Here, I beg indulgence. I was trained as a professor of English and Comparative Literature, and I enjoy most the study of the History of Ideas, as it is called. The contributions to human life, understanding, and enrichment by many other cultures have of course been impressive in their own right. But my preferences are clear. The cumulative human search for goodness, truth, and beauty in the Western tradition is unique, something to marvel at and defend, and the recent root and branch attack on it – mostly by egalitarian, post-modern radicals – to be energetically rebuffed. (more…)
It needs criticism and ongoing improvement (and I outline some improvemets in Chapter Fifteen of The Trouble With Canada …Still!, on the Law and the Constitution). But compared to the legal systems of other cultures? – No contest. Down wiht the myth that other cultures offer legal systems as good! (more…)
Romanticism – the Root of Fascism
Romanticism began by favouring emotion over cold reason and particular local identity and experience over universal experience. It was especially keen to repudiate the sort of French rationalism that was being imposed on most European nations as a political and even a snobbish cultural pattern. Napoleon had invaded the hundreds of loosely-allied principalities of what is now Germany and re-organized them politically and geographically along rationalist lines. Perhaps the most easily visible symbol of this trend, this rationalist domination, was imposed weights and measures and metrication. Rationalists hated the illogical local measuring systems of Europe – Pounds? Feet? Yards? Chains? Ells?They would eliminate them and impose the universal logical perfection of the metric system. But it was precisely this sort of rationalist homogenization, this threat to local identity that made people very angry. For what could be more human and organic, they said – more us! – than measurement by a foot, a thumb, an arm, a chain? They thought of culture as local, warm, organic, and human, in contrast to civilization which was rationalist, universalist, cold, and inhuman. Most of all, they correctly perceived metrication and all other such administrative tools as aids to State controls, taxation, and conscription. (more…)
There is currently much agitation in the USA over immigration and refugees. Canadians are prone to judge the American dust-up with a certain supercilious air, while knowing very little of the situation at their own doorstep.
What follows is an except from Chapter Thirteen of The Trouble With Canada …Still! (2010). I encourage visitors to this site to get the book and read the whole chapter. It is quite a shock.
If things have changed, I suspect they have only gotten worse.