I never blog about politics, and this is why: Welcome to my opinionated opinions. The wallflower is dead.
Fair warning: If you lean left and you still choose to read this, you might hate yourself in the morning.
On the other hand, you’re welcome to join the dialogue. I think this is important for reasons outside of its immediate context.
Sun News, Canada’s campy right-wing source of making libertarians look bombastic, reports that NDP national leader “Angry” Thomas Mulcair has once again failed to “serenity now.” This time, it’s about Christians working in foreign aid.
Who’s the New Democratic Party?
The NDP are Canada’s strongest advocates of unbridled socialism. And they do not seem to have much tolerance for stuff like this:
The essence of the concept of freedom of religion is the right to entertain such religious beliefs as a person chooses, the right to declare religious beliefs openly and without fear of hindrance or reprisal, and the right to manifest religious belief by worship and practice or by teaching and dissemination. But the concept means more than that. Freedom can primarily be characterized by the absence of coercion or constraint. (Chief Justice Brian Dickson, Supreme Court of Canada)
Which is perhaps not hugely surprising. The NDP was founded by Saskatchewan evangelical Tommy Douglas in the 1930s. But the process of social change behind the French Revolution, mirrored in the far less violent evolution of secular Quebec, is illustrative of what happens when people still want to use institutions to improve the world (an implicitly values-driven goal) without the inconvenience of objective moral values and duties.
Or, in Quiet and Unassuming Wallflower terms, runaway socialism is the zombie monster that rises from a church-state grave. This is a point that American religious lobbyists on the gay-marriage/pro-life legislative front need to consider carefully, especially if they’re willing to yoke with Reconstructionist ideologies.
The Church-State Parlour Game
As the National Post editorializes, Mulcair has hypocritically singled out a particular target among many church-based organizations for his discrimination. (Mulcair professes Catholicism.) He also clearly fails to factor in the strict restrictions placed upon religious organizations which apply for government grants or tax benefits.
This issue comes up regularly as a watershed line in social benefit projects: Do religious organizations choose free speech or access to tax dollars that could help the poor? Because it’s one or the other.
Government grant funding places limitations on the promotion of religious beliefs. In other words, the evangelize in evangelical. The belief in promotion of beliefs.
Siloam Mission in Winnipeg has structured itself to comply with the grant funding requirements, choosing a state approach; Union Gospel Mission has chosen to rely on private funding, choosing a church-based approach. Either one works for relief programming delivery.
And I’m cool with that. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state.
But is this whole brouhaha advocating separation of church and state, or is it advocating state control of private beliefs? Due to the peculiarities of our law, Canada has a really hard time parsing that question whenever it comes up.
The Social Engineering Project
The continued existence of religion provides an ongoing litmus test of our secular society’s true freedom. Our country is deeply, sickly confused over the difference between being against an idea or behaviour and being against individual freedoms.
And, to be fair, that can and does include many religious confused people. Chief Justice Dickson’s further remarks in the 1985 case that struck down Sunday shopping laws illustrate why:
Freedom means that, subject to such limitations as are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, no one is to be forced to act in a way contrary to his beliefs or his conscience.
Do Subjective Moral Values and Duties Exist?
In other words, you can be forced to act in a way contrary to your beliefs or conscience if it offends “public morals.” That’s what “un-Canadian” means in Northern Newspeak. And Christian religious institutions have been an avid, active culprit on this front in the past.
The fact that we haven’t fixed this, only shifted it with the flow of subjective opinions, does not bode well for anyone. Imagine hearing Mulcair’s rhetoric reversed. “The radical gay activists are building wells in Uganda! They said ‘breeders,’ and that’s offensive to public morals! Freeze the funding and call for an investigation!”
Yes, Mulcair’s style is spurious and jejeune. But it’s also a recurrent harbinger for anyone who wants to have their own opinions and advocate openly for their own convictions, their lifestyle, or their personal associations. The gun can be aimed at anyone as the wind of “public morality,” a completely artificial idea, shifts.
Not the Argumentum ad Nazium!
Yes, the argumentum ad Nazium. Because sometimes, that’s what history is actually for.
