The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.
P R A E S I D I U M
A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis
15.2 (Spring 2015)
Free Speech in Crisis
Are Both America and Canada Currently in Decline?
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a renewed willingness zealously to defend freedom of speech appeared to have has arisen among influential elements of the progressive press. This willingness, I fear, will prove more boisterous than effectual. Leopards do not so soon change their spots. The figurative bullets which that latest triumph of nanny-statism, Net Neutrality, will surely discharge upon “illicit” opinions is destined to produce a cultural massacre far more consequential than the Paris shootings. Casualties have already been piling up for some little while. For instance, Mark Wegierski, a frequent contributor to Praesidium, has lately seen a very fine essay of his airbrushed from Internet history, as he explains below.
Most of the following piece represents our attempt simply to reintroduce the original article at issue to the public domain—at least until our own site itself is shut down in the interest of “fairness” (in some Orwellian sense of the word). Somewhat more generally, Mr. Wegierski also expresses the hope that the covert selection of worthwhile articles, essays, and reviews for unexplained “purge” from prominent websites may be countermanded by the activity of such enterprises as The Center. He raises here the possibility of an “Internet Free Speech Restoration Project”—a notion of which our board most certainly approves.
Author’s Preface (2015):
The author here presents, as part of an “Internet Free Speech Restoration Project” (courtesy of Praesidium) an essay of his which had originally appeared at a prominent Canadian website (c2cjournal.ca) in August 2008 (vol. 2, issue 1). However, around October 2012, the author had discovered on his own that his essay, as well as his bionote on the page listing all the journal’s authors (and a second, shorter piece of his from 2010), had been summarily taken down from the website, in a very thoroughgoing fashion. (He had a number of friends look at the website to confirm that the pieces had become inaccessible.) He also noticed that there was another author (Nigel Hannaford) who had been removed from the website, but no one beyond that.
The author has sent a slightly earlier draft of the essay, from his own electronic files. He asked the Editor to confine editing to putting the text into American spelling, and formal grammatical and stylistic points.
Are Both American and Canadian Polities in Decline? (August 2008) 1
Much of current-day Canadian politics is driven by certain visions of America as a “bigger, badder” society than the “kinder, gentler” Canada. Indeed, for much of the current-day Canadian popular opinion, America is a virtual Mordor—“where the shadows lie”. On the other hand, considerable numbers of current-day Canadian conservatives look to the United States as a “Right Nation” 2 and inspiration for themselves. Especially since the 1960s, there has been a considerable degree of affinity among many Canadian conservatives for America, for reasons such as that America—unlike Canada—certainly appeared to have a real and dynamic conservative movement. Also, during the entire Cold War period, America was a rallying focus for opposition to Soviet Communism, which was a strong point of attraction for most conservatives around the world.
The Canadian Left’s bad feelings about America usually considerably diminish when there appear to be the prospects of the election—or when there occurs the actual coming to power—of a young, dynamic, ”progressive” Presidential candidate, typified by Barack Obama in this 2008 U.S. election cycle.
While the general stance of this article is mostly what would be called “paleoconservative” in the United States (represented mainly by the publications Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture; The American Conservative; and takimag.com ) the author believes that it is especially important for traditionalist and conservative outlooks, in matters domestic and in relations with the world in a given country, to identify with a stance that is “native” to that country—regardless of how attenuated a certain tradition may be or appear to be in that country. There is the virtue of loyalty to “our home and native land” to consider. Hence this article seeks to proclaim an emphatically Canadian but also conservative approach to Canada-U.S. relations.
Some Canadian conservatives tend to be overly enamoured with America without regard to what kind of policies the U.S. government is actually undertaking. For example, some elements in the Canadian Alliance party of the time were ready to embrace the “pre-emptive war” against Iraq, at a time when those U.S. efforts were being seriously questioned in many countries. Some Canadian conservatives also seem very reticent to refer to a Canadian conservative tradition distinct from that of the American one—and are in fact sometimes unfamiliar with the leading thinkers of Canadian conservatism.
