The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Coming(s) of Christ and Some Misconceptions Thereof

We are rapidly approaching Christmas which, as has often been observed, is now two distinct holidays occupying the same space on the civil calendar. One the one hand there is the secular Christmas – or X-mas, as it is known to people who are either politically correct, lazy spellers, or both. This holiday, sacred to the pervasive cult of Mammon, has long been a celebration of two of the Seven Deadly Sins, Avarice and Gluttony, and in more recent years has increasingly added Lust as well. It is preceded by an anticipatory period the length of which is decided by the engines of commerce and which begins when the first decorations and advertisements appear in the stores. While many have opined that it seems to get longer and longer each year, in reality All Saints’ Day is the earliest it can begin. Any earlier and the advertising campaign would clash with that of the secular version of All Hallows’ Eve.

On the other hand there is the Christian Christmas – the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It too is introduced by a preparatory period, which in Western Christendom we call Advent, but this is much shorter than the season leading up to the secular holiday. It always begins on the Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th), which is always the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, and so is never longer than a lunar month. Like Lent, the season leading up to Easter, the liturgical season of Advent is supposed to be a period of sober reflection and repentance. This too is a sharp contrast with the hurly-burly of running around and shopping interspersed with party after party that characterizes the season’s secular counterpart.

While the contempt that such fictional curmudgeons as Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Grinch displayed towards the commercial holiday before their changes of heart is, perhaps, understandable, it is much harder to comprehend the problem that many soi disant Bible-believing Christians seem to have with the religious holiday. Oliver Cromwell, the Puritan dictator of the 1650s, was the spiritual ancestor of these types, as he was of political liberalism and all the various hues and shades of Mrs. Grundyism. You have probably encountered their arguments. The most familiar of them are that December 25th was originally a pagan holiday, that Jesus was not born on December 25th, and that we ought to be keeping the holy days God established in the Bible rather than man made ones. I have dealt with this matter in depth previously and so will provide only a short answer to each of these here.

First of all, yes the date on which the Church chose to celebrate Christmas coincides with a pagan festival. It also coincides with a Jewish festival and while that Jewish festival is also “man made” in that it is not instituted by God anywhere in the Bible, even in the Books of Maccabees that relate the events it commemorates, it was kept by Jesus in the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. The fourteenth verse of the first chapter of Genesis gives, as God’s stated reason for creating the sun, moon, and stars in addition to dividing day from night and lighting the earth that they might be “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” so it should come as no surprise that different religions would have important festivals at approximately the same time, in this case around the winter solstice.

Secondly, since the Scriptures do not tell us the day on which Jesus was born, they neither tell us that He was born on December 25th nor that He was not born on December 25th. The absence of a positive assertion does not constitute a denial. The same principle applies to the argument that because the Book of Hebrews does not identify its author, St. Paul did not write it, an argument that a Judaizing acquaintance recently made in a bizarre attempt to bolster his argument that we ought to keep the Old Testament feasts rather than man-made ones like Christmas. (1) At any rate, the question of the actual date on which Jesus was born is moot. Christmas is not necessarily Christ’s “birthday” but a liturgical feast day commemorating His birth. It occurs at the beginning of the liturgical year because that year is organized to take us through the most important events of Christ’s life chronologically. (2)

Finally, the position that Christians ought to be keeping the Old Testament holy days rather than Christmas, Easter, and other feasts appointed by the Church can only be maintained by disregarding the authority of Christ’s Apostles and the New Testament Scriptures. For the New Testament is absolutely clear on this matter. Christians are neither required to keep the feasts, rituals, and ceremonies of the Old Covenant nor forbidden from doing so. The first Christians were Jews who believed in Jesus. When God sent St. Peter to preach the Gospel to a Gentile, Cornelius the centurion, He gave Him a vision in which the dietary laws of the Old Covenant were abrogated. When Gentiles came to be converted in large numbers, a controversy arose as to whether or not they should be circumcised and made to follow all the rituals of the Old Covenant. The Apostles convened a church council in Jerusalem to settle the controversy which ruled against placing these obligations on the Gentile converts. The Book of Acts records that while the original Jewish Christians continued to participate in worship at the Temple and in the synagogues until they were driven out, the Church was already developing its own worship, meeting, for example, on the first day of the week. St. Paul in his epistles encourages these trends and reserves his harshest words for those who would impose the Old Testament rituals on the Church. (3)

This attitude of looking down one’s nose at ordinary Christians for keeping Christmas rather than the Old Testament feasts bears a resemblance in some ways to both of two opposite errors regarding the Second Coming of Christ that have plagued the Church from time to time and which have undergone significant revivals in the last century. For traditional Christian believers the Second Coming is as much in view at this time of year as His first coming. Indeed, while the emphasis of Christmas itself is on the events of His First Coming at Bethlehem a little over two thousand years ago, the emphasis in Advent is on the Second Coming. Whereas the focus of penitent reflection in Lent begins with contemplation of our own mortality on Ash Wednesday and ends with the vicarious suffering and death of Christ on Good Friday, in Advent the focus could be summed up in the words of St. Peter “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (I Pet. 4:7) and of his Master and ours “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt. 24:42) For this reason, lectionaries traditionally assign readings that pertain to the Second Coming to this period and the two comings are joined in the Collect for Advent Sunday (4) which is repeated with the other Collects for the duration of Advent.

In their disregard towards the ruling of the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, the clear teachings of St. Paul, and Apostolic authority in general, the legalistic Judaizers who would deny to Christians the freedom to celebrate, as they have traditionally done, the Person and events of the New Covenant of eternal redemption and bind them back in chains to Mt. Sinai, resemble the date-setters, who have a very similar approach to such statements of Christ as “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” and “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” and “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matt. 24: 36, 42, 44). Despite these clear warnings, every time a society collapses, a significant period of time such as a millennium passes, or some other such momentous event occurs, out trot the date-setters with their arguments for why Jesus will return on such-and-such a date. Those among them who are wise guys, despite lacking wisdom, rely on an ultra-literal interpretation of the above verses (only the “day” and “hour” are not mentioned, not the “year” or “decade”) to justify their obvious evasion of the spirit of the text. Needless to say our own era in which Western civilization as a whole has been giving every sign of being on the verge of imminent collapse for a century (5) and the second millennium AD came to an end has had more than its fair share of date-setters.

In their arrogant attitude of superiority towards other Christians, however, the Judaizers more closely resemble the preterists, the hubris of whom make the ancient Gnostics look humble in comparison. Preterism derives its name from the Latin proposition praeter. Praeter means “besides, except for”, “contrary to” and “beyond” but it can also mean “before” in both its spatial and temporal senses. It is in the temporal sense of the meaning “before”, i.e., “in the past”, that the preterists use this word to identify their views. For their doctrine is that all Biblical prophecies – including the prophecies of the Second Coming and the last three of the Quattuor Novissima (6) have all been fulfilled in the past. It is an ancient heresy, having been first taught by Hymenaeus and Philetus in Ephesus towards the end of the sixth decade of the first century AD, and rebuked by St. Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy:

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (II Tim 2:16-18)

Contemporary preterists attempt to elude the obvious application of these verses to their own doctrine by arguing that at the time St. Paul wrote those words – early in the seventh decade – the resurrection was not yet past but that it happened shortly thereafter, at the very end of that decade, a couple of years after St. Paul’s martyrdom. For contemporary preterists teach that the Second Coming, the Final Resurrection, and the Last Judgment all took place in the year AD 70.

This was the year in which Titus, the son of the newly elevated Roman emperor Vespasian, after a seven month siege of Jerusalem, lay waste to the rebellious city, destroying the Second Temple and apart from the handful of leftover zealots who would be wiped out at Masada three years later, essentially crushed the revolt. The truth in preterism – for heresy is not pure error but begins with a truth being twisted out of shape – is that these events were frequently predicted in the New Testament, sometimes in passages that also discuss the Second Coming. The Olivet Discourse contained in the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of the Gospel According to St. Matthew is the obvious example. The discourse begins when Jesus tells His disciples that the Temple will be destroyed and they ask Him “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Orthodox Christianity has always taken the position that the disciples had mistakenly associated the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem with the Second Coming of Christ and the end of time and thus asked Jesus two questions, thinking they were asking one. Jesus answered both questions without directly correcting their mistake, knowing that just as the disciples would not be able to grasp that there would be a Second Coming separate and distinct from the First until after His Resurrection and Ascension so the unfolding of events would eventually make obvious the distinction between the destruction of the Temple and His Second Coming. Accordingly the three ancient Creeds which express the consensus of the early, undivided, Apostolic Church as to fundamentals of the orthodox, Scriptural, kerygma all include an affirmation that Christ will “come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead.” (7)

Orthodox Christians have disagreed on other aspects of eschatology, both in the early centuries and down through the years. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Tertullian all taught a form of what is now called pre-millennialism, while the Alexandrian Fathers and St. Augustine taught the a-millennialism that became the dominant view down until modern times. Regardless of where they stood on these matters, however, orthodox Christians joined in the Creedal affirmation of the Second Coming as a literal, future, event that will involve the judgement of the entire world, including both the living and the dead. The preterist teaching that the sack of Jerusalem fulfilled completely the prophecies of the Second Coming and the Final Resurrection and Judgement obviously requires an interpretation of these prophecies that exceeds in its non-literalism what was allowed for by even the most allegorical of the orthodox Fathers. It also requires that the events prophesied be reduced from a global scale and made to pertain only to national Israel. Ironically, since the recent spread of preterism can be partially attributed to a reaction against dispensationalism, preterism shares dispensationalism’s obsession with national Israel, giving it, of course, the opposite negative spin. (8) To both alike, all Bible prophecy is about God wrapping up His dealings with national Israel. To the dispensationalists, this is a future wrapping up that will involve the total restoration of the nation. To the preterists, it is a past wrapping up that involved the total rejection of the nation in judgement for its unbelief. The dispensationalists, at least, affirm the passages in which Christ comes back for His faithful believers, albeit by making it a prelude to the main event. (9) Consistent preterists must insist that passages which speak of the believer’s hope in the coming of the Lord were all fulfilled by the judgement of national Israel. This fact alone ought, in itself, to be sufficient to refute this obviously false doctrine.

