism are the least desirable qualities. As a general rule, the former increases with greater maturity while the latter decreases. This same point can also be demonstrated by noting the most obvious example of foreign interference in the election, the way the wealthy foreigners, probably mostly American, who wish to sabotage Western Canada’s energy industry, brought an ignorant teenage twit over from Sweden and sent her and her crowds of adulating youthful fans, even more clueless than her, on a celebrity tour that not-coincidentally coincided with the election.

Things are looking extremely grim for the Western energy industry now as Rex Murphy has superbly explained in his post-election remarks in the National Post. The talk of Alberta or even Western separatism – “Wexit” – began pretty much the moment the outcome was declared. This talk of separation disgusts me as much as the election results that provoked it and reminds me of nothing so much as the way Hollywood liberals respond every time the Democrats lose the White House. As much as I admired the late Doug Christie in his role as a crusader for freedom of thought and speech I never had any use for his Western Canada Concept and all of this talk of breaking up Confederation and forming a – ugh – republic, makes me want to puke. The blame for the revival of Western separatism, however, belongs entirely to that smug, arrogant, filius canis, who is willing to sacrifice the economy of an entire region of the Dominion in order to win the accolades of eco-socialists around the world.

God save the Queen – including from Her Prime Minister – and Heaven Bless the Maple Leaf forever!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

My Druthers

While I am, for the most part, opposed to the vulgar, Americanization, of the English language, the phrase I have chosen for the title of this essay, a late nineteenth century drawled American contraction of the words “would rather”, expresses the subject of this essay perfectly.

In the unlikely event that I have my druthers and the upcoming Dominion election turns out exactly the way I want it to the following is what will happen on October 21st.

First, Captain Airhead will be turfed out on his rear end in the most decisive negative vote in the history of Canada. I am talking zero seats being given to the Grits in the next Parliament.

Second, the New Democrats will also be reduced to non-party status and be finished once and for all.

Third, the Greens will form Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and will from here on out take the place on the left made vacant by the decimation of the Liberals and NDP.

Fourth, the Conservatives will receive a minority government. Nota bene, I said minority, not majority. The Conservatives wasted the last majority government they received under Stephen Harper and I have not the least doubt that they would do the same under Andrew Scheer.

Fifthly, holding the balance of power and propping up the minority Conservative government, will be Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada. My reasons for wanting this to happen rather than for Bernier to form the next government are twofold. First, I suspect that he and his party would drift left-ward if they actually formed the government. This would inevitably be the case if they received a minority government – any other party, including the Conservatives, holding the balance of power would exert a left-ward pull. Second, I think that by exerting the leverage they would hold in this position they could accomplish more of the excellent goals in their party platform than if they formed the government.

Remember, all of this is what I would like to see happen, not what I am predicting will happen. I doubt that anyone will be able to accurately forecast the outcome of this election and I think the likelihood of it turning out exactly the way I want is extremely slim. It would require, for one thing, that the Canadian right develop overnight a capacity for strategic voting that it has given no previous indication of possessing, unlike the Canadian left which used that very method to straddle us with Captain Airhead in the last Dominion election.

It provides me with no small amount of amusement that so many of those who would share the first and second of the above set of druthers get so irate at the suggestion that anything less than an outright majority government by the Conservatives – or People’s Party depending upon which sort of partisan they happen to be – would be acceptable, much less desirable. Obviously the leaders, candidates, and campaign teams of the parties cannot make anything less than a majority government their goal, but there is no good reason why right-of-centre thinkers outside of the aforementioned groups should not prefer a different outcome. It is the job of right-wing politicians to win elections by selling a right-wing platform to the electorate. It is not the job of the right-wing portion of the electorate to put those politicians into office in an unthinking manner, without asking hard questions and making hard demands of them. The attitude that the electorate owes them their votes has always been one of the most obnoxious aspects of smug, Grit, arrogance. It ought not to be imitated on the right. It is the duty of right-wing commentators of the fourth and, like this writer, fifth estates, to constantly remind right-wing politicians of right-wing principles and hold them accountable. It irritates me that those who think otherwise regard any criticism of the leaders of their preferred parties as being akin to campaigning for the left. I have even seen such nincompoops describe Ezra Levant, the same Ezra Levant whom the mainstream media equally absurdly labels a “right-wing extremist”, as a Liberal agent because of his criticism of Scheer. These fools think of elections in terms of salvation and cannot bear to hear anything negative about their would-be Messiahs. This is the way progressives view politics and there ought to be no room for it on the right.

Of course the sort of people I have been talking about are “conservatives” of a highly Americanized type. Over the last two to three decades I have watched them jettison virtually every principle that has historically and traditionally been considered right-wing to the point that only capitalism seems to be indispensable to them. Which is ironic because capitalism is not right-wing. The true right is anti-socialist not capitalist. It is anti-socialist because it is hierarchical and socialism is egalitarian and it is anti-socialist because it is strongly pro-property – even more so than classical liberalism – and being anti-property is the very essence of socialism. The true right, while anti-socialist, has always been willing to condemn the vulgarity and Philistinism of capitalism and its erosion of social and cultural mores.

The same people, I would point out, are often the ones who insist that if the Liberals win again the Western provinces, or at least Alberta, ought to separate from Canada. While they are right to believe that Ottawa has treated the Western provinces unjustly, especially whenever the Liberals headed by a Trudeau have been in government, I have no sympathy with this kind of separatism whatsoever. The separatists all talk about forming a republic, proving themselves to be liberals. Alan Clark, the military historian turned Tory statesman, best remembered for his Diaries, who served as a junior minister in the ministries of Trade and Defence under Margaret Thatcher, was a Powellite and Eurosceptic who after the vote on the Common Market told the Labour MP Dennis Skinner “I'd rather live in a socialist Britain than one ruled by a lot of f***ing foreigners.” To paraphrase the sentiment, and apply it to the matter at hand, I’d rather live in a socialist Canada with her traditional constitution than in any sort of ******* republic. (1)

This, by the way, is why I would like to see the Greens replace both the NDP and the Grits on the other side of Canada’s political spectrum. Elizabeth May, however crazy I think her climate-change alarmism is, and however annoying I find her other progressive twaddle like that nonsense about “white privilege” she was spouting at Monday’s debate, is sound on the constitution. (2) Jagmeet Singh, like most NDPers, (3) is not.

Allow me to conclude by returning to the subject of my druthers and pursuing it a bit further than the outcome of the imminent election.

First, Canada would undergo a major revival of sound Christian religion.

Second, to summarize paragraphs nine through twelve above, the Canadian right would abandon American neo-conservatism and return to genuine British/Canadian Toryism. This would mean that both the preservation of our constitution – the preservation of our constitution, mind you, and not the adoption of one more like that of the Americans - and opposition to moral, social, and cultural decay would take precedence over any economic and fiscal concerns.

Third, the Canadian right would make it a top priority to break the control of the progressive cartel over the majority of the fourth estate.