Nevertheless, before the 1960s, Canada could have been seen as a more profoundly conservative country than the United States. Canada’s foundational principles of “peace, order, and good government” pointed to Burkean Tory roots. The Canadian Toryism valued the commonweal, but at the same time, it had a more democratic, egalitarian focus than Toryism in the British Isles. Thus it represented a meld of the best of Tory concern for community with the more democratic focus that was possible in a less class-ridden and less physically crowded society than that of Britain. Exemplars of the Canadian conservative tradition included Stephen Leacock (best known as a witty humourist), historian Donald Creighton,3 and public philosopher George Parkin Grant. 4
Ironically, Canada was generally decidedly traditionalist before the 1960s without much need for intellectuals and theoreticians to articulate that traditionalist-conservative outlook.5 Thus, when the “traditionalist-centrist” consensus was swept away in the aftermath of the 1960s, it was the result of concentrated intellectual endeavour, especially that by Pierre Elliott Trudeau—indeed, an intellectual revolution. In the aftermath of the 1960s, the broadly conservative landscape was broken apart under the influence of the revolution launched by the “intellectual vanguard”. Nevertheless, certain national and cultural traits persisted into the period of the “new regime”. 6
The traditional Canada found only a handful of intellectual defenders as the country fell under the sway of so-called late modernity—which some have called the “Trudeaupia” (a term frequently used by, among others, Mark Steyn). Most prominent among these was Grant, and, among the more recent writers, William D. Gairdner7 and Ken McDonald.
Canada was traditionally—and remains to this day—a decidedly more “polite” society than America. Because of this long-ingrained “niceness”, it has consistently avoided such aspects of the United States as virulent racism and, to a lesser extent, blatant commercialism. Even today, its politics are, perhaps, not as rancorous and bitterly polarized as in the United States.8
The Canadian liberal and left-wing views of the special virtues and strengths of current-day Canada—as well as the praise of some on the Canadian Right for the U.S. today—can certainly both be questioned. Both the United States and Canada can be perceived, for somewhat differing reasons, as countries in rather steep social and cultural decline.
There are various, somewhat differently focused aspects of that decline in the two respective countries.
As far as Canada is concerned, it has to a large extent lost a sense of being a true polity, of having something held in common. This sense of polity extended across virtually the entire spectrum of pre-1960s Canada, in what could be called the “traditionalist-centrist consensus”—emphatically embraced, for example, by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the precursor to today’s much different NDP).9 It could be argued that in Canada, the near-dissolution of traditional Canadian identity has resulted in the near-dissolution of the Canadian polity as such. It now appears to be what critics have called a “collection of tribes”.10
A dissolving multiculturalism seems to be enveloping Canada, shredding and making nonsensical any notions of a common purpose and a collective sense of Canadian nation that exists beyond the hyper-particularisms of current-day Canada.11
In the face of the fragmentation of multiculturalism, the notion of something held in common which could be the basis of the generous Canadian welfare state—which Canadian liberals and the Canadian Left consider to be the height of Canadian achievement—simply disappears. It is absurd to think that a welfare-state can be maintained into the future as various groups revel in their sense of separation from the so-called mainstream.
What is called “late capitalism”—with ever- increasing contrasts of wealth and poverty—is the almost inevitable form towards which multicultural society tends. It has been demonstrated, for example, that the most homogenous states in America have the most equitable distributions of income—whereas the most multicultural ones have the steepest inequalities of income distribution.12
The United States now appears to be a society with far more elements of traditionalism than Canada. Nevertheless, the traditionalism and conservatism of America may be more apparent than real.
