The Growing Resistance to Ideology
In case you were not aware the Government of Canada has been following an ideology for at least the past 50 years. To identify it the ideology needs a name. It could be left wing liberalism or socialist liberalism, as you choose. Either is correct because the ideology is a blend of basic socialism and liberalism. Socialism in this context is not the usual definition whereby government takes over ownership of at least key industries but in the theoretical sense that socialism collects all citizens into a club called society and that club has rules. The basic rule is that each person is responsible for every other but how a person acquired this responsibility involuntarily is never explained. Liberalism is harder to define because it has changed fundamentally since its inception more than two centuries ago when it was a movement to open up power to the people after eons of authoritarian rule. With the accomplishment of democracy in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at least in Europe, North America and most of Latin America, it needed a new goal and saw it in the creation of an ideal society through the power of government. The conceptual work had already been done by socialist thinkers at home and abroad. In the decades after World War II the Liberals adopted those parts of the socialist program that would undoubtedly be popular with the electorate, their first priority being to achieve and retain power. By the late 1960’s the Liberals, who been in power for all except six years (1957-1963), had accomplished most of the socialist program described in the 1933 Regina Manifesto of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation which was the predecessor of the New Democratic Party. The implantation of the ideal society goal into the minds of politicians and later the mass of Canadians was more phenomenal. By the late twentieth century the idea that an ideal society, based on socialist concepts, could be constructed in Canada had swept through all politics in the country such that there was scarcely a politician in any political party who spoke against the ideology. At the present time it could be said that most Canadians were raised in a socialist liberal political environment, reinforced by a sympathetic news medium that bought into the ideology in the last century, and taught by school teachers who passed on their left wing liberalism to their students. The pervasiveness of the ideology throughout society is analogous to religion in a religious culture. Criticism of the ideology is always dismissed by government, the news media, publishers and most people as though it was heresy. Yet, there are rational grounds for challenging the ideology when its tenets are examined closely. The first thing to understand is that governments believe that their mission is to engineer an ideal society and in pursuit of that mission they may control all the resources of the jurisdiction irrespective of ownership (at least at the federal and provincial levels). Governments take what they choose from an individual, ignoring his natural right to security of his money. Of course, it can be argued that a person owes the government for what it provides to him/her but the tax bill is not calculated on a quid pro quo basis, that is, one pays for what he gets, like a utility bill. For example, municipal property tax is not calculated on the basis of the municipality’s cost attributable to a particular property but on the assumed wealth of the owner of the property as indicated by the market value of the property. At the national level the tax on tobacco products is not calculated to recover for the government its costs attributable to tobacco use. It is calculated to maximize revenue from tobacco users. The result is that the tax paid by tobacco users is probably not fair, unless by accident, but that evidently does not bother the government. That raises a major criticism of the ideology: that governments are not interested in justice for the individual because they are engineering society on an overall basis. This applies not only to the tax system but arguably to the welfare benefit and justice systems.
In 1976 Parliament abolished capital punishment by a majority of six votes. Knowing that members are usually told how to vote on important issues this cannot be taken as indicative of the will of the people. In fact, in 2013 a poll of Canadians found that 63% favoured return of the death penalty while 30% objected. This does not seem to interest the federal government which is determined to decide the matter in accordance with its plan for society. It will not risk the decision being overturned by a referendum even though the tacit arrangement between the government and the people is that the latter will defer justice to the government instead of carrying it out themselves provided the government follows the majority will on punishments. On this issue however, the government is committed to its ideology, not to the majority will and the subject is avoided in political discussion by all parties.
As governments strive to achieve a society that looks good they require that everyone is included. The implications of this are far reaching and diverse. It has generated anti-discrimination policies and procedures and employment equity programs to name two prominent impositions on employers, landlords and even homeowners. Again, a fundamental right of ownership is ignored, which is the right to choose who to admit to one’s premises based on any criteria whatever, but governments ignore this right. In its place they have inserted their ideological position that freedom from discrimination is a right. On that premise they will not allow people to discriminate as to who they take on as tenants or employees because governments are determined to form an all inclusive, ideal society.