Fourth, they would make it another top priority to repeal the Canadian Human Rights Act and abolish the Canadian Human Rights Commission/Tribunals. Despite the name of the Act/Commission/Tribunal these do nothing to protect people from the arbitrary abuse of government power but rather enable that abuse by allowing the state to police the thoughts, intentions, and motives of Canadians. To demonstrate this to the public, all that needs to be done is to encourage them to actually read the Act. Then explain the difference between a non-discrimination policy – Her Majesty’s government will administer the law and justice fairly and justly without discriminating on the basis of X, Y, Z – and an anti-discrimination law in which the government unnecessarily interjects itself into private transactions and tells us that we cannot have certain thoughts or allow them to influence us in our interactions with others.

Fifth, they would work through the provincial legislatures – which have jurisdiction over the matter – to ensure that a Canadian civics in which our constitution, history, and heritage are respected becomes part of our educational system so much so that parties that want to destroy our constitution, turn the country into a republic, or break up Confederation, become completely unelectable.

Sixth, they will put Sir John A. Macdonald back on our money where he belongs, and restore any other monument to the leading Father of Confederation that has been removed for politically correct purposes.

I could probably add others but that is enough wishful thinking for now.

(1) In response to a recent post by Will S. at his Patriactionary blog about how the West should have recognized the Republic of China (Taiwan) as legitimate rather than the People’s Republic of China (Red China) I said: “Neither Republic is legitimate, as no republic is a legitimate form of government (I would allow for the possibility of two exceptions to this in all of human history – Switzerland and the defunct Confederate States of America). The West should have told all of China that until they restored the Quin dynasty and put the rightful heir of the House of Aisin Gioro back on the throne we would not recognize any Chinese government as being legitimate, with the People’s Republic being even less legitimate than the other one. Sadly, the West let the bloody Yanks do all the talking for the rest of us.”


(3) Tommy Douglas and Jack Layton, both deceased, are the only exceptions that really come to mind off the top of my head. Eugene Forsey, who in his heart was really a Conservative all his life regardless of which party he was nominally associated with at the time was a strong constitutionalist but he was never an NDPer. He left the CCF when it became the NDP.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Election Time Grumbling

During the last Dominion election, four years ago, I made the remark that the three major parties were offering us a choice between the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet. After the election I added that the False Prophet had won. I think the last four years have justified that assessment rather well.

To make the above joke about the last election, of course, required speaking as if a misconception, that has lamentably become almost universal in Canada, were in fact true. Dominion elections are not about who the next Prime Minister will be. They are about who the next Parliament will be. You and I do not vote for the Prime Minister. We vote for who will be the Member of Parliament for our constituency. The job of our Member of Parliament is to represent our constituency, the portion of the country that includes the neighborhood in which we live. If our MPs remembered that their job, first and foremost, is to speak in Parliament on behalf of the constituencies that elected them – the places and the people living in those places whether they voted for or against the winner, they would do that job much better. Note that if we were to adopt the electoral reform that the Liberals promised four years ago, mercifully reneging on that promise, this would not help our MPs to do that job better, but rather hinder them from doing it. Proportional representation would make for a more partisan, more ideological Parliament. Only fools would want this, which is why proportional representation is so popular. The eponymous principle of Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule, the first in his Sword of Truth fantasy series and the last before these books achieved the unachievable and became an exposition of Ayn Rand’s ideas even more tedious and tiresome than her own, is “people are stupid” and this is absolutely correct. But I digress. In an election, we choose the representatives for our constituencies, these make up the next Parliament, and the person who becomes Prime Minister, who leads the government in the sense of the Cabinet, the Crown Ministers who carry out the actual day-to-day administration of the Queen-in-Council, is the person who has the most support in Parliament. That we have come to treat every Dominion election as a nation-wide plebiscite on who would make the best Prime Minister is an unwelcome intrusion of Americanism into our system.

I also declared during the last Dominion election that I likely would not be voting in it at all. The Conservatives, I vowed, would never have my vote again as long as Stephen Harper was their leader. Harper, while admittedly the best Prime Minister Canada has had since 1963 – this is not saying much as the entire lot of post-Diefenbaker Prime Ministers were horrid and rotten and abominable – had ticked me off one too many times. He had capitulated to the liberal-left on abortion and immigration and was absolutely horrible on freedom of speech. While Section 13 was abolished on his watch, he deserves no credit whatsoever for that fact, for the bill that repealed it was a private member’s bill that a Conservative MP had introduced and which had received enough support from both Conservative and Liberal Members to pass, despite the active opposition of the Prime Minister. It was that crazy bill, authorizing the government to invade the privacy of ordinary Canadians in the name of “fighting terrorism” that finally made me wash my hands of Harper altogether. Since the usual alternatives to the Conservatives in my riding were the NDP and Liberals, neither of which I would ever consider voting for, the Greens, and fringe parties even further to the left, I thought I would have no-one to vote for, and was fine with that, citing the precedent of Evelyn Waugh, who, after years of voting Conservative and having them fail to turn the clock back by even a second declared that he would abstain in the future on the grounds that it was presumptuous for a subject to advise his Sovereign in her choice of ministers. In the event, the Christian Heritage Party ran a candidate in my riding, for probably the first time ever, and as the candidate was a friend, I had someone to vote for after all.

This Dominion election is not shaping up to be any better than the last. The Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, aka Captain Airhead still has an astonishing amount of support considering that he has accomplished nothing in the last four years except something which should not have been done, i.e., the legalization of marijuana, that he has spent Canada hopelessly into debt, has aggressively sabotaged the economy of one of our provinces and seriously undermined national unity, has gone out of his way to sour our relations with India, the Philippines, China, the United States, and perhaps other countries that I don’t remember off the top of my head, has been found guilty of major ethical violations, been hit with three major scandals within the space of a year any one of which by itself would have ended the career of virtually any other Prime Minister, and been proven to be a total hypocrite on three matters that he is constantly preaching to other Canadians about.

When the Conservatives were contemplating whom they would choose to replace Stephen Harper as leader I offered my opinion that they should pick Don Cherry. Granted, he was not actually seeking the position, but I said they ought to draft him. Had they followed my semi-serious suggestion they would be way ahead in the polls right now. They did not, of course, nor did I expect them to and they put in Andrew Scheer instead. Commenting on that at the time, I said that it was a mix of the good and the bad, the good being that Scheer, in a survey of the potential leaders, had taken the strongest royalist stand, and that he was a staunch opponent of the carbon tax by which Trudeau pretends to be saving the world from “climate change” while in reality doing nothing but unnecessarily increasing the cost-of-living for those least able to afford such an increase. The bad was that Scheer was a Harper-style neo-conservative, which meant that he would probably wimp out on social issues and on free speech. Look at his performance in this election campaign so far and tell me that these predictions have not been borne out.

Consider Scheer’s response to attacks from the left on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage.

With regards to abortion, Scheer has told the press that while he, a Roman Catholic, is personally opposed to abortion, a government that he leads will neither move to limit abortion nor support any efforts by backbenchers to do so through means of private bills. This is the very definition of wimping out. Saying that you are personally opposed to abortion means absolutely nothing if you not only will not initiate any legislation on the matter but will deny your support to members of your party who wish to do so. Indeed, there is no difference between this and the position that Justin Trudeau has held until very recently when, realizing that it was self-contradictory, he rejected the personal opposition to abortion and came out as being entirely pro-choice. Trudeau’s position, although it amounts to openly declaring his allegiance to the forces of evil, is the more honest of the two.