One important aspect of the perceived “right-wing” nature of current-day America is its large and effective military, and, indeed, its willingness to exercise military power around the world.13 Yet, it could be argued that the dynamism of what some call U.S. imperialism in regard to Iraq (to take the most obvious example) is part of global-democratic “missionizing” projects that it is simply incorrect to consider as symptomatic of a resurgent traditionalist conservatism.14
When one fixates on the apparent aggressiveness of the U.S. policies under George W. Bush, it is easy to denounce the U.S. as a hyperpower, but the domestic policies of Bush (with the partial exception of the Supreme Court nominations), do not embrace a traditionalist-conservative agenda. The federal government has grown enormously under Bush, federal spending and especially the Department of Education budget has swelled enormously,15 and social liberalism continues to win battle after battle in a roaring tide. The extraordinary enabling legislation put in place to carry out the so-called War on Terror could, it is argued by some, be fairly easily turned against traditionalist and socially conservative elements in the wake of a new Democratic Administration. 16
The second main element of the putative conservatism of the United States today is the presence of evangelical Protestants and more traditionalist Catholics in the United States, Nevertheless, the apparent dynamism of evangelical Protestants could be seen as a somewhat ambiguous phenomenon as far as constituting a genuine traditionalism. First of all, there is the notion that some evangelical Protestantism which manifests itself outside of established denominations—such as the “megachurches,” televangelism, and so forth—sometimes represents a rather questionable form of authentic religious engagement and life. Also, certain of the evangelical leadership believe in a brand of theology which necessitates uncritical support for anything which the Israeli government does.17 It gives reasons to make them what could be seen by some as an over-enthusiastic and unreflective cheering section for one side of Middle Eastern wars and interventions—which it is difficult to consider as giving support to a more modest and realistic U.S. foreign policy. At the same time—while there is a salient traditionalist Catholic presence in the United States, possibly more so than in Canada—considerable sectors of the Roman Catholic Church embrace considerable forms of social liberalism, such as pro-high-immigration outlooks.18
The third main element of the putative conservatism of the United States is the vast network of publications, think-tanks, foundations, and so forth, that are considered to be the focus of an institutional, infrastructural conservative movement. Unfortunately, it can be seen that genuine traditionalists are not given much of a place at the table as compared to the loose group popularly known as “neoconservatives” and those who depend on the “neoconservative” approval and funding. The over-all aims and goals of the neoconservatives are indeed much different from the heartland base from which the Republican Party draws it core support.19
Indeed, in the United States, the extent of the penetration of what has been called “the managerial-therapeutic regime”20 is probably considerably greater than what is usually conventionally thought. The more traditionalist and conservative elements in the U.S. face a rather dismal choice in November 2008: a Republican candidate whose sole aspect of putative conservatism appears to be his willingness to pursue war abroad, and a Democratic candidate who—despite his message of change and hope and his truly historical candidacy—has in fact, the most left-wing Senate voting record in his fraction of one Senate term, and has taken pains to end some associations considered troubling by his critics. At the same time, the disasters which have ensued during the second Bush term (regardless of whether they can in fact be blamed on Bush), have weakened the Republican Party to the extent that a Democratic Presidency will likely be supported by Democratic Houses of Congress.
The lessons which Canadian traditionalists and conservatives could take from the above concatenation of situations could be several.
One is that no matter how attractive “the America of George W. Bush” might have appeared to some of them, it was a weak reed upon which to build up the hopes of a putative Canadian conservative revival.
Secondly, that shifts in politics can appear very quickly today—and that what was in 2000 and 2004 a supposedly Republican-majority America can easily shift into a Democratic-majority America in 2008 and later.
It could be argued that the putative Canadian conservative revival which began with Harper’s minority government in January 2006 has indeed suffered from the perception of its close association with “the America of George W. Bush”.
Since the term “anti-Americanism” is a frequently overheated one, the author one would like to propose the term “non-Americanism”. It is not recognized enough in the United States that “this is not America.” A lot of what is pejoratively considered as “anti-Americanism” by the United States and its supporters in various countries abroad, is simply the realization of a distinctive “non-Americanism”.