You’re welcome to slay me in the comments for this, but just for the heck of it, let’s take a look at the 1933 “Program of the National-Socialist German Workers’ Party.” It’s not where we are in Canada today; it’s not where Mulcair is on his little alien planet of pious hypocrisy and hyperbolic delusion. But it’s where we can end up.
1. The first demand is unity: End all social divisions. Or in the words of an older revolution, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.
Yet people are naturally divided in their personal pursuits and purposes. Groups and boundaries are a normal part of unregulated association. Division does not universally equal animosity, violence or oppression.
2. The second is a demand for international respect, which is one of Mulcair’s complaints, which he openly links to his public disrespect for religious charities. This demand states we must be certain things, ideologically, in order to stake our place on the world stage.
3. Thirdly, unbridled socialism makes a demand to hand over resources to the state’s aims. In the Crossroads case, it’s a big fight over tax dollars taken from Average Joe Citizen, who can no longer use them to support whatever he wishes, whether that be himself, gay rights, Christian morality, or wells in Uganda. Instead, the Nanny State engages in pseudo-advocacy for what it claims Joe wants — whether he really wants it or not.
4. An arbitrary line is drawn in the sand over who’s a “real” member of the national club. Note NDP member Helene Laverdiere’s complaint, buried within this compendium of insinuations and conspiracy theories: “…those that do get funding don’t align with Canadian values.“
5. Anyone who’s not in the national club gets “special” treatment. It’s not discrimination if you’re inherently un-Canadian. Thus Mulcair’s ongoing lack of apology as of this writing.
6. A limitation is placed on who can hold power: Club members only.
7. Those who hold power are given economic control over the majority. So, question: Is it right for Tom Mulcair’s temperamental bigotry or Helene Laverdiere’s cultural paranoia to have economic control over whether Ugandans get clean drinking water?
8. If you’re not in the club, you’re kicked out. And when things get extreme and the rest of the world won’t take you, the final result of this ideology is death ovens. This is happening to people accused of homosexuality in some African nations right now, so we have an object lesson in the tyranny of “the general good” built into the case.
Does political discrimination really solve the problem of social discrimination, or merely aim the loaded gun differently? In the long-term pursuit of a free and safe society, Canadians need to ask that.
9. Nobody inside the national club is a free individual either. Everyone gets the same degree of rights (whatever the ruling elite chooses to dole out) and everyone is compelled to the same duties.
This mentality is reflected in Canada’s current limitation of freedoms to that which does not, in the state’s judgment, infringe on others or the greater good. In other words, we are all subject to the national babysitter.
10. Let’s quote this one directly: “It must be the first duty of every Citizen to carry out intellectual or physical work. Individual activity must not be harmful to the public interest and must be pursued within the framework of the community and for the general good.“
Who defines “the public interest”? Who defines “good”?
Oh, Look, It’s a Hostile Artificial Intelligence!
There’s more, much more, in the points that follow. The forcible regulation and seizure of commerce, private property, and business ownership (#12, #13, #16, #17),* the banning of free speech and the regulation of art and creative expression (#23),** and the co-opting of generic religious and secular piety as a mask for oversteps of human rights (#18, #19, #24).***
This is unbridled socialism: It believes only in itself. It does not believe in you, whether you are gay or straight, male or female, religious or non-religious. It tolerates you only as long as you serve its aims, and then, as Mr. Mulcair and his cronies have shown, it becomes mindlessly intolerant in the name of the general good.
All Canadians, both the fake ones and the real ones, the traitors and the true, should be questioning that. Because right now, we’re not in a dictatorship. Right now, we have it pretty good and very free.
You can lose all respect for me over this post if you want.
And I can write it anyway.
We have no concept of how precious that is.
* See also Wikipedia’s list of Canadian Crown corporations and the Canada Post monopoly as an example case of anti-free-enterprise legislation. Monopoly is a longstanding practice inherited and repurposed from Old World colonial policies. Re property ownership, see also the EFC’s documentation of municipal Charter violations and obstructions against religious buildings and their uses.
** See the Canada Council for the Arts. Private funding coexists peacefully with public funding in Canada, but deep reliance on government funding subjects the arts to the government’s cultural agenda.