The late Lutheran theologian John M. Drickamer once remarked that responding to preterism is like taking out the trash – it is an unpleasant, smelly, task but one that needs to be done from time to time. What better time to do it than Advent, the time in which we traditionally look forward in penitent reflection to Christ’s Second Coming, was we prepare to celebrate His First Coming?

Merry Christmas, every one, and Maranatha (the Lord is coming)!

(1) Actually this case may not be an exact parallel. While the Book of Hebrews does not identify its author, St. Peter may very well have identified St. Paul as its author in II Peter 3:15. In this verse he reminds his original readers, who are the same as those of his first epistle (3:1), that St Paul had written to them something to the effect of “the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation.” All of the “signed” Pauline epistles are addressed to particular churches which were predominantly Gentile. St. Peter’s epistles, on the other hand, are “catholic” or “general” epistles (I Peter 1:1), and his original readers seems to have largely consisted of believers of Jewish ancestry (2:12). Since St. Peter goes on to identify St. Paul’s words as Scripture, Hebrews is the only epistle that seems to qualify as the one to which he is referring. It is part of the New Testament canon, written to the same addressees, with content that matches the allusion by St. Peter (see the ninth and tenth chapters of Hebrews).

(2) See, however, William J. Tighe’s arguments in Touchstone Magazine, that the early Church calculated December 25th and January 6th (Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, celebrated in Western Christendom as the Feast of the Magi, in the East as the eve of Christmas itself) as the dates of Christ’s birth by adding nine months to March 25th and April 6th respectively. According to Tighe there was a widespread belief at the time that Israel’s prophets died on the same date as their conception, and so March 25th and April 6th were identified as the dates of conception through attempts to calculate the calendar date of Christ’s death. Tighe also maintains that the Church had done these calculations and started celebrating Christmas on December 25th prior to AD 274 when Emperor Marcus Aureleus declared the same date to be the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun.”

(3) He develops a theological argument for this doctrine of Christian liberty throughout his corpus, but especially in the epistles of Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Hebrews. The Old Testament Law in its ceremonial aspect pointed to and foreshadowed Christ, now that Christ has appeared and instituted the New Covenant with His blood we, having the substance, ought not to cling to the shadow. Under the Old Covenant, Israel was to be a holy nation. She was supposed to remain untainted with the paganism and idolatry of the tribes and nations surrounding her, and the ceremonial aspects of the Law, including the dietary and clothing restrictions, contributed to her distinct and separate identity. Under the New Covenant, however, believers of all nations are united spiritually in the Church, and this unity is symbolized by the Church’s standing under grace rather than Law.

(4) “ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.” Collect for First Sunday in Advent, Book of Common Prayer.

(5) It is one hundred years since the first volume of Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes – The Decline – more accurately “Downfall” of the West – was published.

(6) Four Last Things – Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell.

(7) This is the wording of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as translated in the BCP. The Apostles’ Creed and the Quicumque Vult both introduce the Second Coming by saying that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father after which the Apostles’ Creed adds “from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead” and the Athanasian Creed adds “from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies: and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.”

(8) Interestingly there are other parallels. Both doctrines in their contemporary forms can be traced back to sixteenth century Jesuits (Luis de Alcasar in the case of preterism, Francisco Ribera in the case of dispensationalism) through nineteenth century Protestant popularizers (James Stuart Russell’s The Parousia: a Critical Inquiry into the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming in the case of preterism, John Nelson Darby and C. I. Scofield in the case of dispensationalism).

(9) The main problem with dispensationalism, from the standpoint of orthodox theology, is not their elaborate eschatological scheme but the significance attached to certain of the events. The rapture (from the Latin equivalent of the Greek ἁρπάζω used by St. Paul to mean “caught up” in I Thess. 4:17) is said by dispensationalists to the be the end of the Church Age which began at Pentecost, and the entire Church Age is described by dispensationalists as a parenthesis in the Age of the Law. This is the opposite of inspired Apostolic doctrine in which the Law is the parenthesis in the unfolding of God’s promises of grace (Gal. 3:6-29, NB especially vv. 17, 19, 23-25).

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Totalitarian Left Declares Total War on Opponents of Baby Murder

On the evening of Saturday, October 20th I attended a lecture at New Life Sanctuary Church here in Winnipeg. The lecture, given by the Church’s pastor, Christian apologist John Feakes, was on the subject of “Abortion: Is it a Woman’s Right.” Feakes, of course, took the position that it is not, a position with which I fully agree. What was somewhat unusual about the lecture was the number of private security guards present in the church. Evidently trouble was anticipated. Indeed, there was good cause for expecting troublemakers to show up. The lecture was not originally supposed to be a lecture but a debate, co-sponsored by Feakes’ church and by Life’s Vision Manitoba in which Mark Fenny would take the opposing position. It had been scheduled, at first, to take place at Jubilee Place on the campus of the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute. MBCI, however, rescinded its agreement to allow the debate to take place on its site and, at the last minute, Fenny backed out. “Concerns regarding event security” were cited as the reason the event would not take place at the location or in the format originally advertised. Anyone familiar with the way in which antiracist groups (1) operate will immediately recognize one of their favourite tactics for shutting down an event they disapprove of - pressuring the venue hosting the event into withdrawing by raising security concerns.

Five days after the lecture, Jakob Sanderson, president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union, tabled a motion for the Union to endorse a “woman’s right to freedom of reproductive choice; and a woman’s right to be free from coercion or attempted coercion with respect to making reproductive choices.” This motion passed on Monday, November 5th and effectively established a no-tolerance policy for any activity on the part of pro-life people that the leadership of the Student’ Union regarded as “coercive.” The targets of this motion were a pro-life students group, the University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life, and the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform, both of which had come under attack by the leadership of the Students’ Union in the weeks leading up to and culminating in this motion. The Students’ Union objected to the pro-life groups handing out post-cards containing images of aborted foetuses. Like the anti-racist groups that attempt to shut down any public talks about racial differences or the case against open immigration, the Students’ Union leaders denied that they were engaged in censorship and claimed that they objected, not to the pro-life groups’ beliefs, but to their actions which they said were “coercive” and “discriminatory.” They apparently do not understand the difference in meaning between “coercive” and “persuasive”, thus calling into question their qualifications to attend an institution of higher learning, let alone serve in a student leadership capacity.

It was only a couple of weeks after this that Nahanni Fontaine, who sits as the NDP Member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for St. Johns, introduced a private member’s bill that, if passed, would create buffer zones around abortion clinics within which pro-life protestors would not be able to come. Fontaine’s stated reasons for introducing this bill, entitled the “Safe Access to Abortion Act”, are similar to those of the UMSU. “Manitoba women have the right to access the essential reproductive health care they need safely and without harassment” she says, using “essential reproductive health care” as a euphemism for “the deliberate termination of unborn human life.” Do not be deceived by Fontaine’s rhetoric about protecting abortion doctors and their clients from threats, assaults and violence. The existing laws against assault and uttering threats are sufficient to do that. To see the true intent behind this bill all we need to do is look at how this kind of legislation is being used one province to our east.

On October 24th an eighty-three year old Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Tony Van Hee, was arrested in Ottawa for violating Kathleen Wynne’s “Safe Access to Abortion Act”. Not only is the name of this act identical to the one Fontaine has introduced here, it does the exact same thing and establishes a bubble zone around hospitals and abortion clinics within which negative views of abortion cannot be expressed. Apparently this is being interpreted as including negative views of the law itself. The “crime” for which Van Hee was arrested was merely sitting across the street from the Morgentaler clinic wearing a sandwich board which read “The Primacy of Free Speech: Cornerstone of Western Civilization” on the front and “Without Free Speech the State is a Corpse” on the back. A simple and effective defence, in this case, would have been to point out that the messages on these signs said nothing about abortion one way or the other. His lawyer, however, has gone the more difficult route of launching a constitutional challenge against this draconian law. Let us hope and pray that it succeeds.

It is evident from the above mentioned incidents that the pro-infanticide movement – away with this euphemism of “pro-choice” that is so utterly inappropriate for these tyrannical mind-control freaks - has adopted the arrogant attitude and aggressive methods of antiracist groups such as the antifa. Indeed, on the day of the lecture mentioned in the first paragraph the friend of mine who had invited me to the lecture, an aboriginal student at the University of Manitoba who had participated in the pro-life activism referred to in the second paragraph, told me that he had been accused of “white supremacism” for doing so by someone in student leadership a day or two previously.

This association between the pro-abortion and anti-racist causes is not entirely new. You might remember Anti-Racist Action, a street gang with Marxist and anarchist backing, similar to the skinheads but with the opposite agenda that was a precursor to what is now called antifa. Most active in the 1990s and early 2000s, it used threats, intimidation, and violence in its confrontations with neo-Nazi groups and conservative groups that it falsely accused of racism. Its manifesto, in addition to what one would expect to find there, also contained a declaration of its full support for abortion. The Anti-Defamation League, which was founded one hundred and five years ago, may be the oldest antiracist group in existence. It too has been very supportive of abortion. Eighteen years ago in Stenberg v. Carhart the US Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s law against partial-birth abortion – the kind of abortion that has the least support. The ADL applauded the Court’s decision and indeed had intervened in the case on the side of the abortionists. Earlier, in 1998 it had labelled Human Life International an extremist group. Before that, when the HLI had scheduled a conference in Montreal in 1995, the vice-president of the Canadian branch of the ADL’s parent organization, the Binai B’rith, had accused HLI and its founder, Fr. Paul Marx, of “being infected with this virus of anti-Semitism.” The grounds for this spurious accusation were remarks Fr. Marx had made in articles he had written in 1977 and 1993, and in a chapter of his Confessions of a Pro-Life Missionary, about how odd it was that there is so much Jewish support for abortion. However, as Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a frequent speaker at HLI conferences, wrote in defence of Fr. Marx in his 1999 book, America’s Real War, “the prominence of Jews in the pro-abortion movement” is “a factually correct detail about the Jewish community” and not an invention of anti-Semites. Normal people understand the word “defamation” to refer to the deliberate spreading of falsehoods in order to injure someone’s reputation. Anti-racists like the ADL, however, believe that even the truth can be defamatory. This attitude towards truth they have in common with the pro-infanticide movement.