As far as is realistic, it would be helpful to accentuate an intelligent “non-Americanism” as a possible wedge issue towards possible tactical cooperation with some elements of the Canadian Left, and in hope of achieving some concretely conservative outcomes that would otherwise be virtually impossible to achieve.
For example, the Harper Conservative government’s refusal to approve the takeover by a U.S. firm of an important part of Canada’s aerospace industry21 was a very smart move that won it praise from many unexpected sectors.
An increase in Canada’s military and armed preparedness can certainly be justified more effectively in terms of the necessary defence of Canadian sovereignty against possible American encroachments, especially in the Arctic.
Is it not possible that in face of a burgeoning crisis, that the U.S. will not be tempted to launch some kind of resource-grabs on Canadian oil and water resources?22 Those on the Left and Right in Canada might share the view that this would amount to little more than a “raid”.
A move (to the extent possible today) towards some form of economic protectionism and independence would be very warmly received by much of the Canadian Left, and were elements of the old Conservative policy, too. In more current times, these views were represented by David Orchard in the former Progressive Conservative party, who sometimes called himself a “Diefenbaker Tory”.
It would be helpful if Canadian conservatives could at least play the “non-American” card as frequently as possible, as various opportunities for it arise.
Perhaps they could even begin to try to change the terms of discourse in Canada, by beginning to talk about Canadian nationalism in a positive way.
This could hopefully be related to a cultural approach and policy to Canadian film and television. Rather than bringing in censorious policies that galvanize resistance to the Conservative government, they should address Canadian filmmakers in a serious and direct fashion. One could be hoping for some “culture-building” speeches from Harper—hoping for an emphatically Canadian cultural policy that would call on the Canadian artistic community to try to move beyond mere deconstruction.23
The traditionalist-conservative possibilities of “non-Americanism” in Canada have been best exemplified by Grant, despite his very deep pessimism in regard to resisting Americanization, which he characterized as a huge complex of intertwined ideologies of technocracy and social liberalism.
The more practical political expression of Grant’s ideas could be seen as the right-wing populism typified by John Diefenbaker, Canada’s last staunchly traditionalist Prime Minister.
To some extent, what is required is a creative, flexible, and fruitful application of the term “Red Toryism”: i.e., of conservatives concerned with community and nation, and skeptical of America. It is nevertheless understood that the term can embrace both the very best, and some of the worse tendencies of Canadian politics, the latter probably typified by Joe Clark, who has substituted pragmatism for any serious political philosophy—and could in fact be called a “Blue Grit”.24
The possibility of the emergence of Barack Obama as U.S. President may offer a fairly unique situation in more recent Canada-U.S. relations, where the Canadian government of Stephen Harper (should it survive as a minority government until that time, or perhaps win a renewed or strengthened mandate) may be putatively to the right of the U.S. Administration of Barack Obama.
It will be up to Harper and his advisers to negotiate the somewhat perilous waters of such an unusual (in the post-1960s era) Canada-U.S. relationship. Ironically, it may be possible for Harper to argue for substantively conservative policies with a non-American cast, if, as some critics fear, Barack Obama leaps in some unpredictable directions.
The true task of traditionalist and conservative elements in a society like Canada’s today, consumed by the throes of late modernity, is the striving towards some kind of broadly conceived social and cultural renewal, of the attempt to re-ground the Canadian sense of polity.
An intelligent “non-Americanism” such as that voiced by Grant could be tremendously helpful in the coming battle for a traditionalist and conservative renewal in Canada.
What are the two major planks of traditionalist political activism in the United States—opposition to “same-sex marriage” and opposition to unrestricted abortion—have by now become virtually “settled questions” in Canada. Nevertheless, the Conservatives can still undertake such initiatives as more family-friendly tax policies.
However, probably the most critical issues facing Canada revolve around the dissolution of the sense of polity. Insofar as an intelligent non-Americanism can be a possible vehicle for rallying some kind of sense of Canadian community and nation, it should be most strongly pursued and exercised.
