The Real Meaning of A Living Constitution

Below are the last words of a little-known, 115-page book I published with Stoddart in 1994, entitled Constitutional Crack-Up, when Quebec was agitating for separation, yet again, and Canada’s Federal Government was wallowing in the confusions and contradictions over what the constitution of a free people is supposed to mean. Five thousand copies were printed, which sold out in three days, but the book was never reprinted. I was trying to illuminate the difference between a written and a living constitution.

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And so there is work to be done. For the solution to our troubles will not come from any written constitution. It will come from the unwritten constitution: from the minds and hearts of the people as they reconsider and then restore the founding values of their nation. This will require a new solidarity and belief in eternal, rock-solid principles, without which no euphoric paper constitution will ever have any meaning, and with which, no attempt to corrupt the constitution can possibly succeed.

Such principles, deeply held and clearly articulated are the only possible shield to protect the people against the ceaseless claims of interest groups, radical ideologues, politicians, and tax-mongers of all kinds, who will hurl themselves against that shield in vain. The living constitution, in other words, lies in the passion of the people for the basic values and principles by which they choose to live, not in any piece of paper. But where there are no values or principles, or where these are forgotten, or undefended, there can be no passion; only confusion, and narrow self-interest. Such a people is soon easily corrupted.

So our first duty as a people is to reflect, to read, to comprehend. And then to stand and speak boldly against the enormous engines of big government and special interests, until they fall defeated. For this to happen, every man and woman must be able to say:

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My Original Feisty Interview With Peter Gzowski, Host of CBC’s Morningside Radio Show

Well, I found this original 1990 CBC Radio Interview on an old-style tape, and had it transferred so I could upload it to YouTube.

Here it is: https://youtu.be/y65nMMNSuMw

The backstory, as they say, is that I had been pestering his Producer for months to do an interview about this book. She kept refusing, because she didn’t like anything I argued in the book.

But when the book hit #1 in Canada on the Globe and Mail Bestseller List, and had sold about 50,000 copies, she finally relented, and we did this interview. After his genteel opening, Gzowski jumps in and begins to fire questions at me. You can hear how he is sort of trying to write a book of his own here, rather than to express any genuine interest in my book.

Two years later, when The War Against the Family was published, he once again, and again after much pestering,  agreed to do an interview, but this time, he ganged up on me. With no notice whatsoever, he handed me a 400 page book the moment I walked into the recording studio written by a homosexual professor at the University of Winnipeg, and announced that he, too, would be on the show. We got going, and it turned into a shouting match, with me against both Gzowski and the Professor, who didn’t know what he was talking about. A “family” for him, was any group of people who like each other and live together for at least a day.

At the end of the interview, which was quite steamy, I extended my hand to thank Gzowski, who was, after all, Canada’s Public Radio Servant #1. But he refused to shake hands with me.

It was uncomfortable and a little embarrassing. But … about three weeks later, another Producer called, to say that they had received “an avalanche” of mail over this show, and would be reading a lot of those letters, pro and con, in a special show that week.

They did so. But what they didn’t read, was a lot of the really critical letters of which listeners had sent me copies, in which many said they had been fans of Morningside for many years, but would never listen to Gzowski again!

I didn’t have the heart to send him those copies.

 

The Best Argument Against Abortion: Follow the Logic

In the “Freethinker” discussion group of which I am a member,  the subject of libertarianism/liberalism, and abortion, has arisen again. This is too complicated to spell out completely for now. But I responded to one of our discussants with the sequence of abbreviated arguments listed below, and am sharing them with visitors here.

Anyone interested in the full version of my philosophical and moral arguments against abortion can find them in a number of my books – especially in my last book, The Great Divide, where there is a whole chapter on this anguishing topic.

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The starting point for me is to get agreement from my opponents, in this order:

1) What a pregnant female human being is carrying is alive

2) It is a human life, and not the life of an animal like a turtle or a puppy. So if you are pro-abortion you have to admit you are in favour of killing human life at some stage

3) What gives modern pro-abortion thinkers (and especially libertarians) a presumed “right” to abort this life, is the conversion of this unborn human life into property ( via the so-called “born-alive” rule – supposing it is not “human” until it leaves the mother’s body).

4) but the conversion of what all must admit is life, into property, is just the old slavery-manouevre. It is exactly the same legal trick used to convert living black people (or greeks, or romans, or jews) into chattel slaves.