The standard response on the part of pro-lifers to this strange convergence of movements that seemingly have little to do with each other except that they mutually receive support from the liberal-left is to observe that a century ago the alliances were quite different and abortion was being promoted – along with birth control, sterilization and euthanasia – by the advocates of eugenics and racial genetic superiority. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood is the obvious, but hardly the only, example of this. Pro-life advocates might also point out that the number of abortions per 1000 women is considerably higher among racial and ethnic minority groups. In the United States, the highest rate of abortion is among black women and if abortion were counted, as it ought to be, as a cause of death by the organizations that keep track of such statistics, it would be listed as the leading cause of black deaths each year, being more than double that of heart disease which is usually listed as the official leading cause. Such arguments will never convince either pro-abortion people or anti-racists, however, seeing as both movements have thoroughly inoculated their members against such things as facts and reason.

In Canada the knowledge that they have the full support of the majority government in Parliament has undoubtedly contributed to the heightened arrogance being displayed by pro-abortion groups. Prior to the last Dominion election, Justin Trudeau let it be known that he would not approve as a Liberal candidate anyone who did not whole-heartedly support a woman’s “right” to have an abortion. Around this time last year he announced that this year, all employers applying for grants under the federal Student Jobs program would be required to attest to their commitment to a set of values that included the same so-called right. Trudeau can be accused of many things, but subtlety in making his wish that the pro-life movement would give up and disappear is not one of them. It does not help matters that the Conservatives, even when they had a majority government, were afraid to do anything about abortion and the other major party, the NDP, takes the position that the Liberals are too soft, wishy-washy, and compromising in their support for abortion.

The Liberals and NDP and their toadies in the media want us to believe, whether we agree with it or not, that a woman’s “right” to an abortion is a settled matter in Canada. This, however, is a gross distortion of reality that can only be arrived at by ignoring the history of how we arrived at the present status quo and why it has not changed in the last three decades Thirty years ago the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R v Morgantaler that Section 251 of the Criminal Code was unconstitutional. The vote was five to two in favour of striking down the section, but it was not as simple as that. There were four separate opinions, three of which concluded via three separate lines of reasoning that the section was unconstitutional, one of which dissented. None of these opinions had more than two supporters. Such a ruling would not in ordinary circumstances be considered the last word on the subject, and where the justices did agree was in the fact that it ought not to be so in this case. They acknowledged precisely what the Liberals and NDP deny – that the state has a responsibility to protect the foetus. Each of the authors of the three opinions supporting the repeal of Section 251 – Chief Justice Brian Dickson, Justice Jean Beetz, and Justice Bertha Wilson, states that protection of the foetus is a valid objective of legislation (See R v Morgentaler, pp. 75, 112-113, 181, 185) None of the justices took the position of the Trudeau Liberals and New Democrats that a woman has an absolute right to an abortion with which the state has no right to interfere and that abortion ought to be freely and universally accessible and unregulated. They expected Parliament to pass new legislation and the fact that abortion has remained entirely unregulated since is due to Parliament's failure to follow through. This was not a matter of Parliament bending to the will of the public. In the immediate aftermath of Morgentaler, the Mulroney Conservatives tried to introduce new legislation which was narrowly defeated. They have not tried since and the post-Morgentaler status quo has never been put to a vote at election time. The Grits and Socialists have largely relied upon keeping the public uninformed to maintain this status quo. There may not be enough public demand to restore the pre-1969 status quo ante of all abortions being illegal, but there would certainly be more support for this than for the present status quo if were widely understood that for the last three decades abortions have been available, right up to the very moment of birth.

The necessity of widespread ignorance to maintain the progressive status quo goes a long way towards explaining why this has now become a free speech issue. The less the public knows about how small a percentage of abortions have anything to do with rape or life-threatening pregnancy complications, the less likely they are to demand new legislation on abortion. The modern day cult of Moloch does not want women to be confronted with the truth about abortion because it knows that far fewer of them would choose to undergo that procedure if they fully grasped that more is at stake than their own health and convenience. Hence their objection to graphic depictions of the aborted foetus. Thus their demand for bubble-zones around abortion clinics in which the truth cannot be legally spoken.

(1) Antiracist individuals and organizations have the self-proclaimed mission of combatting racial prejudice, hatred, and violence by keeping tabs on, informing the public about, and protesting the activities of individuals and groups that promote racialist ideologies such as national socialism. In reality, however, they for the most part ignore the activities of non-white racialist groups, no matter how violent, classify any pro-white group as extremist no matter how peaceful, and attack anyone who disagrees with whatever liberal orthodoxy happens to be at the present moment on matters concerning race and immigration. Their tactics include private espionage, lawfare, spreading disinformation, intimidation, and generating security concerns that they then exploit to shut down speeches and other events of which they disapprove.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Peace, Order and Good Government

The ninety-first section of the British North America Act (1) begins with the words:

It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces;

The phrase “Peace, Order, and good Government”, identified here as the end to which the law-making authority of the Queen-in-Parliament is established, has been similarly used in the constitutional documents of other Commonwealth countries and, in Canada, has often been considered to be our equivalent of the United States’ “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Both expressions identify a triad of goods and make that triad out to be the purpose for which government is constituted. The differences, however, not only in content but also in context and use, may outweigh these similarities. Contextually, the American expression does not appear in the document that legally established their republic, the Constitution of the United States of America, but rather in the document by which the Thirteen Colonies rationalized and justified their decision to secede from the British Empire. For the obvious reason that Canada’s Fathers did not secede from the Empire but deliberately choose to maintain the connection to Britain and the Commonwealth and to build the Dominion on a foundation of loyalty and continuity, Canada has no parallel document. With regards to usage, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” served a revolutionary purpose, “Peace, Order, and good Government” a constructive one.

When we turn to the content of the triads the contrast that is most striking is that the goods in the American triad pertain primarily to the individual, whereas the goods in the Canadian/Commonwealth triad belong to the country as a whole. The different sources from which the two are drawn can be seen in this. In the case of the American triad, its origin in classical liberalism, and specifically the social contract theory of John Locke, is quite obvious. The triad is borrowed, with a slight adjustment by Thomas Jefferson, directly from Locke. In the second of his Two Treatises on Government, (2) Locke argues that life, liberty, and property are the basic natural rights that belong to the individual in a pre-societal state of nature, and that the state was created by individuals voluntarily forming a compact to live under laws that would make these rights more secure. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence is a restatement of this theory.

The liberals who formulated this theory sincerely believed that they were devising a rational and effective safeguard against tyranny – the ancient term for usurped and oppressive power. Their Puritan forerunners believed that by removing Charles I from his throne, beheading him, and making Oliver Cromwell into the Lord Protector they were striking a blow for liberty. Cromwell, however, went down in history as the dictator who established a grim and gloomy, Calvinist, theocracy in which Christmas, the theatre, and harmless amusements were all banned and today it has become quite evident how the idea that government exists to protect the rights of individual can be the basis of tyranny as much as a protection against it. (3) Until very recently, the suggestion that the government might pass laws requiring us to use a plethora of newly-coined pronouns to refer to individuals who have chosen a gender identity for themselves other than male and female would have been confined to the literary genres of totalitarian dystopic fiction and conspiracy theory. Yet today many liberals are promoting such legislation, trying to suppress the views of anyone who would be opposed to such legislation, and doing all of this in the sincere belief that it is necessary to protect individual rights.

Liberals were not the first to assert that the law must protect people’s lives and property. Indeed, this assertion is contained within the ancient definition of justice as each person getting what he deserves. Nor were liberals the first to connect this protection with liberty. It was King Charles I who declared that the “liberty and freedom” of his people “consists in having of Government; those Laws, by which their Life and their goods may be most their own.” In the older tradition, however, the security of life and property, and the freedom that comes from that security, were the products of a stable and orderly civil society and such a society could only exist under a government that legislates and administers justice for the good of the society as a whole. Life outside of such a society was not regarded as man’s natural state. Such an existence, in pre-modern thought, more closely resembled Thomas Hobbes’ idea of a state of nature than that of John Locke, and in this absence of civilization, no rights could exist.

When liberalism rejected the pre-modern tradition in which each person derives his rights and freedom from belonging to a society that is an integrated whole, liberals believed that they were emancipating mankind but, as we see in our present day, triumphant liberalism forges its own chains and fetters with which to bind man. Liberalism is the offspring of rationalism, the epistemological error of reducing the knowable to the technical, i.e., utilitarian knowledge capable of formulation (4) and was born out of the fragmentation of the older tradition. (5) By obsessively fixating on the individual, at the expense of the whole society, liberalism pushed Western civilization so far away from the pre-modern ideal of balance and harmony between the individual and the whole of society in one direction, that in time it produced a pendulum swing in the opposite direction and so in the twentieth century, totalitarianism, which saw only the collective and crushed the individual, came into existence. Liberalism clashed with totalitarianism and triumphed over it, but only by taking on some of its own characteristics. (6)

“Peace, Order, and good Government” was not a conscious attempt to produce a summary of the goods which the pre-liberal tradition regarded as the purpose of the state but it nevertheless serves fairly well as such a summary. “Good Government”, which means the competent and just administration of public affairs, is a fairly adequate equivalent of πολιτεία, as the term was used by Plato and Aristotle to describe their ideal of government. (7) It is certainly more accurate than “republic” which, through its Roman, Italian, and American usage, has ceased to convey the sense of the Latin res publica, “public affairs”, and has taken on the meaning of “kingless government.” The ancients believed that any government, whether it be one ruler, a small elite group, or a majority of enfranchised, corporate, citizens, could be good or bad. A good government was one that exercised its authority in the interests of the whole of the society, a bad government was one that used its power only to serve its own private interests. (8) Actual real-world governments, of course, exist on a spectrum between the absolutely good and the absolutely bad. A common idea among the ancient Athenians, which as adopted by Aristotle, spread through the ancient world by Polybius, and later incorporated into medieval Christendom’s ideal of the Christian commonwealth, (9) was that the best way to ensure a stable government, that would be more good than bad, was to combine monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy (10) into a single government.

