The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Thursday, January 10, 2019

In Honour of Laud

A Relation of the Conference Between William Laud, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Mr. Fisher the Jesuit, By the Command of King James, by William Laud, Forgotten Books, 2012, a reproduction of the Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1839, edition.

At the very core of the progressive activism which since the French Revolution has been known as the left is the idea of the sovereignty of man. Liberalism stresses the sovereignty of the individual, modern democracy the sovereignty of the people, but both assert the sovereignty of man against the sovereignty of God and the authority which He has delegated on earth to kings and His Church. It is Satanic in nature, a continuation on earth of the rebellion which Satan began in heaven in the primordial past. As Dr. Johnson so astutely put it, “the first Whig was the devil.”

At three notable moments in its sordid modern history, the English Civil War, the French Revolution, and the Bolshevik Revolution, the left lifted its violent hands to shed the blood of a royal monarch. In each case they then proceeded to unleash bloodshed on a scale that demonstrates that those willing to shed the blood of the highest person in the commonwealth will not hesitate to kill anyone and everyone of lower stature who stands in their way. In each case the king – or Tsar – was declared an “enemy of the people” by the left, despite the fact that he was loved by his people and had been actively working to improve their conditions through reforms. In each case the king took seriously his role as protector of the Church in his country – the Church of England, in the case of Charles I, the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches in the cases of Louis XVI and Nicholas II respectively. In each case this contributed significantly to the intense hatred his enemies felt towards him.

The first of these royal martyrdoms, that of Charles I of England and Scotland, was proceeded by another martyrdom, that of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. He was beheaded on January 10th, 1645, four years and twenty days before his king met the same fate. (1) His enemies were the same as those of the king, and the accusations they made against him were similar. These enemies were the Puritans – hyper-Protestants, for whom the reforms made by Thomas Cranmer et al. in the Edwardian era, and reinstated as the established status quo for the Church of England in the Elizabethan Settlement, did not go far enough and who insisted that the Church’s theology, organization, and worship be restructured after the model established by John Calvin in Geneva. While the content of their belief system is obviously worlds apart from that of their secular descendants, the same spirit of seditious rebellion against lawfully established authority that turns to tyrannical oppression once it has succeeded in usurping power that showed itself in the Jacobins and Bolsheviks was also clearly manifest in the Puritans. Their animosity towards Laud went back as far as his student days. While pursuing his doctorate at St. John’s College of Oxford University in the last year of the reign of Elizabeth I, he incurred the ire of the University’s Vice Chancellor, a leading Puritan named George Abbot, who would later become Laud’s immediate predecessor in the See of Canterbury and the primacy of the English Church. Laud, in a sponsored lecture at his College, defended the position that Christ’s Church had continued to be both present and visible in the world from Apostolic time onward, being represented prior to the Reformation by the Latin, Greek, and Oriental Churches. This convinced Abbot, who thought otherwise, that Laud harboured longings to bring the English Church back under the rule of the pope. The Puritans would make this same accusation against him, with increasing intensity, throughout his career. The pettiness of the grounds of these accusations increased with their intensity. When he was made Dean of Gloucester Cathedral in 1616, for example, he instructed that the communion table be moved back from the nave to its pre-Elizabethan position at the east end of the chancel and a communion rail placed around it. For the Puritans this was irrefutable evidence of “popery.” Most of the Puritan “evidence” of Laud’s supposed hearkening after Rome was of this nature and pertained only to matters concerning the external aesthetics of worship.

