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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.    

 

Good Reading
Essays (37)
Saturday
Mar112017

The West Against Itself: Our "Civil War of Values"

The Spiritual Logic

            The secular Westerner looks at the universe and says: “Because there is no God, the universe must have created itself by purely physical means, so there is no ultimate truth, no Why.”

            But the Westerner of faith (and the Muslim) says: “As nothing can come from nothing, the universe cannot have created itself, because for anything to create itself, it would have to precede itself in existence – which is clearly a logical impossibility. Hence, the universe must have had a beginning and an eternal or uncreated creator. So absolute truth must exist somewhere, and therefore I must humble myself before this truth and strive to know it in whatever way I can.”

           Anyone can follow the logic embedded in this spiritual conclusion without necessarily belonging to an organized religion. As a purely logical conclusion it has served as the foundation of the Judeo-Christian world for two millennia, and of the Islamic worldview for 1,400 years. I was going to say the modern democratic world has rejected it. But that would be wrong. It has never been rejected, because it cannot be refuted. Rather, it has simply been ignored by preference for the weaker self-serving promises of personal liberation promised by secular individualism. It was precisely this choice to abandon our original spiritual logic that divided the West against itself. As a result, within every Western nation today we can see at least a three-way split of the population. To understand the relationship between these cohorts is to understand why and how Islam, both moderate and radical, fits into the picture.

 

Cohort 1 – Our Secular Liberal Population

          This is the largest segment in each Western democracy. Modern liberals are almost uniformly progressive, Statist, materialistic and secular, rarely religious (or if so, only nominally). They believe in the separation of church and State, support egalitarian policies and affirmative action, support moral relativism and “toleration” (are “non-judgmental”), and consider religious morality old-fashioned, Victorian, oppressive (though many will say they are good with “spiritual” values). They support homosexual rights, abortion rights, and much of radical feminism as a badge of their open-mindedness, and have flexible notions of families (plural), are easy on divorce, soft on crime, okay with pornography. These people live mostly in the big cities of the West, make good money in the free market system, with which they have few complaints. They are people of low fertility (way below replacement level), and at least in urban settings are often high livers, do plenty of partying, enjoy alcohol, sample recreational drugs, and so on. They find the attitudes expressed by people in Cohort 2 to be ignorant, bigoted, and behind the times. Theirs is the prevailing secular orthodoxy of the modern State. When Muslims, and our own faith communities say the West is decadent, they are talking about Cohort 1.

 

Cohort 2 – Our Faith Population

          This cohort comprises all people of faith who accept the spiritual logic, above, and work that out each in their own way in their own faith communities, or simply as individuals. They tend to oppose just about everything Cohort 1 supports, though there is some overlap (such as churches that support gay rights, etc). They tend toward tradition in all family, moral, and sexual matters. They drink less, smoke less, do less drugs, divorce less, and have a lot more kids than Cohort 1 people. They also tend to live in outlying suburbs, small towns, and rural areas, with one exception: The immigrant faith population that shares most of these values tends to live in the big cities where they can be with others of their cultural or ethnic kind and keep the faith traditions of their country of origin alive.

            The moderate Muslim population fits in here, too. They are “against the West” only in the sense that they are against all the values – especially the anti-family policies and the moral relativism - promoted and practiced both by Cohort 1, and 3 (below). They consider the values of Cohort 1 immoral and unnatural, and the values of our own radicals in Cohort 3 they consider fascist (whether left or right), or at best utopian, but without moral roots in any set of permanent principles or natural law. 

             I have direct experience with this moral cleavage myself. In the middle of the night, in summer of 2008 I received a phone call from a Muslim woman in Iran informing me that her pro-family women’s rights group had translated my book The War Against the Family into Farsi (Persian). That book was a full-on assault against the anti-family program in the Western world. She was in complete sympathy. I am no Muslim. But I applauded her Cohort 2 pro-family and pro-children values.  I still do. Every sociological or psychological study ever done on this cohort tells us these people as a cohort have stronger and bigger families, less divorce, happier children, suffer less illnesses and neuroses, far less alcoholism and tobacco diseases, almost none are in poverty or on welfare, they have very respectable educational and occupational levels, and on it goes.

