The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Vaccine Passports do Not Belong in Church

 

The Right Reverend Peter Carrell is the Bishop of the Anglican diocese of Christchurch in New Zealand.   On the fifth of October, he sent out a tweet that began with the following:

 

Vaccine certificates…work to be done on [e.g.] whether they will be required for church attendance…and will be from November

 

Then, finally remembering how to form a complete and coherent thought, he added the following question:

 

Is there any reason why churches shouldn’t generally go with the flow of this measure for the safety of our nation?

 

By “our nation”, obviously, he means New Zealand whose Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, seemingly an adherent of the Zero Covid cult, imposed a severe lockdown in August after the country had its first case of bat flu since February.    Sadly, sanity appears to be in short supply among the leaders of this, one of our sister Commonwealth Realms, and judging from the bishop’s tweet this applies to the ecclesiastical as well as the political leadership.   Not that an overabundance of it can be found among our leaders in the Dominion of Canada.   Quite the opposite, actually.

 

Note how the bishop’s question is worded.   By asking “is there any reason why churches shouldn’t” rather than “is there any reason why churches should” he makes the use of vaccine certificates to be able to go to church into the default position and places the onus of proof upon those who object to this.    That is the kind of crazy that in vulgar conversation is customarily associated with the feces of the winged mammal widely believed to have been the original host of the coronavirus.

 

The church is the institution established by Jesus Christ through His Apostles for the purpose of ministering His Gospel, the Good News about how He has brought the freely given, forgiving, redeeming, justifying, sanctifying, empowering, and transforming grace of God to us through His Incarnation, Atoning death and Resurrection to all people everywhere through the two-fold ministry of the preached Word and the administered Sacrament.   To turn people away from the ministry of the church, other than as the disciplinary act commanded by the Apostle Paul in cases of extreme, un-repented sin, is to turn people away from Jesus Christ.

 

The sixth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John is one of the most important theological chapters in the entire Bible.     The Discourse on the Bread of Life is foundational to the Sacramental theology of the Eucharist, perhaps even more so than the words of Institution in the Synoptic Gospels, for it is here that the concept of the body and blood of Jesus as the spiritual food that sustains eternal life is to be found.    Right in the middle of this Discourse is a passage vital to Calvinist theology – the most explicit statement in all of Scripture of how those who believe in Christ have been given to Him by the Father in accordance with His eternal purpose and how it is His, that is Christ’s, mission to lose none of them but to raise them up to eternal life on the Last Day (vv. 35 to 40, a passage which is also essential to distinguishing  the New Covenant concept of God’s “elect” from the Old Covenant concept of the same).    One could say that this entire passage, in which the most important themes of Catholicism and Calvinism are seamlessly interwoven as one, is the most Anglican passage in all of Scripture.   It is in this context, that Jesus makes the statement “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out” (v. 37).   I quote, as always, from the real English Bible, the English Vulgate, the Authorized Bible, which was good enough for King Charles I and is good enough for me, but it is worth noting the Common English, Good News and New International Versions’ renderings in which “I will in no wise cast out” becomes “I won’t send away”, “I will never turn away” and “I will never drive away” respectively.   However worded, the point is clear – Jesus doesn’t send those who come to Him away.    The church, which is supposed to follow His example, ought not to send them away either.

 

The churches have been doing an absolutely terrible job of following Jesus on this since the beginning of the irrational bat flu panic.    When government public health mandarins ordered them to shut their doors for months on end they did so.   When the same odious bureaucrats told them they could re-open but only at a limited capacity, requiring them to pre-register those who would attend and turn all over the capacity limit away, they did so.   When they told them that they could only allow people to attend on condition that they agreed to breathe their recycled carbon dioxide from behind a face diaper that covered their nose and mouth for the duration of the service they did so, thus turning away all who did not think they should have to give up breathing oxygen to hear the Word and receive the Sacrament.   

 

In defending all of this obeying man rather than God and rendering unto Caesar the things that are God’s, the ecclesiastical leadership have trotted out a number of arguments, each entirely specious.    The thirteenth chapter of the epistle to the Romans in which St. Paul enjoins civil obedience upon believers and teaches the divine right of kings (that civil government has authority from God to act as His ministers in the punishment of evil) has been constantly trotted out.   Those who bring up this passage fail to mention that in the examples of Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the Scripture provides us with clear exceptions to the rule of civil obedience, in Daniel’s case when government forbids the worship of the True God, in his friends’ case when government demands the worship of false gods.    Nor do they discuss how the passage in Romans limits legitimate government authority – if the civil government has been given a sword by God for punishing evil, then it must wield that sword in punishing what God says is evil, not whatever it sees fit to punish.   With these public health orders, governments have been punishing things that are not only not mala in se (literally bad in themselves, meaning intrinsically criminal apart from statutory law) but are indeed bona in se (good in themselves) and essential for healthy social and communal life, which is a clear abuse of the sword of the thirteenth of Romans, screaming out to heaven for vengeance.

 

Then there is the twisting of the Christian ethic with regards to loving others beyond all recognition.   Jesus, when asked which was the Greatest Commandment of the Law (the Old Covenant), said that it was to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and that the second, which was like unto it, was to love your neighbour as yourself.   At the Last Supper on the night in which He was betrayed and arrested, He told His disciples that He was leaving them with a New Commandment to love one another as He had loved them, which clearly has a self-sacrificial implication that was explicitly spelled out when He said that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

 

What does this look like in a time of plague?

 

For two thousand years it has been commonly understood that in times of plague the highest form of living out this ethic was when the healthy, at the potential jeopardy of their own health and lives, attended upon the sick and ministered to their needs.   The way the Right Reverend John Strachan, first Bishop of Toronto, ministered to the sick and dying in that city during the choleric outbreaks of the nineteenth century is a classic example of this.

 

Contrast that with today when we are constantly being told that the loving thing to do is for healthy people to avoid all social contact with other healthy people until such time, if ever, that the government sees fit to allow them to socialize again.    What is being called “love” in this perverse inversion of the historical understanding of the Christian ethic is far closer to fear.   The words of St. John from his first epistle might be appropriate at this point “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.   He that feareth is not made perfect in love”. (4:18).

 

As bad as churches closing their doors, limiting their numbers, requiring those Satanic masks, and the like has been, for churches to join the vaccine passport campaign would be a whole new level of apostasy.    Throughout the irrational bat flu panic governments have acted as if constitutional limits on their powers and protections of the rights and freedoms of the governed do not exist in a public health emergency and they are allowed to do whatever they want.   In terms of what the constitutional law of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Realms such as the Dominion of Canada and New Zealand actually says, they are completely wrong in thinking this, of course, but they might be right in a practical sense in that so long as people are more afraid of the object of the public health scare than of losing their freedoms to tyranny and courts are willing to give government a lot of leeway, they can pretty much get away with doing whatever they want.   This is a part of human nature every tyrannical and totalitarian regime has known and exploited.   

 

Initially, perhaps, our governments were acting in bona fide, or the closest thing to good faith that politicians are actually of, and panicking themselves and not knowing what else to do, tried whatever their public health “experts” suggested.   What we are now seeing is far more sinister than this.    Having exhausted the public’s patience with lockdowns after lockdowns and having mostly achieved their initial vaccination targets only to discover that new waves of the virus keep coming, they are blaming their failure to do what no government has ever been able to do in the past, i.e., stop a virus, on those who have not been vaccinated to the satisfaction of the government.  

 

That these people have not been vaccinated could, of course, be viewed as another failure of government – they failed to convince these people that the vaccines were safe enough and the virus dangerous enough for the risk associated with remaining unvaccinated to outweigh the risk of receiving the vaccines.    Perhaps it never occurred to them that all of their efforts to keep people from hearing any information about the vaccines that was not positive and to demonize anyone who communicated such information make their own position less convincing rather than more convincing to anyone whose ability to think rationally has not been paralyzed by mass fear.   Or that their bizarre attitude of “I’m vaccinated but you’re not being vaccinated puts me at risk” sends the message that they do not themselves really believe that these vaccines work.  

