The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Brief Thoughts on Assorted Matters

- A country over which neither a king nor a queen reigns is not a real country.

- Democracy is not the safeguard of liberty, it is royal monarchy that protects the freedom of the people from the tyranny of elected politicians who think they can do whatever they want to the people because they act in the name of the people.

- The most misogynistic remark that I have ever heard is that a woman ought to be a feminist because she is a woman for this is the equivalent of saying that women qua women are irrational, out of touch with reality, humourless, self-righteous, obnoxious and tyrannical.

- Liberals are always using the expression “it is about time” to refer to laws that nobody dreamed of passing until the day before yesterday, that are neither necessary nor just, and which negatively affect large numbers of people for the sake of the convenience of a small handful. It is apparent that they do not know what these words actually mean.

- The Liberal Party is, and always has been, the most American political party in Canada, and the Trudeaus are the most American of the Liberals, albeit in a Hollywood lefty sort of way, being basically the Canadian equivalent of the Kennedys.

- The greatest lie in the history of mankind was the one the serpent told to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The second greatest lie was Thomas Jefferson’s “all men are created equal.”

- There can be no freedom without order, and no order without hierarchy.

- We are constantly being told that we need to build bridges rather than walls. Homes require walls not bridges. Either the bridge advocates have put no thought whatsoever into their metaphor or they do not think of their country as their home.

- There may very well be something to the frequently heard accusation that capitalism unshackles Avarice, but socialism institutionalises Envy, which in the traditional ranking of the Seven Deadly Sins is the greater of the two.

- The same people who think it a heinous and barbaric act for a government to take the life of a murderer as the just penalty for his crime believe that women should have the right to take the lives of the unborn children growing in their wombs and that people who wish to kill themselves should have the right to force another person into complicity in this action.

- While of all the sins and wickednesses in the world there are undoubtedly many that are much worse than that of being romantically and erotically attached to a member of your own sex, the very worst of the Seven Deadly Sins has always been thought to be Superbia or hubris as the Greeks called it, the English name of which is Pride. Think about it.

- Whenever a progressive, forward-thinking, person dismisses an idea, custom, or institution as being “old-fashioned”, “archaic”, “out-dated” or the like, this ought to be taken as evidence on behalf of its retention or revival.

- For decades we have been told that enlightened and humane people do not believe in corporal discipline by parents or teachers and today, after all these years of timeouts, we are witnessing the complete collapse of parental authority. Do you think these two things might possibly be related?

- The retributive theory of justice in which the courts exact penalties owed to the law by criminal offenders has been condemned by the more-enlightened-than-thou as being atavistic but surely treating these offenders as human Guinea pigs in experiments in behavioural corrections is far more cruel and inhumane.

- It is impossible to work for the good of generations yet to come without a proper and pious reverence for the generations that have preceded us.

- The word “hate” used to refer to the wishing of harm, violence, death and destruction on someone or something but progressives now seem to be using it to refer to all disagreement with their goals.

- We are now being told that we must consider a person to be whatever sex he, she, or it says that he, she, or it is. Does this mean that we have to consider JFK to have been a jelly doughnut?

- A morality of rules for the sake of rules themselves is just legalism. True morality, as the Latin root of the word suggests, is about the development of a character of good habits or virtues so that men can make wise and right decisions.

- Have you ever noticed how all the proposals of those who loudly proclaim their great compassion for the poor would make everything much more expensive for everybody, hurting the poor the most?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hic et Ille, II

My Last Two Essays in a Nutshell

The ancients maintained that governments exist to establish and protect the common good of the political communities they govern. Liberals maintain that governments exist to safeguard the freedom of individuals. This is a self-defeating goal. The more governments seek to safeguard individual liberty by adding to the evergrowing list of "rights" that are formally recognized and officially protected, the more areas of our everyday lives they regulate until their cramping presence is felt everywhere. The ancients, as classical Tories recognize, had it right. The common good of the entire country is the end for which government exists, and when governments seek that end, with past and future generations in mind not just those living in the present, freedom, which is a big part of the good but not the whole, is better secured, than when it is actively and aggressively pursued in the liberal fashion.