What Scheer should have told the press – and the Liberal, NDP, and Green leaders when they all ganged up on him and tried to pressure him into affirming the Satanic dogma that a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion – is the following:

You claim to be worried that I am going to re-open the debate on abortion but the truth is that there is nothing to re-open because the debate on abortion never occurred in the first place. Abortion was completely illegal in Canada until 1969, and I affirm what previous generations of Canadians believed, that taking the life of an unborn, innocent, baby is nothing less than cold-blooded murder and nobody, man or woman, has the right to commit murder. The present status quo, in which there are no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever up to the very moment of birth and the taxpayer is required to pay for it, would have been regarded as abhorrent by previous generations of Canadians, and would be rejected by most living Canadians if they actually understood what the status quo is. We did not arrive at this status quo by means of a debate in which the pro-murder side, as the so-called pro-choice side ought properly to be called, won. We arrived at where we are today, because the father of the current Prime Minister changed the law in 1969 to allow for abortions in exceptional circumstances, and then turned our Supreme Court into an American-style kritarchy in 1982, which then used the changes he had made to our abortion laws as a pretext for ruling those laws to be unconstitutional. That Parliament, which the Supreme Court in the same ruling said ought to pass new abortion legislation, has failed to do so for thirty-one years, is not due to there being any sort of general consensus in favour of the status quo but to the bullying tactics of the leaders of the progressive parties and their echo chambers in the media. These tactics are designed to prevent the debate that you falsely claim is over from ever happening. It is your tactics and not my views that are unacceptable in a civilized country like ours and I am and here and now calling you out on them and demanding that you cease and desist immediately. We are going to have that debate whether you like it or not and the fact that you are so desperate to prevent it from happening shows that you are not at all as confident of the claims of your own side as you pretend to be.

That is how Scheer ought to be talking. The same speech, mutatis mutandis, is also the appropriate response to the progressive attacks on him for his views on same-sex marriage.

Michael Wharton, who wrote the “Peter Simple” column for the Daily Telegraph for decades, frequently referred to what he called the “Great Semantic Shift” by which opinions on several matters “which were once held by the majority and described as ‘moderate’, ‘of the centre’ or merely ‘patriotic’ have gradually come to be described first as ‘right-wing’, then as ‘extreme right-wing’, then as ‘lunatic fringe’ and finally as ‘fascist’” (1) Others would describe the same phenomenon as a leftward shift in the Overton Window. The kind of bullying described above is the means by which this shift has been accomplished and right-of-centre parties have a duty to confront it head on and call it out for the thuggery it is. Otherwise, they will themselves be constantly drawn further to the left. As John O’Sullivan famously put it “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” (2)

The leadership of the Conservative Party evidently believe that doing the opposite of what I have been suggesting is the strategy that is going to put them back into government. That is absurd. Either you present the electorate with a real alternative to progressivism or you end up competing with the Liberals, NDP, and the Greens for the progressive vote which would far more naturally go to one of these other parties. With Trudeau’s dismal record as Prime Minister, the humiliating collapse of his reputation from one of international celebrity to that of the laughing stock of the whole world, and scandal after scandal after scandal, the Conservatives ought to be so far ahead in the polls as to make their victory in the upcoming election a foregone conclusion.

Of course, it does not help matters that Scheer has gotten himself embroiled in a scandal of his own with regards to his citizenship. When the Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein asked him recently “On dual citizenship, why wouldn’t you have dealt with that before the election?” he answered:

Honestly, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal … I know many, many people have dual citizenship for many different countries … The very first time I was ever asked that question I answered it truthfully and honestly.

I believe Scheer when he says he didn’t think it was a big deal. Sadly, that is the problem. For most of my lifetime (3) Canada has permitted dual citizenship with the United States. This change was made by a Liberal government – the government of the present Prime Minister’s father – and is an example of the decay of the very national principles for which the Conservatives, of all parties, ought to stand.

Here is how I worded the problem in a comment on a post at the Patriactionary blog the other day:

The law should not allow for someone to have this kind of dual citizenship. It is a contradiction. Canada is a parliamentary monarchy built on the sound, pre-modern, Christian principle of allegiance to our reigning Sovereign. The United States is a republic built upon the evil, Satanic, and thoroughly modern anti-principle of rejection of that allegiance and arrogant assertion of the “sovereignty” of an autocratic “people”. (4) No one can be a true citizen of both. Dual citizenship between Canada and any other Commonwealth monarchy is no contradiction. Dual citizenship between the United States on the one hand and any Communist country on the other, is no contradiction, shocking as that will be to most Americans to hear. Dual citizenship between these two sets of polities is an absolute contradiction and the Conservatives, of all parties, ought to look on this particular kind of phony dual citizenship with repugnance. (5)

I don’t have much else to add on that subject and so will leave it at that and move on to my final observation about this election.

Two weeks prior to the last Dominion election I posted an essay entitled “The Election Issue That Wasn’t”. The issue in question was immigration. In it I said the following:

It is not an election issue for the same reason it has not been an election issue in previous elections – no party dares raise the issue for fear of being labelled racist…The only way this matter will ever be brought to a vote is if one of the parties breaks with the consensus of the others and makes it an election issue. Despite there being plenty of reasons for the Conservative, New Democrat, and Green parties to do so, none seem to possess courage enough to weather the accusations of racism that would come their way if they did, and so immigration remains the election issue that wasn’t.

This time around someone has decided to make it an election issue. That someone is Maxime Bernier who was narrowly defeated by Andrew Scheer in the Conservative Party’s leadership race. Subsequent conflict between Scheer and Bernier over the latter taking far more right-wing positions than the former was comfortable with led to Bernier leaving the Conservatives and founding a new party with an unfortunate, Communist/American-sounding name, the People’s Party of Canada.

On Sunday, someone slipped a card outlining the party’s platform under my windshield while at church. Which is good, because the media have been conspiring to keep the public uninformed as to that platform. The entire platform on the card is exactly what I would have liked to see from the Conservatives. Here is the section on immigration:

“On Immigration the PPC will:
*keep Canada safe and say “no” to illegal immigration;
* focus on what unites Canadians instead of on diversity;
*respect Canada’s constitution, history, and heritage;
*focus on Canada’s economic needs when setting immigration policy;
*reduce immigration to 250, 000 per year; and
*increase resources to vet immigrants.

To all of which I give a hearty amen.

My church is in the next riding over from the one in which I live and vote and in which I have seen no sign of a PPC candidate. It is nice to know that someone is finally taking a stand for all the right things however, whether I have an opportunity to vote for them or not.