 

Whatever is the case, they are now trying to compel where they failed to convince.   The vaccine passport system punishes people for making what is a valid, legally protected, choice not to allow something to be injected into their bodies that they have not been properly persuaded is worth whatever risks might be associated with it.   This is a completely unacceptable form of state bullying that evokes the whole “show me your papers” imagery frequently found in dystopic literature and film inspired by such historical totalitarian regimes as the Third Reich and the Soviet Union.    Churches were wrong to turn people away from Jesus in compliance with the earlier public health measures.   For them to do so in compliance with the vaccine passport system would be to fully align themselves with Christianity’s opposite.

 

That brings me to a point that I raised at Dr. Adrian Hilton’s Archbishop Cramner blog in the comments section to a post entitled “Should you need a Covid vaccination certificate to attend church?   This post, Dr. Hilton’s response to the Right Reverend Carrell’s tweet, is well worth reading in its entirety.   He gives the right answer, the negative answer, to the question in his title, and closes with the appropriate sentiment “There is neither clean nor unclear, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”.

 

To his excellent arguments I added the following comment, which I will close this essay by reproducing here:

 

It does not matter how one interprets the Book of Revelation. One could be a dispensationalist, who thinks that the Beast is a specific individual who will be revealed after the elect have been raptured. One could be a preterist who thinks that the Beast was an individual/system of the first century and that all Biblical prophecy was fulfilled in the year 70. Or one could hold to any of the positions in between that are more in keeping with how the Book has traditionally understood. Either way, it is obvious the Beast is not a figure to be emulated. Requiring people to show a vaccine certificate to be able to conduct an economic transaction is eerily close to the Beast's requiring his mark to buy and sell, as even some Roman Catholics, like John Zmirak a month or so ago at The Stream, are starting to observe. Requiring it for church attendance would be even worse. We are to follow Christ not Antichrist. Jesus' example was clear. When He came across lepers, He did not avoid them, but touched and healed them. Go thou and do likewise.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The New Kulaks

 

The "experts" that our governments and the media have been insisting that we blindly trust for almost two years are now telling us that due to the Delta and other variants herd immunity to the bat flu is either unattainable or requires a much higher percentage of the population to have been immunized than was the case with the original strain of the virus.   They are also telling us that the fourth wave of the bat flu, the one we are said to be experiencing at the present, is driven by the Delta variant and that those who, for one reason or another, have exercised their right to reject the vaccine either in full or in part – for those who have had one shot but opted out of a second, or in some jurisdictions have had two but have opted out of a third, for whatever the reason, including having had a bad reaction to the first shot or two, are categorized under the broad “unvaccinated” umbrella by those who think that it is our ethical duty to take as many shots as the government’s health mandarins say we should take – are responsible for this wave, which they have dubbed a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”.   

 

This, however, is a case of the guilty pointing the finger at the innocent.   

 

Think about what they are now claiming.   If herd immunity was attainable with the original virus if 70-80% of the population were immunized but with the Greek letter variants it requires 90% or higher if it is attainable at all, then the blame for the current situation, however dire it actually is - and it is probably not even remotely close to being as dire as is being claimed because the media, the medical establishment, and the governments have grossly exaggerated the threat of this disease from the moment the World Health Organization declared a pandemic - belongs entirely to those who insisted upon the "flatten the curve" strategy.   Flattening the curve, which required massive government overreach and the dangerous suspension of everyone's most basic human, civil, and constitutional rights and freedoms, prolonged the life of the original virus, giving it the opportunity to produce these new, reportedly more contagious, mutations.   It was the public health orders themselves - not people resisting the orders and standing up for their and others' rights and freedoms - that gave us the variants.   It would have been far better to have taken measures to protect only the portion of the population that was most at risk, while letting the virus freely circulate through the rest of the population to whom it posed minimal risk, so that herd immunity could have been achieved the natural way and at the lower threshold while it was still available.   Natural immunity, as even the "experts" now acknowledge, is superior to what the vaccines offer if this can be called immunity at all seeing as it conspicuously lacks the prophylactic aspect that traditionally defined the immunity granted by vaccines for other diseases.   When you took the smallpox or the polio vaccine, you did so in order that you would not get smallpox or polio.  When you take the bat flu vaccine, purportedly, it reduces the severity of the bat flu so that you are far less likely to be hospitalized or to die from it.   When we consider that for those outside of the most-at-risk categories, the likelihood of being hospitalized due to the bat flu is already quite low and the likelihood of dying from it is lower yet, being a fraction of a percentage point, the so-called “immunity” the vaccines impart is not very impressive, making the heavy-handed insistence that everyone must take the jab all the more irrational.

 

For all the hype about the supposed “novelty” of the bat flu virus, it is now quite apparent that its waves come and go in a very familiar pattern.   The first wave, which started in China late in 2019, hit the rest of the world early in 2020 during the winter of 2019-2020 and ebbed as we went into spring.   With the onset of fall in 2020 the second wave began and the third wave took place in the winter of 2020-2021.   It once again waned as we entered spring of 2021, and the current fourth wave is taking place as summer of 2021 moves into fall of 2021.   Each wave of the bat flu, in other words, has occurred in the times of the year when the common cold and the seasonal flu ordinarily circulate, just as the lulls correspond with those of the cold and flu, the big one being in the summer.    How many more waves do we have to have in which this pattern repeats itself before we acknowledge that this is the nature of the bat flu, that it comes and goes in the same way and the same times as the cold and flu, compared to which it may very well be worse in the sense that the symptoms, if you get hit by a hard case of it, are much nastier, but to which it is far closer than to Ebola, the Black Death, or the apocalyptic superflu from Stephen King’s The Stand?

 

The politicians, the public health mandarins and their army of “experts”, and the mass media fear pornographers do not want us to acknowledge this because the moment we do the twin lies they have been bombarding us with will lose all their hold upon us and become completely and totally unbelievable.    The first of these lies is when they take credit for the natural waning of each wave of the virus by attributing it to their harsh, unjust, and unconstitutional public health orders involving the suspension of all of our most basic freedoms and rights.    The second of these lies is when they blame the onset of the next wave of the virus at the time of year colds and flus always spread on the actions of the public or some segment of the public.

 

It is the second of these lies with which we are concerned here.

 

Last fall, as the second wave was beginning, our governments blamed the wave on those who were disobeying public health orders by getting together socially with people from outside their households, not wearing masks, and/or especially exercising their constitutional right to protest against government actions that negatively impact them, in this case, obviously, the public health measures.    There was an alternative form of finger-pointing on the part of some progressives in the media, who put the blame on the governments themselves for “re-opening too early”.    This form of “dissent” was tolerated respectfully by the governments, a marked contrast with how they responded to those who protested that they could not possibly have re-opened too early because they should never have locked down to begin with since lockdowns are an unacceptable way of dealing with a pandemic being incredibly destructive and inherently tyrannical.   Although there was much more truth to what the latter dissenters were saying it was these, rather than the former group, that the governments demonized and blamed for the rising numbers of infections.     The governments and other lockdown supporters attempted to justify this finger-pointing by saying that the lockdown protestors, whom they insisted upon calling “anti-mask protestors” so as to make their grievances seem petty by focusing on what was widely considered to be the least burdensome of the pandemic measures, were endangering the public by gathering to protest outdoors.    That their arguments were worthless is demonstrated by how they had made no such objections to the much larger racist hate rallies held by anti-white hate groups masquerading under banal euphemisms earlier in the year and, indeed, openly encouraged and supported these even though they had a tendency to degenerate into lawless, anarchical, rioting and looting that was absent from the genuinely peaceful protests of the lockdown opponents.