 

Cohort 3 – Our Radical Leftist Population

             Let us dismiss as disturbing, but to be watched, the small number of right-wing radicals, skinheads, and the like. That done, we can say that the far larger Cohort 3 consists mostly of well-to-do educated radicals, many of an alienated, extremist anti-Western nature who are uniformly leftist in their politics, if not openly Marxist, socialist, or anarchist. They are also libertarian (anti-authoritarian) in their morals. They can be found employed by the thousands in the universities and media outlets of the West, as well as many government bureaucracies (as the Trump administration is discovering!), where they exercise a powerful influence on the broader public, and in our schools, on the young. They oppose the values held by both Cohorts 1 and 2. The first, because they see them as complacent well-fed, undiscerning materialists (okay, capitalist pigs); the second, because they hold to wht radicals consider a holier-than-thou oppressive religious morality (fundamentalist rednecks).

            Although they are against capitalist society as a whole and prefer an egalitarian socialist utopia, they live very well themselves. The vast majority of radicals in this cohort have higher pay, drive better cars, and live in more expensive neighbourhoods than the populations they seek to radicalize. They are equivalent to what the writer Milovan Djilas, halfway thru the last century, described as "The New Class" of the Communist nations. In their anger at the West, even though they do not share Islamist theology, they are often sympathetic with radical Islamist attacks on the West. Radical Islamists want to destroy the West because it is run by unholy infidels, but our home-grown radicals want to destroy the West in order to build a secular-socialist Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. They are secularized radicals who happen to have a lot in common with … Muslim hatred of the West. That is why the late Osama Bin Laden said: “The interests of Muslims [he meant his kind of radical Islamists] and the interests of the socialists [these Cohort 3 folks I am describing] coincide in the war against the crusaders.”  For him, “crusaders” was his description of all those the cozy liberals in Cohort 1 who have brought the world today’s brand of unholy secular capitalist democracy (phew!)]. This analysis tells us that smack dab in the middle of all Western nations today we have two powerful cohorts that are partly or wholly in sympathy with the Muslim (if not always the Islamist) revolt against the West.

           First, we have radicals of our own making who want to bring Western society down through revolution or anarchy. Here are some of the heartless things they said just after the mass-murder of their own fellow citizens by Islamists on 9/11.[1] Keep in mind that in most nations throughout history, these people would have been prosecuted and jailed for sedition for saying such things in public.       

           Second, we have a very large faith population which, although without such revolutionary motives is in strong passive sympathy with the Muslim disapproval of sexual licence, homosexuality, gay-rights parades, abortion rights, pornography, social saturation with drugs and alcohol, violence in film, TV and advertising, anti-family legislation, court rulings against religion by secularizing judges, and more. By the same token, most Muslims (unlike Islamists) everywhere express strong support for devout Christians (as distinct from nominal ones), because of this sharing of the same moral views

           To summarize: A weakened western civilization has become so divided against itself that we now fail even to recognize, much less defend our own deep culture. More often than not we attack it ourselves. This has exposed us to radical Islamists who have no such doubts about their own foundations, and who are prepared to use terrorism to defeat and replace Western culture.

 


[1] From Jamie Glazov, “From the Left With Hate,” National Post, April 21, 2009, being an excerpt from his book United in Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror, WND Books, 2009. 

Thursday
Mar092017

Islam, & Terrorism Against the West

 

 "Virtually all of the most notorious international terrorist organizations are known to maintain a network presence in Canada."

~ Canadian Security Intelligence Service, 2003. 

“”Osama Bin Laden has publicly identified Canada as a country he believes his followers should attack … He ranked Canada fifth out of seven countries, and every other country on that list has already been attacked.”

~ Robert Wright, National Security Advisor to the Canadian Prime Minister, in a security Speech, October, 2004.

“[Islamic] leaders have always thought globally, viewing their struggles as part of a broader War against the West.”

~ Clifford May, President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and former New York Times foreign Correspondent (October 31, 2009).