A Leader Who Does Not Give a Fig For the Good of His Country

Earlier this month Canada received offers of assistance from Russia, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Israel, Taiwan and even the Palestinian Authority to assist in fighting the wildfire that was devastating northern Alberta. Justin Trudeau, in his typical snotty and haughty manner, told them that no help was needed, on the same day that he announced that he would be pouring $785 million in foreign relief to Africa over the next three years. One wonders if Trudeau, who six years ago told an interviewer on a Quebec station that "Canada isn't doing well right now because it's Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn't work", would have been singing a different tune if the fire had been elsewhere than Alberta, say in Quebec.

This Tuesday the Trudeau Liberals introduced Bill C-16 which, if passed, will make it illegal to discriminate against men who think they are women, women who think they are men, or men and women who think they are some other gender altogether. The "discrimination" that Trudeau wants to forbid includes "hate speech", which means that if you are a sane person, who thinks that a man is a man and a woman is a woman, your freedom to speak your opinion, is about to be curtailed severely.

The same Justin Trudeau who wants to make it illegal for you or I to say that a man who thinks that he is a woman is still a man is the Justin Trudeau who has been bringing refugees into the country by the thousands, and who wants to bring thousands more in, most of whom are Muslims. I wonder if they will be expected to obey the new transgender rights bill as well? I wonder if the Liberals really do not see the conflict between these two policies seemingly so dear to them?

Whatever the case, Justin Trudeau clearly does not give a fig for the good of this country.

Mrs. Trudeau In the News

Justin Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau has been in the news almost as much as her husband this month with the controversy she sparked when she requested a larger staff to assist her. Canada is not the United States. The Prime Minister's spouse does not have an official title and role the way the spouse of the American President does. There is a very good reason for that. The Americans, in electing the head of their republic, choose the person who will be both head of state and head of government. In Canada, as in all the parliamentary monarchies of the Commonwealth, the Queen is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is merely the head of the government, a fact of which the Trudeaus need to be reminded. The Queen, currently a Queen regnant, during the reign of a king, a Queen consort, is the First Lady of Canada. The Queen's representative in Canada is the Governor-General and his wife has the title "Her Excellency" as befits a vice-regal spouse.

I was amused to read Lorne Gunter's comments on this matter in his Sun media column this weekend. Mr. Gunter, who was the managing editor of the defunct Alberta Report, and who writes regularly for the National Post and the Sun chain of newspapers, is the kind of commentator from whose columns I generally walk away saying that I more or less agree on the issue at hand, but have either deep reservations or at times am outright opposed, to the underlying ideals and principles brought to bear on the issue. Mr. Gunter is one of those individuals, of whom Alberta has plenty, who thinks he is a conservative but is not. He is actually, a pro-American, classical liberal, republican which is something quite different. To be a conservative in Canada you have to be a monarchist.

Mr. Gunter, writing from his American-style populist democratic worldview, ridicules Mrs. Trudeau's desire for a larger role and staff, writing that:

The point is Canada doesn’t need a First Lady or a queen consort or even a prime minister’s wife with a lot of pretentions.

Gregoire Trudeau hasn’t been elected by Canadians to any official position. She needs to remember that.

No Mr. Gunter. The reason Mrs. Trudeau needs to be humbled is not because Canadians have not elected her to anything. We elected her husband, and look at how well that turned out! She needs to be reminded that Canada is a Commonwealth country, that we have a Queen Regnant, and that her husband merely leads Her Majesty's government in the currently elected Parliament.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Liberalism Has Not Improved With Age

Liberalism is the spirit which has animated the civilization that was once Christendom for at least the last two and a half centuries. It was born at the dawn of the Age that is called Modern and its conquest of what it has renamed Western Civilization was more or less complete by the end of the Second World War. It has many facets; from the standpoint of epistemology – the theory of knowledge itself - for example, it could be described as a naïve faith in man’s ability to arrive at truth through his own reason, assisted only by the findings of experimental science. Essentially, however, it is a theory about the nature of man, his society, and his freedom.