(1) I have taken the words quoted from a column entitled “Extremism” reprinted on page 36 of Peter Simple’s Century, The Claridge Press, 1999, but he made this observation far more than once.
(2) John O’Sullivan, “O’Sullivan’s First Law”, National Review, October 27, 1989. Also extremely relevant is (Robert) Conquest’s Second Law, which O’Sullivan cites in the article “The behavior of an organization can best be predicted by assuming it to be controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies”
(3) I am five years younger than Justin Trudeau and three years older than Andrew Scheer. The law recognizing dual citizenship went into effect a couple of months prior to my first birthday.
(4) This is very strong language but I stand by it. Fr. Seraphim Rose, the American Russian Orthodox hieromonk wrote the following “We have already seen, in the preceding chapter, that the principal form government took in union with Christian Truth was the Orthodox Christian Empire, wherein sovereignty was vested in a Monarch, and authority proceeded from him downwards through a hierarchical, social structure. We shall see in the next chapter, on the other hand, how a politics that rejects Christian Truth must acknowledge ‘the people’ as sovereign and undertand authority as proceeding from below upwards, in a formally ‘egalitarian’ society. It is clear that one is the perfect inversion of the other; for they are opposed in their conceptions both of the source and of the end of government.” Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994, 2018, p.28. This entire book was originally the seventh chapter of Rose’s never-completed magnus opus The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God. The “preceding chapter” and “next chapter” referred to in the quote are the preceding and following chapters in the larger work. This was written before his ordination and so the book is credited to him as “Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose”.
(5) Upon further consideration, I would have to revise the statement that “Dual citizenship between the United States on the one hand and any Communist country on the other, is no contradiction”, for while the principles of the American republic and Communist “peoples’ republics” are far closer to each other than either is to the sound, royalist, Loyalist principles on which our country was originally founded, it occurs to me that with republics of any sort, it is probably a contradiction to be a citizen of more than one.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Solution to the Vaping Crisis

It appears that the new epidemic that has been popping up all over the United States where it has been linked to a number of deaths has arrived here in Canada. The disease affects the respiratory system and seems to be caused by the use of some new-fangled, technological, gizmos called e-cigarettes. Since the use of these contraptions is called vaping the epidemic has therefore been colloquially dubbed the vaping sickness or the vaping illness. Whether it has been given a more official, technical sounding, name or not, I am unaware. The lower House of Congress, with which the American republic, lacking a proper Parliament, is forced to make do, has just launched an inquiry into the epidemic. It has affected over five hundred people in almost forty states. The death toll, at last count, is sitting at nine. The first known instance of the disease in our Dominion landed a teenager in London, Upper Canada, on life-support from which he has since been taken off, one hopes due to recovery.

Health Canada, the branch of our civil service or bureaucracy (1) charged with looking into such matters, has vowed to get to the bottom of this. In the interest of saving them time and the taxpayer money I will point out a simple solution to this crisis. We can easily discourage people from endangering their health and lives by risking the unknown perils of experimenting with something that in all likelihood was whipped up by some mad scientist in his laboratory in the tower of an abandoned castle somewhere as lightning flashed all around him and he rubbed his hands together laughing and shrieking “Muah hah hah hah hah! Fools! I’ll destroy them all!” which I imagine to be the standard way in which technological inventions come about. All we need to do is encourage them to try a safer, natural alternative that has been around for centuries, bringing comfort and pleasure to countless generations, and which has stood the test of time. We can encourage them to take up smoking instead.

An important note of clarification - I am not talking about smoking the vile and noxious drug that comes from the flowers, fruit and leaves of cannabis sativa or hemp, as it is called in the vernacular, which Captain Airhead aka the Kokanee Groper aka Blackface the Two-Faced Hypocrite aka Justin “Baby Doc” Trudeau legalized last year, and which is notorious for turning its users into gibbering idiots and sometimes paranoid psychotics. I am talking about smoking nicotiana tabacum, tobacco in the common tongue, which in the good old days would have been automatically understood as the unstated object of the verb smoking with no need of such clarification. Alas those days are long gone.

Smoking had a well-established, respectable, place within the cultural life of our civilization, before the American health commissar (2) declared war on it in 1964, and the rest of the West followed the Americans’ bad example.

"Smoking", Fran Lebowitz once said, "is, as far as I am concerned, the entire point of being an adult." Smoking was an indispensable part of the lives of the humourists of yesteryear. Try to imagine Mark Twain, Groucho Marx or W. C. Fields without his cigar. It simply cannot be done. This undoubtedly goes a long way towards explaining why the comedians of our own age, the antismoking age, are just not funny anymore.

Granted, smoking had its naysayers in the old days as well. Usually these were nags of the Mrs. Grundy type, who all seemed to think that there was an eleventh commandment reading "thou shalt not smoke." Perhaps they found it in the pseudoapocryphal Book of Hezekiah. Stephen Leacock, the pipe and cigar smoking political scientist and economist - he was a traditional Canadian Tory of the old school - who is better remembered for his prolific output of humourous fiction, demonstrated how to deal with this sort. Early in his career Leacock taught modern languages at Upper Canada College, known as the "Canadian Eton." One of the headmasters he worked under was George Robert Parkin who one day said to him "Leacock, I wish I could break this pernicious habit of smoking and swearing in school", meaning, of course, among the scholars. Leacock replied "I know it's a difficult habit to break oneself of, Dr. Parkin, but if you will put all of your energy into breaking yourself of it, I am sure that grace will be given you."

Parkin's grandson, by the way, was George Grant, another traditional Tory. Grant was a smoker which presumably contributed to his becoming Canada's greatest philosopher. I have no idea if Parkin's great-grandson and Grant's nephew, Michael Ignatieff, smokes or not, but I rather suspect not. He is a Grit, after all.

The Mrs. Grundys who thought that smoking was sinful, did not represent the great tradition of Christian moral theology but rather a mutant strain that had found its way into non-conformist English Protestantism. The greatest Christian thinkers of the last century, G.K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien were all dedicated smokers. In Tolkien’s case, the heroes of his stories – the Hobbits, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn, etc., with the possible exception of the elves, are all pipe-smokers as well. Chesterton expressed the view of orthodox Christian moral theology when he wrote:

To have a horror of tobacco is not to have an abstract standard of right; but exactly the opposite. It is to have no standard of right whatever; and to make certain local likes and dislikes as a substitute. Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar.

From 1939 to 1945, the British family of nations and their allies heroically and desperately fought against the most notorious anti-smoker and vegetarian in all of history who had launched a Second World War in his determination to conquer the world and force us all to stop smoking and eat tofu. For most of this period, the British government was led by a statesman who seemed to be John Bull himself, come to life in the flesh, Sir Winston Churchill. He was seldom seen without a huge cigar clamped firmly between his teeth, the kind of cigar that is now named after him. Our American “allies” were determined to undermine everything for which he stood. Thanks to a deal which their morally as well as physically handicapped president, FDR, had struck with Stalin, we were forced to leave Poland, the Nazi invasion of which had started the war, under Soviet slavery in 1945. Two decades later, when they set their War on Tobacco in motion it was as if Hitler had won after all.

Up to that point, smokers were notoriously long-lived and healthy. Everyone at the time had at least one relative who smoked heavily every day of his life and lived to be over one hundred. That they started getting emphysema and lung cancer after the Surgeon General’s warning would almost seem to suggest that the warning, rather than the smoking, was the cause of these diseases!

Was the antismoking crusade actually just one more Modern assault on Aristotelianism, this time on Aristotle’s understanding of causality?