“We have to establish Islam in Canada. I wanna see Islam in every single corner of the city; I would like to see niqabis and hijabis [women wearing face masks and head coverings] everywhere in the city. I want to see “brothers” [Muslim men] in beards everywhere in the city. Because when they see more of us, they will have more respect for us. They will say, ‘Look, they are everywhere … we cannot go against them.’”

~ Said Rageah, Muslim Cleric, Toronto, 2009

 

         Picture a map with two colours, red for Islam, blue for Christendom. If we ran maps of the past 1,400 years at high speed, we would see these two colours advancing and retreating across the entire Mediterranean basin, parts of middle Europe as far north as Vienna, all of North Africa, the Middle East – not to mention the vast regions north of, and including chunks of India, and to the Far East, south to Indonesia. We would notice immediately that there is never any white space between the two colours. To freeze this map at any point in history since the sixth century would show the labile boundaries between these two theological kingdoms. Anyone visiting the beautiful Alhambra in Grenada, that stunning aesthetic and horticultural tribute to Islamic culture and thought will sense the beauty and confidence that once was there. In such places - throughout Spain and in other Southern European countries - we find plentiful physical evidence of the map: mosques built over churches; then churches built over mosques, or inversely; a veritable warfare of art and theology, ideas and stones. I will come back to this war momentarily. But first, let’s look at the slow transformation of the West’s own spiritual and ideological foundations that began during the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation, and that has made us vulnerable to attack from within and without.

 

We Began by Attacking Our Own Foundations

           As mentioned above, the modern democratic spirit that mutated into radical individualism was born a child of the Reformation. It did not take long, however, due to the influence of materialistic science and the dreadful experience of two world wars to abandon this spiritual origin altogether, turning in the end against all public belief in spiritual transcendence (the idea that there might be is a spiritual reality that transcends the physical world). This was a fateful turning, as we shall see shortly, that has weakened us considerably, simply because when a materialistic people for whom the universe has lost all higher meaning is faced with a people infused with such spiritual confidence they will blow themselves up as martyrs for God, they stand a good chance of losing.

          At any rate, under our new secular paradigm, the communal concept of democracy that began in the faith communities of the West as Vox Populi, Vox Dei (“the voice of the people is the voice of God”), also began mutating. From the idea that majorities with a common belief system could – and would - arrive at a common truth by voting, we mutated to a people who believe that democratic rights are most properly expressed by individuals, often as “democratic rights” asserted (via courts) against the larger community itself. Secular scientists were breaking down the physical world into constituent parts in a hunt for the ultimate material truth of the universe; secular philosophers were promoting radical – and very relative – moral individualism. Quantum particles; moral particles. One man, one vote. Atomistic Man. Soon, morality too, would be considered a matter of pure individual truth, rather than a truth held in common. These two forms of individuation, one physical, the other political and moral have produced the disunited, atomized, secular and materialistic regimes of the West, wherein even the suggestion that morality is a public good to be held in common is now considered offensive.

            Raw materialism, however, has always been empty with respect to the ultimate questions. It tells us a great deal about the What, but nothing about the Why of existence. Moral relativism is an advance-surrender of any possibility of locating a single Why. However, all humans seem to have a spiritual hunger, so the quest for the Why doesn’t go away. In the West, even as we mistook the What for the Why and summarily dropped God from the entire question, the hard-wiring of the quest remained. By then the unspoken logic was: If there really is no spiritual Kingdom of Heaven, well, then let’s damn well create a secular one. So in the twentieth century the Western world went to war against itself, twice. The aging, spiritually-weakened liberal democracies, living off the rapidly-depleting moral surplus of the Judeo-Christian belief system, found themselves waging war against secular totalitarian systems that had become, of all things … political religions! They were attempting to engineer never-before-seen societies of human perfection on earth, in the name of … Man. Across the blasted face of Europe, in a truly fateful historical apocalypse, the old spiritual armies, fighting to defend and preserve the residue of their worn-out religious tradition – individual rights, the sacredness of human life, equality, rule of law, and so on – managed to win once again for what may have been the last time. After the atomic bomb, the young found it hard to believe there was much worth fighting for.