The ultimate answer to the Puritans’ false charge that Laud sought to undo the work of the English Reformers and place the English Church back under the papal system is the book with which we are concerned here. A brief telling of the events that led to its publication is in order. George Villiers was a favourite courtier of King James I. He was made a Duke in 1623 and is the same Duke of Buckingham, a highly fictionalized version of whose alleged romance with French Queen, Anne of Austria, and assassination at the hands of the disgruntled Puritan soldier, John Felton, features in Alexandre Dumas père’s The Three Musketeers. In 1622, while still at the rank of marquis, his household was shaken with religious controversy. His mother, Mary Beaumont, Countess of Buckingham, announced that she intended to join the Church of Rome and his wife who had converted to the Anglican Church at their marriage had returned to the Roman Church, hoping to persuade her husband to join her. King James intervened and arranged for a three day conference to take place in the royal presence between the Jesuit who had been instrumental in the Countess’ conversion, John Percy, SJ, who went under the alias Fisher and representatives of the Anglican Church. Obviously, the Buckingham family was present also. The royal chaplain, Francis White, argued the Protestant cause on the first day of the conference, King James took up the Anglican cudgels himself on the second, and on the third and final day William Laud was the representative of the Church of England. This intervention, while temporarily successful, ultimately failed to prevent the Countess’ conversion to Rome and Percy published his account of the affair in which he comes across as having had the upper hand in the debate. White and Laud both disputed this account, of course, and a pamphlet war between Percy and White began. Laud’s own narrative in response to Percy’s account was first published pseudonymously in 1624. Two years later someone, presumably Percy, published a reply under the name “A. C.” In 1639, the final version of Laud’s Relation, expanded, at the request of King Charles I, to include his rejoinder to “A. C.”, was published under Laud’s own name.

That anyone could have knowledge of this book and still take seriously the Puritans’ accusations of crypto-Romanism against Laud is difficult to believe. For while Laud clearly comes across as being Catholic in the primitive sense of the word, that is to say the sense in which it was used in the early centuries of the Church before any lasting schism, it is just as clear that he was thoroughly Protestant. It is a much more skillful response to the Roman Church’s claims against the English than Jewel’s Apology, and it is no wonder, therefore, that when, just prior to his martyrdom, King Charles I summoned his daughter Elizabeth to him and told her that he was about to go to his death “for the laws of the land and for maintaining the true Protestant religion” he presented her with a copy of this book, along with Richard Hooker’s Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie and Lancelot Andrewes’ Sermons.

In his answers to the Jesuit he made full use of the St. John’s education, built “upon the noble foundation of the Fathers, the Councils, and the Ecclesiastical Historians” of which the bishop who had ordained him, Dr. John Young of Rochester, had spoken so highly. The central theme is the Roman Church’s claim to infallibility which appears to have been what attracted the Countess to it. Laud systematically, rationally, and with ample use of his encyclopedic knowledge of the Fathers, argued against papal infallibility and the infallibility of general councils. The primacy of the See of Rome that was acknowledged early in the history of the Church, was not regarded as conveying supreme authority over other bishops, much less the other patriarchs, by anyone other than the bishop of Rome himself for a millennium, and was originally based, not on who had founded the patriarchy – St Peter had also been the first bishop of Antioch and that prior to his period in Rome – but upon Rome’s being the first city of the Empire. The Roman Church is a true Church, he argued, albeit one riddled with error, but not the true Church, i.e., the Catholic or whole Church. No particular Church, is the Catholic Church, he argued in an early, and more inclusive, version of William Palmer’s “branch theory”, but rather each particular Church – the Roman, Eastern, and Oriental, as well as the English and other Protestant Churches, at least those of the Magisterial Reformation are themselves daughters of the mother or Catholic Church. Rome may be one the elder daughters, but she is not the oldest – it was from Jerusalem, that the faith spread out to all nations, the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch, and, Laud noted “Nor is it an opinion destitute either of authority or probability, that the faith of Christ was preached and the sacraments administered here in England, before any settlement of a church in Rome”, citing Gildas the Wise as saying that Christianity had come to Brittany before the end of the reign of Tiberius. The English Reformers, in rejecting the pope’s usurped authority over the English Church, had simply restored the more ancient custom, in which the Church is part of the commonwealth and subject to the civil prince. The guilt of schism in the Protestant Reformation, he argued, belongs to the Church of Rome because she, in her stubborn clinging to error and refusing to undergo necessary reforms, had forced the Protestants out.