According to liberalism, man is first and foremost, an individual being. His individuality belongs to his intrinsic nature and comes before his belonging to any larger social group, be it his nation, or on a smaller scale his local community, or even his family. These latter are external to human nature as constructions formed by individuals for their advantage as individuals. The essence of man’s individuality, liberalism further declares, is his freedom which is defined in liberalism as the individual’s sovereign rule over his own self. The purpose of government, in liberal theory, is to safeguard the freedom of the individual by protecting his rights, i.e., those regions of his self-dominion that are formally recognized and guaranteed against assault from other sovereign individuals.

When liberalism began, its proponents thought that by articulating this theory they were laying the foundation of an edifice that would protect against the ancient evil of tyranny which men have struggled against throughout human history. The ancient Greek word tyrannos originally referred to someone who had obtained power through means other than the prescribed constitutional order, in other words a usurper. By the time classical Athenian civilization had reached its height the term had taken on other connotations, that of a ruler who governs autocratically, not recognizing the constraints of law, constitution, or even basic morality and decency, and in a way that is oppressive towards his people. It is not too hard to see the connection between the original concept and the later one – someone who seized power in an unorthodox way is more likely to rule in a harsh, autocratic, manner than someone who has come to a position of authority legitimately – and so we might define tyranny as power that is usurped, unrestrained, and oppressively harsh. The liberals of the so-called Age of Enlightenment, made frequent accusations of tyranny against the medieval Church, the feudal aristocracy, and especially kings. They believed that these institutions had a tendency towards tyranny which their theories would check, thus providing for government that is more restrained and responsible.

History, however, tells another story. Today, in the age of liberalism triumphant, there is scarcely an area of our everyday lives over which elected legislative assemblies and the armies of bureaucrats and regulators at their beck and call would hesitate to assert some degree of control. They may not always literally march into a man’s house and business and boss him around, as home safety inspectors and Child and Family Services social workers do, but they have nevertheless made their government virtually omnipresent in a way that any feudal king would have rightly regarded as tyrannical. Indeed, in virtually every way the size of government can be measured, from the number of ministries and civil workers to the extent of the government expenditure and how much it takes out of everyone’s pockets in taxes, government is very much larger now, than before liberalism got its hands on it. As High Tory journalist Sir Peregrine Worsthorne put it about ten years ago “with remarkable rapidity, from being a doctrine designed to take government off the backs of the people, liberalism has become a doctrine designed to put it back again.” (1)

Libertarians maintain that this is because today’s liberalism is not really liberalism at all but a democratic socialism that has stolen liberalism’s identity. From this point of view, the classical liberalism endorsed by the libertarian and contemporary democratic socialist liberalism are the opposite of each other. Historically, however, democratic socialism sprang forth as a budding branch from off of the trunk of the tree of liberalism itself and draws ultimately from the same root in “Enlightenment” philosophy that liberalism does. Tellingly, the nineteenth century liberal, John Stuart Mill, whose On Liberty is highly regarded by libertarians as a classical liberal defence of the freedom of the individual against state tyranny, himself came to accept some of the elements of socialism.

If the libertarians deplore today’s liberalism while praising that of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Red Tories do the exact opposite. Red Tories are, for the most part, a Canadian phenomenon. They profess to subscribe to the same older school of conservatism that Canada inherited from Britain as this writer, namely High Toryism – the conservatism that is monarchist, communitarian, traditionalist, and favours a strong institutional church in a healthy working relationship with the sovereign. Unlike this writer, the Red Tories also have a strong affection for many left-of-centre causes and political views. According to the Red Tories, liberalism matured between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, corrected some of the excesses of its individualism, and by adopting an expansive view of the role of the state in bringing about ameliorative social changes moved closer to the classical and Tory concept of the common good.