            What was left? Only demands for equality, moral relativism, and its necessary corollary - a mindless “tolerance” of all individual truths. This is now the reductive and unshakeable foundation of the Western political and secular orthodoxy. In its name the Western world embarked on vast and self-contradictory egalitarian program of legal discrimination demanding wall-to-wall equality in social and economic outcomes. All would be good if all were made good by law. At last, we would have our Earthly Kingdom. To achieve this all traditional forms of life rooted in spiritual belief in a fixed natural moral law and in the realities of natural human biology were deemed exclusionist and discriminatory. The new orthodoxy teaches that religions discriminate (against all secular norms); that the heterosexual (or “heteronormative”) family discriminates against individuals due to its economic, tax, and legal privileges; that traditional sexual morality is oppressive; and so on. It soon became apparent that once aimed at society in this way, democratic equality had become a universal solvent because the practical result for all post-Christian regimes has been ever-more aggressive attacks on all social, sexual, and economic privileges and laws intended precisely to protect and ensure the success of our traditional regimes. So wherever enforced, equality rights have produced the atomization and decay of traditional forms of life and morality, and of the common life once based upon them.

          This process has produced bizarre ideological consequences – or clashes – within all Western societies, to the extent that all those still attempting to live according to our once-spiritual norms (or the moral surplus of them), principles that were the foundation of the Western world for millennia, began to realize they were being drawn in to a radical “civil war of values” within their own countries. Samuel Huntington’s insightful study The Clash of Civilizations told only half the story. He argued persuasively that many civilizations of the world – such as Islam and Christianity - rest on clashing ideologies that will not, and cannot be melded.

          But the deeper story of the Western democracies is that there is a more serious clash within each of them. For once having repudiated natural law and human nature, and replaced these foundational premises with a simplistic egalitarian dictate, they proceeded to eviscerate marriage with laws granting individuals unilateral no-fault divorce rights (to hell with the contractual rights of the observant spouse); laws granting individual women abortion rights (to hell with the rights of the fathers, and of the unborn children); laws granting individuals gay-marriage rights and benefits (to hell with civilization’s procreative objective); and then … they begin fining and jailing citizens for resisting this regime-change (to hell with free speech and open debate). This new orthodoxy was to bring about our utopia.   

Wednesday
Mar082017

Is "the Economy" a Good Reason for Immigration?

More on the immigration question from The Trouble With Canada ...Still! (2010)

          Many argue that because we have an aging society, a changing ratio of retirees to workers, and falling fertility rates, we need lots of immigrants or the economy will eventually go into a tailspin. This argument seems plausible - at first- because without sufficient bodies who will buy the food, rent the offices and retail spaces, buy the diapers, and so on? The prospect of a rapidly falling population is scary, and the looming demographic winter seems real. Canada’s own Annual Report on Immigration notes that immigration will be “a key source of workforce growth in the future.” But bad thinking has produced what looks like a false assumption.

           Canada’s first serious study of this question was carried out in 1985 by The Macdonald Royal Commission on “The Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada.” Its conclusion was that “immigration did not contribute to economic growth, but in fact caused a decline in per capita income and real wages in Canada.”[1]

          In July of 2009, the C.D. Howe Institute warned: “for Canadians to expect more, younger immigrants to counteract the effects of low past fertility on workforce growth and aging would be a serious mistake.”[2] The Institute’s sophisticated projections told us that “only improbably huge increases” in “net” immigration rates (after subtracting all those who return home) of “more than 2.5 times” recent rates (600-700,000 new immigrants per year) have any chance to “offset” the consequences of lower past fertility.

           Even when “age filters” favouring much younger immigrants were plugged into the projections, they showed the need for a future Canadian population ranging between 60 and 200 million people before the current aging and falling fertility factors were neutralized. Projections relying on immigration flows to improve the economy tended “to produce explosive population growth, with ludicrous terminal numbers….” In the year 2050 Canada would need 7 million immigrants.