America’s Founding Fathers were at their best, not when they were writing rabble-rousing, revolutionary, agitprop like the Declaration of Independence, but when they were putting together the Constitution of their new republic. Despite the fact that a president is a poor substitute for a king or queen, the American Constitution is widely esteemed for its system of checks and balances, a concept America’s Fathers borrowed, indirectly through Montesquieu, from the ancient-medieval ideal of mixed government. That Montesquieu himself had pointed to the British system of King/Queen-in-Parliament as the very embodiment of that ideal, America’s founders for obvious reasons opted to ignore. Canada’s Fathers of Confederation, the heirs of the Loyalist tradition rather than that of the Revolution, had no need either to ignore this fact, or to re-invent the wheel, and directly adapted the British system for the new Dominion. This system began its evolution centuries before the dawn of the Modern Age and it is very fitting and appropriate, therefore, that the Canadian Fathers chose to identify it with the public goods of “Peace, Order, and good Government.”

Today, after a century of assault upon our Loyalist heritage and traditions, our monarchical and parliamentary institutions, and our Common Law rights and freedoms by the Liberal Party of Canada, aided and abetted by her allies in the mainstream Canadian media, it is more important than ever that we remember the principles upon which our country was founded. For it is only by so remembering that we can hope to recover what we have lost and find our way back from the abyss into which the Liberals have been leading us.

(1) This Act, which was passed by the British Parliament in 1867 and which came into effect on July 1st of that year, established the confederation of several of the North American provinces of the British Empire into a new country, which it designated a “Dominion” and gave the name “Canada” which had previously belonged to two of those provinces. Many Canadians, especially supporters of the Liberal Party, are under the impression that the BNAA was replaced as our constitution by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. This is a gross distortion of the truth. What happened that year is that the legislative authority to amend the BNAA, which remains our constitution, was transferred from the British Parliament to the Canadian Parliament, the BNAA was renamed “The Constitution Act, 1867”, and the Charter was added to it as an amendment (or set of amendments). The Charter did not replace our constitution, although, as I have argued many times in the past, it subverted to a great degree, both our constitution of Queen-in-Parliament and the Common Law. Indeed, most of the substantial changes made by the Liberal Party between 1926 and 1982 have had this effect, which is one reason why I, in protest, continue to use the old name of the Act.

(2) The first of the treatises argued against Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarchia. It has been liberal orthodoxy since the nineteenth century that Locke successfully rebutted Filmer, although in the eighteenth century a few honest liberals could be found willing to admit that of the two, Filmer had the better arguments. The second treatise is an attempt at an alternate explanation of the origin and legitimacy of the state.

(3) This has been explored at length by James Kalb in The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command, Wilmington, Delaware, ISI Books, 2008. See also Patrick J. Deneen Why Liberalism Failed, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 2018.

(4) Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, London, Metheun & Co. Ltd., 1962, pp. 1-36.

(5) See Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1948, pp. 52-69.

(6) “In this sense national socialism survived Hitler. Every state in the world has become a welfare state. Whether they call themselves socialist or not does not matter much. Of course the proportions of the compound of nationalism and socialism vary from country to country; but the compound is there…We are all national socialists now.” – John Lukacs, “American History: The Terminological Problem,” The American Scholar, Vol 61., No. 1, (Winter 1992), p. 23. “Some European authors observed that communism died in the East because it had already been implemented in the West.” Tomislav Sunic, Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age, Book Surge Publishing, 2007, p. 34.

(7) In ordinary Greek usage, πολιτεία could refer either to the rights of citizenship in a city-state or the constitution of the city-state. In other words it had the same range of meaning as the Latin civitas. Plato and Aristotle used it in its ordinary sense, but also made it the designation of the best possible government. It is the title of the Platonic dialogue that addresses this concept. Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, entitled his own work written which was inspired by Plato’s, De Re Publica, and it is from this that the misleading custom of rendering this word as “Republic” in English arises. The common alternative “Commonwealth” is much more accurate.

(8) Note how liberalism, by replacing the good of the commonwealth with the protection of individual rights as the purpose of government, reverses this judgement.

(9) See the Respondeo in St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Q. 105.

(10) Today, the terms democracy and ochlocracy (the rule of the mob) are used for the good and bad versions of “the rule of the many” respectively. Plato and Aristotle, however, used democracy for the bad version.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Even More Assorted Reflections

The first Assorted Reflections can be found here.

More Assorted Reflections can be found here.

- The key to understanding what is fraudulently marketed under the label “philosophy” today is Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale about the emperor’s new clothes. In the story, a vain and foppish emperor is hoodwinked by a couple of mountebanks who sell him a line about how they can weave for him the finest set of clothes ever made with the magical property of being invisible to stupid and incompetent people unfit for their station. The “clothes”, of course, are nothing but thin air, but everyone from the emperor down puts on a show of admiring them, because they don’t want to admit they can’t see them. Eventually, the truth that everyone knows but is afraid to say, is blurted out by a child – the emperor is walking around naked. The same scam is pulled all the time in the academic world. An academic con artist, by speaking almost entirely in lengthy neologisms of his own coinage, expressed in a tone of self-assured authority with, perhaps, a tinge of false humility, can persuade thousands of people who have not the foggiest clue what he is talking about to praise him as the greatest mind since Plato, even though he has said absolutely nothing at all.

- That freedom is a good, something to be desired, sought after, and cherished, few would disagree with. In this sense it is accurate to say that we are all liberals now and this is using liberal in its best sense. The questions that remain are a) what kind of good is freedom and b) what kind of freedom is good. The first question hinges on the ancient distinction between a good that is to be desired for the sake of another good and a good that is to be desired for its own sake. The older, pre-modern, tradition answered this question by saying that freedom is the former kind of good. It is desirable because it serves another, greater, good, which in this case, was identified by the Christian tradition as moral goodness itself. Modern liberalism, by contrast, has increasingly come to see freedom as a good to be desired for its own sake, and indeed, to identify it as the highest good. Paradoxically, however, the more dedicated liberalism becomes to this view of freedom, the more it has proposed restrictions and limitations on long-established, traditional political and economic freedoms. Which brings us to the second question, for there are different kinds of freedom and they are not all compatible with each other. Aldous Huxley in his novel, Brave New World, depicted a society that had given up political, economic, and to a large extent intellectual, freedom but which maximized the freedom to pursue pleasure through sex and drugs. This is the choice between freedoms that he believed Western societies were faced with. While this is partially right, the deeper truth is that the freedom that contemporary liberalism has dedicated itself to is the freedom of self-definition and there is no amount of traditional political, economic, and intellectual freedom that the liberal is not willing to sacrifice for this, his highest good. King Charles I, on the scaffold, said that the “Liberty and Freedom” of the people” consists in having of Government; those Laws, by which their Life and their goods may be most their own” and I, for one, prefer this old-fashioned kind of freedom to the new-fangled one.

- True conservatism is a commitment to traditions and institutions that have proven themselves over time, and the highest form of political conservatism, Toryism, is a commitment to the hereditary, royal, monarchy and the institutional Christian church. Classical liberalism and other, more radical, forms of progressive thought, by contrast, are ideological, i.e., attempts to derive a formulaic solution for world improvement from abstract reasoning. The Tory, while skeptical towards grand schemes of world improvement and fundamentally opposed to the progressive attitude that institutions which have been tested and honoured by time should be swept away if they get in the way of progressive experimentation, judges progressive ideas on their own merits on a case by case basis.

- One idea of classical liberalism that has proven itself and thus, at least in the English-speaking world, passed into the realm of time-tested traditions and institutions, is freedom of speech. Indeed, today freedom of speech has become an institution that is itself constantly besieged from the left whenever it stands in the way of the agenda of social justice. In Black Mischief, Evelyn Waugh’s rascally anti-hero Basil Seal, hired by Emperor Seth to help modernize his island, African, nation of Azania, tells the Emperor that this would have been a much more difficult task in an earlier day when it would have meant “constitutional monarchy, bicameral legislature, proportional representation, women’s suffrage, independent judicature, freedom of the press, referendums…” and when asked what these are answers “Just a few ideas that have ceased to be modern”, which describes exactly the fate that has befallen freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas.

- Leftists still pay lip service to freedom of speech, of course, but it seems to have undergone a strange mutation in their thinking. In classical liberalism, freedom of speech meant the freedom to state one’s thoughts, however unpopular they may be, to be evaluated and either accepted or rejected on their own merits, in the marketplace of ideas. The marketplace of ideas is the larger concept which involves both the freedom of the speaker and the freedom of the listener. Translated into practical, legal, terms this liberal ideal becomes a civil right protecting speaker and listener against censorship, which can in this context be defined as government interference intended to exclude an idea from the marketplace. Laws against incitement to violence, defamation, i.e., the deliberate spreading of falsehoods against another person in order to do him social and economic harm, and the oft-referenced laws against shouting “fire” in a crowded place, are not ordinarily thought to violate freedom of speech because they do not seek to exclude ideas from consideration but to protect people from real harm done by words used deliberately as weapons, although our Canadian courts have in some instances perverted defamation law into a form of censorship. Today, however, when leftists are in favour of “freedom of speech”, it always seems to mean the right of some radical activist group, not merely to hold a peaceful demonstration, but to interfere with other people’s freedom to assemble, to address audiences that wish to hear them, and to hear speakers they wish to hear, simply because these groups disapprove of the ideas to be shared. They insist that freedom of speech does not protect “hate speech”, not meaning the expression of literal, angry, violent, hatred, which seems to be the left’s favourite form of speech, but the expression of speech that is “racist”, “sexist”, “xenophobic”, “Islamophobic”, “anti-Semitic”, “homophobic”, “transphobic” and the like. If, however, they get their way, as they often have, and “racist”, “sexist”, etc. speech is forbidden, then the ideas they label with these terms are excluded from the marketplace and, denied access to those ideas, we are forced to take the word of the left’s anti-“hate” “experts”, such as the SPLC and ADL that these ideas are the things they say they are and deserve to be so excluded.