 

With the deployment of the rapidly developed vaccines that are still a couple of years away from the completion of their clinical trials under emergency authorization government public health policy has shifted towards getting as many people vaccinated as possible, with a goal of universal vaccination.   At the same time, the finger-pointing has shifted towards the unvaccinated or, to be more precise, those who have not received however many shots the public health experts in their jurisdiction deem to be necessary at any given moment.    This blaming of the unvaccinated is both a deflection from the grossly unethical means being taken to coerce people to surrender their freedom of choice and right to informed consent with regards to receiving these vaccines and is itself part of those means.

 

Perhaps “shifted” is not the best word to describe this change in the finger-pointing.   While the less-than-fully-vaccinated are being blamed as a whole for the Delta wave the blaming is particularly acrimonious for those who both have not been sufficiently vaccinated to satisfy the government and who have been protesting the public health abuses of our constitutional rights and freedoms the latest of which is the establishment of a system of segregation based upon vaccine choice in which society and the economy are fully or almost fully re-opened to those who comply with the order to “show your papers” while everyone else is put back in lockdown.   The CBC and the privately owned media, both progressive and mainstream “conservative” have gone out of their way to vilify such people, as have the provincial premiers and their public health mandarins whose vaccine passport system is obviously punitive in nature.   The biggest vilifier of all has been the Prime Minister.   In his campaign leading up to the recent Dominion election he was unable to speak about the “anti-vaxxers” – a term, which until quite recently, indeed, until the very eve of this pandemic, designated supporters of holistic medicine who object to all vaccination on principle and who were usually to be found among the kind of tree-hugging, hippy-dippy, types who support the Green Party, NDP, or the Prime Minister’s own party – without sounding like he was speaking about the Jews to an audience at Nuremberg in the late 1930s.

 

What we are seeing here is not a new phenomenon.      When the ancient Greek city-states were faced with a crisis beyond human ability to control – such as a plague – they would choose someone, generally of the lowest possible social standing such as a criminal, slave or a cripple, and, after ritually elevating him to the highest social standing, would either execute him, if he was a criminal, or beat him and drive him out of their society, in either case as a symbolic sacrifice to avert disaster and save the community.    This person was called the φαρμακός, a word that also meant “sorcerer”, “poisoner” or “magician”, although there is no obvious connection between this meaning and the usage we have been discussing and lexicographers often treat them as being homonyms.  In some city-states this came to be practices as a ritual on a set day every year whether there was a looming disaster or not.   In Athens, for example, the two ugliest men in the city were chosen for this treatment on the first day of Thargelia, the annual festival of Apollo and Artemis.   Parallels to this can be found in almost every ancient culture as can the related practice of offering animal sacrifices.   Indeed, the practice is generally called scapegoating, from the word used in the English Bible to refer to the literal goat over which the High Priest would confess the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement each year, symbolically transferring the guilt to the goat, which would then be taken out into the wilderness and sent to Azazel, a word of disputed meaning generally taken to refer either to a place in the desert, an evil spirit who dwelled there, or both.   

 

Anthropologists have, of course, long discussed the origins and significance of this phenomenon.   While going into this at great length is far beyond the scope of this essay, a well-known summation of the discussion can be found in Violence and the Sacred (1977) by French-American scholar René Girard as can the author’s own theory on the subject.   Later in his Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (1987), Girard, a practicing Roman Catholic, returned to his theory and discussed how it related to Christian theology and to contemporary expressions of violence.   He put forward an interpretation of the Atonement that could in one aspect be understood as the opposite of the traditional orthodox interpretation.   While there have been numerous competing theories as to how the Atonement works, in traditional Christian orthodoxy the relationship between the Atonement and the Old Testament sacrificial system was understood to be this:  the former was the final Sacrifice to end all sacrifices, and the latter were God ordained types of Christ’s final Sacrifice.   By contrast, Girard argued that sacrifices were not something instituted by God but arose out of man’s violent nature.   When division arose in primitive communities, peace was restored through the scapegoat mechanism, whereby both sides joined in placing the blame on a designated victim who was then executed or banished, and built their renewed unity upon the myth of the victim’s guilt and punishment.   The sacrificial system was the ritual institutionalization of this practice.   As societies became more civilized the institution was made more humane by substituting animals for people.   The Atonement, Girard, argued, was not the ultimate sacrifice but rather a sort of anti-sacrifice.   It was not designed, he said, to satisfy the demands of God Who has no need for sacrificial victims, but to save mankind from his own violent nature as manifested in the scapegoat mechanism and sacrificial system.  In the Atonement God provided bloodthirsty man with One Final Victim.   That Victim offered to His immediate persecutors and by extension all of sinful mankind forgiveness and peace based not upon a myth about His guilt but upon the acknowledgement of the truth of His Innocence and the confession of man’s own guilt.

 

What is most relevant to this discussion, however, is not how Girard’s understanding of the Atonement contrasts with the more traditional orthodox view, but where both agree – that it brought an end to the efficacy of all other scapegoats and sacrifices.     This does not mean that the practice ceased but that it no longer works.    One implication of this pertains to the choice that the Gospel offers mankind.   If man rejects the peace and forgiveness based upon the truth of the Innocent Victim offered in the Gospel, “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26), and so his violence, which the scapegoat mechanism/sacrificial system can no longer satisfy, increases.   This means that in a post-Christian society the sacrificial and scapegoating aspect of human violence would reassert itself with a vengeance.    Interestingly, Girard interpreted the New Testament Apocalyptic passages, both those of the actual book of Revelation and those found in the words of Jesus in the Gospels, that speak of disasters, calamities and destruction to fall upon mankind in the Last Days, as describing precisely this, the self-inflicted wounds of a mankind that has turned its back on the peace of the Gospel rather than the wrath of God (see the extended discussion of this in the second chapter entitled “A Non-Sacrificial Reading of the Gospel Text” of Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World).   Certainly the twentieth century, in which the transformation of Christendom into secular, post-Christian, “Western Civilization” that was the main project of the liberalism of the Modern Age came to its completion, saw a particularly ugly resurgence of scapegoating on the part of secular, totalitarian regimes.

 

I alluded earlier to one such example, the scapegoating of the Jews by the Third Reich, of which it is unlikely that there is anyone living who is not familiar with the tremendous violent actions it produced.   Another example can be found in the early history of the Soviet Union and this is for many reasons a closer analogy to what we are seeing today.   In Hitler’s case, the group designated as the scapegoat was a real religious/ethnic group the identity of which had been well-established millennia prior to the Nazi regime.    When, however, the Bolsheviks, a terrorist organization of mostly non-(ethnic)-Russians who hated the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Tsar, and the Russian people, most likely in that order, led by V. I. Lenin and committed to his interpretation of Marxist ideology, exploited the vacuum created earlier in 1917 when republicans forced the abdication of Russia’s legitimate monarch in order to seize power for themselves and form the totalitarian terror state known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, they created their own scapegoat. 