           The conclusion of that study was that better and faster results could be achieved by raising the age of retirement from 65 to 70, boosting natural fertility rates from the current 1.5 children per women to 2.1, and increasing productivity (real output per worker) by 1 per cent. The authors also cited a major 2004 study of the European situation by the RAND corporation. It concluded that “immigration could do little to mitigate the challenges created by low fertility in the European Union” because, as in the numerous Canadian studies cited, “the momentum of the resident population largely overwhelms immigration’s influence.” More sobering: the United Nations Population Division has concluded that for Europe to rebalance its own demographic mixture to avoid eventual collapse it would require over 700 million immigrants by 2050 - more than the present population of the whole of Europe! [3]

          In his survey of Canadian immigration research, Martin Collacott has pointed out that “the government’s own research” indicates that immigration plays a minor role in boosting the economy. “Overall economic performance of newcomers ... has fallen below that of earlier immigrants and people born in Canada. A major reason for this is the priority given to family-class immigrants,” none of whom is required to bring any marketable skills to Canada, nor to speak either official language.[4] Underlining the problem of immigrant illiteracy, Frank McKenna of the TD Bank Financial Group said that the immigrant illiteracy issue is “sort of like boiling a frog, it's not … something that would alarm people, because it's not all that evident; we just gradually become poorer as a nation as a result of this loss of potential.”[5] Adding to the complexity is the fact that immigrants to Canada increasingly are coming from areas such as Asia where English and French are not native tongues (up to 40% of Canada’s new immigrants speak neither English nor French). The concern is that the economic wellbeing of newcomers has been deteriorating over the past twenty-five years, with unemployment and poverty levels significantly higher among immigrants than among Canadian-born citizens.

           In sum, too many immigrants arrive with no skills, no common language with which to engage with their host country, and immediately demand free social, medical, dental, and unemployment benefits. This phenomenon is all but international now and is causing some panic in many established welfare States because, as European analyst Martin Paldam found, “the traditions of protection of the weak cause adverse selection of immigrants, so that most are unskilled.” However, welfare States, he warns, only survive if they stand on an implicit compact: we all give, in order, if necessary, to receive. People will accept high levels of taxation if they believe recipients of welfare are like themselves: if they “have made the same effort to be self-supporting and will not take advantage.” However, “if values become extremely diverse in a diversified population, then it becomes difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a risk-pooling welfare State.”[6] In plainer words, if you set your country up to attract freeloaders – they will come.

          George Borjas of Harvard University (himself an immigrant) and perhaps the world’s most acknowledged authority on this question, echoes the findings of other major studies done since the mid-1980s by mainstream economists in Canada, the USA, Australia, and the UK: the only significant economic impact of immigration is to reduce the wages of native workers.[7] 

           In 2007 a Statistics Canada study, “Chronic Low Income, and Low Income Dynamics Among Recent Immigrants” revealed that notwithstanding the emphasis on education in the “skilled worker” category of immigrants, “their earnings in relation to native Canadians were significantly lower and continue to deteriorate.”[8] Professor Alan Green of Queen’s University has stated categorically that “the current political posture of using immigrants to solve economic problems is no longer valid.”[9] 

          To conclude: a recent study by economist Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University revealed that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in the year 2002 alone than they paid in taxes for that year! Grubel stated that this amount was more than the federal government contributed to health care in 2000-2001, and more than twice what it spent on defence.

          And finally – let us bash the “Bigger is Better” myth. A bigger economy is not necessarily a stronger one. China, for example, has a huge economy because it has more than a billion people. But in per capita earnings it is around 100th in the world - whereas Canada is in the top ten. As long as a strong economy of any size continues to produce sufficient numbers of babies to maintain viable age-to-dependency ratios (ratio of born to dying, and workers to retirees), a country will remain stable. Small but strong stable economies such as those of Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, Austria, Singapore, and Hong Kong, do not have to be big. Neither does Canada.

 


[1] From an article by James Bissett, former Ambassador and Executive Director of the Canadian Immigration Service,  “The Current State of Canadian Immigration Policy,” p.6, 2008

[2] Robin Banerjee and William B.P. Robson, “Faster, Younger, Richer?: The Fond Hope and Sobering Reality of Immigration’s Impact on Canada’s Demographic and Economic Future,” C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, no. 291, July, 2009.

[3] See Christopher Caldwell, Reflection on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West (New York: Doubleday, 2009), p.47.

