Lament No. 1 – Appeasing the minority
In Western governments, a minority is ruling. The Left, in all its permutations from social-justice warriors in all their causes from identity politics to environmental catastrophism to the mainstream Liberal/NDP coalition in Canada, is a minority. In the last two federal elections, Trudeau got a lower percentage of the popular vote than the Conservatives, and out of 10 provinces, only one elected an NDP government and one a Liberal. Even the three territories have two nonpartisan and one Liberal, and the Liberal government is a minority. Yet time & time again, we see the majority bowing to the minority as its adherents shriek their way to power.
And now I am witness to it happening in my community. As editor, I decided to put the church Easter message on the front page in our April/22 edition. The message was timely—and anodyne, as United Church messages are wont to be—and the graphic beautiful. This was after the article that was supposed to grace the front page—promises were made and reminders sent to no avail—did not arrive by the deadline. And I am a stickler for deadlines, based on the judgement that a deadline is fair because the date applies equally to everyone. Remember, this is a community newsletter with no breaking news that must be in that month’s edition; next month will do just as well. Any ‘breaking’ news is handled by email blasts.
When I pointed out that our Western civilization was founded on the Judeo-Christian philosophy and principles and every Canadian, old & new, knows that, the board reps went full Left bunkum—the least disagreement must be appeased, they lectured me. When I pointed out how intolerant this demand was, the board reps said we can’t show any bias toward any religion. Why? And I have yet to meet an immigrant who is ignorant of the West’s Christian foundation, with many of them choosing to come here precisely for that reason and the tolerance it shows for other religions or lack thereof.
But I must say I am amused by the irony of this whole brouhaha. The United Church is almost secular, with such a watered-down message—why, the Church even went so far as to disavow Jesus Christ in one of its more radical moments—as to be a fellow traveler of the socialist Left. So to be accused of being its champion—me, a fierce defender of tradition and classical liberal principles of governance—is hilarious.
Today, with the preponderance of appeasement of minority views, it becomes mandatory for the majority to push back against this divisive strategy of the Wokesters and defend Western values. For those of us who are historically literate and know the disastrous consequence of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler, appeasement is—and must remain—a dirty word.
Lament No. 2 – Stabbing ourselves in the back
We’ve done it again. Almost half of some 35,000 UCP members stabbed the party in the back, voting against Jason Kenney’s leadership.
This, after Kenney got an overwhelming majority in the last provincial election from all over Alberta; he even gained a toehold in Edmonton, the socialist bastion where the majority of its residents’ highest aspiration is to work for the government—any level as long as it is secure, pays well, and has oodles of benefits & holidays. This, after Kenney handled the Covid-19 pandemic as well as, and often better, than his provincial & federal peers, and on par with leaders across the free world. This, after the UCP government has balanced the budget after profligate spending by the Stelmach & Redford PC governments, then accelerated by Notley’s NDP. Now, Alberta’s economy is improving by leaps & bounds as we emerge for the pandemic shutdowns, again pouring billions into the federal coffers.
Yes, Kenney made mistakes in his handling of Covid, but so did every other leader. In my opinion, Alberta weathered this rapidly developing & changing global pandemic better than the other provinces, except for Saskatchewan perhaps.
I, a senior in the vulnerable category, decided my own degree of safety: I continued my weekly shopping trips for essentials & frivolities; I continued my lunches with family & friends, outside on patios and then inside in restaurants as soon as the restrictions were lifted; I wore a mask when mandated, but discarded it as soon as the mandate ended—I hate masks and find them antithetical to the Western value of showing one’s face to fellow citizens to engender trust, the bedrock upon which our way of life rests; but law & order is also part of that bedrock, so I obeyed the law, while supporting legal challenges to its constitutionality.
In short, my life changed far less than my son & his family’s lives in Ontario, and I thank Kenney for that.
The saddest part of all this is the happiest person in Alberta right now is Rachel Notley. We conservatives have upped her chances of becoming premier next spring, and once again taking our province down the socialist aisle to another 4 years of wedded horror.
The dissidents in the UCP—a minority—complained that Kenney hadn’t moved fast enough on the Fair Deal proposals with the federal government, including our own pension plan, income tax collection and provincial police force. Well, the NDP will kill all those initiatives, and spread government power thickly over every nook & grannie in our beautiful province. Again, a minority wins.
Lament No. 3 – Coarsening our culture
A reviewer on a book about her observed, “People of Diana Cooper’s generation (1892-1986, that is, in their adulthood in the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s & ’50s) possessed a light-hearted, elegant freedom that has now vanished, making the world a rather grimmer place.” And their world encompasses two world wars, in which the young men remained young because they died in the war. But they lived their lives with a joie de vivre that puts to shame the whinging & moaning of the many ‘victims’ today in their safe, underworked, entitled Western lives. These victims have lives:
- whose expected duration is 80+, when it was less than 50 in 1900
- where less than 10% lives in poverty, when more than 50% were poor in 1900
- where literacy is everyone’s to learn, when only 30% knew how to read & write, and many fewer than that had more than a Grade 8 education in 1900
- where they have their own phones, cars, bedrooms, when most families had no indoor plumbing, no central heating, no phone and no car
But instead of celebrating this progress, since about 1950 the culture has evolved in a manner belligerently critical of the very bourgeois values that led to that progress. This new Left has become more influential in western countries than it ever was in the past, preaching doom & gloom every day, all day. Because so many young people have never experienced real adversity or even seen it at a distance, they fall prey to these guilt-inducing tirades of the Left elite.