5) ergo: our modern liberal-democratic abortion regimes are therefore in fact slave-regimes of a new kind.

6) the modern paradox (“I once was blind, but now I see…”) is that most liberals and libertarians who utterly and even violently reject slavery of any kind, accept abortion on demand. Still blind.

A Fascinating Study on Identical Twins Reared Apart

There is perhaps no better test of the effects of nature vs. nurture, than studies of identical twins reared apart. The social sciences may not have much luck finding “genes” that control human behaviour. But the next best thing is to find the degree of “heritability” of characteristics shared by identical twins who have been reared in wholly different families.

Here is an interesting article from Quillette on this topic.

A Striking Similarity: The Revolutionary Findings of Twin Studies

Good fodder for debates on heritability and parenting.

The War Against Men

Here is another good 5 minute video by Prager U, this one on the war against men and masculinity in the Western world.

It starts out simply, but ends up tying the loose ends together.

https://www.prageru.com/videos/make-men-masculine-again

If anyone wants really good short books on this general theme: how the democracies of the West have been feminizing/de-masculinizing their men – usually in the name of “equality” and “social justice,” and by waging a war against human nature, the natural family, and natural biological differences – start with these classics …

George Gilder, Men and Marriage

Alan C. Carlson, Family Questions (especially his chapter, ‘The Anrogyny Hoax”)

David Popenoe, Life Without Father

Guaranteed, you will never see these issues in the same light after reading these books.

On Democracy and Reason: A Warning!

Yesterday, I was reminded by a reader, of this essay on “Democracy and Reason,” which I published in 1996 – 22 years ago! – as a newspaper column, and which this kind reader said “was prescient,” given the mob-like, dictatorial tenor of recent public discourse.

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In one of those unctuous political utterances for which he was notorious, the former British Prime Minister John Major once declared that “fascism and communism lie behind us. The two great enemies of reason have been defeated.” This was astonishing from a nation that spent so much blood fighting these very evils – and dead wrong on three counts.

First, fascism and communism may be napping, but are not comatose. Their roots are far too deep for that. Many Eastern European nations, after having been joyously liberated from the horrors of communism in the 90s, turned right around and freely voted it back into power with only a slight change of make-up. As for the much misunderstood fascism, there are signs of it everywhere, both in Europe and in North America, especially in the schools and Universities, which heavily promote ethnic identitarianism.

Second, the implication of his comment was that communism is a demented expression of the left, and fascism, of the right. As a good pluralist, Major wished to blame them equally. Leftist journalists and undergraduates are always eager to echo this balancing reflex by quickly labeling anyone with non-egalitarian views, a “fascist.”

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How A Constitution Is Turned From a Shield Into A Sword

Here is a fine, clear piece from The National Post (June 30th) in which Professor Bruce Pardy of Queen’s University scolds judges for wandering outside the confines of the law and “reading in” meanings to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) that are not there, and were never intended to be there.

https://www.pressreader.com/canada/national-post-latest-edition/20180630/281801399704581

Professor Pardy explains how this sneaky usurpation of the Will of the People takes place by invoking “Charter Values” that judges either invent from whole cloth, or simply assume were meant to be a part of the Charter, or ought to have been part of the Charter, and so on. But as they are nowhere to be found in the Charter, judges simply invent and invoke them, and rule accordingly. Which means that far too often, we are being ruled by phantom values that exist only in the heads of judges.

Pardy explains how this illegitimate manoeuvre (inventing “Charter Values” that are not in the Charter), in effect “transform the Charter from a roster of liberty rights [intended to protect citizens from illegitimate state power] to a regime of undefined, collectivist values [that enable the state to impose its own values on citizens].

And this, in effect, “turns the protective shield of the Charter into a sword.”

 

A Letter On the Difference Between Culture, and Multiculturalism

Some time ago, I wrote what follows to a friend and Professor of French Literature at York University who, like me, was struggling with the term “multiculturalism.”

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Thank you so much for the nice lunch and the convivial conversation. I have missed that, living, as I do out in the country. I have reflected on the slogan on your new book (in my loose translation of your French), which you float under the label “transculturalism.”

Peace is the genuine meeting with the Other, it is the total acceptance of difference.”

It is a moving dedication to some of the best impulses of the human spirit – to neighbourliness. But I respectfully disagree with this sentiment, and to its “multicultural”  implications.