Insofar as some kind of true Canadian distinctiveness cannot be articulated, Canada will be left with no arguments against a demographic transition based on massive immigration that will effectively destroy the last vestiges of the older Canada, from the perspective of a traditionalist.25 It is up to serious critics to bring into the open the contradictions between the non-conservative and anti-traditionalist espousal of Canadian nationalism, yet also championing multiculturalism.
“Non-Americanism” is practically the last remaining effective trope left in the hands of the more substantive traditionalists and conservatives in Canada.
It may also be noted that, purely in the Canadian context, Canada’s looking to the E.U. and Europe may, ironically, have certain conservative implications as well as the more obvious left-wing connotations. Albeit before the coming of the E.U., Grant had argued that maintaining ties to Europe and Britain gave Canadian society links to the past and history that gave it a greater sense of roots. The dichotomy set up (e.g., by Mark Steyn) between a right-wing U.S. and a decaying Europe is a relatively recent concept. According to Grant, the real threat to Canada has always been from the United States.
The more independent-minded Left may be amenable to some arguments. For example, there may be a revolt brewing today against the apparent overreach of Human Rights Commissions—with controversialist Ezra Levant receiving support from Moses Znaimer and Margaret Atwood.26
Indeed, one may perceive a surprising neo-traditionalist turn27 in the striking contrast between Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale of the 1980s (which could be seen as a rather obviously anti-religious and anti-traditionalist tirade), and her Oryx and Crake of the early 21st Century—where virtually every line pointed to a largely traditionalist criticism of the various excesses of late modernity.
Oryx and Crake brings to mind that haunting 1982 movie, Blade Runner (which presaged the emergence of the entire cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, typified by William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer) where it is certainly possible to sense certain traditionalist/conservative subtexts. The fear of disastrous ecological transformation is certainly shared by serious traditionalists/conservatives as well as by ecological critics that are nominally left-wing. The attenuation of the public-political realm, and the apparent triumph of the decayed and corrupt big city, can certainly be seen as rather dystopian by more independent-minded left-wingers, as well as by the traditionalist Right.
A question that ran through my mind when I first saw Blade Runner shortly after its initial release in 1982 was: what would a person like myself try to do, were I living in a world like that portrayed in the movie? Obviously the situation for traditionalists/conservatives in that kind of world is far drastically worse than in the world today. However, I think the movie brought to mind the clear importance of the ecological discourse—and, to some extent, the social democratic variety—and how what some called “late capitalism” was itself probably one of the gravest dangers to traditionalism/conservatism. It also clearly demonstrated in my mind that those on the Left who criticize current-day capitalism as being some kind of vehicle for “white male” domination are hopelessly trapped in nineteenth-century perspectives. Rather, following the Grantian critique of America, the current-day “late capitalism” fairly clearly carries horrors that can be associated with the death of human nature, the death of meaningful politics, and the overwhelming of the world by technology. These easily dovetail with the anti-historical, deconstructive diversity typified in the megalopolis—as opposed to what could be called genuine humanism and rooted diversity.
Whether the significant opposition to a world like that portrayed in Blade Runner emanates from the nominal Left or the nominal Right may not be all that important. Perhaps it can be agreed, upon a moment of reflection, that a world where there are “no nations, no borders” and “no religion too”—would likely be an “air-conditioned nightmare” dominated by trans-national corporations or inhuman bureaucracies—or some combination thereof.
It may not ultimately matter whether helpfully restorative arguments are drawn from what is conventionally considered the Left or Right, but rather that some putative sense of community and nation somehow be renewed in Canada.
1 This article is dedicated to the memory of George Parkin Grant (1918-1988).
2 John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge, The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America. (Penguin, 2004).
3 Donald Creighton’s most prominent books include Dominion of the North: A History of Canada (Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 1957 (New Edition), 1944), and his two-volume political biography of Sir John A. Macdonald.