More likely, the post-Surgeon General’s Warning skyrocketing of smoking-related health problems is yet another negative consequence of industrialism, mass-production, and the factory system. Cigarettes are the industrial form of tobacco. They are designed to be mass-produced in a factory. Unsurprisingly, they are also the least healthy way to smoke tobacco, and always have been. Over the course of the twentieth century, the percentage of smokers who opted for cigarettes rather than pipes or cigars went up, and the quality of cigarettes went down, as all factory-made products tend to do.

Indeed, what are e-cigarettes and vaping but the next phase in the technological industrialization of smoking?

It is clear, therefore, that our response to the present crisis ought to be to take a page out of the book of Colonel Sibthorp, denounce all of this technological humbuggery, and encourage everyone to turn back to the older, tested and true, ways of smoking tobacco. There is always the old, quiet and dignified method of packing the leaf into the bowl of a pipe and drawing the smoke through the stem. For those who prefer a more ostentatious smoke there is also the option of smoking cigars. Note that I do not mean the cheap machine-produced kind which are little better than cigarettes. I mean real cigars, in which wrapper leaf is stuffed with filler leaf, all of the finest, dried and fermented tobacco, hand-rolled on a virgin’s thigh, to the sound of classical music or the reading of great works of literature. Provided, of course, that anyone still makes them this way. One would like to think so, although with Cuba having suffered decades of Communist misrule under Castro, it is difficult to be certain.

A public campaign encouraging people to stop vaping and start smoking again will probably have to be directed towards adults. Some might say that this is regrettable, as young people seem to be the most affected by the vaping sickness, but we will have to leave it up to parents to lead by example and inform their teenagers about making wiser choices. Indeed, we would be much better off if the state left the education of children on a lot more matters up to their parents. Granted, there will always be the kind of parents who set a bad example for their children and lead them astray so that they end up doing something stupid like making fools of themselves in front of the entire planet by throwing a temper tantrum at the United Nations while lecturing world leaders about something of which they are ill-informed themselves, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

I urge you to contact Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the present Minister of Health, or her successor in this office if, as we all hope and pray, the Grits are turfed out in the next election, and urge her to direct Health Canada to take this wise and appropriate step and nip the coming vaping crisis in the bud.

(1) Civil service and bureaucracy mean the same thing. The choice of which to use depends largely upon whether you view those who do most of the leg-and-paper work of the ministers of the Crown as members of a long, dignified, tradition of dutiful and public-minded officials or as the arrogant apparatchiks of encroaching Leviathan. Both types are to be found and, of course, there are many who are to varying degrees, both. Bureaucracy is the more pejorative term.
(2) “Health Commissar” is a much more accurate description of the role of the American Surgeon General than “Health Czar” and I use it so as not sully the traditional hereditary title of the head of the Russian royal family which was deposed and murdered by the very revolutionary terrorists who inflicted commissars, among many other evils, upon the world.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hoist With His Own Petard Yet Again

When last I had cause to borrow the famous Shakespearean line in the title of this essay and apply it to Justin Trudeau aka Captain Airhead it was in reference to the scandal known as the "Kokanee Grope." Airhead, as you may recall, had made feminism a key element of his carefully constructed personal image and accordingly had adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards "sexual harassment", insisting that when a woman makes an accusation of sexual harassment she must be believed. He mercilessly enforced this standard on his ministers and MPs and demanded that the leaders of other parties do the same. Then it was revealed that he himself, twenty years earlier, had been accused of making inappropriate sexual advances to a female reporter in British Columbia. The accusation, which had appeared in a BC newspaper within days of the incident and before Trudeau had a political career to sabotage was highly credible compared to many similar accusations that were being made against others at the same time. Although Trudeau had told the press, when he first announced his zero-tolerance policy, that he would hold himself to the same standard, when the time came for him to do so, he instead made an excuse of the sort that he would never have accepted from anyone else. He failed to hold himself to his own standard.

Neither then nor now do I accept as valid the phony standard Airhead was applying to others. It is utter foolishness to say that whenever a woman makes an accusation of sexual misbehaviour against a man she must be believed. I personally know of instances where women have made false accusations of this nature out of spite and vindictiveness and ruined someone's life. I doubt that there is anyone, with the slightest degree of experience in the real world, who, if honest, could not testify to personal knowledge of at least one such case. It is that common. Making this sort of false accusation is a feminine weapon of choice in the "war of the sexes." Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar, someone who has led an extremely sheltered existence, or a stultus damnatus. It is absolutely insane to suggest that women should always be believed when they make accusations of this sort. It is also a huge violation of a long-standing, rightly-venerated, principle of our legal and judicial system that someone accused of a crime has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a fair trial in a court of law.

Although I have no respect for Trudeau's absurd feminist standard of behaviour - and refuse to pretend otherwise - since Trudeau claimed to believe in it, and made a huge show out of believing it, and of requiring others to adhere to it, it is only right that he be held to his own standard. He ought to have been made to resign the office of Her Majesty's Canadian Prime Minister since he would have demanded the resignation of anyone else in that situation.

My response to the recent revelation of photographs and a video of Captain Airhead in blackface on three separate occasions is no different. I do not accept Justin Trudeau's progressive moral standards in which racism is ranked as the worst of all evils, nor do I accept the progressive idea of what does and does not constitute racism, and, unlike the Conservative Party, its present leader, and "conservative" commentators in the main-stream media I refuse to pretend that I do so. There is nothing inherently and necessarily insulting to the people of one race in a member of another race's dressing up like one of them and incorporating skin colour makeup into the costume. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron, a fool, an idiot, and just plain stupid. Perhaps next progressives will be demanding that the actress who plays Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West in Stephen Schwartz’s hit Broadway musical version of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked owes Kermit the Frog an apology for wearing “greenface.”

Progressives, in maintaining that blackface is racist, point to the history of how it was used in the old minstrel shows in the days of slavery and segregation Suppose we concede that in these cases blackface was used to mock black people, kind of like how black comedians mock white people on a daily basis, and further concede that this mockery constituted racism. Note that these concessions are offered merely for the sake of making a point for to accept the progressive judgment that the mockery of blacks by whites is racist but the mockery of whites by blacks is okay requires that we accept progressivism’s application to race relations of Marxist theories that, in their original application to economic classes, have been thoroughly disproven, and are no more valid when re-applied to other areas of life. The concessions having been granted for the sake of argument, it in no way logically follows from blackface’s having been used in the past to mock black people in a racist way that each and every use of skin-darkening cosmetics in cosplay is therefore also racist. There is no way to connect the premise with the conclusion that does not involve a huge leap of invalid inductive reasoning. I defy you to find such a way. You cannot do it because it simply cannot be done. The progressives who insist that we accept the conclusion have never really tried to make the connection. They do not rely upon reason and argumentation but rather upon a form of bullying. "Either you agree with us or you are a racist too."