 

Kulak, which is the Russian word for “fist”, was a derogatory term applied with the sense of “tight-fisted”, i.e., miserly, grasping, and mean to peasant farmers who had become slightly better off than other members of their own class, owning more than eight acres of land and being able to hire other peasants as workers.   Clearly this was a loosely defined, largely artificial, category, enabling the Bolsheviks to hurl it as a term of abuse against pretty much any peasant they wanted.   The scapegoating of the kulaks began early in the Bolshevik Revolution when Lenin sought to unify the other peasants in support of his regime by demonizing and vilifying those of whom they were already envious and confiscating their land.    After Stalin succeeded Lenin as Soviet dictator in 1924 he devised a series of five-year plans aimed at the rapid industrialization and centralization of what had up to then been a largely feudal-agrarian economy.   In the first of these, from 1928 to 1932, Stalin announced his intention to liquidate the kulaks and while this worded in such a way as to suggest that it was their identity as a class rather than the actual people who made up the class that was to be eliminated, that class identity, as we have seen, was already largely a fiction imposed upon them by the Bolsheviks and the actions taken by Stalin – the completion of the confiscation of kulak property, the outright murder of many of them and the placing of the rest in labour camps either in their own home districts or in desolate places like Siberia, clearly targeted the kulaks as people rather than as a class.    The history of Stalin’s liquidation of the kulaks as well as that of the Holodomor, the man-made famine he engineered against the Ukrainians, is well told and documented by Robert Conquest in his The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine (1986).

 

“Anti-vaxxer”, like “kulak” is mostly a derogatory term used to demonize people.   The term itself ought to be less arbitrary than kulak.    Assigning someone to a class of greedy, parasitical, oppressors simply because he is fortunate enough to own a few more acres of land than his neighbour is quite arbitrary and obviously unjust.   Identifying someone as being opposed to vaccines on the basis of his own stated opposition to such is not arbitrary at all, although dehumanizing someone on this basis is just as unjust.   In practice, however, the “anti-vaxxer” label is used just as arbitrarily.   Look at all who have been turned into third-class citizens, denied access to all public spaces and businesses except those arbitrarily deemed “essential” by the public health officials, and whose livelihoods have been placed in jeopardy by the new vaccine mandates and passports.    While those who have not taken the bat flu shots because they reject all vaccines on principle are obviously included so are those who have had every vaccine from the mumps to smallpox to hepatitis that their physician recommended but have balked at taking these new vaccines, the first of their kind, before the clinical trials are completed.   So are people who took the first shot, had a very bad reaction to it, and decided that the risk of an even worse reaction to the second shot was too great in their instance.   So are people who came down with the disease, whose bodies’ natural immune system fought it off, who thereby gained an immunity that recent studies as well as common sense tell us is superior to that imparted by a vaccine that artificially produces a protein that is distinctive to the virus, and who for that reason decided that they didn’t need the vaccine.   There are countless legitimate reasons why people might not want to receive these inoculations and it is morally wrong – indeed, evil, would be a better word than wrong here – to bully such people into surrendering their bodily autonomy and their right to informed consent and to punish them for making what, however much people caught in the grip of the public health panic may wish to deny it, is a valid choice.    It is even more evil to demonize, vilify, and scapegoat them for standing up for their rights.   Ironically, those currently being demonized as “anti-vaxxers” by the Prime Minister and the provincial premiers include all who have been protesting against the vaccine passports and mandates, a number which presumably includes many who have had both of their shots and therefore are not even “unvaccinated” much less “anti-vaxxers” in any meaningful sense of the word, but who take a principled moral stand against governments mistreating people the way they have with these lockdowns, mask mandates, and now vaccine passports and mandates.

 

The Nazi scapegoating of the Jews, the Bolshevik scapegoating of the kulaks, and the as-we-speak scapegoating of the “anti-vaxxers” by all involved in the new world-wide medical-pharmaceutical tyranny, all demonstrate the truth of the implication discussed above of the Atonement’s abolition of the efficacy of sacrifices and the scapegoat mechanism, whether this is understood in the traditional orthodox way, as this writer is inclined to understand it, or in accordance with Girard’s interpretation.   If people reject the peace and forgiveness offered in the Gospel and can no longer find it in the old sacrificial/scapegoat system the violence multiplies.   In the ancient pre-Christian practices, the victims were singular or few in number (there were only two victims, for example, in the annual Thargelia in Athens).   These modern examples of the scapegoating phenomenon involve huge numbers of victims.    The sought objective – societal peace and unity – is still the same as in ancient times, but it is unattainable by this method since scapegoating millions of people at a time can only produce division and not peace and unity.

 

The peace, forgiveness, and unity offered in the Gospel is still available, of course, although the enactors of the new medical tyranny seem determined to keep as many people as possible from hearing that offer.   They have universally declared the churches where the Gospel is preached in Word and Sacrament to be “non-essential” ordering them to close at the first sniffle of the bat flu and leaving them closed longer after everything else re-opened, although the number of churches that willingly went along with this and even took to enthusiastically enforcing the medical tyranny themselves raises the question of whether anyone would have heard the Gospel in them had they remained open.    Which brings us back to what was briefly observed earlier about Girard’s interpretation of Apocalyptic passages as depicting the devastating destruction of human violence which the scapegoat mechanism can no longer contain when man has rejected the Gospel.   Perhaps it ought not to surprise us that throughout this public health panic the medical tyrants have behaved as if the Book of Revelation’s depiction of the beast who demands that all the world worship him rather than God and requires that they show their allegiance to him by taking his mark on their right hand or forehead and prevents them from buying and selling without such a display of allegiance had been written as a script for them to act out at this time.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Reflections on a Waste of Time

Dominion Election 2021 has come and gone with the result being the restoration of the status quo ante.   This proves that the Conservatives, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in both the previous and the new Parliament, were absolutely correct in saying that this election was a colossal waste of time and money and an unpardonable one at that, having been called so soon after the last one and at a time when the public is still in the grip of an irrational paranoid panic because of a public health scare, going on two year's old, stirred up by the fear pornographers of the mass media noise machine, aided and abetted by the politicians and public health mandarins.   Note that in the place of that last part - everything from "grip" on - the Conservatives would have just said pandemic.   My wording is a more accurate description.


Since this means that  the incumbent Prime Minister, Captain Airhead, who occasionally uses the alias Justin Trudeau, gets to keep the job unless the Liberal Party decides to punish him for risking everything in a foolish and failed, egotistical bid for a majority, it is also evidence of the gross stupidity of a large part of the Canadian electorate.   This demonstrates further a point that I have made many times in the past - the universal franchise ideal of classical liberalism just does not live up to its hype and there is much that can be said on behalf of the pre-liberal wisdom that votes should be weighed and not just counted.

Or rather, to soften the judgement of the previous paragraph somewhat, this is what the results of this election would be saying if the election actually had been what almost everyone - the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the idiotic clown who leads the socialist party, the media commentariat of all political stripes, and most of the public - thought of it as being, that is to say, the election of the next Prime Minister.   That so many Canadians think of our Dominion elections primarily in terms of who the next Prime Minister will be is one of the many unfortunate consequences of the permeation of our culture with imported American Hollywood pop culture.   Every four years Americans vote on who their next President will be.   In our Dominion elections we do not vote for who the next Prime Minister will be.   We vote for who will represent our local constituency in the lower House of the next Parliament.    A Dominion election is the election of the next Parliament, not the next Prime Minister,   The person invited by the Crown to fill the office of Prime Minister - the person who leads the Cabinet of Ministers who carry out the day-to-day executive administration of the government - is the person who commands the most support in the House.   This is either the leader of a party that has won a majority of seats in the House or, in the absence of a majority, the party leader who can convince one or more parties other than his own to back him, usually, but not necessarily, the leader of the party which won the plurality.

I have from time to time heard some people gripe about this and suggest that we should have a separate ballot in which we vote directly for the Prime Minister.   I very much beg to differ with such people.   This would be objectionable, in my opinion, not just because it would make our system more like that of the United States, although that is good grounds in itself for opposing the proposal.   It would also be a step further towards undermining the way our constitutional system is designed to de-emphasize the office and role of Prime Minister.    The Canadians of the present day are sorely in need of a true appreciation of this aspect of our constitution and a better understanding of how a great many of our country's problems stem from a century's worth of effort on the part of the Liberal Party under leaders from William Lyon Mackenzie King to Captain Airhead to subvert our constitution in this very aspect and turn our country into an elected Prime Ministerial dictatorship.