- In liberalism, freedom of thought, speech, and expression was always associated with secularism. The Church, especially when under the protection of the State, was regarded by the classical liberals as the enemy of these freedoms. The events of history do not support the liberal interpretation imposed upon them. Western universities, long regarded as the citadels of freedom of speech and the open market of ideas, usually began as theological colleges and today, long after their secularization, a much narrower secular orthodoxy is far more strictly enforced on their campuses than Christan orthodoxy ever was when they were under the governance of the Church. Look at what Professor Jordan Peterson has been put through at the University of Toronto today, and ask yourself whether anything of the sort would have been feasible when it was still the Anglican King’s College, originally envisioned by John Strachan.

- Rationalism is not the use of reason but its abuse. It is a form of idolatry that places such faith as is properly reserved for divine revelation alone in the individual’s own rational capacity. Whenever something that is good in itself is made into an idol it is twisted into something that is unwholesome, ugly and evil. This is the difference between the reason used by pre-modern thinkers from Socrates to St. Thomas Aquinas and the reason worshipped by modern rationalists.

- Back in the 1970s, comedian George Carlin had a famous monologue about the “Seven Words You Cannot Say on TV.” For his campaign against the censorship of profanity and obscenity, he is remembered by many today, especially those on the progressive left, as a champion of free speech. If the right to be a potty mouth in public is to be considered an element of free speech, it is surely the least important, and its champions must rank at the very bottom of the totem pole of free speech advocacy. The spot at the top of the same is reserved for those brave few who dare fight for the right to express thoughts that have been demonized by the progressive left as “hate speech”, a label for thoughts that are less hateful in themselves than hated by those who wish to suppress them. One man whose thoughts were demonized in this fashion was Professor Robert Faurisson of France, who has recently passed away. Indeed, Faurisson who suffered both prosecution and persecution, including physical violence, for his thoughts was himself demonized as a person for those thoughts. The ever classy – that is sarcasm, for those unable to detect it on their own – Warren Kinsella, upon learning of Faurisson’s death, sent out a tweet which began with the words “Good riddance”, and continued with “Burn in hell.” This is rather the opposite of the more traditional and more civilized post mortem sentiment of: Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux pertua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. If the label “hate speech” actually referred to speech expressing hatred, surely this tweet would qualify. Judging from this violation of the ancient principle of de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est, which, to be fair to Kinsella, he may never have learned, in which case our educational system has much to answer for, one would think that Faurisson had been guilty of terrorism, murder, and/or some depraved sex crime against children. But no, his only “crime” was to claim that the diary of Anne Frank was largely a forgery and that the historical account of the Holocaust is exaggerated and in need of revision. If, decades after the end of any other war, before or after World War II, someone were to suggest that accounts of atrocities committed by the other side had been exaggerated for propaganda purposes, and ought to be revised, this would have been considered to be part of the normal, post bellum, task of the historian rather than a thought crime. The Holocaust, however, has been elevated to the status of a redemptive act – the very name means “burnt offering” – in the heilsgeschicthe of a new post-Christian, religion, to which progressive liberalism demands absolute, unwavering, adherence. Completely irrelevant to the liberals who persecuted Faurisson in France, as they persecuted Ernst Zündel and James Keegstra here in Canada, is the question of whether or not the evidence supports these claims. Indeed, those who treat “Holocaust denial” as some sort of crimethink, actively discourage people from looking into the evidence, by treating this as reason for suspicion in and of itself. It is those who stood up for Faurisson in France – and Zündel and Keegstra in Canada – who are the true champions of freedom of speech in our time. As for Faurisson himself, I, in the opposite spirit to that of Kinsella, express the hope that before it was too late, he realized his error – referring not to his unconventional views of WWII history but to his profession of atheism – repented, and came to faith in the true and living God, Who sent His Son into the world to redeem sinners. To anyone offended by that, I apply the words of Edward III: honi soit qui mal y pense.

- Traditionalist conservatives of the Roman Catholic persuasion frequently regard the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century as the wellspring of the plague of modernity with its various manifestations in liberalism, socialism, feminism, etc. There is some truth to this, although more astute traditionalists have been able to trace the decay of Western civilization back much further (in Richard M. Weaver’s case to thirteenth century nominalism). The truth is more nuanced than this, however. In the case of the Protestant Reformation of continental Europe, the first Reformer, Dr. Martin Luther was essentially conservative, orthodox, and even reactionary. He sought moderate reform of the Church on an ad fontes basis, i.e., a return to the source of the Christian tradition in the Holy Scriptures, beginning with the recovery of the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith apart from human works. His goal was not to overthrow the order of Christendom but rather to preserve it. The Lutheran Book of Concord, opening with the ancient ecumenical Creeds, testifies to his basic orthodoxy, and he vehemently opposed radicalism in both the ecclesiastical and political spheres. The Swiss Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, however, can properly be regarded as a father of modernity, as can the even more radical Anabaptists. Even John Calvin, who sought to steer the Swiss Reformation into a moderate, middle position, between Zwingli and Luther, must be regarded as a father of modernity. The Lutherans have long regarded the orthodoxy of his Christology and his view of the Trinity as being suspect, and there has been a notable tendency towards Nestorianism among his followers. Eric Voegelin argued that he had revived a form of the Gnostic heresy, and Calvinism’s influence on the later stages of the English Reformation was definitely in the direction of radicalism. The English Reformation began when Parliament passed the first Act of Supremacy in 1534, removing the Church of England from under papal jurisdiction. Since this was done for political rather than theological reasons, and it was not the intention of Parliament to separate the Church of England from the Catholic Church but from the authority which the patriarch of Rome had usurped over other ecclesiastical provinces in violation of the consensus of the early Church, as the Eastern Church has always maintained, the English Reformation was even more conservative than the Lutheran Reformation, leaving the Church of England essentially intact in terms of its established, hierarchical order, its sacramental ministry, and its Creedal orthodoxy. The first significant reforms were liturgical, and these were done conservatively. The liturgy was put into the English vernacular, but drawn from the ancient liturgical traditions. It was the same man who oversaw these liturgical reforms, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, who, after the accession of Edward VI authored the Confession which, in a slightly abridged version, would be adopted as the Articles of Religion of the Church of England in the reign of Elizabeth I. The faith confessed by the Articles is a reformed Catholicism, affirming the orthodoxy of the ecumenical Creeds, affirming the traditional episcopal hierarchy of the Church and the sacramental ministry, but also affirming the basic doctrines of the Protestant Reformation such as justification by faith rather than works. The Protestantism affirmed by the Articles is the Protestantism that was embraced by their author, Cranmer, which was essentially the more conservative Lutheranism, rather than Calvinism or even more radical versions. By contrast, the English Protestants who had taken refuge in Switzerland during the reign of Mary Tudor and thus fallen under Calvinist and Zwinglian influence rather than Lutheran, returned to England as radicals, whose agitation for more extreme political, ecclesiastical, and moral reforms eventually erupted into civil war, regicide, and the Cromwellian dictatorship. All forms of modern liberalism, progressivism, and leftism today are ultimately descended from this radical Calvinism known to history as Puritanism.

- It is deeply ironic that in Protestant circles today the term “evangelical” is more-or-less used as if it were interchangeable with “conservative” and “orthodox.” There is much historical ignorance on display in this usage. The term evangelical, first used in the sixteenth century, can either be synonymous with “Protestant”, in which case it includes both the conservative and orthodox on the one hand and the liberal and radical on the other, or it can designate certain movements or factions within Protestantism. Until the twentieth century, these factions and movements were not noted for their orthodoxy and frequently aligned themselves with liberal, progressive, and radical reform movements. In post-Restoration seventeenth century England, “Evangelical” and “Orthodox” were the names of opposing parties within the Church of England. They were nicknamed the “low church” and “high church” respectively. These are often thought of as the “Protestant” and “Catholic” parties within the Church, but it would be more accurate to say that the original Evangelical or low church party was the Calvinist party, whereas the Orthodox or high church party was the party of the classical Anglicanism of the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Carolinian eras. Support for the Whigs, or classical liberals, from within the C of E generally came from the Evangelicals, whereas the Orthodox were the base of the Tory party. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively, the Evangelical and Orthodox parties underwent spiritual revivals, in each case led by a man who had crossed over from the other party, John Wesley and John Henry Newman. Wesley, who had crossed over from the Orthodox wing to lead the Evangelical revival, remained a Tory himself, but his influence on his followers, who, especially those who formed the Methodist sect, were noted supporters of radical causes, was primarily theological. Wesley was an Arminian, and the Wesleyan revival brought to an end the days in which Anglican Evangelicalism was synonymous with Calvinism, although Arminianism is more properly understood as a version of Calvinism that rejects its strict predestinarianism rather than its exact opposite. In the early nineteenth century, while the former Evangelical John Henry Newman was leading a spiritual awakening in the Orthodox wing of the Church, Evangelicalism, now an inter-denominational revival movement, pulled further away from orthodoxy and conservatism. Its spiritual leader in this era was Charles G. Finney, a lawyer-turned-Presbyterian-minister whose many heresies included full Pelagianism. Politically, nineteenth century Evangelicalism jumped on the bandwagon of several progressive reform movements, including Prohibitionism. It was not until around the middle of the twentieth century that certain fundamentalists decided to rebrand themselves as evangelicals in order to distance themselves from negative connotations associated with the term fundamentalism. This is the genesis of today’s use of “evangelical” to designate a Protestant who is “conservative” or “orthodox” rather than liberal. Ironically, this rebranding of fundamentalism was itself a step towards liberalism, and the second generation of this new evangelicalism, was decidedly less orthodox theologically, and further to the left politically, than the first generation, as has been documented by Richard Quebedeaux, George M. Marsden, and Francis Schaeffer, among others. Such left-of-centre positions as open immigration and feminism have far more support among evangelicals than among fundamentalists. It is not uncommon, for example, for evangelicals to support the ordination of women, whereas fundamentalists, unreconstructed Anglican highchurchmen, traditional Roman Catholics, and traditional Eastern Orthodox, are united in their opposition to this on the basis of Scripture and tradition. Indeed, in denominations like Methodism and Pentecostalism that arose out of the Wesleyan evangelical revival, the ordination of women has been accepted from the beginning. Several years ago, when the supposedly Conservative government passed a bill implementing the approach of the “Nordic model” to prostitution, it was with the support of Canadian evangelicals despite the fact that the “Nordic model” violates basic principles of legal justice and is built entirely on the foundation of feminist male-bashing. While evangelicals are less likely to support any of these positions than theological liberals, they are far more likely to do so than any other group that considers itself to be theologically conservative.