4 The main expression of George Grant’s thought occurs in his four major books: Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism (1965), Technology and Empire: Perspectives on North America (1969), English-Speaking Justice (1974/1985), and Technology and Justice (1986). Philosophy in the Mass Age (1959), and Time as History (1969), are his two major earlier works. Grant’s ideas have been carried forward into the current-day period by, among others, Ron Dart, especially in his two books, The Red Tory Tradition: Ancient Roots, New Routes (Dewdney, BC: Synaxis Press, 1999), and The Canadian High Tory Tradition: Raids on the Unspeakable (Dewdney, BC: Synaxis Press, 2004), and in a small journal, The Friend: A Red Tory/High Tory Review. Two prominent openly conservative professors in Canada are Tom Flanagan (at the University of Calgary), and Grant Havers (at Trinity Western University). Grant Havers is more willing to court controversy, having appeared extensively, for example, at takimag.com.
5 Among the few such expressions was John Farthing, Freedom Wears a Crown (Toronto: Kingswood Press, 1957).
6 This process of transformation was probably best critically described by Kenneth McDonald, His Pride, Our Fall: Recovering from the Trudeau Revolution (Toronto: Key Porter, 1995). This was the only book of several – such as The Monstrous Trick (1998) – by Kenneth McDonald which was published by a major publishing house.
7 William D. Gairdner is the author of (among others) the bestselling The Trouble with Canada: A Citizen Speaks Out (Toronto: Stoddart, 1990); The War Against the Family: A Parent Speaks Out on the Political, Economic, and Social Policies That Threaten Us All (Toronto: Stoddart, 1992), and On Higher Ground: Reclaiming a Civil Society (Toronto: Stoddart, 1996).
8 One of the seminal comparative approaches to America and Canada was laid out in the so-called Hartz-Horowitz thesis, based on the writings of Louis Hartz and Gad Horowitz. In a nutshell, English-speaking Canada is a Tory-touched fragment-culture, whereas the United States is a “pure-liberal” society. It is considered that the possibilities for socialism (Gad Horowitz basically uses this word to mean social democracy not a Soviet-style regime) are greater in Canada because of its more communitarian, Tory past. Horowitz also expressed very sharp criticism of Canada’s then-incipient multicultural policies – see his “Mosaics and Identity” in Canadian Political Thought, ed. H. D. Forbes (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1985). One of the best extensive sociological survey-and-commentary comparisons of the United States and Canada is Seymour Martin Lipset, Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada. (New York and London: Routledge, 1990).
9 Considerable elements of the Old Left – while committed to fighting for social justice and economic equality for the working majority – saw traditional nation, family, and religion as simply a part of pre-political existence, which they had no desire to challenge. Among the representative thinkers of this tendency were George Orwell, and in Canada, Eugene A. Forsey – who was social democratic in economics but culturally and constitutionally conservative. In more current times, and independent-minded Left (anti-totalitarian and opposed to political-correctness) has been represented in the pages of Telos Journal (New York). Its long time editor, Paul Piccone, worked out a rather eclectic interpretation of the Frankfurt School thinkers as actually being opposed to many manifestations of what had become the so-called “managerial-therapeutic regime”. Among the most prominent representatives of this independent Left tradition in Canada today is Martin Loney, who has criticized high immigration and “employment equity” policies as harmful to Canadian workers.
10 Among the most prominent current-day critics of the radical forms of multiculturalism in Canada have been David Warren, Ted Byfield, and Mark Steyn.
11 Policies of state-sponsored multiculturalism have been frequently subtly and not-so-subtly criticized in the pages of the Byfield family’s Western Canadian-based Report newsmagazines, and in Ezra Levant’s Western Standard.
12 For inequality in income distribution see, for example, money.cnn.com/2006/01/25/news/economy/income_gap and the chart cbpp.org/4-9-08sfp-states.htm. The following U.S. Census site allows one to call up (among other criteria) the ethnic composition of individual states, state-by-state: factfinder.census.gov/home/en/official_estimates. It is possible to work through to establish a correlation between the least multicultural U.S. states and lesser degrees of income inequality.