Before proceeding further with that thought, allow me to address those who might object to my characterization of this as a Liberal project by pointing out that the last Conservative Prime Minister also treated the office in this way.   Stephen Harper grew up a Liberal.   He left that party in his twenty's but never really became a traditional Canadian Tory. He was first elected to Parliament as a member of the Western protest party, the Reform Party of Canada.   The Reform Party, of which this writer was also a member in the 1990s, was first and foremost a populist party.  While it affected a small-c conservatism, support for Canada's historical traditions and constitution was never a large part of what it understood by this word, which is a significant part of the reason this writer walked away from it shortly before the completion of the second stage of its merger with the Progressive Conservatives.   Indeed, what it thought of as conservatism was largely indistinguishable from the original platform and policies of the Liberal Party, and, demonstrating, perhaps, its indifference to Canadian history and tradition, it gave itself the name by which the Liberal Party had gone prior to Confederation.   Harper, who was chosen as leader after the completion of the merger, always seemed to be more of a Mackenzie King Liberal than a Macdonald-Meighen-Diefenbaker Conservative.

Our constitution is sometimes called the Westminster Parliamentary system after the Mother Parliament in the United Kingdom from which we inherited the system and on which ours is modelled.   The centuries of history, the most memorable highlight of which was the Magna Carta, by which the constitution of Alfred the Great, which the Norman kings swore to uphold following William's Conquest, evolved into the original Westminster Parliament in a form we would recognize today, produced a concrete actualization of what the ancient Greeks thought of as the ideal constitution.   The mixed constitution, about which Aristotle and Polybius wrote, the former telling how it had been a much discussed ideal even before his day, was regarded by the ancients as the most stable and just constitution.   The three basic constitution-types - the rule of the one, the few, and the many - each had their strengths and weaknesses, and tended to follow a cyclical pattern in which the best form of each would be corrupted over time into its worst form - aristocracy would be corrupted into oligarchy, for example, to use the terms applied to the good and bad forms of the rule of the few - prompting its replacement, usually through violent and destructive means, with one of the other types.   A mixed constitution, the ancients reasoned, in which each of these simple constitutions was incorporated as an element, would balance the weaknesses of each element with the strengths of the others and so be a more stable and less corruptible whole.    

Our constitution is also sometimes called Crown-in-Parliament or King/Queen-in-Parliament depending upon the sex of the reigning monarch.   This expression can be used for our constitution as a whole, although it is more strictly the term for the legislative branch of government.  In our constitution the powers are both united and separated, the union or fusion being ,appropriately, in the institution of the Crown as this is the institution that embodies the ancient "rule of one".   The monarch, the office in which Sovereignty is vested, is the representative of the unified whole, both of the state and the country, and, accordingly, the office is filled by hereditary succession rather than by partisan politics so the officeholder can be above the inherently divisive latter.   The House of Commons is the element that embodies the ancient rule of the many in our constitution.   It is the Lower House of Parliament but, especially in discussions of this nature, is often called by the name of the whole, just as the union of that whole with the Crown in Crown-in-Parliament can mean either the legislative branch of our constitution, as opposed to the executive Crown-in-Counsel and the Judicial Crown-on-the-Bench, or the entire Westminster constitution.   By calling the whole by this name, the emphasis is placed on the two ancient and time-proven institutions, the monarchy and Parliament.

Placing the emphasis on these institutions means that it is not placed on the office of Prime Minister.   This is important because the office of Prime Minister, at the head of the Cabinet of executive Ministers, is one of great power.   The power attached to the office creates the necessity that the officeholder be held accountable for his exercise of that power and that the role of the office be one of humility.    To meet the first need, the Prime Minister is supposed to be strictly accountable to Parliament.   This is why there is an official role for the largest non-governing party as Opposition.   The Opposition's job is to question and challenge the Prime Minister, to hold his feet to the fire and make him give account to the House of Commons for his actions.   One of the roles of the other House of Parliament, the Senate, which is the element corresponding to the ancient rule of the few in our constitution, is to hold the Prime Minister accountable in a different manner, by deliberating on the legislation that passes the House, giving it "sober, second thought", and sending it back to the House if problems are found with it.    If the Prime Minister's relationship with Parliament is supposed to keep him accountable, his relationship with the Crown is supposed to keep him humble.    It is the Queen who as hereditary monarch, above factional politics, represents Canada as a unified whole, and the Governor General who represents the Queen.   While the Prime Minister exercises the executive powers of government, he does so in the name of the Sovereign, and he is supposed to do so in an attitude of humility as the "first servant" suggested by his official title.   This role calls for a kind of modesty that is conspicuously lacking in the present holder of this office, who more than any of his predecessors has rejected the accountability and humility of his office.   A short time before the last Parliament was dissolved he actually took the Speaker of the House to court to challenge a House ruling that he would have to provide Parliament with un-redacted documents about the firing of two researchers from the virology lab in Winnipeg.   This blatant repudiation of full accountability to Parliament ought to have disqualified him and his party from even running in the election.   As for humility, he has treated his office as one of  such shameless self-aggrandizement and self-promotion as to make the Kims of North Korea seem meek and unassuming by comparison.    Upon winning a second minority government, after arrogantly assuming that he would be handed a majority, he claimed absurdly that the electorate had given him a "clear mandate" which utter nonsense indicates that he has become victim to the delusions of his own propaganda.

He would never have been able to get away with any of this if Canadians had a true appreciation for our constitution and its principles.    Making the office of Prime Minister one that is directly elected, and our elections, therefore, even more like American presidential elections, would only make this worse.

There is another change to our system that has been proposed, indeed, far more often than the one discussed above.    Many would like to see us abandon what is absurdly called first-past-the-post for proportional representation as the means of filling the House with elected Members.   This is a change that the current Prime Minister had promised to make when he was first elected with a majority government in 2015.   He did not do so.   Had he done so, he would not be Prime Minister today, because the Conservatives won the popular vote this year as well as in 2019.   Proportional representation would have meant a Conservative government as the result of both elections.    Another difference that proportional representation would have brought about is that Maxime Bernier's populist-libertarian-nationalist party, the People's Party of Canada would have had members elected, at least in this Dominion election.   They received over five percent of the popular vote, double that of the self-destructing Greens who were able to elect two Members, including their leader emeritus although not their new leader.   This sounds like I am making an argument for proportional representation.   A Conservative government, led by Andrew Scheer in 2019, or even by Erin O'Toole this year, despite the latter's gross sell-out to the left, would have been preferable to the Trudeau Liberals.   The presence of the People's Party is desperately needed in Parliament where all currently sitting parties are skewed to the far left and to the idea that every problem requires government action as a solution.   Having said that, while the outcome of proportional representation would have been better in these regards in 2019 and again in 2021, the present system is still the better one.   The current system is based on the idea that the people of a local constituency, being a community or group of communities with particular interests, vote for the person who will represent that constituency in Parliament.   The person elected as Member is supposed to be responsible primarily to the constituency, and to speak on their behalf including all those who voted against him as well as those who voted for him..   In other words, the individual Member is supposed to act towards his constituents in the opposite way to how Liberal governments have acted towards rural areas and especially the prairie provinces, since at least the first Trudeau premiership, that is to say, in a manner that looks a lot like punishing them for voting against their party.   This is a good ideal and standard to guide elected Members.   By contrast, proportional representation would give us a House filled by people who represent only their party, its ideology, and the percentage of the electorate who voted for them.   That is hardly a desirable improvement.   The so-called first-past-the-post is by far the saner and more civilized way of doing things, even if it gives us results that for other reasons we would not prefer.