- Fundamentalism, contrary to popular opinion, is to be preferred over evangelicalism. It was an interdenominational movement that started in the late nineteenth century in response to the invasion of the Protestant churches by rationalistic unbelief that had been disguised to look like theology. The movement named itself “fundamentalist” in the twenties of the twentieth-century after what it called the “fundamentals”, i.e., doctrines that were essential to Christianity but which liberalism was denying, often through the means of disingenuous redefinition. No, contrary to whatever misconceptions you might have formed, dispensationalism and premillennialism were never considered to be fundamentals by the fundamentalists. The fundamentals were the authority and infallibility of the Scriptures as God’s inspired Word, the deity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection, and the physical second coming of Jesus Christ. With the exception of the first, each of these doctrines is clearly stated in the Apostles’, Nicene-Constantinopolitan, and Athanasian Creeds, the affirmations of the orthodox Christian kerygma that have come down to us from the era when the Apostolic church was undivided, and the reason the first is not stated is because it is the basic presupposition upon which each of the Creeds is built. If fundamentalism erred, it was not in the direction of affirming as essential something that was tertiary or peripheral to Christianity, but in the direction of unnecessarily abridging the orthodox kerygma by drawing up short, usually five-point, lists of the fundamentals rather than pointing to the Creeds. Nor was there anything wrong with the combative attitude taken by the fundamentalists towards the modernists – this was the same attitude taken by our Lord towards the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, by the Apostle Paul towards the Judaizers who were plaguing the Galatians, and by the Church Fathers towards the Gnostics, Arians, Sabellians, Docetists, Appollinarians, Monophysitists, Patripassionists, etc. This is precisely the attitude that should be taken, and that we are commanded by the Lord and His Apostles to take, towards those who claim teaching authority within the Church while denying, in whole or in part, the Christian kerygma. Unfortunately fundamentalism did become schismatic – extremely so, in many cases.

- Schism is never the appropriate response to heresy. Schism is itself a form of heresy because Christ’s “one, holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church” is an element of the Christian kerygma, albeit one that is subordinate to the greater truths about the Trinity, Christ, and salvation. Far too many who are orthodox on other truths seem to think that the Church that is called the “body of Christ” in the Scriptures is merely a way of speaking of the aggregate of all believers as individuals and that the organized bodies that we customarily call Churches are something entirely different, man-made institutions formed by groups of believers for their own convenience. In Scriptural and Creedal orthodoxy, however, the body of Christ, the Church, is an organized and organic, institution, founded by Christ Himself, through His Apostles. Its full presence, requires both the affirmation of the orthodox, Christian, kerygma and organic continuity with the Apostolic Church. The orthodox response to heresy, is to defrock and excommunicate heretical teachers, not to go into schism.

- The papacy of the sixteenth century, and its followers, argued that Dr. Luther had corrupted the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith by adding the word alone, which, they then argued, St. Paul never used in connection with justification by faith in Scripture, while St. James negated the connection in the twenty-fourth verse of the second chapter of his epistle. The answer to this superficially plausible response is to point out that what Dr. Luther was excluding by “alone” was “works.” That justification is not by works, St. Paul does indeed assert in Romans 3: 20, 27, 28; 4:4-8; 11:6; Galatians 2:16; 3:10-13; Ephesians 2:8-9; II Timothy 1:9; and Titus 3:5. These passages cannot be explained away by saying that Paul was talking about “works of the law” as opposed to “works of love” because this very distinction is eliminated if “works of love” are held to be conditions of justification rather than responses arising out of gratitude for a salvation freely given. The key to harmonizing Paul and James is Romans 4:2, which allows for James’ doctrine of justification by works, but asserts that such justification cannot be “before God”. The papacy, by pronouncing its anathema sit upon the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith without works, only brought itself under the Church’s very first anathema, pronounced by St. Paul himself in Galatians 1:8-9. Those who sought reform of the Church from within and found themselves disfellowshipped by the papacy for asserting the Pauline doctrine, cannot properly be said to have gone into schism. The same cannot be asserted of those who thought the initial Reformation had not gone far enough, and, seeking ecclesiastical purity, broke away of their own volition to found their own sects. These are guilty of the heresy of Donatism.

- A criticism frequently made of fundamentalism is that its Scriptural literalism is an innovation and that historically and traditionally, orthodox Christianity did not interpret the entire Bible literally. As I have pointed out at length, fundamentalist literalism is a reduction of the traditional, orthodox, interpretation of the Scriptures, not an innovation. The traditional, orthodox interpretation is that Scriptural truth comes in multiple layers of meaning, which are built on the foundation of the literal meaning. The Scriptures contain many books, in many genres, including poetry and prose, history and proverbial wisdom, biographical narrative and instructive epistles, and a hyper-literalism, that does not take these differences into consideration, is to be avoided as absurd, but any non-literalism based on rationalistic presuppositions, such as “the narrative describes a miracle, miracles don’t happen, therefore it has to be taken metaphorically” must be rejected by the orthodox.

- Orthodoxy allows for varying degrees of literalism in the interpretation of the Scriptures, but not in the affirmation of the Creeds. Creedal literalism is the sine qua non of orthodoxy. Ask those who object to fundamentalist Scriptural literalism if they affirm every single statement in the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as the literal truth. Any answer other than yes, comes from a position of rationalistic unbelief rather than traditional orthodoxy.

- In the period of the French Revolution, the radical Jacobin revolutionaries were the mortal foes of those seeking genuine reform, i.e., the moderates among the Royalists, who were the vast majority of the Royalists and included the king himself.

- In the history of central Canada, prior to Confederation, the Whiggish Reform movement produced a number of radical, revolutionary firebrands, such as Robert Fleming Gourlay and William Lyon Mackenzie, the former of whom sowed the seeds that the latter unsuccessfully reaped in the insurrection of 1837. The post-Confederation Liberal Party of Canada is usually thought of as being the descendent of the supposedly more moderate and responsible of the Reformers, such as Robert Baldwin, Egerton Ryerson and George Brown. The popular nickname of the Liberal Party is borrowed from the Clear Grits, which was the name of the faction within the Reform movement that Brown led. The real nature of the Liberal Party, however, can be seen in the fact that from 1919 to 1948, they were led by the grandson, namesake, and ideological heir of the leader of the 1837 rebellion, and from 1958 to 1984, they were led by men who had sold their souls and services to the Communist movement. These are the periods to which the Liberal Party generally looks when patting itself on the back over its supposed past accomplishments. The truly moderate and reasonable among the nineteenth century Reformers, were drawn into the Liberal-Conservative Party by the leadership of a young Tory from Kingston, Sir John A. Macdonald, who, like the Earl of Beaconsfield in England, was successfully able to wed the cause of responsible and reasonable reform with the Tory defence of stability, order, and established traditional institutions.

- The use of immigration by radicals to attack and undermine traditional Canada is usually thought to go back to the 1960s. Tom Kent, an advisor of Lester Pearson, is quoted as having recommended the radical changes to immigration policy introduced by the Liberals in that decade for the purposes of breaking up “Tory Toronto.” After the initial exodus of the United Empire Loyalists to Upper Canada and the Maritime Provinces, Upper Canada began to experience a large wave of immigration from the United States, prompted by Lt. Governor Simcoe’s offers of cheap land grants. John Strachan, the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, a major architect of Canadian higher education, one of the first proponents of the Confederation of British North America, an old, unreconstructed, High Tory and the spiritual leader of the Loyalist establishment of Upper Canada, warned in the early 1800s that these might be bringing American republican sentiments with them. While the immigrants did not defect back to the United States in the War of 1812, as was feared and the Yankee invaders evidently expected, in the 1830s William Lyon Mackenzie clearly hoped there was enough of that republican sentiment for him to fan into a revolutionary fire. Mackenzie, like Gourlay before him, wanted more liberal republicans from the United States to immigrate to Canada. Clearly, the radical strategy of using immigration to attack established institutions, is older than most people think.

- Bishop Strachan and William Lyon Mackenzie were themselves both immigrants from Scotland. They perfectly illustrate the difference between the right kind of immigrant and the wrong kind. Strachan, the arch-supporter of the traditional order, was the classic example of the right kind of immigrant, the immigrant willing to do the work the Canadian-born are unwilling to do, namely warn against the wrong kind of immigration. Mackenzie, a subversive and seditious opponent of the traditions and institutions both of his native land and of Loyalist Upper Canada, was the classic example of the wrong kind of immigrant.