[4] Martin Collacott, “Canada’s Immigration Policy: The Need for Major Reform,” in Public Policy Sources, The Fraser Institute, No. 64, 2003. 

[5]He is referring to the story of how if you drop a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will immediately leap out. But if you start with cold water and gradually raise the temperature, the frog will sit until it dies (National Post, Sept. 28, 2009).

[6] Martin Paldam, cited in Herbert Grubel, “Immigration and the Welfare State in Canada: Growing Conflicts, Constructive Solutions” Public Policy Sources No. 84 (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, September 2005), p.24ff.

[7] See George Borjas, Heaven’s Gate: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton University Press, paperback, 2001).

[8]  James Bissett, “The Current State of Canadian Immigration Policy,” p.7, 2008. From Statistics Canada Catalogue No. 11F009MIE – 2007198.

[9] Cited in Herbert Grubel, ed., The Effects of Mass Immigration on Canadian Living Standards and Society (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 2009), p. 9.

Sunday
Mar052017

A Warming Message form an Old Friend

I just received a phone call my first true friend, who lives in Port Hope, and whom I met on my first day as a new-boy at boarding school at age 10.
In my graduating year, about 17 yrs old, I had begun training quite intensely for track and field, and he wanted to join me.
In the spring, one of our many workouts, was to run 15 x  the length of the 110yd football field as fast as we could manage. From time to time, over the years, we have both recalled fondly the many occasions on which, bending over and panting so hard trying to recover with just one more length to do, we would look at each other and without words, agree that we could do one more, though our legs were screaming with lactic acid by that time. There was a lifelong bond created in those moments.
In his call today, he told me that on this Feb 6th, in bitter cold, he had gone out on his forested property to walk his dog, leaving his sweet wife, who has been disabled with Multiple Sclerosis for fifteen years now, inside. 
Probably about the time he was turning around, and unknown to him, his poor wife took a bad fall down the last of the stairs to the kitchen, and in great pain, with some broken ribs, and bleeding head, but still conscious, she managed to get to the phone to call 911.
At about that same moment, now facing the bitter wind and whipping snow, My friend turned ... slipped on some ice, and fell very hard, breaking his leg very badly, just below the hip joint.
But, he's a gritty guy, and in shock and pain, and with no idea how he would manage, he began crawling toward the house, which he saw in the distance, about ... 110 yards away!
He said that with dog-leash in hand still, and on his elbows and his other knee, he dragged himself and his broken leg back to the house. But when he finally crawled thru the door and lay flat on his back and exhausted in the kitchen, he saw his dear wife all bloodied at the bottom of the stairs ...
Just then, the ambulance showed up to quite a scene, and carted both of them off to the hospital!
I asked Roger how in hell he managed to drag himself back home with (as it turned out) such a bad compound fracture of the hip and leg.
"Willy," he said, "You remember those interval runs we used to do at school, just hammering so hard, until the last one? Well, that is all I thought about: You can make it! I kept telling myself, over and over."
Some things don't change. After all these years, what I heard on the phone was the same cheerful voice as I heard 60 years ago on that green field!
Quite a fellow!
Husband and wife are both recovering well.

 

Saturday
Mar042017

Immigration and Democracy

             In the beginning, when Trudeau’s government turned toward multiculturalism as yet another Statist innovation, the question: Does it matter, or not, where immigrants come from? gave a sense of the tension between Canada’s smug elite opinion and the popular wisdom for which the former felt only scorn. The American situation was not much different, as evidenced in “Elite vs. Public Opinion,” a press release issued December 2002 by the U.S. Center for Immigration Studies[1] that spoke with some alarm of the “enormous gap” between American elites and the public on immigration. Sixty percent of the American public found their present levels of immigration (which proportionally are one-third of the Canadian level) “a critical threat to the vital interests of the United States.” But only fourteen per cent of the nation’s leadership – well-off, opinion-setters – agreed: a gap of 46%. Much of this difference had to do with working people being anxious about their jobs, whereas educated people are less vulnerable to immigrant job-seekers. Nevertheless, the analysis made it clear that politicians get their opinions on immigration policy from elites, not from ordinary people.