Laud’s arguments against the Roman doctrines of papal and conciliar infallibility are also a masterful defence of the first of the cardinal doctrines of the Reformation – sola Scriptura. Not the perverted form of this doctrine that the Puritans inclined to, in which everything between the close of the canon and the Reformation was to be thrown out, but as the first Reformers originally intended it, that the Holy Scriptures, as the written Word of God, are the only infallible authority and are therefore supreme over the Church, and all of its teachings, practices, and traditions. That the Scriptures as the written Word of God are infallible – what today, would be called the “fundamentalist” view of the Scriptures by those who for rationalistic reasons reject this view – was taken by Laud as a point on which the two sides were in agreement, while he carefully dissected the Roman claim that the Church is the source of the Bible’s authority, rather than the other way around. He demonstrated that neither did the Fathers hold the Roman position, nor were contemporary Roman theologians consistent with regards to it. His response to what Roman apologists often regard as the clinching argument in their case, i.e., that there is no list of the canonical books within the Scriptures themselves and so we must know what they are by means of another authority, the Church, is superb. It is quite possibly the best Protestant response to this argument ever written, certainly the best that I have ever read. Our knowledge of what books constitute the infallible Scriptures, he argued, rests upon multiple grounds, and while the tradition and teaching of the Church may very well be that which bring us to our initial faith that these books are God’s authoritative revelation, it is by means of the character of the books themselves, their inner light, that the Holy Spirit confirms and strengthens that faith as we recognize in them the quality which the Church claims for them. Laud illustrated this point with the account of the Samaritan woman at the well in the fourth chapter of the Holy Gospel According to St. John. She initially told her townspeople about Jesus and after they had encountered Him themselves they said “Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”

Since Laud’s focus, like that of the original conference, was upon this question of which is supreme, an infallible Church over the Scriptures or the infallible Scriptures over the Church, less space is devoted to other matters of difference between Rome and the Reformers, but they do come up, especially in the supporting arguments to Laud’s extended answer to Fisher’s position that since Laud, and other Protestants, conceded the possibility of salvation within the Roman Church, while the Roman Church denied it to those outside of their own fellowship, it was safer to join the Roman Church since both sides agreed salvation was possible within her. Laud’s expert answer demonstrates that this form of reasoning, if consistently applied, would support the Donatist position against the Catholic position in the fourth century – both sides agreed that baptism administered by the Donatists was valid, while the Donatists did not acknowledge Catholic baptisms as valid. He also argued that this reasoning could be used support the Arian position against the Orthodox, since both sides agreed about the humanity of Jesus while the one side denied His full deity. He showed this very form of reasoning to be fundamentally flawed and in the course of arguing his case made clear his Protestant positions on a number of matters, including that salvation is based upon the merits of Christ alone rather than those of the believer. He quoted the Roman apologist Bellarmine as saying “that in regard of the uncertainty of our own righteousness, and of the danger of vainglory, tutissimum est, it is safest to repose our whole trust in the mercy and goodness of God”, to which he immediately answered:

And surely, if there be one safer way than another, as he confesses there is, he is no wise man, that in a matter of so great moment will not betake himself to the safest way. And therefore even you yourselves in the point of condignity of merit, though you write it and preach it boisterously to the people, yet you are content to die, renouncing the condignity of all your own merits, and trust to Christ’s. Now surely, if you will not venture to die as you live, live and believe in time as you mean to die.

These are unmistakably the words of a man who stood with Luther and Cranmer on the four remaining solas of the Protestant Reformation. He explained that his concession of the possibility of salvation in the Roman Church is based upon that Church’s having an orthodox foundation in the Creeds, but that the structure of error that Rome has erected upon that foundation is great hindrance to it.

Laud, as was first evident in his restoration of the dilapidated Gloucester Cathedral when he was made Dean and much more evident in his reforms upon attaining the primacy of the English Church, was a man who held to a strong aesthetic of worship, believing that the outward form of the Church and its worship should reflect as much as possible the inward “beauty of holiness” of which the Psalmist wrote. The Puritans saw in this defection from their impoverished aesthetic of simplicity a tendency towards Rome but when it came down to the substance of the disagreement between the Roman Church and the Reformers on this issue, Laud clearly stood with the Reformers. After arguing that Rome had defected from the practice of the early Catholic Church, which commemorated the martyrs but did not invoke them, and taking the position that the Church should look for its prayers to be answered on the basis of the merits of Christ rather than the intercession of the saints, Laud wrote with regards to the adoration of images:

And for adoration of images, the ancient church knew it not. And the modern church of Rome is too like to paganism in the practice of it, and driven to scarce intelligible subtilties in her servants’ writings that defend it; and this without any care had of millions of souls, unable to understand her subtilties or shun her practice.