The Red Tory and the libertarian have both misassessed the situation, in my opinion. The contemporary progressive, democratic socialist, type of liberal has not moved closer to the Tory vision of the common good. The concept of a hierarchical social order, itself part of the larger hierarchical “chain of being” starting from the throne of God Himself, was essential to the Tory vision of the common good, whereas the contemporary liberal justifies his expansion of the role and jurisdiction of the state by means of egalitarian ends. In the Tory view of the common good, the society whose common good government is supposed to serve, includes past and future generations as well as the present. Liberals may sometimes acknowledge the need to take future generations into consideration but since that acknowledgement is not joined with a similar regard for past generations, as liberals tend to look at those who have gone before them with the smug, condescending attitude that C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield dubbed “chronological snobbery” , it amounts to nothing for it is only by showing proper reverence and consideration for our ancestors – the virtue the Romans called pietas – that we can truly include future generations in the common good.

The libertarian is also wrong in that the contemporary liberal has not so much subverted the essence of liberalism and replaced it with something different but rather brought to fruition the tyranny the seeds of which have always been there within liberalism. From the beginning, liberals believed that the threat of tyranny came from kings, aristocrats and the Church and sought to transfer all real power into the hand of institutions and officials that were representative, elected, and democratic. These latter, however, have a far greater propensity for tyranny than the former, albeit a soft tyranny that disguises itself as concern for the well-being of those it tyrannizes, which disguise makes it all the more deadly.

The liberals believed that in their doctrine of human rights they were setting up roadblocks to the abuse of power. Instead, they were clearing the path for the multiplication of such abuses. A right is a claim to something on the part of a person or a group within a society which claim is formally recognized by the society. It is one thing for a society to formally recognize a man’s claim to security of his person and property against the violence of others, be they private citizens or the state. The justice of such a right is evident to all sane people, and it imposes no heavy burden upon either society as a whole or the members of whom it is composed. It is a different story completely when a society, in multiplying the rights that it recognizes, loses sight of the distinction between what someone may desire for himself and what he can reasonably and rightly claim for himself.

Take, for example, the rights that are defined as such in the Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 and the American bill on which it was modelled, the US Civil Rights Act of 1964, the passing of which acts of legislation are celebrated by liberals across North America as milestones in the path towards social justice and progress. In these bills, the governments of Canada and the United States formally recognized as rights, claims to protection against discrimination on the part of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities as well as women. In recognizing such claims as rights, the governments of Canada and the United States had to forbid discrimination against women and racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Discrimination is something that takes place internally, in the mind or heart. By forbidding discrimination, the liberal governments of Canada and the United States had extended the jurisdiction of law into the realm of the inner thoughts and private conscience. Liberals had objected to the laws establishing the Roman Catholic Church in feudal Europe and the Anglican Church in Tudor England on the grounds that these violated men’s freedom of conscience, but these laws pertained only to public religion, the organized communal expression of faith, and did not presume to tell people what they had to believe or think in their own hearts as liberals themselves are now doing with anti-discrimination legislation. Anti-discrimination legislation, by the way, violates more than one traditional safeguard against the abuse of power. Because such law is classified as civil rather than criminal, there is no presumption of innocence for the accused, and since what he is accused of takes place in the heart, which human judges cannot see, there is no way for the accused to establish his innocence.

Liberals, blind to the damage they have done to our traditional standards of justice and to the fact that they have benefited nobody so much as those operating the thoroughly corrupt minority grievance shakedown rackets, continue to press forward, adding more and more groups to the list of those with the “right” not to be discriminated against. Last year liberals succeeded in having the “right” of same-sex couples to “marry” recognized across North America, this year it is the “right” of males who think they are female and females who think they are male to use public facilities designated for the use of the sex they identify with that liberals feel must overrule the thousands of reasonable objections most people have to such nonsense.

All of this is plainly a huge abuse of government power, even when it is carried out with a smiley face, by nice, cheerful, types who tell us that they are doing it all with our own wellbeing at heart. It is, however, completely consistent with basic liberal principles. If freedom is the self-determination of the individual, and government exists to safeguard freedom by protecting the individual’s rights, then the more rights the government protects, the freer people will become. That is the logic of liberalism, even if the ensuing “freedom” has come more and more each day to resemble the inside of a prison run by a madman.

