The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

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.

Monday, October 1, 2018

A Sour Note Before a Symphony

The other night I went to hear the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by their new maestro Daniel Raiskin, perform Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony, commonly known as his “Titan”. Also on the program were Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor. It was an excellent performance.

I had brought along David M. Legate’s biography of Stephen Leacock to read while waiting for the concert to start. As I was attempting to concentrate on the chapter about Leacock’s battle with prohibition I could not help but overhear the conversation taking place to my immediate right. It had to do with the testimony that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had given the US Senate Judiciary Committee the previous day against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee for the American Supreme Court. The elderly lady in the seat next to mine was saying that she had previously had doubts about Ford’s claims that Kavanaugh had attempted a drunken sexual assault on her at a party they supposedly attended when they were teenagers thirty-six years ago, but after hearing her testify was convinced she was telling the truth.

I rolled my eyes, bit my tongue to prevent myself from making some rude remark about her lack of intelligence, and tried harder to concentrate on my book. Mercifully, the concert began a minute or two later.

Earlier this year the revelation was underreported that almost twenty years ago Justin Trudeau, who is now our Prime Minister, had been accused in a BC newspaper of having groped one of their female reporters. This accusation is entirely credible. It was made at the time of the incident in question, there is nothing to indicate that the accuser sought financial or any other compensation, and Trudeau did not yet have a political career to ruin. By contrast, Ford’s testimony is not credible in the slightest, except in the sense that it is a more believable accusation than the wilder charges levelled against the judge by the copy-cap accusers such as Julie Swetnik who have followed Ford out of the wood-works and into their minute of fame.

Being able to tell your story well and give the impression that you are sincere and believe it yourself does not make your story credible. Every successful liar has this ability in spades. To be credible, especially if it is an accusation of criminal activity against another person, your story must be clear and specific, internally consistent and supported by corroborating evidence. It is precisely these qualities that Ford’s testimony lacked. Her story was vague as to the where and when, she was caught telling falsehoods by Rachel Mitchell, the deputy prosecutor called in to question her, and the witnesses she claimed could corroborate her story have all said they have no recollection of having being present at the party in question at all, let alone of the events she claims transpired there. Furthermore, contrary to those who have expressed the idiotic opinion that no-one would have put herself through the ordeal of testifying if she was not telling the truth, she had an obvious political motivation for making the whole story up.

Liberals and feminists are determined to block the confirmation of Kavanaugh’s appointment to the American Supreme Court. They were determined to do so long before Ford testified, indeed, long before word of her accusations was made public. Their opposition to his appointment has nothing to do with their belief, whether real or professed, in the accusations of sexual misconduct that have been made against him except, perhaps, in the sense that their opposition to Kavanaugh explains their willingness to believe unsubstantiated accusations against him rather than the other way around. They have shown the same opposition to all conservatives nominated to the Court – and, indeed, have used similar tactics against them in the past. Remember what happened when Clarence Thomas was appointed twenty years ago? It is more intense this time around, however, because the liberals and feminists fear that if Kavanaugh’s appointment goes through there will be enough conservatives on the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Feminists and their liberal supporters see this as an apocalyptic, end-of-the-world, type scenario. For them, Roe v. Wade was a quantum leap of progress from the dark ages of the patriarchal past into the glorious future of sexual emancipation and egalitarianism. In the infamous 1973 ruling, the American Supreme Court struck down most state restrictions on abortion on the basis of an eisegetical and esoteric reading of the Fourteenth Amendment to the American Constitution. While the Radical Republicans who shoved that Amendment down the throats of the states at gun point in 1868 were hardly conservatives, it would undoubtedly come as a surprise to them to learn that they had given the female sex an exclusive exemption from keeping the Sixth Commandment. That, however, is how America’s solons saw things in 1973 and there is nothing to which feminists would not stoop in their desperate determination to hold on to that unprincipled exemption, including breaking the Ninth Commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

Indeed, the demands made by the latest wave of feminism, the #Me Too movement, all boil down to an insistence that women be exempt from this Commandment as well, or at least that they not be held accountable when they break it, which amounts to the same thing. Victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, the feminists tell us, frequently fail to report these crimes because they are afraid they won’t be believed, that they will have to face a grueling cross-examination, and in the end will not receive justice anyway. Therefore, the feminists argue, we need to create a new cultural environment in which victims feel safe to come forward and lay charges against their attackers. Worded that way, their goal sounds unobjectionable, reasonable, and even praise-worthy but note that this safe cultural environment envisioned by the feminists is one in which the distinction between a genuine victim and a false accuser is eliminated. If it is the fear of being disbelieved and subjected to cross-examination that prevents victims from coming forward, then the only way to remove that fear is to establish a culture in which all accusers are believed to be telling the truth and are not subjected to cross-examination. This can only be done, however, by eliminating our means of distinguishing between a genuine victim and a false accuser. To eliminate these is to eliminate long-established safeguards which protect the innocent of both sexes against false accusations. Those safeguards include the right of the accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the right to confront and cross-examine one’s accuser. To do this is to give all women a licence to make false accusations against men.