After offering several evidences in support of this contention, culminating in a quotation from a Roman apologist to the effect that images of Christ, the Virgin, and the Saints are not worshipped for any inherent deity, but merely as representations, of which he made the comment “And what, I pray, did or could any pagan priest say more than this?” Laud wrote:

And now I pray A. C. do you be judge, whether this proposition do not teach idolatry, and whether the modern church of Rome be not grown too like paganism in this point. For my own part I heartily wish it were not, and that men of learning would not strain their wits to spoil the truth and rent the peace of the church of Christ, by such dangerous and superstitious vanities; for better they are not, but hey may be worse: nay, these and their like have given so great a scandal among us, to some ignorant, though, I presume, well meaning men, that they are afraid to testify their duty to God even in his own house, by any outward gesture at all. Insomuch that those very ceremonies, which by the judgement of godly and learned men have now long continued in the practice of this church, suffer hard measure for the Romish superstition’s sake.

It appears quite evident that Laud was capable of distinguishing between “Romish superstition” on the one hand and ancient ceremonies and traditions on the other and that he rejected the former while contending for the latter against those ignorant men, whom he charitably presumed to be “well meaning”, i.e., the Puritans, who incapable of making this distinction wished to throw all ancient ceremonial out.

Laud believed and taught the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. To the Puritans this was tantamount to embracing the entire doctrine of the Roman Church regarding the Mass. Laud, however, had made it quite clear what he thought of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, which is the Roman Church’s claim that when the priest pronounces the words of institution the substance of the bread and wine is replaced with the body and blood of Christ and only the appearance of the former remains. This, he maintained in the context of his argument against conciliar infallibility, “was never heard of in the primitive church, nor till the council of Lateran; nor can it be proved out of scripture; and taken properly cannot stand with the grounds of the Christian religion.” He was even more scathing with regards to the Roman practice of withholding the wine from the laity, which he quite rightly said violates both the practice of the ancient Church and the direct commandment of Christ. When he articulated his own understanding of the Real Presence, moreover, he was willing to affirm no more than what the English Church affirms (see Article XXVIII) which in his words is “that in the most blessed sacrament the worthy receiver is by his faith made spiritually partaker of the true and real body and blood of Christ, truly and really, and of all the benefits of his passion.” Transubstantiation, he went on to say, was how the Roman Church explained the “manner of this his presence” just as Consubstantiation was how the Lutherans explained the same, but the English Church was willing to leave the matter unexplained and so was he. This was most embarrassing to his Puritan opponents for these regarded themselves as strict followers of John Calvin and his view was closer to John Calvin’s own than theirs. Indeed, he pointed this out himself in his answer to Bellarmine’s claim that Protestants deny the Real Presence:

And for the Calvinists, if they might be rightly understood, they also maintain a most true and real presence, though they cannot permit their judgment to be transubstantiated; and they are protestants too…For the Calvinists, at least they which follow Calvin himself, do not only believe that the true and real body of Christ is received in the eucharist, but that it is there, and that we partake of it vere et realiter, which are Calvin’s own words…Nor can that place by any art be shifted, or by any violence wrested from Calvin’s true meaning of the presence of Christ in and at the blessed sacrament of the eucharist, to any supper in heaven whatsoever.

It is quite apparent from a serious reading of this book that the charges of repudiating the theology of the Reformation which the Puritans first leveled against Laud in the early seventeenth century and which their admirers like J. C. Ryle, first Bishop of Liverpool, unthinkingly regurgitated in the nineteenth, were complete malarkey. Laud was a Catholic, to be sure, when this word is taken in its primitive sense of referring to the teachings, practices, and discipline of the Church of the earliest centuries, especially those of the Fathers, but he was also a Protestant who held the Bible to be the infallible authority to which all Church authority and tradition must bow the knee, who rejected the doctrines of Transubstantiation and Purgatory, the practices of invocation of the saints, adoration of images and administration of the Sacrament in one kind, and the claims of the papacy to supremacy over all the Church of Christ, and who held that the safe way of salvation was to trust entirely in Christ’s merits rather than our own. The only way to give the Puritan charge against Laud the remotest resemblance of substance is to reduce the theology of the Reformation to Zwingli’s view of the Eucharist, the doctrine of Predestination, and simplicity in the externalities of worship. To make Zwingli’s view of the Eucharist the definitive position of Reformation theology is to exclude the entire Lutheran tradition and the early Calvinists, including John Calvin himself. While both Luther and Calvin affirmed the doctrine of Predestination, and it featured into the famous debate between Luther and Erasmus, it was by no means central to the dispute between the Reformers and Rome. Lutheranism and Calvinism took the doctrine in very different directions and while the Anglican Church affirms Predestination in Article XVII it is worded in such a way as to allow for either the Lutheran or Calvinist interpretation – there is no mention of reprobation and, indeed, the second paragraph would seem to suggest the Lutheran rather than the Calvinist understanding. The Calvinist understanding of the doctrine, therefore, much less the narrower, more extreme, version of the same found in the Lambeth Articles of 1595 and the Canons of the Synod of Dort of 1618-1618, which the Puritans insisted upon, cannot be rightly regarded as an essential element of the theology of the Reformation and Laud cannot be rightly accused of abandoning the Reformation for insisting upon the universal love of God, His sincere universal desire to save, and the universal availability of grace, all of which Dr. Luther and his followers had always affirmed simultaneously with Predestination.