My point, in saying all of this, is not that Trudeau ought to be let off the hook in this latest scandal. I may not respect progressivism’s standards pertaining to racism but Trudeau certainly claims to do so. Indeed, antiracism has been as important an element of his constructed image as feminism, and he has not only professed to respect progressivism’s standards, but demanded that everyone else do so as well. He has been extremely, ahem, liberal in throwing the epithet “racist” at his critics on the right, and his campaign for re-election has largely been built upon the laughably ridiculous suggestion that Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party is some sort of front for neo-Nazism. If these photographs and video had involved a candidate of either the Conservative or People’s Party, no apology on the part of that candidate would have been good enough for Trudeau, he would have demanded that Scheer or Bernier throw the candidate under the bus, and then, after they had done so, would have continued to throw the photographs in their faces for the duration of the election campaign. I am neither guessing nor claiming access to divine middle knowledge here – it is a simple extrapolation from how Trudeau has always behaved in the past. Trudeau, who has been merciless in his judgement of others accused of racism, deserves no mercy now that these bizarre skeletons have been emerging from his own closet. My point is that Trudeau’s hypocrisy can be condemned without giving credit to progressivism’s absurd standards and rewarding its thuggish behaviour.

It would be most helpful here if we were to consider the nature of hypocrisy. Many think that hypocrisy is the failure to live up to one’s own moral standards. Hypocrisy is more than mere moral failure, however. Nobody perfectly lives up to his own moral standards – unless he has set the bar extremely low. Hypocrisy, as the term’s etymology suggests – it is derived from the Greek word for playing a role on stage – lies not in failing to live up to one’s standards but in pretending that one does so live up to them. It is putting on a big show about how superior and virtuous you are to all others. The word could almost have been coined just to describe Justin Trudeau and his “virtue-signaling.”

It follows, from what we have just seen, that hypocrisy is worse than mere moral failure because it magnifies moral failure by adding a layer of deception. This is not the only reason hypocrisy is worse than moral failure. Hypocrisy has been described as “the tribute vice pays to virtue” but the flip side to that is that fallen human nature being what it is, hypocrisy does not just bring discredit upon the hypocrite but upon moral standards themselves. As St. Paul put it in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans:

Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. (vv. 23-24)

Consider the generation that brought about the Sexual Revolution, and indeed, the general Moral Revolution, after the Second World War. Their most frequent accusation against older generations was of “hypocrisy.” By making this accusation, however, it was not the failure of their parents to live up to the traditional moral standards that they had inherited and were trying to pass on that the younger generation was attacking but the standards themselves. By contrast, when Jesus Christ condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees He upheld the Mosaic moral standards that the Pharisees taught while condemning their sinful actions and self-righteous posturing: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” (Matt. 23:2-3). For an interesting extended discussion of this contrast between these two types of “anti-hypocrisy” see Jeremy Lott’s In Defense of Hypocrisy: Picking Sides in the War on Virtue (2006).

The traditional moral standards that the aforementioned generation used the hypocrisy of previous generations to attack were sound moral standards. They were for the most part the basic standards of Christendom, the rules which Christians and Jews both believe were handed down by God Himself at Mt. Sinai and which Christians believe were most fully explained in the teachings of Jesus Christ. In the teachings of Christianity these standards have the weight of divine authority behind them. They also – at least the commandments governing human interaction such as “thou shalt do no murder”, “thou shalt not commit adultery” and “thou shalt not steal” – are standards which in one form or another, have been a part of most if not all, moral codes in every society throughout human history. They also, therefore, carry the additional weight of a natural, moral, law testified to by near universal human recognition.

The progressive standards that Trudeau has been preaching in the most obnoxious way possible are not like this. “Thou shalt not be racist”, “thou shalt not be sexist”, “thou shalt not be homophobic”, etc. do not have the weight of divine authority. Nor do they, having been newly thought up within the last century, carry the weight of a natural law to which all human societies universally testify. Indeed, the exact opposite is the case. All human societies have historically promoted in-group loyalty, it being somewhat necessary for the cohesion apart from which no society could function. No human society has historically treated outsiders as having an equal claim on the benefits of membership with actual members and would have regarded anyone who suggested that they ought to be treated that way as being crazy.

The acceptance of progressivism’s new moral standards requires the belief that we have undergone some sort of massive, collective, quantum leap forward in moral understanding, starting about seven decades ago. Considering that these same decades have seen the desire to bring future generations into our world decrease dramatically, as indicated by decreasing fertility rates and the demand for contraceptive technology and abortion, the desire to leave this world increase, as indicated by rising suicide rates and the demand for euthanasia, and a huge increase in the use of substances that either induce an artificial euphoria or numb the senses as well as countless other ways of escaping reality, this seems highly unlikely. Leaving aside the consideration of these things as moral issues in their own right, collectively, they are all indicative of a major drop in happiness, which has been recognized since ancient times as the end to which morality is the means. This is hardly consistent with what would be expected from a quantum leap forward in moral thinking. The evidence rather suggests that we have been in a period of serious moral decay.

The progressive new morality is a poor substitute for the old, traditional, morality and not only because of its novelty and artificiality or for the reasons given in the last paragraph. The old rules – “thou shalt do no murder”, “thou shalt not commit adultery”, “thou shalt not steal”, etc. – forbade actions, specific actions, and were clear and unambiguous. While Jesus Christ, in the Sermon on the Mount, taught that these commandments also forbid certain internal thoughts and attitudes, His point was that divine judgement is deeper and more thorough than human judgement. “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7). Furthermore, to apply God’s commandments to the heart in the way of which He spoke simply means that when the commandment tells you that a particular act is wrong, it is as wrong to commit that act in your imagination as it is to commit it in actual deed. Anyone who knows the literal meaning of sins such as “adultery” and “murder”, can easily grasp what it means to commit these sins in one’s thoughts.

The exact opposite is the case for the progressive new morality. The sins this new morality prohibits – racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like, are first and foremost, thoughts and attitudes of the heart and mind. They are thought crimes. Since they cannot be seen by other human beings except through words and actions, they must be translated into rules governing words and actions. To make the prohibition of a thought crime your starting point, however, and from there extrapolate applications to words and deeds, is to give yourself license to forbid almost anything. In the 1960s the list of things considered to be “racist” was short, and the most prominent items on the list were various laws and other state policies believed to be unjust. Today, the list of things considered to be “racist” is encyclopedic in length, and the most prominent items are personal acts which, if they hurt others, hurt only their feelings. This is why totalitarian governments love to create thought crimes. This is why the prohibition of thought crime is bad morality.

Now, if someone is shown to be a hypocrite is his hypocrisy meliorated or worsened by the worthlessness of the moral standard he has violated?

The answer is that it is worsened. If that seems counterintuitive, remember the first point we made about hypocrisy – that it is not the same as mere moral failure. Mere moral failure may be meliorated if the standard one fails to live up to is not worth living up to in the first place. This is not true of hypocrisy because hypocrisy, the boasting of virtue one does not possess, the bald-faced contradiction of one’s projected image of oneself by one’s personal behaviour, is a composite evil that adds other layers of badness to moral failure, to which the badness of the professed moral standard becomes yet another layer. This is all the more true in this case because the bad moral standard in question exists for the very purpose of enabling progressives to get all puffed up over how much more morally enlightened they are than not only all living non-progressives but all past generations as well. In other words it exists to generate hypocrisy like that of Justin Trudeau.