First, there is hardly anyone I know as pro-culturalist as me. And deeply so. I feel that there are aspects of culture that go so deep we are never actually fully conscious of them, or of their effects in our personal lives, or of their real-world effects on our evolving history, the nature of our particular civil society, and on our way of thinking as a whole.

The official government “multiculturalism” policy that I oppose, however, is something else entirely. It is a fabrication of governments that are attempting to quell intra-cultural tensions by dissolving all deep cultural affiliation, and appealing instead to a shallow, T-shirt conception of culture as something you can put on, or discard, at will.

In other words, official multiculturalism is a concept that dilutes true culture, which, if it is a real culture, must have real-life philosophical, economic, and political consequences. And it attempts to replace or rather, to dislodge that reality with a kind of sentimental cultural tourism. You know: exotic food and travel, dabbling in foreign languages, admiring all other races as beautiful and fascinating people, etc.  But going no deeper. This skimpy notion, however, has little to do with any real, deep culture that has, and as I say, must have, real world consequences. It is just recreational, skin-deep culture.

One effect that government multicultural policy has had in the Western democracies – and a dangerous one, I believe – is a leveling of all deep cultures, as if, in historical, political, or economic terms, all cultures were equally valuable – which is what your slogan suggests. The aim all the modern Western states is to slowly convert all deep cultures into equally ineffectual skin-deep cultures.

That is why I must modify your slogan, above, to read as follows”

“Peace is understanding the Other, and  the acceptance of differences that do not threaten or diminish the strength and value of one’s own deep culture.

Here are just a few reasons why this is a better slogan …

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“Intersectionality” and the Envy-Game

Here is is solid and sobering short video on so-called “intersectionality,” by Ben Shapiro, done for Prager U.

Ben is like a lawyer for the Prosecution in everything he does. A Sharp mind, and a fearless tongue. Here is the video, and my remarks on this whole envy-based mess follow it:

https://www.prageru.com/videos/what-intersectionality

The thought that springs to mind after watching this video is that so much of what we are seeing today (in so-called “postmodernism,” in what Foucault labelled “transgressive behaviours,” and in the pathetic modern revolt against hierarchies of all kinds) is just a dumbed-down version of the “systemic victim-hood” that began, or at least was massively accelerated, in the 19th century by Marx and Engels.

That was the first major international movement (via the communist manifesto/Das Kapital, and continued in our own time by such as the Frankfurt School, postmodernism, etc) to persuade the whole world that all human beings are victims; in this case (which is ongoing and supported by a lot of modern leftist media) victims of capitalist oppression.

This was the first time in modern history that entire publics were persuaded that their condition in life is a consequence of a systemic evil in the world, of something evil outside themselves, rather than a consequence of their own behaviour.

When we recall that for so much of our history, Christianity has rested on the contrary notion – that evil/sin is something internal to the person, and not something outside ourselves, then we are tempted to say that what we are witnessing is an almost world-wide revolt against the Christian notion of internal sin and evil, and its replacement by a contrary notion of external sin and evil.

Whenever this psychology becomes regnant, one’s condition in life comes to be seen as a consequence of “the system” (capitalism, male hierarchy, racism, sexism, ageism, privilege of others, etc., etc.,) and the genius of this pitiable initiative is that it feeds on the bottomless capacity of all human beings to blame someone else, or some force, or moral evil, or system outside themselves, for their condition in life. It’s a modern form of Manichean dualism: the tendency to divide reality into the forces of good vs. evil. We are the good. The “other” and the external systems supporting the other, are the evil. But is this true?

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Conrad Black On Trump’s “Animal Cunning”

“Animal Cunning”: that is the most apt phrase I have seen to describe President Trump’s style. It was coined after the 2016 election by the American Classics Scholar and political commentator, Victor Davis Hanson, of Stanford University, and this piece in National Review Online by Conrad Black evinces that very characteristic.

Trump does not approach his prey with reason, flattery, dominance, or submission. He relies on them all. Like an animal that lies passively; purrs a little; rolls on his back; then growls or strikes with a fanged paw; then walks alongside his prey; or walks around him; circling, watching, hissing a little, at the right time.

Okay, I don’t want to overreach. But that is the sense he gives, and that Conrad captures here: always keeping his enemies – and even his friends – a little off-guard. Enjoy …

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/donald-trumps-north-korean-policy-succeeding/