In reality, what lay beneath the Puritan accusation that Laud was trying to undo the work of the English Reformers was their recognition that he, who like Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes before him was a true heir of the conservative English Reformers who sought to restore the Church of England to primitive Catholicism rather than throw the baby of the entirety of the richness of the Catholic tradition out with the bathwater of latter Roman corruptions, stood in the way of their plans to totally makeover the English Church after the Genevan model. For this, for his loyalty to the King against whom these regicidal enthusiasts were stirring up ungodly sedition, rebellion, and strife, and for the social reforms that he was promoting in the face of the objections of the avaricious and rapacious class of mercantile nouveau riche who backed the Puritan movement, (2) he was slandered and abused, arrested and incarcerated, and ultimately sent to his death, a martyr’s death.

It is fitting that we remember him on this the anniversary of that death, which the Anglican Communion has appropriately dedicated to his memory.

(1) Although this is more of a book review than a biography I consulted Charles Webb Le Bas, The Life of Archbishop Laud, London, J. G. & F. Livington, 1836 and Charles Hare Simpkinson, The Life and Times of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, London, Murray, 1894 for the biographical details.

(2) See chapter four of Anthony M. Ludovici, A Defence of Aristocracy: A Textbook for Tories, London, Constable, 1915, 1933 for more information on this point. On page 110 Ludovici wrote "But, as might have been expected, all three — Charles and his two lieutenants — lost their lives in this quixotic struggle against a mob of unscrupulous shopkeepers, and in the end, as we shall see, only the loyal nobles and the poor clustered round their King to defend him." Laud is one of the two lieutenants in question, Wentworth was the other, and the author goes on to substantiate this with details.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hic Sto

It is January 1st, the octave day of Christmas, and the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord. It is my tradition at this time of the year, one that I borrowed from the late Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel, to write a full disclosure to my readership of my positions and prejudices at this time. Being a man of very conservative views and instincts, these have not changed much since I began writing and so, needless to say, there is always overlap between pieces of this kind, although I try to make my wording fresh each year. This year I have reused the title of the first of these essays but in Latin rather than English.

Allow me to begin with the title of this website - Throne, Altar, Liberty. This title is an affirmation of my belief in and loyalty to the institutions of classical Toryism - royal monarchy and the small-c catholic church. It also affirms my belief in personal freedom which is widely thought of as a classical liberal value. There is significance in the order of these words. "Throne and Altar", which are to Toryism what "blood and soil" are to nationalism, are placed before "Liberty" because I am a Tory first and a small-l-libertarian second. This ranking also reflects my conviction, contrary to the theories of liberalism, that a stable and peaceful social and civil order in which the aforementioned institutions are secure and firmly established is the foundation upon which personal liberty must be built and the environment in which it can flourish. I reject in its entirety, as obviously contrary-to-fact, mindless nonsense and drivel, the liberal theory that man's "natural" state is an individual existence outside of such an order and that his freedom stems from this state. I even more vehemently reject the liberal notion that democracy is the safeguard of liberty, and hold instead to the sane and sober judgement of the ancient philosophers, compared with whom the moderns are mediocre thinkers at best and more often than not contemptible fools, that democracy is the wellspring of tyranny. I respect our parliamentary form of government, not because it is democratic, but because it is an ancient, time-honoured, institution with prescriptive authority. I regard republicanism, in the Roman-American-modern sense of "kingless government" with utter abhorrence, although I accept the ancient Greek ideal that the Latin res publica originally denoted, that good government is that which serves the good of the public interest of the commonwealth. I have been thoroughly royalist by instinct all my life, and like my hero, Dr. Johnson, I combine the Jacobite view of royal authority with loyalty to the present reigning House.