As stated in the previous paragraph, the ideas of Bernier's People's Party, ludicrously called "far right" by the CBC and its echo chambers in the private media, are desperately needed in Parliament right now.   In his column just before the election, Ken Waddell, who publishes my hometown newspaper the Rivers Banner as well as his own hometown newspaper the Neepawa Banner, and who was at one time considered for the leadership of our provincial Progressive Conservatives, said the following in this regards:

I have often encouraged people in the NDP or Green party to get involved with the Liberals or the Conservatives and bring their ideas forward. The Greens and NDP are not likely ever going to form government. Even less so will the Maverick Party, the Peoples’ Party of Canada or the Christian Heritage Party. They have a narrow list of policies. It would be better if they got involved, truly involved, with one of the two main parties and worked to bring their ideas to the forefront. A lot of good talent in the splinter parties is wasted on tilting at windmills instead of actually bringing about good policies. It’s too bad, really, as there are some good people and good ideas outside of the Liberal and Conservative parties, but the ideas will never see the light of day hidden in the splinter groups. God bless those who toil for the smaller parties, but I think their time and talents are being wasted.

I remember when Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel used to make this argument about third parties other than the Republicans and Democrats in the United States.   The argument was much stronger in that context because the American system is designed to be a two-party system, stacked against anyone other than the Republicans or Democrats..   Our system is not designed that way as seen in the number of times there have been minority governments that can only govern when propped up by one or more parties other than either itself or its main rival which is in Opposition.    There is, however, another problem with Mr. Waddell's suggestion here.   While the Greens and NDP might be able to get away with putting their ideas forward  as Liberals since the latter have largely incorporated the agendas of the former, nobody would be able to do as he suggests with the ideas of the Maverick, People's, or Christian Heritage Parties in either the Liberals or the Conservatives.    Both of these parties strictly police their members to keep just these very ideas out.   The Conservative Party, under the present leadership, is in some ways worse than the Liberals in this regards.   Whether we are talking about social conservatism of  the type associated with the Christian Heritage Party or libertarian opposition to public health tyranny such as the People's Party has been promoting, Erin O'Toole has expelled Members over these ideas and severely whipped those allowed to remain in caucus so as to make them afraid to speak their minds.  The present Liberal and Conservative leaders both govern their own parties the way the Liberals have for a century now wanted the country run, as an elected dictatorship.    For this reason, the option proposed by Mr. Waddell is simply not available.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Fatal Confusion

 

Faith, in Christian theology, is not the greatest of virtues – that is charity, or Christian love, but it is the most fundamental in the root meaning of fundamental, that is to say, foundational.   Faith is the foundation upon which the other Christian theological virtues of hope and charity stand.   (1) Indeed, it is the foundation upon which all other Christian experience must be built.   It is the appointed means whereby we receive the grace of God and no other step towards God can be taken apart from the first step of faith.  The Object of faith is the True and Living God.   The content of faith can be articulated in more general or more specific terms as the context of the discussion requires.   At its most specific the content of the Christian faith is the Gospel message, the Christian kerygma about God’s ultimate revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ.   At its most general it is what is asserted about God in the sixth verse of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, that “He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”.  

 

Whether articulated in its most general terms or its most specific, the faith Christianity calls for us to place in God is a confidence that presupposes His Goodness and His Omnipotence.   This has led directly to a long-standing dilemma that skeptics like to pose to Christian believers.  It is known as the problem of evil.   It is sometimes posed as a question, at other times it is worded as a challenging assertion, but however formulated it boils down to the idea that the presence of evil in a world created by and ruled by God is inconsistent with God’s being both Good and Omnipotent.   The challenge to the Christian apologist, therefore, is to answer the question of how evil can be present in a world created by and ruled by a Good and Omnipotent God.    This dilemma has been raised so often that there is even a special word for theological and philosophical answers to the dilemma – theodicy.

 

Christian orthodoxy does have an answer to this question.   The answer is a complex one, however, and we are living in an era that is impatient with complex answers.    For this reason, Christian apologists now offer a simple answer to the question – free will.    This is unfortunate in that this answer, while not wrong, is incomplete and requires the context of the full, complex answer, to make the most sense.  

 

The fuller answer begins with an observation about how evil is present in the world.   In this world there are things which exist in the fullest sense of the word – they exist in themselves, with essences of their own.    There are also things which exist, not in themselves, but as properties or qualities of things which exist in themselves.   Take redness for example.   It does not exist in itself, but as a property of apples, strawberries, wagons, etc.   Christian orthodoxy tells us that while evil is present in the world, it does not exist in either of these senses.   It has no essence of its own.  Nor does it exist as a created property of anything that does.  God did not create evil, either as a thing in itself, or as a property of anything else that He created.   Just as a bruise is a defect in the redness of an apple, so evil is present in the world as a defect in the goodness of moral creatures.  

 

If that defect is there, and it is, and God did not put it there, which He did not, the only explanation of its presence that is consistent with orthodoxy is that it is there due to the free will of moral creatures.   Free will, in this sense of the expression, means the ability to make moral choices.     Free will is itself good, rather than evil, because without it, no creature could be a moral creature who chooses rightly.    The ability to choose rightly, however, is also the ability to choose wrongly.   The good end of a created world populated by creatures that are morally good required that they be created with this ability, good itself, but which carries with it the potential for evil.

 

One problem with the short answer is the expression “free will” itself.   It must be carefully explained, as in the above theodicy, because it can be understood differently, and if it is so understood differently, this merely raises new dilemmas rather than resolving the old one.    Anyone who is familiar with the history of either theology or philosophy knows that “free will” is an expression that has never been used without controversy.   It should be noted, though, that many of those controversies do not directly affect what we have been discussing here.  Theological debates over free will, especially those that can be traced back to the dispute between St. Augustine and Pelagius, have often been about the degree to which the Fall has impaired the freedom of human moral agency.   Since this pertains to the state of things after evil entered into Creation it need not be brought into the discussion of how evil entered in the first place although it often is.

 

One particular dilemma that the free will theodicy raises when free will is not carefully explained is the one that appears in a common follow-up challenge that certain skeptics often pose in response.     “How can we say that God gave mankind free will”, such skeptics ask us, “when He threatens to punish certain choices as sin?”

 

Those who pose this dilemma confuse two different kind of freedom that pertain to our will and our choices.      When we speak of the freedom of our will in a moral context we can mean one of two things.   We could be speaking of our agency – that we have the power and ability when confronted with choices, to think rationally about them and make real choices that are genuinely our own, instead of pre-programmed, automatic, responses.   We could also, however, be speaking of our right to choose – that when confronted with certain types of choices, we own our own decisions and upon choosing will face only whatever consequences, positive or negative, necessarily follow from our choice by nature and not punitive consequences imposed upon us by an authority that is displeased with our choice.    When Christian apologists use free will in our answer to the problem of evil, it is freedom in the former sense of agency that is intended.   When skeptics respond by pointing to God’s punishment of sin as being inconsistent with free will, they use freedom in the latter sense of right.   While it is tempting to dismiss this as a dishonest bait-and-switch tactic, it may in many cases reflect genuine confusion with regards to these categories of freedom.   I have certainly encountered many Christian apologists who in their articulation of the free will theodicy have employed language that suggests that they are as confused about the matter as these skeptics.

 

Christianity has never taught that God gave mankind the second kind of freedom, freedom in the sense of right, in an absolute, unlimited, manner.   To say that He did would be the equivalent of saying that God abdicated His Sovereignty as Ruler over the world He created.    Indeed, the orthodox answer to the problem of evil dilemma is not complete without the assertion that however much evil may be present in the world, God as the Sovereign Omnipotent Ruler of all will ultimately judge and punish it.     What Christianity does teach is that God gave mankind the second kind of freedom subject only to the limits of His Own Sovereign Rule.    Where God has not forbidden something as a sin – and, contrary to what is often thought, these are few in number, largely common-sensical, and simple to understand – or placed upon us a duty to do something – these are even fewer - man is free to make his own choices in the second sense, that is to say, without divinely-imposed punitive consequences.    