- While Mackenzie’s revolution failed, the fact that Bishop Strachan’s fears about liberal, republican sentiments being imported by post-Loyalist immigration from the United States were not without basis is evidenced by the Reform movement. Not in its insistence upon “responsible government” per se, as this was in keeping with the British parliamentary system and in one form or another would be an inevitable development in the evolution of a province of the British Empire. It is in the Reform movement’s inclinations towards secularism that an imported, Yankee, influence can be seen. These inclinations manifested themselves primarily in the battles over the Clergy Reserves and educational system of Upper Canada (Ontario). The Clergy Reserves were tracts of land set aside in the Constitutional Act of 1791 for the support of “Protestant clergy” with the intention of making the Church of England the established Church of Upper Canada, as it already was in Nova Scotia and the Roman Catholic Church was in Lower Canada (Quebec). The Reformers initially fought to include the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) in the establishment, then to extend it to other Protestant denominations, and finally to abolish the reserves altogether. The consequence over their victory was that by the time of Confederation, Upper Canada had no established Church. The claims of confused Liberals to the contrary notwithstanding, non-establishment did not amount to a “separation of church and state” which has never been a principle of the Canadian tradition, although it was a step towards it, and therefore a step towards Americanism and away from the Loyalist heritage. In both battles, resistance to the Reformers’ demands was led by Bishop Strachan. Strachan had been a schoolteacher and tutor before answering the call of the priesthood and education was never far from his heart. He established a grammar school at his first parish in Cornwall, and when he was appointed to the parish that would become St. James Cathedral in Toronto – then York – he also took over as headmaster at Home District Grammar School. He expanded the curricula of these schools and authored the first text-book in Upper Canada. He talked his wife’s brother-in-law (through her first marriage), Montreal businessman James McGill, into endowing what would become a major Canadian university in his will. He himself obtained Royal Charters for the establishment of two colleges, King’s College in 1827 and Trinity College in 1851. The reason for the founding of the second college was that the Reformers, a couple of years earlier, having come to power in the Legislative Assembly, used that power to confiscate King’s College from the Church and secularize it into the University of Toronto. Secular education, the Reformers’ ideal, was the opposite of the traditional, British, Church-administered education envisioned by Bishop Strachan, who had done so much towards the actual establishment of education up to and including the university level in Upper Canada. This too, was a case of liberal ideas being imported from the United States through immigration.

Friday, October 5, 2018

More Assorted Reflections

The first Assorted Reflections can be found here.

- Although Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans claimed to be fighting for the freedom of the people against “tyranny”, it was King Charles I who had the love and support of the common people. The Jacobins, likewise, declared themselves to be the champions of the poor of France, even though in the cahiers detailing their grievances the poor of France had not called for the overthrow of the monarchy, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were in fact more popular than the men who deposed them, the Revolution was instigated by a cousin of the king, and most of its leaders were upper class intellectuals. Marxism considered itself to be the voice of the proletariat (factory workers) despite the fact that its founders were a pseudo-philosopher (Marx) and a factory owner (Engels), it has always been led by intellectuals, and has never drawn significant support from the actual working classes, who generally suffered the most wherever it came to power. Similarly, the feminist movement appointed itself the voice of the female sex, although it has never spoken for family oriented women who make marriage and children their top priorities and is overtly hostile to Christian women who believe the Sixth Commandment applies to both sexes. The claims of black activist groups to speak for all blacks and of the Anti-Defamation League to speak for Jews are further examples of the same.

- From its beginning feminism has drawn inspiration from both liberalism (classical) and Marxism, with some feminists leaning more toward liberalism, others towards Marxism, but with a general alignment to the liberal-left. The liberal-left has always been inclined towards democratic and small-r republican institutions of government – an inclination which in no way conflicts with its inclination towards totalitarianism. Within such institutions, feminism had to fight for the right of women to vote and to hold elected office. Conversely, we on the conservative-right have traditionally been inclined towards the institution of hereditary, royal, monarchy. This institution has allowed for reigning and even ruling queens and empresses since the dawn of human history.

- Feminism has strange priorities. On New Year’s Eve, 2015, gangs of migrants harassed, assaulted, and in some cases raped large numbers of women in Cologne and other German cities. The feminist outcry over this was insignificant, almost non-existent in comparison to the loud noise they are currently making over Brett Kavanaugh, the charges against whom are unsubstantiated and suspiciously timed. Indeed, most feminists have jumped on the “migrants welcome” and anti-Islamophobia bandwagons, proving that while politics makes strange bedfellows, intersectionality makes the strangest bedfellows of all.

- While I do not take the position that women ought to be kept barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, I do think a case can be made that this is what should be done to feminists. Especially the male feminists.

- It has been reported for a couple of weeks now that Her Excellency, Julie Payette, is less than happy with her position as Her Majesty's vice-regal representative in the Dominion government and that others are less than happy with her performance in that role. Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that she was chosen for the position by the Liberal Party. The Grits, and especially the Trudeau branch of the party, have long lacked both an understanding of and an appreciation for the office of the Governor General and the grand, traditional, institution of royal monarchy it represents. So, when it falls to them to choose the next Governor General, they don't look for the person best suited to represent the Queen in Canada - which is the actual, constitutional, purpose of the office - but for someone to be the face of Canada, as they envision it, which is constantly changing, to the world. There is a simple solution to the problem. I have long maintained that while the Canadian Senate is badly in need of reform, the reform it needs is reform that respects and is consistent with the constitution that the Fathers of Confederation bequeathed to us in 1867. The complete overhaul of the Americanized, Triple-E, model proposed by the old Reform Party is unacceptable. The most necessary reform could be accomplished simply by removing control over who is recommended to be appointed to the Senate from the Prime Minister's office. Having the provinces, rather than the federal government, recommend the appointees to the Senate seats allotted to them would be an obvious way of doing this. Similarly, it should not be the Prime Minister who advises the Queen as to who her representative should be. Indeed, unlike the Senate, in the case of the Governor General's office it was not established in Confederation that the Queen would appoint based on recommendation from the Prime Minister's office, but rather, until the Statute of Westminster the appointment was made on recommendation by the Imperial Privy Council. In the Liberal Version of Canadian history this is regarded as a step forward in the evolution of Canadian nationhood. This is because the Liberal Version falsely superimposes America's story - the story of former colonies forging a new national identity after severing the imperial connection - upon Canada. Canada's true story is the exact opposite of this - the story of Britain's loyal North American colonies, English-speaking Protestant and French-speaking Catholic, coming together to create a new nation that would deliberately retain the connection, that would in time become more familial than imperial. Since so many Canadians do not know our own story, transferring the right of recommendation from the Canadian PMO back to London would not sell in this day and age, but that is not the only option that suggests itself. The Queen's Canadian Privy Council, minus the current Prime Minister and Cabinet, is the appropriate body to make the recommendation.

- Mazo de la Roche, at one time Canada's most popular novelist (she also wrote plays, short stories, and a memoir), had very strong views as to who was qualified to be Governor General. According to her biographer Ronald Hambleton she believed the office should be restricted to the aristocracy and preferably a member of the royal family. De la Roche is buried very close to the grave of Stephen Leacock in the churchyard of St. George the Martyr at Sibbald Point in Sutton, Ontario. Both were traditional Canadian Tories - royalists, who believed in Canada and her British institutions and connection, and were suspicious of American liberal republicanism. With her reverence for nobility and the aristocratic ideal, so obviously on display in her Jalna books, de la Roche was more properly the High Tory. Apart from his royalism and his views of race and sex, Leacock's dissent from egalitarianism was in the direction of individualistic meritocracy. He was, perhaps, the quintessential Canadian Low Tory.

- Canada's British institutions and familial connection have historically been means to the end of preserving Canada's independence from the United States. The reverse is also true, that the cause of maintaining Canada's independence from the United States has been the means to the end of preserving her British institutions and familial connection, valued as goods in themselves. The main weakness of Canadian Toryism, apart from the fear of being seen as too right-wing by the electorate that has led to far too much left-ward drift over the years, is that while it always recognized the first point, it seldom fully grasped the second, which is the more important of the two. John Diefenbaker was an exception to this. John Farthing, whose Freedom Wears a Crown articulated and defended the point, was another. Neither man was properly appreciated by the Conservative Party.

- Conservatives of the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries looked back to the eighteenth century statesman Edmund Burke as their prophet. Ironically. Edmund Burke was a member of the Whig (liberal) Party. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this. The ideas that conservatives most respect in Burke are his defence of the British monarchy and established Church, his condemnation of "armed doctrines", his revision of social contract theory to make the "contract of each particular state" into a "clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society" that is a "partnership between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born," and the local patriotism of his "little platoons," all of which come from his Reflections on the Revolution in France, written late in his career, and which better reflect Tory convictions than those of his own party. Indeed, this sharing of ideas has gone both ways. Thomas Hobbes, who introduced social contract theory to begin with, and David Hume, the noted eighteenth century skeptic, are both recognized as significant contributors to the development of the ideas of classical liberalism, but politically both were affiliated with the Royalists/Tories. In Hume's case this only really comes out in his History of England. At any rate, excellent as many of Burke's "neo-Tory" insights in the Reflections are, conservatives would do better to look to his friend the lexicographer Samuel Johnson, the oft-quoted Dr. Johnson, as their eighteenth century prophet. T. S. Eliot was one conservative who recognized this, and his famous statement "I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature and a royalist in politics" consciously echoes Dr. Johnson's definition of a Tory.