This is entirely unacceptable. While some of the #Me Too feminists have the nerve to actually maintain that women never make false accusations of this nature – the whole, “nobody would put themselves through this if it were not true”, lie again – everyone knows this is not true. On the contrary, women – not all women, of course, but the less scrupulous among them – make false accusations of this sort all the time. Twelve years ago there was a famous example of this when the widely publicized “rape” of a black stripper by three white members of Duke University’s lacrosse team was exposed as a malicious hoax. Ben Stein in his recent remarks about the Ford/Kavanugh affair makes reference to several examples known to him personally of women making such accusations or threatening to do so. The fourth chapter of Dr. Marney Patterson’s Suicide: The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada? (1998) begins by quoting the story of Potiphar’s wife from the thirty-ninth chapter of Genesis – when Joseph resisted her seduction attempt she accused him of rape. While Dr. Patterson’s main point in this chapter is to warn men in parish ministry against the dangers of seductresses he tells of an incident in which such a woman, having failed in her attempts to seduce the principal of a church school, accused him of making inappropriate advances on her. I remember when I was in college my sister telling me that she had to either give a deposition or testify in court on behalf of a guy we had gone to high school with against whom a false accusation of rape had been made. In the two decades since then I have encountered many men who had been in toxic relationships in which an ugly dispute had ended with the woman calling the police and making an accusation of some sort – domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc. Indeed, I wonder if there is anyone reading this who does not know personally of multiple incidents of false accusations or the threat thereof?

No, women do not have a right to be believed when they make unprovable accusations and the law must not be changed to give them that right. They have the right to be believed if and only if they can prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

In its demands to the contrary, feminism reveals its true nature. In its infancy, back in the nineteenth century, feminism’s objective of “women’s rights” may have meant that women should have the same civil and legal rights as men – to own property in their own name, be educated, pursue careers, and vote in public elections. It has not meant this at any point since feminism went into its second wave in the 1960s. Since then it has meant “special rights for women” and the rights in question are ones that ought not to be given even if it were to both sexes. The right to take human life at your will and for your own convenience. The right to destroy another person’s reputation, career, and life with unsubstantiated accusations.

A movement that would make absurd demands of this nature demonstrates by so doing that it is narcissistic in the extreme, delusional to the point of schizophrenia, and totally obsessed with power. Which is only to be expected from a movement that perpetuates its existence through the women’s and gender studies programs that universities set up in order to provide employment for otherwise unemployable graduates in which their students – perhaps victims would be a better word – are indoctrinated with a solipsistic, gender-based, reinterpretation of everything from literature to mathematics, in echo chambers where all dissent is squelched. A movement whose well-known slogan “the personal is the political” betrays its fundamentally totalitarian nature (a totalitarian regime is distinguished from all other kinds including the merely authoritarian by its refusal to acknowledge a private sphere into which the state has no right to intrude). (1) A movement that has become so much the kind of crazy that comes from the rear end of a bat that some of its leading figures have advanced, with a – pardon the expression - straight face, the notion that heterosexuality itself is an oppressive social construct whereas lesbianism is natural and normal. A movement predicated on the idea that all historical and traditional social, political, and cultural institutions were designed by men to perpetuate male power at the expense of women and to keep the latter in subjection and oppression, which idea goes way beyond saying that men and women were not historically treated equally or even, and this is not necessarily the same thing, that women have been treated unfairly in the past, but which interprets all institutions, even those which obviously benefit women at the expense of men, as tools of “patriarchal oppression.” Marriage, which historically and traditionally is society’s way of making men bear their fair share of the burden that God, Mother Nature, fate and the universe have placed on women as the consequence of sexual intercourse, in feminist ideology is regarded as an oppressive chain upon women. The long-standing tradition of treating the lives of young men as expendable by sending them off to fight and die for their country while keeping women and children safe and protected at home is, to any rational person, a tradition of female rather than male privilege but feminists still find creative ways of interpreting it as being the other way around.

That is the movement in which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is an activist. This is something to keep in mind when evaluating whether what she gave to the American Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday was the heartfelt testimony of a genuine victim of sexual assault or an Oscar-worthy performance that was a cold-blooded attempt at character assassination on the part of a deranged fanatic desperate to protect at all costs the power that the self-appointed spokesmovement for the female sex derives from women’s ill-gotten exemption from the prohibition against murder and the ability which follows from that exemption to blackmail society by holding a gun to the head of the next generation.

(1) George Grant, commenting in 1990 on Roe v. Wade and its Canadian equivalent Morgantaler v. The Queen (1988), said that were it not for the fact that they involved the “slaughter of the young”, they could be seen as comedy which “arises from the fact that the majority of the judges used the language of North American liberalism to say yes to the very core of fascist thought—the triumph of the will” and that they illustrated Huey Long’s remark that “When fascism comes to America it will come in the name of democracy.”