And the culture coarsens. The language is replete in the F word, reducing this once powerful word to banality & boredom. And a sentence without ‘like’ repeated three-four-five times is as rare as a perfect day in June. The dress is slovenly & babyish, with sweats, tights, even pyjamas accepted attire in class, in restaurants, even at weddings & funerals because it’s comfortable—god forbid you’d have dress up like an adult with something with a waistband and real shoes on your feet!. And if they do decide to dress up, it’s often sluttish for the girls and thuggish for the boys.
There’s sex, sex, sex everywhere—starting in kindergarten if the Left gets its way, and Disney so corrupted that it forgot who its customers are—accompanied by loneliness, absence of intimacy and dysfunctional relationships between the sexes. Victor Davis Hanson in The New Criterion, May 2022, paints a dark picture of the current scene in “Living the Satyricon”. This Roman novel by Petronius written in the 60s AD depicts the decadent times of the notorious era of Caligula, Claudius and Nero, the latter infamously known for ‘fiddling while Rome burned’.
Among Hanson’s observations are:
- What Rome did for the Mediterranean, America did for a time for the post-war Atlantic and Pacific: ensure a common commercial world of orderly rules, overseen and enforced by the US Navy.
- Imperial Rome’s amnesia with respect to inherited republican traditions is similar to our own: a vast unelected apparat, or ‘deep state,’ gradually came to combine legislative, executive and judicial powers in the administration of law and government services.
- Similarly evident from the childlessness and preoccupations of male youth in the Satyricon is the theme of prolonged adolescence.
- Masculinity has been redefined in opposition to republican norms… Bisexuality seems to have expanded among all urban classes, well beyond the elite Greek practice of pederasty…
There are days when I read about some depraved act and see the prancing idiots ‘peacefully protesting’ in the streets of America, I think Kurtz’s last words in The Heart of Darkness the most appropriate reaction:
He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath—‘The horror! The horror!’
But I can’t. My responsibility as a citizen is to join people of reason & sense in pushing back against this debauching of the civilized norms, and reclaim the public square.
Lament No. 4 – Infecting our societies with mind workers
But before we can get better, we must recognize the cause of the leftist disease infecting our Western democracies. This real pandemic—Covid’s menace is miniscule in comparison—wields its power through virtue signaling and canceling all opposition, eschewing reason, fact & truth. Its march through the institutions, beginning in the 1920s, growing post-war, and swiftly advancing in the 21st century, is directly due to the proliferation of mind workers—“the pullulating mass of diploma-wielding mediocrities bereft of any semblance of overall erudition or specialized savantship.”
Stephen H. Balch, “The Plague of ‘mind-working’”, The New Criterion, May 2022, goes on to say:
Hence in societies that were liberalized, religiously disenchanted, and persuaded that man was the measure of all things, mind-working was for the first time freed for frenzied flight, its newfound congregations organized around this-world discontents, resentments, envies, and aspirations—group and individual—inflamed by the kind of doctrines for which Marxism provided the template.
Suspecting their degrees in studies of all flavours weren’t worth the paper they were written on, droves of them ‘proved’ themselves by showing contempt for the traditions and ideals of the past. In their thousands, they latched on to the trendy, parasitic Marxists and their mantra of equality, while openly showing contempt for the lesser ‘uncredentialed’ folk. (Remember, reason is not in their lexicon.) But how to make a living with such useless credentials? Why, the pursuit of equality, of course, because “Nothing delivers mind-working as many attractive career goods as making things equal.” (ibid)
Malcolm Kyeyune explored the same idea in “Wokeness, the Highest Stage of Managerialism”, City Journal, Spring 2022. Like Balch, he documented the rise of the progressives’ power in imposing a new political and social order. Imposing is the right word because they have no interest in discussion or argument, only control. Again, he believes a contributing factor to the burgeoning of Woke power is the growing numbers of ‘studies’ graduates whose expectations far exceed their qualifications. An example he gave to illustrate this is his small city’s employment of almost 100 people as communicators.
The communications department is notoriously dysfunctional; the municipality hired an outside consultancy to find out what all these employees do all day. But in at least one sense, it does what it is supposed to do: provide make-work jobs for university graduates who would otherwise risk being unemployed—and become social agitators.
Just think about this for a moment. These university graduates have little to offer in real services, unlike their peers in science, technology, engineering and medicine. Many are quite incompetent in basic human survival skills, having been coddled all their lives by over-protective parents, and have few skills to offer an employer. So into the public trough they go and justify their careers by first creating, then enforcing piles of regulations. And I repeat, “Nothing delivers mind-working as many attractive career goods as making things equal.”
The pushback here is the populist revolutions emerging in Western countries. Naturally, the mind workers condemn them—imagine the audacity the masses have to actually think what they think matters when we mind workers know what’s best for them!—but the real workers are seeing that the emperor has no clothes.
We must honour our ancestors in the Western world who fought and bled and died for the freedom and equal opportunity we have today. Keep in mind that we are the present in the continuum—the past, the present, the future—in the human story, and our bequest to our children & grandchildren will be celebrated or lamented.
Let’s ensure it will be celebrated.