Government’s position on discrimination has generated campaigns that verge on thought control. One is the repeated reminders by the news and entertainment media that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality. The problem with that campaign is that the government and the general population do not distinguish between rights and values. It is true that all human beings have the same fundamental rights regardless of sexual orientation, but governments and the media go further. They want you to believe that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equal in value. Isn’t that implicit in the federal bill which legislated that a homosexual couple is just as qualified to marry as a heterosexual one? The idea is now in Ontario schools where children are told that sexual orientation is not necessarily what their bodies indicate; it is really just a choice. The implication is that it is an equal choice but it is not. Simple reasoning shows that homosexuality is not equal in value to heterosexuality. For instance, if all the homosexual people in the world were to suddenly disappear there would of course be a lot of grieving by family and friends and loss to employers but the human race would not be seriously impeded in its journey. If all the heterosexual people were to disappear the human race would be gone in a century. Moreover, the fundamental mission endowed on adults by Nature to procreate the human race is apparently felt by people as a given purpose for their lives. Many couples (it used to be most) have children and rear them in love and expectation, pleased with the continuation of the family genes and with their children’s accomplishments. Parents work for the children, support and guide them as a mission until they become new citizens. By comparison, homosexuality is a life style.
In unilaterally expanding marriage to include homosexual couples the government removed the legal right of the heterosexual population to have an exclusive institution for uniting a man and a woman although this is arguably a natural right. Such a profound change in law and culture warranted a referendum but again the government would not risk its ideology being overturned by the general will. The government maintains that it is a matter of rights but the rights it speaks of are ones it invented to support its ideology. Rights based on natural rights say that a group may join together to manifest anything about themselves that they choose. The heterosexual population did this millennia ago when it created marriage. Today, we recognize that the homosexual population has the same right and may create an institution like marriage but called something else. It is difficult, however, for that principle to make headway against the notion that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equal. That message is flung at us again and again in such propaganda as the gay pride parade that is touted as a celebration of equal rights (who else has a parade to celebrate their rights?) but appears to be really a celebration of homosexuality itself and the real message is never spoken.
Under the present Liberal government in Ottawa the imposition of the ideology has become more aggressive. For example the Liberals have followed the NDP in requiring all of its members of Parliament to support abortion as a woman’s choice and never mention rights of the unborn. New laws are being considered to implement socialist liberal ideology and facilitate prosecution of dissenters. One is a law that would require public washrooms to permit people to use them according to the gender they think they are rather than the one they are biologically and possibly dressed for. Another would prosecute people who utter “Islamophobic” statements, meaning that fear of Islam is irrational, that is, a phobia. Many people, however, see fear of Islam as quite rational because of abundant evidence of crimes committed in the name of Islam.
In another important area, that of the cultural evolution of the country, ideology is overriding not only fundamental rights but common sense. With the birth rate of traditional Canadians having dropped below the 2.1 being required to sustain the population (in the early 1970’s) their population has been declining steadily for over forty years. The birth rates of some immigrant groups well exceed 2.1, so their descendents will inherit the country. It should be said, however, that while the birth rate of immigrants is presently high it may decline after their life in Canada has stabilized. Nevertheless, the future culture of the country depends on three factors: the cultures of immigrants, their willingness to adopt Canadian culture and their expected birth rates. A searing fact is present in this outlook: that some cultures contain attitudes toward women, fundamental rights, and tolerance of other lifestyles that are indefensible and would degrade Canadian society. Screening out those who would propagate these inferior attitudes would seem to be common sense but is not part of the government’s procedures. Media reports have said that as many as ninety percent of prospective immigrants are not even interviewed by an immigration officer.