I came to faith in Jesus Christ when I was fifteen, was baptized by immersion while I was a teenager, and confirmed by an Anglican bishop as an adult. I had five years of formal education in theology at what is now Providence University College In Otterburne, Manitoba and have continued to study theology informally ever since. As my theology has matured I have embraced primitive small-c catholicism and small-o orthodoxy, i.e., the teachings of the early Apostolic church, before the schism between the Greek and Latin churches. This is the faith which St. Vincent of Lerins said was held "everywhere, always, and by all" in the undivided catholic (whole) church, and of which Bishop Lancelot Andrewes said the boundary of was determined by "One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after." In the schism, the Greek and Latin churches each maintained that she was the holy, catholic church confessed in the Creeds, from which the other had broken away in schism. Schism, however, is something that occurs within a particular church or between particular churches within the catholic church. Both sides, by identifying themselves as the whole of what they prior to the schism were clearly only a part, became guilty of schism. The true catholic church contains both and is fully present in all particular churches wherever there is organic, organizational continuity with the Apostolic church, the ecumenical Creeds are faithfully confessed, the Word, both Law and Gospel is proclaimed, and the Gospel Sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) are dutifully administered. The small-c catholic, small-o orthodox faith, as confessed in the Apostles', Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Athanasian Creeds is entirely consistent with the great evangelical truths of the Protestant Reformation - that the Holy Scriptures as the infallible written Word of God are the final authority by which all church teachings and practices are to be judged, and that since human beings, due to the Fall of Man into Original Sin are incapable of producing the righteousness that our Holy and Just Creator requires of us as revealed in His Law, our only salvation is that which has been freely given us by God in His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ and which we receive by faith. Indeed, these latter truths are implicit in the Creeds, a true understanding of which requires them.

I grew up on a farm in southwestern Manitoba, to which I attribute my lifelong bias towards rural simplicity against urban cosmopolitanism, a bias I have maintained despite having lived in the province's capital city of Winnipeg for two decades. Manitoba is a province of the Dominion of Canada. I love my country, and its true history, heritage, traditions, and institutions. At the time of the American Revolution, when the thirteen colonies that became the United States of America rebelled against the British Crown, Parliament and Empire, and built their republic on the foundation of classical liberalism, other British colonies such as those in the Maritimes and the newly acquired French-speaking, Catholic colony called Canada, chose to remain loyal. Loyalists from the thirteen colonies, facing persecution in the new republic, fled to these northern provinces. In the century that followed the American republic frequently threatened invasion and conquest, and actually attempted to make good on those threats in the War of 1812, in which the English and French subjects again remained loyal, and fought alongside the Imperial army to successfully repel the Yankee invaders. Shortly after the Yankees waged a bloody war of annihilation against their more civilized Southern brethren, the provinces of British North America began the process of Confederation into a single country, which would be built upon the foundation of its Loyalist history, retain rather than severe its ties to Britain and the rest of the Empire, to be governed by its own Parliament, modelled after that in Westminster, under the common Crown. This was the beginning, not only of the country, the Dominion of Canada, but of the evolution of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations. We had a strong sense of who we were as a country in our national identity based upon our Loyalist history and heritage which served us well in two World Wars. Sadly, much of this has been forgotten by Canadians today. This national amnesia has been actively and aggressively encouraged by the Liberal Party of Canada. For a century the Grits have proclaimed themselves to be the party of Canadian nationalism, while doing everything in their power to make Canadians forget the history and heritage that make us who we are as a country, such as stripping our national symbols of all that would remind us of that history and heritage. This was done because the Liberals see our Loyalist history and heritage as roadblocks standing in the way of their perpetual hold on power. The only consistent value the Liberal Party has ever had is its own power. It is the embodiment of everything I loathe and detest.