While John Locke, John Stuart Mill, (2) Adam Smith, and the other fathers of liberalism would probably not recognize themselves in the liberalism of today, what we are seeing was nevertheless present in their doctrines in germinal form. That doctrine has now grown to full maturity, and it has certainly not improved with age. Perhaps it is time, that instead of looking back for guidance to the earliest generation of liberals, as the right-liberals who call themselves conservatives today suggest, we look instead to those like Richard Hooker and Archbishop Laud, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson, Lords Falkland and Salisbury, Benjamin Disraeli and Sir Walter Scott, and more recently Michael Oakeshott, Maurice Cowling and Roger Scruton who, drawing from wisdom more ancient than that of liberalism and its Modern Age, have directed us towards order, tradition, and stability as the true safeguards against tyranny and apart from which there can be no real freedom.

(1) Peregrine Worsthorne, "Liberalism failed to set us free. Indeed it enslaved us.", The Guardian, June 21, 2006,
(2) Maurice Cowling, the High Tory historian, wrote that John Stuart Mill himself, “may be accused of more than a touch of something resembling moral totalitarianism” and that Mill’s liberalism was ”no less than Marxism, is intolerant of competition” going on to say that “jealousy, and a carefully disguised intolerance, are important features of Mill’s intellectual personality.” Maurice Cowling, Mill and Liberalism, 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963, 1990), pp. xlviii and xlvix.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Conservatism and Neo-conservatism

For at least the last forty years if you were to have asked a self-described conservative living in North America what conservatism was all about the answer you would have received would have been that it is about small government, low taxes, freedom, free markets, free trade, tough laws and sentences for violent crimes and a strong military. If the conservative you were talking to happened to remember he might have added the defence of the nuclear family and a traditional Christian morality and way of life.

In my country, Canada, conservatism was originally about much more than this. Canada is a country that was founded within the British Empire in the Victorian era and which developed her national sovereignty within the British family of nations without severing ties to the Crown and Britain, the way our republican neighbour to the south had, and as such inherited from the older country, the older kind of conservatism known as Toryism. Toryism was about monarchy, the institutional church, and government for the common good of a national society envisioned as an organic whole that includes past and future generations, not merely those present among us today. I have been a conservative of this older type, a Tory, my entire life.

There has been much talk in recent years of “neo-conservatism”. What is meant by this term is somewhat different in Canada and the United States, although in both countries it refers to either the espousing as conservative of ideas that were once considered liberal, the profession of conservatism by former liberals, or both.

In the United States, the term refers to a very specific group of people and a set of ideas with which they were associated. The original neoconservatives had been members of the group known as the “New York Intellectuals”, which consisted mainly of second generation, Jewish Americans who had studied either at City College of New York, Columbia University, or both in the period between the World Wars and who in that same period espoused politics that ranged from New Deal liberalism to far-left Trotskyism. After the Second World War many of these became Cold War liberals, i.e., liberals who strongly supported the West in the fight against Soviet Communism, and of these many realigned with the right in the 1960s and 1970s, to become the “neo-conservatives”. The best known among these were Norman Podhoretz, who edited the journal Commentary for decades, his wife Midge Decter, Irving Kristol, also a journalist, and his wife, historian, Gertrude Himmelfarb. It was Kristol who famously defined a neoconservative as a “liberal who has been mugged by reality.” As “neoconservatives” these continued to look upon the New Deal welfare state, the Civil Rights Movement, the early stages of second wave feminism, and other such causes they had espoused as liberals favourably, but it is their outlook on geopolitics that is their most notable distinctive.

The American neoconservatives believe that American style liberal democracy is the birthright of everyone on the planet and that the United States has a duty to guarantee that birthright, by offering military assistance and protection to countries that have liberal democracy, fighting against and toppling the enemies of liberal democracy, and bringing liberal democracy to countries that do not yet enjoy it. For this reason, the neoconservatives believe, the United States must continue to maintain a military presence throughout the world, as the world’s policeman. This vision of a Pax Americana is rooted in liberalism, having antecedents in the war aims of both Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Its most utopian articulation, that of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man envisions all of human history as having led up to universal capitalism and democracy and is simply the latest manifestation of the Whig theory of history.

