New Book



$21.95 hardcover · 224 pages
9978-1594037641-January 2015


The theme of The Great Divide is that the populations of the democratic world, from Boston to Berlin, Vancouver to Venice, are becoming increasingly divided from within, due to a growing ideological incompatibility between modern liberalism and conservatism. This is partly due to a complex mutation in the concept of liberal democracy itself, and the resulting divide is now so wide that those holding to either philosophy on a whole range of topics: on democracy, on reason, on abortion, on human nature, on homosexuality and gay marriage, on freedom, on the role of courts … and much more, can barely speak with each other without outrage (the favorite emotional response from all sides). Clearly, civil conversation at the surface has been failing -- and that could mean democracy is failing.

This book is an effort to deepen the conversation. It is written for the non-specialist, and aims to reveal the less obvious underlying ideological forces and misconceptions that cause the conflict and outrage at the surface -- not with any expectation the clash of values will evaporate, but rather that a deeper understanding will generate a more intelligent and civil conversation.

As an aid to understanding, the book contains a handful of Tables directly comparing modern liberal and conservative views across a range of fundamental moral and political “issues” so that curious readers can answer the book’s main question: “Where Do You Stand?” An interesting result in testing this exercise has been the number of people who find they “think” one way, but “live” another.    


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Essays (37)
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Trudeau and Obama

        Most Canadians and Americans are simply unaware of the drastic changes that have taken place in their respective countries over the past few generations.

        In his first and only major book, Federalism and the French Canadians (Macmillan, 1968), former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau openly and proudly outlined his plan to socialize Canada. To that point, most socialists theorists felt that any form of federalism, controlled as it must be by a constitution spelling out distinctive federal and provincial (or state) responsibilities according to which the federal government is not allowed to touch provincial/states matters, and vice versa, was a system that for this very reason could not be easily centralized, and hence could not be easily socialized. Socialism was thought to be too difficult to introduce and impose upon a geographically large country that already had a federal system in place.

        But Trudeau disagreed. On p. 126 of his book, he points readers to the experience of "that superb strategist Mao Tse-Tung," who argued that planting socialism willy-nilly in various regional strongholds was "the very best thing." Accordingly, Trudeau proceeded to develop his argument that existing federal systems, although originally designed to block centralization, can indeed be used to plant a centralizing socialism, and "must be welcomed as a valuable tool which permits dynamic parties to plant socialist governments in certain provinces, from which the seeds of radicalism can slowly spread" (p.127).

       To that point, Canadian Federalism, like American federalism, had been specifically designed (just read the original constitutions of each nation, to verify) to prevent any oppressive central government from intruding into provincial/state jurisdictions, on the conviction that local government ought to govern things local, and central (federal) governments, only those things that are truly national. For example, many things in Canada's constitution such as health care and education, are still specified as strictly provincial responsibilities.

         So Trudeau and his "gang of five" of the time (Trudeau, Marchand, Lalonde, Chretien, and Begin), had to figure out, in Maoist style, how to get around the "keep your hands off local government" rules in the constitution.

         They did so with a specific and very simple strategy. They said: 1) Let's not touch the constitution. that's too tough, and would take a lot of persuading.  2) Instead, let's write up socialist national standards for everything we can think of, and then raise taxes like crazy on individual citizens.  3) Then, instead of dictating or forcing any lower jurisdiction to subscribe to the plan, let's bribe them to take part, with their own money! We'll just offer a lot of that new tax money to any province that agrees to become socialized in the way we wish to see. All we have to do to socialize a federation is "stuff their mouths with gold" (a phrase used by Health Minister Aneurin Bevan, when he introduced socialized medicine to Britain). 

          In other words, Trudeau and Company conceived a plan to financially bribe the provinces into surrendering their control over formerly and solely and strictly provincial matters. Presto: new regulations to socialize all of Canada were introduced funded by so-called "shared-cost" programs, and they were soon willingly accepted by every province (except gutsy Alberta, which fought this program, but eventually caved in) in exchange for billions of dollars sent back to them in "transfer payments" - that is, in exchange for gobs of money that had first been extracted from them in taxes.

          That is exactly what I suspect Obama is going to try in the USA to break down what he sees as excessive "states rights" in America, in order to universalize his social programs, suppress states rights further where he can, and draw all under his new socialist policy umbrella.

           In 1934, the U.S. Senator from Louisiana, Huey Long, himself a socialist and a corrupt man to his toes (his nickname was "The Kingfish") warned the people long before, what was coming and what he was trying to bring about, loud and clear. 

           He said: "when socialism comes to America, it will come in the name of democracy."

           But no one listened, and it has.

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Reader Comments (2)

How sad to see the US is heading where Canada probably was in early 1970s. Modern liberalism is like a disease. Once it has got the hold of its patient, it kills slowly and it makes sure the patient never recover. very sad! I always thought of Obama as the American Trudeau myself way before I read this article.
May 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwinston
Thanks to Trudeau, by 1990 Canada was an economic basketcase. Ironically it was Chretien's finance minister Paul Martin in the mid 1990s that began rolling back Trudueauism. With rounds of tax cuts and privitization, Canada today is close to being more free economically then the USA.
March 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremo

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