I am very much a man of the right if we speak of the right with the meaning that was attached to it when it was first used in a political sense in the eighteenth century - essentially, as the continental European equivalent of seventeenth century British Toryism. As a man of this right, I recognize a large gulf between myself and much of what is considered right-wing today. I do not mean right-wing as liberals dishonestly use the term, i.e., with connotations of fascism and national socialism, twentieth century movements that were modern to the core, had little to nothing in common with the historical right, and which were identical in almost every way to their overtly left-wing counterpart, that international conspiracy by atheistic, materialistic, totalitarian thugs against order, freedom, religion, decency and civilization in general that was known as Communism. I mean the soi-disant right of the day. David Warren once wisely reflected that "Toryism is the political expression of a religious view of life" and that "Conservatism is an attempt to maintain Toryism after you have lost your faith." Mainstream North American conservatism today is little more than a form of classical liberalism. When joined to the prefix "neo-" it denotes a particularly obnoxious form of classical liberalism that seeks to remake the entire world, by military force if necessary, into the image of American, technocratic capitalism and democracy. The North American "religious right" bears far too close a resemblance to Puritanism, the fanatical blend of Pharisaism and Philistinism that was the original enemy of the British Tories and got the ball of modern liberalism rolling in the first place, for my liking. The more radical self-identified right, the "alternative" right, is a blend of populism and nationalism, civic nationalism in the "lite" version, overt racial nationalism in the "hard." While I have the traditional Tory distaste for populism and nationalism, both of which are based on the modern notion of popular sovereignty, a Satanic notion dreamed up by liberals to challenge the sovereignty of the king in the commonwealth, the episcopate in the church, and God in the universe, I have a great deal of sympathy with the "alternative" right when it speaks truths about race, sex, and immigration that mainstream "conservatism" has been afraid to speak for decades.

My disappointment in the shortcomings of mainstream contemporary conservatism and other modern "rights", however, pales in comparison to my loathing of the forces of progress and modernity and my disgust at the state of folly and depravity into which they have plunged what used to be Christian civilization. Any explanation of what I stand for would be incomplete without an explanation of what I stand against and why.

Liberalism, the self-appointed ideological champion of personal freedom, rejected the ancient understanding of the good that is freedom which was best expressed by King Charles I just prior to his martyrdom as consisting "in having of Government; those Laws, by which their Life and their goods may be most their own" and redefined it in terms of the absence of restraints and limitations on the fulfilment of the desires and wishes of the individual will. Yet the more liberalism succeeds in removing traditional limitations from individual wish-fulfilment, the more its redefined liberty comes to resemble tyranny, freedom's perpetual foe and opposite. When liberalism speaks in terms of the rights and freedoms of women, the aged, and the infirm, it is to promote legal abortion on demand and euthanasia, thus displaying a callous devaluation of human life that is remarkably similar to that of the Nazis and Communists. George Grant hit the nail on the head thirty years ago when he described the judges who struck down abortion laws as having "used the language of North American liberalism to say yes to the very core of fascist thought—the triumph of the will."

Then there are liberalism's offspring, progressivism and the left, which together with their parent make up the unholy counterfeit trinity of the Modern Age. Progressivism is modern man's humanistic confidence in our species' unlimited ability, guided by liberalism's ideals of freedom and equality, to employ reason and science to better the human condition. The left is progressivism translated into political activism, the movement that seeks through political means to put progressivism's faith in human self-improvement into practice. While no sane person would ever oppose improvement that actually is improvement the spiritual blindness that is at the heart of the refusal of liberalism, progressivism, and the left to acknowledge either the limitations that God has placed upon us in nature, both ours and that of the world around us, or the limitations we have placed upon ourselves through our sinfulness is sufficient explanation for why progressive "improvements" are so often counterfeit or chimerical, why they not infrequently make things worse rather than better, and why when they actually do involve genuine improvements they usually come with a cost that has not been taken into consideration and may very well be too high. Liberalism, progressivism, and the left, viewed as they actually are rather than as they present themselves, are simply the efforts of Fallen man, refusing to acknowledge his exile from Paradise or to return by the appointed means of Grace, to reclaim what he has lost through force. Their substitution of equality for justice, human rights for natural law in which duties are antecedent to all rights, and democracy for royal authority exercised for the public good of the commonwealth, is simply idolatry, the ancient error of replacing God with mundane goods, higher goods with lower goods, and, in this case, genuine goods with counterfeit ones. Their dismissal of the wisdom of the ancients is what C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield dubbed "chronological snobbery" and their self-congratulatory exaltation of modern achievements is what the ancients called hubris.

