It is January 1st, the octave day of Christmas, and the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord. It is my tradition at this time of the year, one that I borrowed from the late Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel, to write a full disclosure to my readership of my positions and prejudices at this time. Being a man of very conservative views and instincts, these have not changed much since I began writing and so, needless to say, there is always overlap between pieces of this kind, although I try to make my wording fresh each year. This year I have reused the title of the first of these essays but in Latin rather than English.
Allow me to begin with the title of this website - Throne, Altar, Liberty. This title is an affirmation of my belief in and loyalty to the institutions of classical Toryism - royal monarchy and the small-c catholic church. It also affirms my belief in personal freedom which is widely thought of as a classical liberal value. There is significance in the order of these words. "Throne and Altar", which are to Toryism what "blood and soil" are to nationalism, are placed before "Liberty" because I am a Tory first and a small-l-libertarian second. This ranking also reflects my conviction, contrary to the theories of liberalism, that a stable and peaceful social and civil order in which the aforementioned institutions are secure and firmly established is the foundation upon which personal liberty must be built and the environment in which it can flourish. I reject in its entirety, as obviously contrary-to-fact, mindless nonsense and drivel, the liberal theory that man's "natural" state is an individual existence outside of such an order and that his freedom stems from this state. I even more vehemently reject the liberal notion that democracy is the safeguard of liberty, and hold instead to the sane and sober judgement of the ancient philosophers, compared with whom the moderns are mediocre thinkers at best and more often than not contemptible fools, that democracy is the wellspring of tyranny. I respect our parliamentary form of government, not because it is democratic, but because it is an ancient, time-honoured, institution with prescriptive authority. I regard republicanism, in the Roman-American-modern sense of "kingless government" with utter abhorrence, although I accept the ancient Greek ideal that the Latin res publica originally denoted, that good government is that which serves the good of the public interest of the commonwealth. I have been thoroughly royalist by instinct all my life, and like my hero, Dr. Johnson, I combine the Jacobite view of royal authority with loyalty to the present reigning House.
I came to faith in Jesus Christ when I was fifteen, was baptized by immersion while I was a teenager, and confirmed by an Anglican bishop as an adult. I had five years of formal education in theology at what is now Providence University College In Otterburne, Manitoba and have continued to study theology informally ever since. As my theology has matured I have embraced primitive small-c catholicism and small-o orthodoxy, i.e., the teachings of the early Apostolic church, before the schism between the Greek and Latin churches. This is the faith which St. Vincent of Lerins said was held "everywhere, always, and by all" in the undivided catholic (whole) church, and of which Bishop Lancelot Andrewes said the boundary of was determined by "One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after." In the schism, the Greek and Latin churches each maintained that she was the holy, catholic church confessed in the Creeds, from which the other had broken away in schism. Schism, however, is something that occurs within a particular church or between particular churches within the catholic church. Both sides, by identifying themselves as the whole of what they prior to the schism were clearly only a part, became guilty of schism. The true catholic church contains both and is fully present in all particular churches wherever there is organic, organizational continuity with the Apostolic church, the ecumenical Creeds are faithfully confessed, the Word, both Law and Gospel is proclaimed, and the Gospel Sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) are dutifully administered. The small-c catholic, small-o orthodox faith, as confessed in the Apostles', Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Athanasian Creeds is entirely consistent with the great evangelical truths of the Protestant Reformation - that the Holy Scriptures as the infallible written Word of God are the final authority by which all church teachings and practices are to be judged, and that since human beings, due to the Fall of Man into Original Sin are incapable of producing the righteousness that our Holy and Just Creator requires of us as revealed in His Law, our only salvation is that which has been freely given us by God in His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ and which we receive by faith. Indeed, these latter truths are implicit in the Creeds, a true understanding of which requires them.
I grew up on a farm in southwestern Manitoba, to which I attribute my lifelong bias towards rural simplicity against urban cosmopolitanism, a bias I have maintained despite having lived in the province's capital city of Winnipeg for two decades. Manitoba is a province of the Dominion of Canada. I love my country, and its true history, heritage, traditions, and institutions. At the time of the American Revolution, when the thirteen colonies that became the United States of America rebelled against the British Crown, Parliament and Empire, and built their republic on the foundation of classical liberalism, other British colonies such as those in the Maritimes and the newly acquired French-speaking, Catholic colony called Canada, chose to remain loyal. Loyalists from the thirteen colonies, facing persecution in the new republic, fled to these northern provinces. In the century that followed the American republic frequently threatened invasion and conquest, and actually attempted to make good on those threats in the War of 1812, in which the English and French subjects again remained loyal, and fought alongside the Imperial army to successfully repel the Yankee invaders. Shortly after the Yankees waged a bloody war of annihilation against their more civilized Southern brethren, the provinces of British North America began the process of Confederation into a single country, which would be built upon the foundation of its Loyalist history, retain rather than severe its ties to Britain and the rest of the Empire, to be governed by its own Parliament, modelled after that in Westminster, under the common Crown. This was the beginning, not only of the country, the Dominion of Canada, but of the evolution of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations. We had a strong sense of who we were as a country in our national identity based upon our Loyalist history and heritage which served us well in two World Wars. Sadly, much of this has been forgotten by Canadians today. This national amnesia has been actively and aggressively encouraged by the Liberal Party of Canada. For a century the Grits have proclaimed themselves to be the party of Canadian nationalism, while doing everything in their power to make Canadians forget the history and heritage that make us who we are as a country, such as stripping our national symbols of all that would remind us of that history and heritage. This was done because the Liberals see our Loyalist history and heritage as roadblocks standing in the way of their perpetual hold on power. The only consistent value the Liberal Party has ever had is its own power. It is the embodiment of everything I loathe and detest.