The American kind of neo-conservatism has come under much heavy criticism during the last thirteen years for its influential role, during the presidential administration of George W. Bush, in leading the United States into the disastrous War in Iraq. While most of this criticism is well-deserved, those making the criticism seldom understand the nature of the problem with the neoconservative view of geopolitics. Critics on the left, inevitably maintain that all the neoconservative talk about spreading democracy, protecting the rights of women, and such claptrap, is just a thin veil masking the lust to grab power and resources for the United States, or the large corporations that to people of this mindset are the real powers behind the American government, from which it is assumed on the left that the neoconservative enthusiasm for war arises. In reality, however, it is precisely because the neoconservatives are true believers, in Eric Hoffer’s meaning of that expression, in democracy, human rights, liberalism, and basically all the same ideals that their critics on the left hold dear, that they feel that it is imperative that these American liberal values be exported universally.

In Canada, the word neo-conservatism is often used interchangeably with conservatism, in reference to the conservatism described in the first paragraph. The intent of this usage is to contrast what has been called conservatism for the last forty years or so, with the older Toryism. Red Tories in particular like to use the word in this way. Red Tories are people who, like myself, are High Tories of the older royalist, institutional church, and common good-of-the-organic-whole variety, but who, unlike myself, have avowed sympathies with socialism, feminism, pacifism, and other left-of-centre causes for which I have nothing but disdain and contempt. The Red Tories are quite right in saying that much of what is called conservatism today is what was called liberalism a hundred years ago, but I cannot help but observe the irony of the fact that this offered as criticism by those whose Toryism is modified by an adjective that alludes to their espousal of ideals that have also sprung from the modern well of liberalism and much more recently than the capitalism of the neoconservatives. Liberalism is not like a fine wine that has improved with age – it is more like milk that has long passed its expiry date, and been left out in the sun.

At times these attempts to distinguish Canadian neo-conservatism from the older tradition can be exaggerated in a way that can be quite misleading and which distorts the nature of the older Toryism. It is not uncommon, for example, to hear Red Tories say that the older Toryism was the opposite of what is called conservatism today. Think about what that suggests regarding the first items mentioned in the description of conservatism in the first paragraph – small government, low taxes, free markets, and free trade. (1) There is a grain of truth in this when it comes to free trade – the older Toryism espoused protectionism – but if we were to accept the assertion that the older conservatism was the opposite of today’s conservatism, we would have to conclude that it was opposed to freedom and stood for big government, high taxes, and a centrally planned and bureaucratically administered economy. This, however, is laughable nonsense. Indeed, as I have frequently pointed out, the older “throne and altar” Toryism, ought to be regarded as being more favourable to small government and low taxes than contemporary North American conservatism. Toryism was born out of the defence of royal sovereign authority against those who wished to wrest it away from the Crown and to vest all power in elected legislative assemblies. The opponents of the original Tories declared themselves to be on the side of “liberty” against tyranny, but the history of the last four centuries tells us another story. What that history tells us is that the more the Crown’s authority was limited and the power of the elected assembly augmented, the larger and more intrusive government became, while taxes grew both exponentially and astronomically. (2)

With regards to freedom, the difference between the older Toryism and the classical liberalism that much of modern conservatism resembles was not that the latter supported freedom while the former opposed and feared it. It was rather a disagreement about the nature of freedom. The classical liberals equated liberty with the sovereignty of the individual, argued that the function of government was to protect liberty so defined, and declared that only democratic governments, in which each individual participates at least through his elected representative, can so protect the liberty that is individual sovereignty. By contrast, the Tory view of freedom, grounded in the thought of classical antiquity, was explained by the martyred King Charles I, in his final speech before his execution, when he declared that the liberty and freedom of the people consist in their having from their government “those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own” rather than “having share in government”.