Liberalism, progressivism, and the left are as morally bankrupt as they are spiritually blind. This is not a commentary on the actions or lifestyles of individual progressives but rather on their ethical thinking. They hated the old rules because of the limitations these placed on the fulfilment of individual desires and so they replaced them with new ones. Yet the old rules were, for the most part, few, simple, and clear and straightforward. These are the marks of good rules. The new rules are numerous, and far too frequently vague and hazy. These are the marks of bad rules. Worse, the new rules seem to be designed to function as weapons in the hands of anyone who wishes to take offence at the words and acts of others. This is most obvious when it comes to the new rules drawn up by liberalism's granddaughter feminism to replace the Christian sexual ethic. The latter was clear and easy to understand - either marry a spouse and be faithful or be celibate, all other alternatives are prohibited. Human difficulty in following this in practice never arose out of any problem in understanding it. The same can not be said of the rules of this new era of ex post facto withdrawal of consent.

Although the new morality is touted as being more "rational" than the old, the idea that the mind should govern the body and reason control the passions was essential to the old morality. Vices such as Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust were what occurred when natural human appetites were allowed to rule our behaviour and consequently run to excess. Virtues such as Temperance and Chastity were the habits, cultivated over a lifetime, of curbing these same appetites and allowing them to be governed by our reason. The new morality, however, has clearly elevated emotion over reason, and mind over body. The new cardinal virtues are feelings such as compassion, sympathy, and empathy. Profess to act based on one of these and your deeds will be lauded, no matter how much harm they objectively do. Make your decision based on cold, hard, facts and logic and you will be condemned, no matter how much good you objectively do. How else except by the elevation of the feeling of "compassion" over all rational considerations can we explain the progressives' determination to disregard the well-being of their own countries and civilization in order to throw out the welcome mat to the Third-world invasion thinly disguised as a refugee crisis that has in recent years materialized out of the pages of Jean Raspail's Camp of the Saints? How other than by a perverse setting of the body over the mind can the neo-Puritan demonization of tobacco, which can only hurt the body, at the same time and by the same people, who exalt and glorify marijuana which destroys the mind, be explained?

Yes, moral bankruptcy is the only way to describe this new morality that proclaims itself rational even as it places reason under the heel of feeling, and which pats itself on the back for emancipating man while binding him with rules that are petty and tyrannical in nature.

The liberal, progressive, left is at its worst when it thinks it is at its best. It congratulates itself on its opposition to "racism" and zealously hunts down all expressions of racial self-interest on the part of white people, however peaceful and benign, but it turns a blind eye to overt racial hatred and violence when these are directed towards white people. It strains out the gnat of Avarice within capitalism while swallowing the camel of Envy that is socialism and pretending that it tastes like charity. (1) It cynically uses the cause of preserving the environment, a worthy cause in itself albeit one that is often very ill-informed by pseudoscience, to justify destroying an industry upon which countless livelihoods depend and artificially raising the cost of living with a tax that hurts those least able to afford it the most, so that it can turn around and offer a rebate conveniently timed to arrive just before the next Dominion election.

This year I resolve to be firmer in my opposition to the left than ever before.

Happy New Year,
God Save the Queen

(1) The Seven Deadly Sins were never considered to be equal. Avarice (Greed), Gluttony, Lust and Sloth were the lesser of the Seven. They are purely human failings being natural human appetites indulged in to excess. Anger occupies the middle area, and Pride and Envy were the worst of the Seven. These are the Satanic sins which led to the devil's fall. In commiting them man imitates the devil. Envy is the hatred of others and desire to tear them down because they possess something you do not. Envy toward the haves rather than charity towards the have nots is the essence of true socialism, which of course is more than just the government relief programs that are often loosely labelled as such. It is the worst of sins hypocritically pretending to be the highest of virtues. The lesser sin of Avarice, by contrast, is in no way essential to the ownership of property, laws securing the same, and the general common sense truth that in ordinary circumstances the individual, head of the household, business manager and civil government are the ones best suited to look out for the interests of the individual, family, business, and country respectively, all of which have been fundamental elements of civilization from time immemorial. It is more reasonable to see a hint of Avarice in the doctrine of laissez-faire but this, after all, was a doctrine dreamed up by the liberals of the eighteenth century.