13 Andrew J. Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War. (Oxford University Press, 2005).
14 Claes G. Ryn, America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2003).
15 On the U.S. deficit and debt numbers, see iht.com – The Associated Press, “U.S. budget deficit falls to $162.8 billion in 2007, lowest level in five years.” Thursday, October 11, 2007. Federal government spending is a record (US) 2.73 trillion in 2007. The national debt has increased to (US) 9 trillion by 2007.
16 Paul Craig Roberts, in a series of ever more intemperate columns (for example, at VDare.com) brought ever closer attention to what he perceived as the putatively anti-conservative, totalitarian implications of this enabling legislation.
17 See, for example, Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend (Baker Academic, 2004).
18 The stances of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church on mass immigration to the United States are frequently criticized at VDare.com and in The Social Contract Journal (Petoskey, Michigan) – two publications highly critical of current high immigration policies in the United States.
19 Among the sharpest and most pointed expositions of what is seen by him as this massive disjunction occurs in Paul Edward Gottfried, Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
20 This term, derived from the seminal works of James Burnham, The Managerial Revolution (1941), and of Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1966) is explored further in the works of Christopher Lasch (such as The Culture of Narcissism (1979), The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics (1991), and The Revolt of the Elites: and the Betrayal of Democracy (1995)), as well as by Paul Edward Gottfried, especially in his After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State (1999), and Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy (2002). Christopher Lasch, it may be noted, identified himself as a social democrat to the very end of his life.
21 See “Federal government blocks sale of MDA space division”: cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/04/10/mdablock.html.
22 It should be considered what might happen if only a small portion of the scenarios painted by James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005) come to pass. Kevin Phillips, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and Global Crisis of American Capitalism (Viking, 2008), is only slightly less apocalyptic-dystopic.
23 Along the lines suggested in the author’s web article, “Could Tory film vetting spark a serious debate about Canadian culture?” fgfbooks.com/Wegierski-Mark/Wegierski052708.html (reprinted in The Providence Journal (RI), June 10, 2008, with the title, “Canadian movies’ disconnect from Canada”, as well as reposted at the “Blogroll” of the Canadian publication straight.com ).
24 Joe Clark is sharply criticized in Peter Brimelow, The Patriot Game: National Dreams and Political Realities (Toronto: Key Porter, 1986) (reprinted in 1988 with the subtitle, Canada and the Canadian Question Revisited), one of the most pointed and nuanced critiques of “the new Canadian state.”
25 Two major books and one policy report critical of Canada’s high immigration policies are: Daniel Stoffman, Who Gets In: What’s Wrong with Canada’s Immigration Program – and How to Fix It (Toronto: Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, 2002), Diane Francis, Immigration: The Economic Case (Toronto: Key Porter, 2002), and Martin Collacott, Canada’s Immigration Policy: The Need for Major Reform (Vancouver: Fraser Institute, February 2003) [51 pp.]
26 The fact that the overreach of the Human Rights Commissions has attracted comparatively little attention points to a more negative side of the Canadian proclivity for deference to authority. When the ruling paradigm was traditionalist, this resulted in Canadians being decidedly more conservative (in a positive sense) than Americans. Now that the ruling paradigm has been changed from the top, many Canadians tend to conform to various manifestations of “political correctness”. However, what could be seen as the genuflecting before America of some Canadian conservatives is hardly going to win them any battles in Canada, either. Nevertheless, it is possible to argue that conservatism in Canada is so dazed and confused and intellectually shell-shocked by the “progressive” onrush since the Sixties’ in Canada, that even the vision of America as articulated by Bush may have momentarily appeared entrancing to it.
27 Among the most interesting odysseys in Canada from left-wing radicalism to a serious and subtle social conservatism can be seen in the case of the distinguished Senator Anne Cools.
Mark Wegierski, a steady contributor to this journal for years, is a Canadian freelance journalist located in Toronto.