Anyone who happens to think that the liberal doctrine is more conducive to personal freedom than that of the Tory it is invited to look around him today. The idea of freedom as individual sovereignty is now being taken to the nth degree, with even such constraints on that sovereignty as those of nature and reality itself no longer recognized as valid. Thus, for example, gender is now being declared to be something that the individual decides for himself – or herself – or itself – or whatever! By consequence, liberalism is now declaring such self-determination of gender to be a right of the individual, which is to say something that belongs to the essence of the individual’s sovereignty. Since in liberal theory, the rights of the individual are what law and government exist to protect, the consequence of this will inevitably be that the legislatures and courts, will impose legal restrictions on what we can think, say or do, in order to protect such a “right”. The more the individual is declared to be sovereign, the more new “rights” are discovered, the more laws restricting our thoughts, speech, and actions are passed, so that what is called “freedom” today, often resembles a soft form of totalitarian tyranny. (3)

Contemporary conservatism, or what is called in Canada neo-conservatism, ought not to be faulted by Tories of the older tradition merely for being in favour of small government, low taxes, and freedom. It merits criticism for defining conservatism by such things, rather than by monarchy, institutional religion, the common good of the organic whole, and by such things as continuity, tradition, and established order for which the older Toryism stood, and which, as Roger Scruton argued in The Meaning of Conservatism, provide the necessary context for any real freedom to exist and flourish in a civilized society. There was nothing wrong with Canadian neo-conservatism's opposition to Canadians being taxed to death, overregulated, and treated as wards of a nanny state and it was for these things that this High Tory voted for and even took out membership in the neoconservative Reform Party in the 1990s. Where Canadian neo-conservatism did deserve censure was over the anti-patriotic contempt for Canada and wish that she was “more like the United States” that could far too often be found in its ranks, as well as the liberal equation of democracy with freedom and legitimate and accountable government evident in its wish to turn the Senate into an elected body which was such a marked contrast with the way the older Canadian Toryism defended our Westminster parliamentary monarchy, including the Senate, correctly perceiving that it and our traditional rights and freedoms, stood and fell together. (4) It was over these things that I walked away from the Canadian Alliance prior to the completion of its merger with the Progressive Conservatives in 2003.

(1) It is even less accurate to say that the older Toryism was the opposite of the other items mentioned in the first paragraph, although here too there are important distinctions to be drawn. The family that the older Toryism defended, for example, was not just the nuclear unit, but a larger, multigenerational, kinship group, headed by a patriarch. Also, the older Toryism tended to look to the organized Church for what “a traditional Christian morality and way of life” meant, while contemporary conservatism is more likely to be influenced by personal interpretations of the Scriptures.

(2) It was not uncommon in the last century for such High Tories as Anthony Burgess, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Robertson Davies (as Samuel Marchbanks) to avow both a feudal, medieval royalism and an attitude of anarchistic contempt for the gargantuan, overregulating body that is the modern bureaucratic state in the same breathe, a sentiment which I heartily share.

(3) That liberalism was a doctrine that loudly proclaimed its faith in freedom while containing within itself the seeds of totalitarian tyranny was not something that was only evident after it had been brought to its apex in the 20th and 21st centuries. In the sixteenth century, the Puritan progenitors of the first liberals, the Whigs, denounced the “tyranny” of the House of Stuart and proclaimed themselves to be on the side of liberty, but when they had seized power for themselves, made it illegal to participate in sports, games, and other amusements on Sundays after church, closed inns, alehouses and theatres, and banned the celebration of Christmas and Easter. In the century prior to that, the first Puritans, in the name of defending Christian liberty against “popish tyranny”, demanded that all practices that were part of the pre-Reformation tradition but which could not be shown to be explicitly authorized in Scripture should be forbidden, while Richard Hooker, in his Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity, argued on the contrary, that Christians ought to be free to observe, whatever practices of the pre-Reformation tradition could not be shown to be explicitly condemned in Scriptures. Hooker’s thinking, which helped lay a foundation for both a distinctive Anglican theology and Toryism, to any rational person, allowed a greater amount of freedom than that of the Puritans which eventually gave birth to liberalism.

(4) See, for example, John Farthing’s Freedom Wears a Crown (Toronto: Kingswood House, 1957) and John G. Diefenbaker’s Those Things We Treasure (Toronto: Macmillan, 1972).