            This truth constitutes a sharp challenge to whatever democratic foundation may exist in Western nations, for given that any kind of immigration is either going to maintain, strengthen, or weaken a nation’s identifiable deep-culture profile – its historical identity (a reality distinct from race identity) - there are reasonable questions we ought to be asking. Such as: Do we want to maintain our national deep-culture profile (as described above), or change it? If we say change is okay, then we have to ask: What kind of change? And - Should we accept random change imposed externally by foreigners demanding a “right” to come to Canada? Or should we manage the direction of change ourselves, insisting that immigration to Canada is not a right, but a privilege to be controlled only by Canadians? If, having decided the latter, we want to manage future change ourselves, then we have to ask: Who in Canada – elites or the people – should make the decision to change, and in what direction?

            Clearly, any decision about the future cultural profile of Canada may turn out to be a good or a bad one, regardless of who makes it. However, I submit that on decisions of such importance that have the potential to alter the ethno-cultural fabric of an entire nation –especially in any nation with a meaningful degree of democracy - it is the people who ought to decide on their own future cultural profile, for better or worse. In other words, all nations have the right to defend themselves against demographic capture, or (if you prefer) against passive ethnic or cultural take-over. Either elected representatives should affirm what the ethos and fabric of society is to become after extensive and sincere consultation with all the people, or – my preference – after the same in-depth process, a question of such importance ought to be put directly to the people in a referendum, and subject to a special majority of, say, two-thirds.  Alas, by now, the entire subject of immigration has become so politicized, the average Canadian so frightened of expressing an honest opinion (such are only whispered), and our lop-sided-leftist media so ready to pounce with charges of bigotry (whereas they themselves ought to be charged with anti-Canadianism), that reasonable dialogue does seem impossible. This attests to the attitude-control powers of governments and elites, and the intellectual infantilization of the nation. But it does not reflect the appropriate responsibility and self-direction of a free people.

 


[1] The report was based on a national poll performed by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, May to July 2002. 

Thursday
Mar022017

On the Silliness of "Safe Spaces"

Visitors will enjoy this clip of Van Jones in discussion about "Safe Spaces" at the University of Chicago. My comments follow it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zms3EqGbFOk&t=23s

***************

    In this brief and passionately expressed clip, Van Jones makes the time-honoured distinction between disagreeable words (which are non-physical acts), and disagreeable or abusive physical actions used against people with whom you may disagree.

               He was reinforcing the old jingle we learned as kids: "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." 

               However, the modern liberal dispensation has exerted itself to dissolve this important distinction, and with devices such as Human Rights Tribunals and anti-hate legislation, has blurred it completely, and has thus opened the door, once again, to the presence of thought-police in the ostensibly freedom-loving nations of the West. This signals an enormous historical shift in the political ideology of such nations, though for now it remains well-camouflaged by the language of ... rights and freedom.

               Anyone who has lived under an intentionally totalitarian system is quite familiar with how the loss of the words/actions distinction is the first signal that some power-group -- in our case the liberal left - has already gained control over the levers of public speech, and is already using the blurring of the important distinction between words, sticks, and stones - to argue that a word IS a stick or a stone. Inevitably, as night follows day, they then authorize themselves to argue that a word is an act of hate, intimidation, or violence, and use laws and punishments to stamp out resistance to their preferred progressive ideology. This conversion of words into stones, concepts into things, is already penetrating beyond the mouth and into the mind. The next target is thought control. There are legions of intellectual-sanitation officers already arguing that each one of us is a living engine of "micro-aggression."  Social damage is done every time we open our mouths. So, just a pitter-patter of deadly little dogmas away -- is thought-control and compulsory national re-education programs for all the people.

                Amidst the people themselves? There begins a moral and intellectual life of silence, or at the least, of inauthentic and dishonest social interactions with others who, it is feared,  may be policing them to judge if what they thought were just words are maybe, possibly, sticks and stones, and who seek to shut them up and punish accordingly.    

               I think Van Jones, an articulate leftist, came out in support of maintaining the words/actions distinction because his deepest instincts correctly informed him that otherwise, no one, left or right, is safe.