It was refreshing last Wednesday and Thursday, to watch Captain Airhead finally make an apology for something he had done himself. He had avoided doing so in the Kokanee Grope scandal last year, and refused to do so in the SNC Lavalin scandal earlier this year. He much prefers to offer apologies on behalf of the country collectively for things done by previous generations, usually for things that don’t warrant an apology and to people who do not deserve one. The fact that he did not immediately resign his office and his leadership of the Liberal Party, withdraw from the election, and basically pay the same price he would have demanded of any of his subordinates in the same position, shows, however, that these apologies were as fake as any of the others and therefore, themselves, just further examples of his hypocrisy. When, on Friday morning, he gave a press conference in a desperate attempt to change the conversation, and announced his plan to fight gun crimes in Canada by banning weapons that have been used in high profile mass shootings elsewhere in the world but have not played a significant role in domestic gun violence, he came across as being as smug and self-righteous as ever.

Trudeau’s re-election campaign had, up to this point, largely consisted of throwing accusations of racism and white supremacy against the Conservatives. It is understandable, therefore, and was perhaps inevitable, that the response of the Conservative Party and small-c conservative commentators in the mainstream media to this scandal and the revelation of Trudeau’s hypocrisy could mostly be summarized in the words “Trudeau is bad because he is the real racist.” I firmly believe it to be a mistake to condemn Trudeau in such a way as to affirm the false progressive morality he preaches. The response of Maxime Bernier was the appropriate one. “I am not going to accuse @Justin Trudeau of being a racist”, the leader of the right-populist People’s Party tweeted out, “But he’s the master of identity politics and the Libs just spent months accusing everyone of being white supremacists. He definitely is the biggest hypocrite in the country.”

Quite right. For that reason, and for many others that need no further enumeration here, Trudeau is unfit for the position of Her Majesty’s Prime Minister in Canada. In the spirit of Evelyn Waugh let me add, that if the Liberals, who have been rallying behind the filius canis who is their disgraced leader, get elected again, the bulk of the populace of this, our fair Dominion, will have proven that they do not deserve the right to participate in the selection of Her Majesty’s Ministers.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Reactionary Tory Principles and the Present Day “Right”: Part One

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that in an isolated system, the universe as a whole being the largest example of such a system, the level of entropy will increase over time. While this is technically a statement about energy moving from an ordered and usable state to one that is disordered and unusable, the popular understanding of the Law as saying that everything eventually breaks down is not wrong. Translated into poetry, William Butler Yeats’ lines “Things fall apart/the centre cannot hold/mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” (1) is a decent approximation.

That this Law is valid when applied to history ought, with certain qualifications, to be considered a fundamental reactionary principle. By history, of course, I mean the history of human civilizations, and one qualification is that the Law must be applied in a particular rather than a general sense. Speaking of any given civilization, the creative energy that was put into building it eventually runs out and the civilization enters into a period of decline. Those who are familiar with Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West will recognize in his theory of the life-cycle of civilizations – although he called them cultures – what the history of human civilization in general looks like when the Law of entropy is applied to each civilization in particular. The other qualification, is that, as with any other application of this Law including its original usage in physics, it is a property of fallen Creation which in no way binds the Creator. The decline of a civilization can be and often has been retarded and even turned around by a religious revival. This is why there is no essential conflict between the reactionary’s anti-Whig understanding of history as moving in a downward direction towards decadence, decline, doom, and destruction and his call to “turn back the clock.” Whether the reactionary recognizes it or not, the latter is really a call for religious revival, a call to turn back to God.

The opposite of this reactionary principle is the idea that the history of human civilization, apart from any divine input, is an exception to the Second Law and is constantly moving towards a higher order, greater freedom, and maximal human potential. This is the idea of progress to which all forms of modern thought subscribe in one form or another. The nineteenth century Whig interpretation of history which treated all of past history as one long preparation for liberal democracy was one well known version of the idea of progress. The neoconservative Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man was an updated edition of this version. As Eric Voegelin (The New Science of Politics, 1952) and George Grant (Philosophy in the Mass Age, 1959) observed this idea was produced by inappropriately transferring to the history of human civilization the attributes of God’s redemptive history which transcends the history of human civilization and culminates in the Kingdom of God. The result of this transferal is the substitution of the Kingdom of Man for the Kingdom of God and Grant, who pointed this out in his first major book, devoted the writing side of his career to contemplating the consequences of this substitution in the modern, technological, age.

A quick glance at the mainstream “right” today will tell you that it has entirely abandoned the reactionary principle in favour of some form of the idea of progress. In Manitoba our most recent provincial election just took place a day prior to the request for the dissolution of Parliament launching the next Dominion election. Provincially, the status quo was more or less maintained, with the majority of seats held by Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives. Note the adjective in the party’s title. During the campaign Pallister’s PCs – the initials are even more appalling than the adjective by itself – used “Moving Manitoba Forward”, previously used by the socialists, as their slogan and ran ads urging voters not to let Wab Kinew’s New Democrats turn back the clock. In this context, of course, turning the clock back does not mean a religious revival, a recovery of worthy elements of the ancient and Christian traditions that were lost or damaged in the transition to modernity, or anything else a reactionary would mean by the phrase but rather a return to the policies of the previous Greg Selinger government – huge deficits, high taxes, long emergency room wait times, and general mismanagement of the public health care system. It speaks volumes of the mainstream “right” in this province, however, that it would rely so heavily on the language of progress to sell its platform to the public.

There is also a growing right outside of the mainstream. If we compare it to the mainstream right on an issue by issue basis we find that overall it is much to be preferred to the mainstream right. In Canada today any stronger position against abortion than “I am personally against it, but I believe it is a woman’s right to choose” has been almost completely pushed into the non-mainstream right. Any position on immigration stronger than “we need secure borders and to enforce our border laws” such as the suggestion that legal levels of immigration are way too high was pushed out of the mainstream right in all Western countries decades ago. To say that selection of immigrants is the prerogative of the country admitting the immigrants and that Western countries need more prudence in exercising that prerogative because not all cultures are equally compatible with our own, although common sense and until about sixty years ago non-controversial, is now regarded by the entire left and the mainstream right as beyond the pale. Speaking these truths about immigration has become the signature issue of most of the various forms of the non-mainstream right.

This “right” too, however, seems incapable of speaking its truths in any language other than that of the left. Take the movement behind Brexit in the United Kingdom, the Make America Great Again movement that put Donald Trump into the presidency of the United States, and the movement represented by Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party here in Canada. All three of these movements are populist. Populism is a style of politics in a democratic state that involves appealing directly to “the people” and vilifying the governing elites. A populist conceives of the policies he promotes in terms of “the will of the people” and prefers direct democracy over representative democracy. Each of these aspects of populism is an obvious characteristic of each of the three movements that I have specified – even though, ironically, it is due to representative democracy having been given the upper hand over direct democracy in the constitution of the American Republic that Donald Trump is now their president.