I am very much a man of the right if we speak of the right with the meaning that was attached to it when it was first used in a political sense in the eighteenth century - essentially, as the continental European equivalent of seventeenth century British Toryism. As a man of this right, I recognize a large gulf between myself and much of what is considered right-wing today. I do not mean right-wing as liberals dishonestly use the term, i.e., with connotations of fascism and national socialism, twentieth century movements that were modern to the core, had little to nothing in common with the historical right, and which were identical in almost every way to their overtly left-wing counterpart, that international conspiracy by atheistic, materialistic, totalitarian thugs against order, freedom, religion, decency and civilization in general that was known as Communism. I mean the soi-disant right of the day. David Warren once wisely reflected that "Toryism is the political expression of a religious view of life" and that "Conservatism is an attempt to maintain Toryism after you have lost your faith." Mainstream North American conservatism today is little more than a form of classical liberalism. When joined to the prefix "neo-" it denotes a particularly obnoxious form of classical liberalism that seeks to remake the entire world, by military force if necessary, into the image of American, technocratic capitalism and democracy. The North American "religious right" bears far too close a resemblance to Puritanism, the fanatical blend of Pharisaism and Philistinism that was the original enemy of the British Tories and got the ball of modern liberalism rolling in the first place, for my liking. The more radical self-identified right, the "alternative" right, is a blend of populism and nationalism, civic nationalism in the "lite" version, overt racial nationalism in the "hard." While I have the traditional Tory distaste for populism and nationalism, both of which are based on the modern notion of popular sovereignty, a Satanic notion dreamed up by liberals to challenge the sovereignty of the king in the commonwealth, the episcopate in the church, and God in the universe, I have a great deal of sympathy with the "alternative" right when it speaks truths about race, sex, and immigration that mainstream "conservatism" has been afraid to speak for decades.
My disappointment in the shortcomings of mainstream contemporary conservatism and other modern "rights", however, pales in comparison to my loathing of the forces of progress and modernity and my disgust at the state of folly and depravity into which they have plunged what used to be Christian civilization. Any explanation of what I stand for would be incomplete without an explanation of what I stand against and why.
Liberalism, the self-appointed ideological champion of personal freedom, rejected the ancient understanding of the good that is freedom which was best expressed by King Charles I just prior to his martyrdom as consisting "in having of Government; those Laws, by which their Life and their goods may be most their own" and redefined it in terms of the absence of restraints and limitations on the fulfilment of the desires and wishes of the individual will. Yet the more liberalism succeeds in removing traditional limitations from individual wish-fulfilment, the more its redefined liberty comes to resemble tyranny, freedom's perpetual foe and opposite. When liberalism speaks in terms of the rights and freedoms of women, the aged, and the infirm, it is to promote legal abortion on demand and euthanasia, thus displaying a callous devaluation of human life that is remarkably similar to that of the Nazis and Communists. George Grant hit the nail on the head thirty years ago when he described the judges who struck down abortion laws as having "used the language of North American liberalism to say yes to the very core of fascist thought—the triumph of the will."
Then there are liberalism's offspring, progressivism and the left, which together with their parent make up the unholy counterfeit trinity of the Modern Age. Progressivism is modern man's humanistic confidence in our species' unlimited ability, guided by liberalism's ideals of freedom and equality, to employ reason and science to better the human condition. The left is progressivism translated into political activism, the movement that seeks through political means to put progressivism's faith in human self-improvement into practice. While no sane person would ever oppose improvement that actually is improvement the spiritual blindness that is at the heart of the refusal of liberalism, progressivism, and the left to acknowledge either the limitations that God has placed upon us in nature, both ours and that of the world around us, or the limitations we have placed upon ourselves through our sinfulness is sufficient explanation for why progressive "improvements" are so often counterfeit or chimerical, why they not infrequently make things worse rather than better, and why when they actually do involve genuine improvements they usually come with a cost that has not been taken into consideration and may very well be too high. Liberalism, progressivism, and the left, viewed as they actually are rather than as they present themselves, are simply the efforts of Fallen man, refusing to acknowledge his exile from Paradise or to return by the appointed means of Grace, to reclaim what he has lost through force. Their substitution of equality for justice, human rights for natural law in which duties are antecedent to all rights, and democracy for royal authority exercised for the public good of the commonwealth, is simply idolatry, the ancient error of replacing God with mundane goods, higher goods with lower goods, and, in this case, genuine goods with counterfeit ones. Their dismissal of the wisdom of the ancients is what C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield dubbed "chronological snobbery" and their self-congratulatory exaltation of modern achievements is what the ancients called hubris.