 

Today, a different sort of controversy has arisen in which the arguments of one side confuse freedom as agency with freedom as right.    Whereas the skeptics alluded to above point to rules God has imposed in His Sovereign Authority limiting man’s freedom as right in order to counter an argument made about man’s freedom as agency, in this new controversy man’s freedom as agency is being used to deny that government tyranny is infringing upon man’s freedom as right.

 

Before looking at the specifics of this, let us note where government authority fits in to the picture in Christian orthodoxy. 

 

Human government, Christianity teaches, obtains its authority from God.   This, however, is an argument for limited government, not for autocratic government that passes whatever laws it likes.   If God has given the civil power a sword to punish evil, then it is authorized to wield that sword in the punishment of what God says is evil not whatever it wants to punish and is required, therefore, to respect the freedom that God has given to mankind.    Where the Modern Age went wrong was in regarding the Divine Right of Kings as the opposite of constitutional, limited, government, rather than its theological basis.   Modern man has substituted secular ideologies as that foundation and these, even liberalism with all of its social contracts, natural rights, and individualism, eventually degenerate into totalitarianism and tyranny.

 

Now let us look at the controversy of the day which has to do with forced vaccination.      As this summer ends and we move into fall governments have been introducing measures aimed at coercing and compelling people who have not yet been fully vaccinated for the bat flu to get vaccinated.   These measures include mandates and vaccine passports.   The former are decrees that say that everyone working in a particular sector must either be fully vaccinated by a certain date or submit to frequent testing.   Governments have been imposing these mandates on their own employees and in some cases on private employers and have been encouraging other private employers to impose such mandates on their own companies.   Vaccine passports are certificates or smartphone codes that governments are requiring that people show to prove that they have been vaccinated to be able to travel by air or train or to gain access to restaurants, museums, movie theatres, and many other places declared by the government to be “non-essential”.    These mandates and passports are a form of coercive force.   Through them, the government is telling people that they must either agree to be vaccinated or be barred from full participation in society.    Governments, and others who support these measures, respond to the objection that they are violating people’s right to choose whether or not some foreign substance is injected into their body by saying “it’s their choice, but there will be consequences if they choose not be vaccinated”.

 

The consequences referred to are not the natural consequences, whatever these may be, positive or negative, of the choice to reject a vaccine, but punitive consequences imposed by the state.    Since governments are essentially holding people’s jobs, livelihoods, and most basic freedoms hostage until they agree to be vaccinated, those who maintain that this is not a violation of the freedom to accept or reject medical treatment would seem to be saying that unless the government actually removes a person’s agency, by, for example, strapping someone to a table and sticking a needle into him, it has not violated his right to choose.  This obviously confuses freedom as agency with freedom as right and in a way that strips the latter of any real meaning.

 

What makes this even worse is that the freedom/right that is at stake in this controversy, each person’s ownership of the ultimate choice over whether or not a medical treatment or procedure is administered to his body, is not one that we have traditionally enjoyed merely by default due to the absence of law limiting it.   Rather it is a right that has been positively stated and specifically acknowledged, and enshrined both in constitutional law and international agreement.   If government is allowed to pretend that it has not violated this well-recognized right because its coercion has fallen short of eliminating agency altogether then is no other right or freedom the trampling over of which in pursuit of its ends it could not or would not similarly excuse.  This is tyranny, plain and simple.

 

Whether in theology and philosophy or in politics, the distinction between the different categories of freedom that apply to the human will is an important one that should be recognized and respected.   Agency should never be confused with right, or vice versa.

 

(1)   Hope and charity, as Christian virtues, have different meanings from those of their more conventional uses.   In the case of hope, the meanings are almost the exact opposite of each other.   Hope, in the conventional sense, is an uncertain but desired anticipation, but in the Christian theological sense, is a confident, assured, expectation.   It is in their theological senses, of course, that I mean when I say that hope and charity are built on the foundation of faith.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                           

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Altruism and Mandates Don’t Mix

Those who have demanded that we shut up and do everything the government and its “experts” have told us to do from the beginning of the bat flu scare have insisted that doing so is necessary for the sake of protecting others and that it is “selfish” to be worried about such things as traditional rights and freedoms and their constitutional protections at a time like this.   Of course, when someone allows a fear of the bat flu that is absurdly out of proportion to the actual risk posed by the disease to so distort his thinking that he is willing to throw away, not only his constitutionally protected rights and freedoms, but those of his friends, family, neighbours, and countrymen as well, it is rather rich of him to be shooting his mouth off about how caring and compassionate he is and how “selfish” all those who object to tyranny are.   Nevertheless, they continue to talk this way, and are now telling us that we need to abandon our “selfish” insistence upon our right to make an informed choice before accepting medical treatment and agree to be vaccinated for the sake of others.   This adds yet another layer of dark irony to this entire farce.

 

People do not, as a rule, undergo medical treatment for the sake of others.   If someone takes an aspirin it is to get rid of his headache not his wife’s headache.   If her headache is caused by his complaining about his own then his taking the aspirin may have the incidental effect of curing his wife’s headache but that is not why he takes the aspirin.    You do not inject yourself with insulin out of fear that your neighbour’s blood sugar is too high.   You do not have a bypass because somebody else is experiencing chest pain.

 

Vaccination is no exception to this rule.   While using vaccines to immunize people can benefit others by making it harder for a disease to spread, each person who gets his shot does so for his own protection.   Whatever protection it may provide to others is incidental and if he thinks of it at all it is at most a secondary concern to him.     

 

There is one rather obvious exception to this rule, however.   When someone donates either his blood or one of the few organs he can donate while he is still alive he undergoes a medical procedure that is entirely for the benefit of someone other than himself.  

 

We have arrived at the stage of bat flu mania where a large number of people are insisting that governments suspend our right to withhold our consent and compel us to take the vaccines.    Such people might object to this description of their demands but it is accurate nevertheless.   Putting a gun to someone’s head and telling him to get vaccinated or you pull the trigger – get the shot or get shot – is not the only form of compulsion.   To tell someone that to retain his employment he must get the jab is to put a metaphorical gun to his job.   To tell someone that to regain all the freedoms that were taken from him at the beginning of the bat flu scare, especially access to all the public spaces that were closed at that time, he will have to prove he has been fully vaccinated is to put the same gun to his freedom, which he will not get back even if he does comply, because access to all these places if you can produce the right documents is not the freedom that he had before.  The person who gets vaccinated in any of these instances, who would not have gotten vaccinated otherwise, has not given his voluntary, informed, consent.   The coercion involved invalidates the consent.

 

While banning a medical procedure is justifiable under certain circumstances, forcing someone to undergo a medical procedure is never justifiable.    The closest thing to an exception to this is when an emergency procedure is needed to save someone’s own life and he cannot give consent, voluntary and informed or otherwise, because he is unconscious and likely to remain that way apart from the procedure.    This is very different from forcing someone to undergo a treatment that he consciously rejects.

 

Those who support these vaccine mandates and passports attempt to justify this suppression of each person’s right to reject medical treatment that he has not been persuaded to his own satisfaction that it is in his best interest to accept with arguments that ultimately reduce to the same old “it is for the protection of others” line that the bat flu bullies have been using all along.   It takes on a whole new level of absurdity when applied to vaccines.  

 

Who are the others that one is supposed to be protecting by getting vaccinated?

 

Presumably, these would be the vaccinated.   The people, that is to say, who are supposed to be already protected by their own vaccines. “Your vaccine protects me, my vaccine protects you” is not how vaccines work.