Indeed, the association between the non-mainstream right and populism is such that many people today think of populism as being naturally and inherently right-wing. It is not. Populism’s natural home is on the left. The idea of “the will of the people” is the very fiction upon which the left was historically based. It is what Jean-Jacques Rousseau called la volonté générale and was incorporated by the French Revolutionaries into the sixth Article of their Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Indeed, the very concept of “the people” is a fiction, for it has no consistent meaning. When a republican speaks of “the people” he means all citizens of the republic, governor and governed alike. A populist, by “the people”, excludes the elite. A lot of leftists use “the people” to mean “the poor” and exclude “the rich”. Hitler, by “the people” meant German-speaking Aryans. “The people” can mean whatever the person invoking the name of “the people” wants it to mean and therefore it means nothing at all. It is an expression, like so many others in the leftist lexicon, which is defined not by its designation of a corresponding reality, but by its usefulness as a tool for justifying violence and seizing and exercising power.

By contrast, kings and queens do not traditionally speak of “the people” but rather “my people” or “our people.” This wording is clear and definite – it means the monarch’s subjects – and expresses the traditional relationship between sovereign and subject in which feudal allegiance and familial ties are connected, kings and queens being both the liege-lords of their realms and the fathers and mothers of their large extended family of subjects. A true man of the right, a reactionary, is always a royalist.

To our list of reactionary principles we can add that pure democracy is the worst form of government, and that direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy, is the worst form of democracy. These principles are the opposite of all modern thinking, which is what makes them reactionary, but they are demonstrable.

Imagine a group of twenty people. One of them, Bob, puts forward to the rest of the group, the proposition that another of their members, Joe, should be beaten, tortured, mutilated, and killed for their amusement. The proposition is debated and they decide to settle it by taking a vote. Fifteen vote in favour, five against. The outcome is rather rough on poor Joe, but it was a democratic decision, fair and square, majority rules.

While that example is rather absurd and extreme, it illustrates what is wrong with the popular modern thought that democracy is the ideal form of government. If, however, you were to make one slight adjustment to the illustration and have Bob put forward the proposition that since Joe, who is quite wealthy, has so much property, and the rest of them, who are rather poor, have so little, it is only fair that they confiscate Joe’s wealth and distribute it equally among themselves, you would no longer have a situation that would be highly unlikely to arise in real life but a small-scale depiction of what is called economic democracy or socialism.

This problem with democracy has been recognized since it was first invented by the Greeks in ancient Athens and is one of the reasons why Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle condemned democracy as the worst form of government. Alexis de Tocqueville described the problem as “the tyranny of the majority.” Modern thinkers believed that the solution to the problem was to combine democracy with liberalism – the idea that government is itself subject to the law and that the law must recognize the natural, inalienable, rights of the individual. When men like John Locke and John Stuart Mill first proposed this doctrine they saw it as a restraint on the power of government to oppress. Today, centuries later, we are surrounded by an abundance of examples of how the doctrine of liberalism can be the basis and justification of state oppression. To give but one, we are now living in a day when someone can get in trouble with the law for using the pronoun “he” to refer to someone born with a penis on the grounds that it violates the individual’s inalienable “right” to choose his/her/its/whatever own gender.

What is also apparent in our day and age is that while “the tyranny of the majority” is a problem unique to democracy, the tyranny of the minority over the majority is just as much an element of democracy as of an outright oligarchy. Interestingly, the best example of this is the very issue which the non-mainstream right insists on framing in leftist, populist, terms. The populist, nationalist, “right” is not wrong in saying that Western countries have had too much of the wrong kind of immigration and placing the blame for this on “the elites.” What they don’t seem to grasp is that the guilty elites are democratic elites qua democratic elites.

Every organized society will always have an elite. There will always be a minority in any society that steers and directs it. This is what Robert Michels called “the iron law of oligarchy” (Political Parties, 1911) and it is true of all forms of society, no matter how democratic they might be in theory, and it does not make a difference if the democracy is direct or representative. In a true direct democracy, where every single question of public policy would be decided by a popular referendum, the ability to persuade the majority to vote its way most of the time, would be in the hands of a minority, and they would be the elite. The elite that actually wields power is not necessarily the same as those nominally in charge. Thus in a representative democracy the elite may be those who have gotten themselves elected into public office or it may be a hidden minority who have the ability to control elected officials. The nature of the society has as much of an effect on the nature of the elite as the nature of the elite has on the nature of the society.

Bertolt Brecht’s poem The Solution (1959) was intended as a criticism of the Communist government of East Germany’s suppression of the uprising of 1953. The poem’s ironic conclusion “Would it not in that case be simpler/for the government/To dissolve the people/and elect another” has frequently been borrowed as a critical description of the motives behind Western governments’ liberal mass immigration policies. The criticism is apt, but my point is that it is only a democratic society that provides its elites with an incentive for trying to “dissolve the people/and elect another”. An oft-heard argument for democracy is that it allows us to periodically “throw the rascals out.” One can see the appeal in this but the flipside is that it gives the political class a motive to “do unto them, before they do unto you.”

It is hardly a coincidence that radical, demographic transformation producing, mass immigration was introduced throughout the West in the 1960s – only a decade and a half after the end of the war in which the United States had emerged as the predominant power in the West. The United States, which had been led into the First World War by a President who wanted to “make the world safe for democracy” and who therefore insisted on driving the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns from their thrones paving the way for the rise of Hitler, was able after the Second World War to introduce radical democratic changes throughout the West whether by forced re-education in the former Axis countries, the bribery of the Marshall Plan re-building assistance among the European Allies, or the dependence of both upon the American nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against the threat of Soviet invasion. The Americanization of the West led almost immediately to the spread of liberal mass immigration. Here in Canada, Tom Kent, an important Liberal Party strategist in the days of Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and one of the men who spearheaded the radical changes to our immigration policy in the late 1960s, as much as admitted to the Brechtian motive of maintaining the Liberal hold on power by dissolving the old electorate when he said that it was done to break up “Tory Toronto.”

If the radical immigration the West has been suffering from for decades is due to what Christopher Lasch called “The Revolt of the Elites” and that revolt in turn is the result of the triumphant ascendancy of American-style liberal democracy in the post-World War II Western world (2) then the insistence of the non-mainstream right on using the left-wing language of populism, democracy and “the will of the people” to combat this kind of immigration seems like a major strategic error.

I must point out, before concluding this essay, that the preceding strong criticism of democracy is not a criticism of the institution of parliament. As noted above, the true reactionary right is royalist, but no king or queen has ever governed without a council of advisors, and the institution of parliament has been a part of royal government in Christendom for over a thousand years. Parliament as an institution is democratic, but not completely democratic, and its virtue, historically, was that it incorporated a form of representative democracy into royal government in a way that strengthened the latter while diluting the many negative aspects of the former. While this virtue has been greatly lessened by the triumph of Whiggism the problem is with the Whig principle not with the institution. The Whig principle is that parliament is the democratic safeguard against royal tyranny. The Tory principle – the reactionary principle - is the exact opposite of this – that in parliament royal authority is the safeguard against democratic tyranny. The Tory principle is the true one.

In Part Two, I shall, Deus Vult, consider the reactionary principle that religion is the foundation of civilization in opposition to the liberal idea that the secular retreat from religion is the foundation of civilization and we shall weigh the mainstream, neoconservative, right in the balance of this principle and find it wanting.

(1) From The Second Coming (1919).
(2) Lasch would presumably disagree strongly with my explanation. The full title of his final, posthumously published, book was The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1996).