Liberalism, progressivism, and the left are as morally bankrupt as they are spiritually blind. This is not a commentary on the actions or lifestyles of individual progressives but rather on their ethical thinking. They hated the old rules because of the limitations these placed on the fulfilment of individual desires and so they replaced them with new ones. Yet the old rules were, for the most part, few, simple, and clear and straightforward. These are the marks of good rules. The new rules are numerous, and far too frequently vague and hazy. These are the marks of bad rules. Worse, the new rules seem to be designed to function as weapons in the hands of anyone who wishes to take offence at the words and acts of others. This is most obvious when it comes to the new rules drawn up by liberalism's granddaughter feminism to replace the Christian sexual ethic. The latter was clear and easy to understand - either marry a spouse and be faithful or be celibate, all other alternatives are prohibited. Human difficulty in following this in practice never arose out of any problem in understanding it. The same can not be said of the rules of this new era of ex post facto withdrawal of consent.
Although the new morality is touted as being more "rational" than the old, the idea that the mind should govern the body and reason control the passions was essential to the old morality. Vices such as Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust were what occurred when natural human appetites were allowed to rule our behaviour and consequently run to excess. Virtues such as Temperance and Chastity were the habits, cultivated over a lifetime, of curbing these same appetites and allowing them to be governed by our reason. The new morality, however, has clearly elevated emotion over reason, and mind over body. The new cardinal virtues are feelings such as compassion, sympathy, and empathy. Profess to act based on one of these and your deeds will be lauded, no matter how much harm they objectively do. Make your decision based on cold, hard, facts and logic and you will be condemned, no matter how much good you objectively do. How else except by the elevation of the feeling of "compassion" over all rational considerations can we explain the progressives' determination to disregard the well-being of their own countries and civilization in order to throw out the welcome mat to the Third-world invasion thinly disguised as a refugee crisis that has in recent years materialized out of the pages of Jean Raspail's Camp of the Saints? How other than by a perverse setting of the body over the mind can the neo-Puritan demonization of tobacco, which can only hurt the body, at the same time and by the same people, who exalt and glorify marijuana which destroys the mind, be explained?
Yes, moral bankruptcy is the only way to describe this new morality that proclaims itself rational even as it places reason under the heel of feeling, and which pats itself on the back for emancipating man while binding him with rules that are petty and tyrannical in nature.
The liberal, progressive, left is at its worst when it thinks it is at its best. It congratulates itself on its opposition to "racism" and zealously hunts down all expressions of racial self-interest on the part of white people, however peaceful and benign, but it turns a blind eye to overt racial hatred and violence when these are directed towards white people. It strains out the gnat of Avarice within capitalism while swallowing the camel of Envy that is socialism and pretending that it tastes like charity. (1) It cynically uses the cause of preserving the environment, a worthy cause in itself albeit one that is often very ill-informed by pseudoscience, to justify destroying an industry upon which countless livelihoods depend and artificially raising the cost of living with a tax that hurts those least able to afford it the most, so that it can turn around and offer a rebate conveniently timed to arrive just before the next Dominion election.
This year I resolve to be firmer in my opposition to the left than ever before.
Happy New Year,
God Save the Queen
(1) The Seven Deadly Sins were never considered to be equal. Avarice (Greed), Gluttony, Lust and Sloth were the lesser of the Seven. They are purely human failings being natural human appetites indulged in to excess. Anger occupies the middle area, and Pride and Envy were the worst of the Seven. These are the Satanic sins which led to the devil's fall. In commiting them man imitates the devil. Envy is the hatred of others and desire to tear them down because they possess something you do not. Envy toward the haves rather than charity towards the have nots is the essence of true socialism, which of course is more than just the government relief programs that are often loosely labelled as such. It is the worst of sins hypocritically pretending to be the highest of virtues. The lesser sin of Avarice, by contrast, is in no way essential to the ownership of property, laws securing the same, and the general common sense truth that in ordinary circumstances the individual, head of the household, business manager and civil government are the ones best suited to look out for the interests of the individual, family, business, and country respectively, all of which have been fundamental elements of civilization from time immemorial. It is more reasonable to see a hint of Avarice in the doctrine of laissez-faire but this, after all, was a doctrine dreamed up by the liberals of the eighteenth century.
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