 

Imagine what it would look like if this kind of reasoning were used to mandate the medical procedure discussed above that genuinely is undertaken solely for the benefit of others.   It would play out something like this:

 

The chief public health officer announces one day that deaths due to kidney failure are on the rise.   “This is unacceptable”, he says.   “We must get these numbers down”.

 

The problem, he then informs us, is that all the cadavers, corpses, and carcasses of car crash victims have not been yielding enough salvageable kidneys to meet the needs of the growing number of people requiring a transplant.    Nor is the gap being sufficiently bridged by voluntary donors.

 

Therefore, he announces, the government will be offering incentives for people with healthy kidneys to donate.    Everyone who donates at least one will be entered in a lottery with a chance to win a million dollars.

 

A month or two later, he informs the public that while kidney donations have gone up, the latest computer modelling projects that a rise in kidney failure deaths is about to begin.   In an effort to ward this off, the government is now making kidney donation mandatory for all public employees and encouraging private employers to consider doing the same.   To facilitate matters it will begin issuing kidney donor cards and has developed an app whereby you can confirm your donor status with your smart phone.   Those who have not done their part to stem the tide of kidney failure death by donating one or more of their kidneys can expect to find themselves denied full participation in society as the card/app will also be used to restrict access to anything not deemed essential to only those who have donated a kidney.

 

Such a scenario would be monstrous, of course.    Yet, if the government is going to override people’s right to reject medical procedures that we do not want on the grounds that forcing us to undergo a procedure is necessary for the sake of others, the underlying reasoning would be more valid in this situation than in the real life one.  

 

It is interesting to note, by the way, that the persecution of prisoners of conscience in Red China, especially of targeted groups such as the Falun Gong and Uyghurs, reportedly involves forced organ harvesting.   Communist China is the pattern on which all the governments of the formerly free world have modelled their draconian measures to combat the bat flu.   It is time that we stop doing this and start respecting our own tradition of freedom and constitutional limits on government power, don’t you think?

Saturday, September 4, 2021

“My Body, My Choice”?

 

The slogan “my body, my choice” is not a new one.   It has been around for years and, until practically yesterday, everyone who heard it – or read it on a placard – knew who the person saying it –or holding the placard – was and what this person was talking about.    That person was someone who identified as “pro-choice”, the choice in question being the choice of a woman to have an abortion.

 

Those of us who were on the right side of the abortion debate, the side that generally went by the label “pro-life”, would answer this slogan by pointing out that it was not just the woman’s body that would be affected by the abortion.    The unborn baby inside her would also be affected.    Indeed, its life would be terminated as that is the essential nature of an abortion.    The pro-choice movement has gone to great lengths to disguise the true nature of abortion from itself, and from those women contemplating one.    They use euphemistic language like “reproductive rights”, “reproductive health”, and the like in order to depict abortion as being merely a routine medical procedure.    They object strenuously to efforts by the pro-life movement to shatter this façade and bring the true nature of abortion out into the open by, for example, showing graphic depictions of aborted babies.

 

It can no longer be assumed, when one hears the slogan “my body, my choice”, that the person speaking is talking about abortion.   Indeed, it is probably safe to say that if you hear that slogan today, the chances are that the person saying it is not talking about abortion at all.    This is because in the last couple of months or so the slogan has been adopted by a different group of people altogether, those who are on the right side of the forced vaccine debate and are bravely standing up to the mob which, scared senseless by two years of media fear porn about the bat flu virus, is supporting governments in their efforts to shove needles into everyone’s arms whether they want them or not.

 

The mob’s answer to this new use of the slogan, when they bother to respond with anything other than “shut up and do what you are told” is similar to the pro-life movement’s answer to the pro-abortion use of the slogan.   It is not just our bodies, they tell us.   It is our duty to do our part to take the jab in order to protect others from the bat flu and if we don’t do our part the government should force us to do so by making our lives as miserable as possible until we do.

 

Before showing how and why the pro-life movement was right in its answer to the slogan as used by the pro-abortion movement while the supporters of forced vaccination are wrong in their answer to the slogan, it might be interesting to observe another way in which these two seemingly disparate issues intersect.    Among those of us who are on the side of the angels against forced vaccination there are those who are merely against vaccines being coerced and there are those who have objections to the vaccines qua vaccines.   Those who object to the vaccines qua vaccines could be further divided into those who are against all vaccines on principle and those who have problems with the bat flu vaccines specifically.    The latter include a large number of traditionalist Roman Catholics and Orthodox, evangelical Protestants, and other religious conservatives.    One of the reasons more religious conservatives have objected to the bat flu vaccines is that the mRNA type vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) are developed from research that used a cell line originally derived from an aborted foetus and the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine used a cell line from a different aborted foetus in its production and manufacturing stage.

 

Now, let us consider some differences between these scenarios that render the pro-life movement’s response to “my body, my choice” valid, and the pro-forced vaccination mob’s response to the same invalid.

 

The pro-life movement objects that “my body, my choice” is not a valid defense of abortion because abortion causes the death of someone other than the woman choosing to have an abortion.    This is a strong argument because a) abortion always, in every instance, and indeed, by definition, causes such a death, b) the death is always of a specific someone who is known, to the extent an unnamed person can be known, and c) the death is always intentional on the part of the persons performing and having the abortion.   The opposite of all of this is true in the case of someone who rejects the bat flu vaccines.    Someone not getting a vaccine is never the direct cause of another person’s death.    An unvaccinated person can only transmit the virus to someone else if he himself has the virus.   Even if he does have the virus and does transmit it to someone else that other person is far more likely to survive the virus than to die from it.   This is true even if the other person is in the most-at-risk category.   It would be extremely rare, if it happens at all, that causing another person, let alone a specific other person, to die would be part of the intent in deciding not to be vaccinated.    Therefore, the argument that the pro-life movement uses against “my body, my choice” in the case of abortion, does not hold up as an argument against the same in the case of forced vaccination.

 

A second important difference is in how the expression “my body, my choice” is used by the two groups.   The pro-choice movement uses it against those who would prohibit women from having an abortion.   The opponents of forced vaccination use it against those who would compel everybody to take an injection.   To compel somebody to do something requires a much stronger justification than to prohibit them from doing something.    This is especially the case when it comes to medical procedures.   A reasonable justification for denying someone a medical procedure that is not urgently needed to save the person’s life from immediate danger is far more conceivable than such a justification for compelling someone to undergo a medical procedure.    In the case of the bat flu vaccines, the clinical trials of which will not be completed for another two years, many of which include mRNA which has never been used in vaccines before, which increase the risk of the heart conditions pericarditis and myocarditis, as well as thrombosis (blood clots) and Bell’s palsy, and which is for a respiratory disease that people who are young and healthy have well over a 99% chance of surviving and even those who are not young and healthy are far more likely to survive than not, the idea that compelling anyone to take these could ever be rationally justified is morally repugnant.

 

So we see that “my body, my choice” is weak and invalid with regards to abortion but is strong and valid with regards to forced vaccination (vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, etc.)    The only reason there is a mob supporting and calling for the latter today, is because people and businesses have been terrorized by the media and their governments and subjected to hellish lockdowns and restrictions for almost two years, are sick of it, would agree to almost anything to be rid of it, and so they jumped aboard the forced vaccination bandwagon when the public health mandarins said that we need vaccine mandates and vaccine passports to avoid another lockdown.   The public health mandarins are lying, however, as they have been lying since day one of the bat flu pandemic.  All that is needed for us to avoid another lockdown is for governments to start respecting our constitutional rights and freedoms and the constitutional limits on their own power.     They will only do this if we insist upon it.   Letting them get away with forced vaccination is not a step towards the return of freedom, but towards greater tyranny.