- Canadian conservatism began as an adaptation of British Toryism. It was royalist, but, due to the greater denominational differences that have been here since before Confederation (French Canadians were predominantly Roman Catholic, English Canadians were traditionally English Anglicans and Scottish Presbyterians, with a sizable number of English Methodists and Baptists and Irish Catholics, and smaller numbers from other denominations) it was less associated with church establishment than its British parent, although it was far from being secular, and Canada, contrary to the claims of certain ignorant Grits, has no tradition of separation of church and state. Since the 1950s, and the birth of the American conservative movement (as recently as 1950 Lionel Trilling could write "In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition"), Canadian conservatives have tended either to borrow ideas from American conservatives (Canadian neo-conservatives) or to emphasize the differences between Canadian Toryism and American conservatism and try to re-align the former with socialism, progressivism, and the left (Red Tories). Both tendencies are mistakes, in my opinion. Contrary to some clever arguments from the Reds and the examples of lovably eccentric individuals like George Grant and Eugene Forsey who were able to blend religious conservatism and the Tory love of Canadian institutions with otherwise left-wing views in their personal philosophies, there is no natural affinity between Toryism on the one hand and socialism, progressivism, and the left in general on the other. Canadian neoconservatives, however, have had the perverse tendency to pick out of the big tent of American conservatism, the ideas that are least compatible with our own Toryism and neglect those that are the most. That big tent originally consisted of classical liberals or libertarians (liberals in the nineteenth century meaning of the term), ex-Communist Cold Warriors, and traditionalists like Russell Kirk, Richard Weaver, and Robert Nisbet. The traditionalists borrowed from British classical conservatism as many ideas as they could compatibly incorporate into a liberal republic. Obviously, these are the American conservatives most compatible with our own Toryism. They are also the most neglected by Canadian neo-conservatives. This is perhaps not surprising when we consider how neglected they are in their own movement. Their role in the big tent was largely supplanted in the 1970s and 1980s by the New Right and (American) neo-conservatives. The New Right was an alliance between populist-nationalists and the Religious Right. There was some overlap in position between the older moral and social conservatism of the traditionalists which corresponded closely to that of British and Canadian Tories but the predominantly evangelical/fundamentalist Religious Right more often seemed to be a revival of Puritanism, the theocratic Calvinism that had been the first form of liberalism before it went secular, and the Tories' oldest enemy. The American neo-conservatives were New Deal, liberal, Democrats who defected from the left when the New Left became pro-Soviet and pro-Palestinian. These became the arch champions of American, neo-imperialistic, militarism. It is from the classical liberals and American neo-conservatives that Canadian neo-conservatives have borrowed the most. The Religious Right has had much less of an impact, perhaps because of the large influence of social justice theology on our evangelicals, although interestingly the socially and morally conservative George Grant, usually considered a Red Tory, was willing to look on the Religious Right as allies in the fight against abortion and euthanasia. With the election of Donald Trump to the American presidency, the populist-nationalists, with the backing of a sizable portion of the Religious Right, rose to ascendency in the big tent of American conservatism, much to the disgust of the Republican Party elite, an alliance of the neo-conservatives, classical liberals (except the Trump-supporting paleolibertarians), and a minority of the Religious Right. Already in Canada we see signs of this impacting us, with Doug Ford leading the Ontario Progressive Conservatives to victory on a populist-nationalist platform, and now Quebec having given a majority government to a party which, like Maxime Bernier's proposed new federal party, blends classical liberalism with populist-nationalism. What this entails for the future of Canada and Canadian conservatism remains to be seen. I will still be holding on to my classical, Canadian, Toryism with a willingness, as always, to entertain worthy ideas from any of these other varieties.

- The elements of genuine moral and social conservatism are the beliefs: a) in an unchanging and universal moral order or natural law with fixed standards of right and wrong (C. S. Lewis’ “Tao” from The Abolition of Man), b) that tradition, through which the accumulated wisdom of the past is passed down to us, is a more reliable guide to these standards than private, abstract, reasoning, c) that the cultivation and nature of right habits of behaviour (virtues) is more effective than the imposition of rules at producing right decision-making and that while the information transmitted in the process of cultivating such habits necessarily includes some rules, the bulk of it cannot be codified as rules and can only be learned from example, which is best accomplished in the home with the support of the teaching ministry of the church, and d) that the government’s role is the “ministry of the sword”, by which it makes and enforces the laws that uphold the peace, order, and justice that provide the civilized framework for all of the preceding points. The popular perception of moral and social conservatism, however, has largely been shaped by the New American Religious Right, the most immediate direct ancestor of which was the Prohibition movement which grew out of the Temperance Movement supported by evangelical and fundamentalist revivalists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is often forgotten today that Prohibition was considered to be a Progressive cause, both big and small p, at the time, and also had the support of the Social Gospel movement (theological liberalism) and first-wave feminism. Indeed, in Canada at least, the latter was largely responsible for Prohibition passing – the provinces generally voted Prohibition in immediately after feminism won the franchise for women in World War I and then voted it back out again once the men returned from overseas. While Prohibition did have its supporters among Conservatives, the most traditional Tories and the churches most associated with classical conservatism, the Anglican Church which at the time was still “The Tory Party at prayer” and the ultramontane Roman Catholic Church of pre-Quiet Revolution Quebec, opposed it. Stephen Leacock gave lectures against it pro bono public! There are significant differences, of course, between the Prohibition movement and the New Religious Right. The former sought to impose on society a new law, the complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages, which was not grounded in tradition, had not been part of mainstream Christian orthodox moral theology (it belongs rather to the Islamic tradition) and which, despite the best efforts of Rev. William Patton to prove otherwise, clearly contradicts the Scriptures. The latter was a response to a moral revolution that removed long-standing, traditional rules, which are supported by orthodox Christian moral theology. There is nothing in its opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and the ongoing sexual revolution with which genuine moral and social conservatism would disagree, but in its presentation it evokes the image of previous evangelical backed moral crusades, such as Prohibition and the seventeenth century Puritanism that would put a man in stocks for kissing his wife in public when he returned from a three year voyage on Sunday, an unattractive image to say the least.

- David Lane was a disturbed individual who rejected the Christian faith in which he was raised for a revived, Nordic, paganism and embraced a violent racialism and was eventually sent to prison for the crimes he committed as a member of the Order, a neo-Nazi terrorist group that supported its activities with funds obtained through armed robbery. Obviously a man who any sane person would consider to be utterly repugnant. What is interesting, however, is that if you take the "fourteen words" meme attributed to him, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children", and substitute any other colour or racial identity for "our" and "white" you will end up with a statement that would be considered unobjectionable, non-offensive, acceptable, laudable, and even an essential goal of social policy by liberals, progressives, and other self-identified "enlightened" people. Make the substitution and you will see what I mean. This provides us with a challenge for the soi disant "enlightened." Either admit, that despite its unsavoury origins and associations, there is nothing objectionable in the content of the “fourteen words” meme or disavow all the other racial identity politics that you support.

- Another white nationalist meme is that of “white genocide.” It purports to explain the observable phenomenon that has sometimes been called “white death,” i.e., the vast shrinking, over the last century, of the Caucasian percentage both of the total world population and of the populations of historically white countries, that has accelerated after the post-World War II Baby Boom as white fertility has dropped and white populations have been aging without reproducing themselves, relying instead upon immigration to replace themselves. The explanation offered by the “white genocide” meme is that this is due to the plotting of some racial enemy. Although there certainly are leftists who express their hatred of white people in genocidal terms, an obvious example of which being Noel Ignatiev, and genocide would be an apt description of what is being done to the whites of Zimbabwe and South Africa, the phenomenon as a whole is probably better described as “white suicide.” The white nationalists are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking “who is doing this to us” they should be asking “why are we doing this to ourselves.” The answer is liberalism.

- Forty-five years ago, in the eerily prophetic novel, The Camp of the Saints, French author Jean Raspail warned of the coming death of Western civilization through an invasion of the masses of Third World poor aided and abetted by a suicidal white liberalism. The author was not a populist-ethno-nationalist, at least not primarily, but rather a traditional Roman Catholic and a legitimist royalist. Perhaps this explains his insightful prescience.

- Both the left and the right believe that ethnocentrism has both a healthy and a toxic form. Where they disagree is over what constitutes the difference between the healthy and toxic. The right would say that a healthy ethnocentrism is the kind of in-group loyalty that promotes and facilitates social cohesion, trust, and cooperation whereas toxic ethnocentrism is characterized by a paranoid distrust and violent hatred towards other groups. The left is more simplistic. For them it is a matter of skin colour. If you have the wrong skin colour, white, your ethnocentrism is toxic, no matter what form it takes, if you have the right skin colour, all others, it is healthy, even if it is expressed in paranoid and hateful terms.

- Today “enlightened” seems to mean “uncritically following the latest trends and fads in modern philosophy.” Come to think of it, that’s what it meant in the days of Diderot, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Kant and Rousseau, as well.

- Finding economic truth boils down to one question: who is the most competent to make the decision? If it is a decision that primarily affects the individual and his family, then the individual and family are under most circumstances the most competent to make the decision. There are obvious exceptions of people who lack the rational facility to make their own decisions, but for the most part this stands true. Conversely, if it is a decision that primarily affects the good of the country as a whole, the government is the most competent to make the decision. Again there are obvious exceptions, such as when the government consists of arrogant, egotists, obsessed with reading everything through the lens of the latest trend in progressive and politically correct ideology, but generally it is the case. The doctrine of laissez faire or economic liberalism is the error of thinking that the individual is competent to make all decisions (and that the common good of the whole country is thereby brought about through Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”). Socialism is the error of thinking that the government is competent to make all decisions, including those that individuals and families should be making for themselves. The latter is by far the worst error of the two, but they are both errors.

- When someone says "satire is dead" they generally mean that things so bizarre have been happening in reality that it would be pointless to parody them. Satire is dead, but for an entirely different reason - the widespread influence of liberal, progressive, and left-wing thinking. The left does not get satire, because the left is incapable of distinguishing between basic human imperfection and huge evils that demand immediate rectification. This is because they refuse to accept the basic Christian truth that human history, between the Fall and Second Coming, is the history of people with the fundamental flaw of Original Sin, and that perfection cannot be expected on this earth and in time. Therefore, their response to any perceived imperfection is "this is unacceptable, it must be smashed, crushed, destroyed, and replaced with perfection." The point of satire, however, is to help us live with our imperfections, by allowing us to laugh at them. The political, social, religious, and cultural institutions that make for the good and civilized life are not perfect, but they can never be perfect, so rather than smashing them, crushing them, and razing them to the ground, let us laugh at their imperfections, so that we can appreciate them, warts and all. This spirit is completely foreign to the progressive. This is also why the greatest satirists - Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, Stephen Leacock, and Evelyn Waugh to give a few examples, have been Tories.