Further evidence of the government’s mission can be seen in the constant influx of people of other cultures from various parts of the world deliberately brought in to create a culturally diverse society. We are told that this is good but some of these cultural groups resist integration, dress in the clothes of a foreign culture and in some cases set up ghettos. They divide the population by style, customs and aspirations for society going forward. One has to wonder if the effort to create a sample version of the world’s variety within Canada’s borders isn’t a preparation for worldwide government, under socialist liberal lines of course, that would erase all national borders. Perhaps that is why the Canadian government appears oblivious to the probable result of its immigration policy. It smacks of ambitious ideology and traditional people of Western countries are evidently becoming increasingly uncomfortable with it if the rise of populist parties is any indication.
Resistance to ideology-based policies is well underway in Europe. In Italy, a referendum was conducted in December, 2016, on the basis of Prime Minister Renzi’s proposal to “reform” the constitution by reducing the power of the senate. The senate, however, is the primary check against legislation that comes from some people’s ideology being imposed by law onto everybody (something that works poorly in Canada). The Italian people voted no to that in what is considered to be an anti-establishment vote. The main anti-establishment parties now are the Lega Nord and the Five Star Movement (M5S) which classifies itself as a movement, not a political party. Nevertheless, these movements/parties have gained huge popularity in the years since the financial crisis in 2008.
Germany, less given to populism than Italy, nonetheless gave birth to the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party in 2013. It was set up by an economist to oppose Euro zone bailouts but adopted a policy of opposing illegal immigration. In only four years it has made such astonishing progress in the popular vote that in the federal state of Mecklenburg- West Pomerania for instance, it obtained 20% of the vote in a late spring by-election, more than Angela Merkel’s Social Democrat Party did. In the September federal election the AfD obtained one eighth of the popular vote making it the third most popular party and eligle for seats in the reichstag. Although the Social Democrats obtained the most seats it was far short of a majority and partnering with another party has been unsuccessful to date (early December).
In France an unusual political situation has taken shape. The traditionally strongest parties failed to put forward strong political leaders and experienced people like Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, Manuel Valls (PM) and Alain Juppe (PM) did not run. This left the field to Emmanuel Macron, leader of the one year old En Marche party and Marine Le Pen, leader of the 45 year old National Front party that has been growing since Marine took over the party from her father in 2011. The National Front opposes membership in the European Union, the Islamization of France and proposes a low limit of 10,000 immigrants per year. It is labelled a right wing populist party but is actually a left-of-centre party. Mr. Macron won the election but the NF won 20% of the popular vote.
The Netherlands created interesting news on March 15 when the national election returned incumbent Mark Rutte to power. Significantly, his VVD party fell from 41 seats to 33 and the Labour Party, its largest coalition partner, fell from 38 seats to 9. The Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, considered a right wing populist party, gained 5 seats from 15 to 20, the second highest. The news media emphasized the victory of Mr. Rutte over Mr. Wilders but the Party for Freedom is now the second largest party by one seat.
The United Kingdom story has been extensively reported since the Brexit vote last June. Most of the reporting was about the shock of the result: nearly 52% voted to leave the European Union, contradicting the polls which predicted the opposite. Interpretations of the result followed, many claiming that the electorate was collectively unbalanced in their reasoning. Another interpretation, however, is that the majority of people in the UK did not want the nation-state to fade away as was happening with EU membership. They wanted more control over their destiny and especially more control over who came into their country to live there. It was a dramatic rejection of the government’s ideology, causing Prime Minister David Cameron to resign.
In the United States, citizens elected Donald Trump to be president, again defying the polls that predicted a Clinton victory. He is obviously not part of the socialist liberal political establishment and for that he is reviled as though he were the anti-Christ. Thumbing his nose at all critics he vows that government will work, not for the establishments of wealth and ideology, but for the people. Whether he turns out to be a hero or a disappointment remains to be seen.
Although the media usually portrays these populist parties as right wing they actually cover the political spectrum from left to right wing and are therefore apparently not against socialist liberal ideology per se. Their motive is less cerebral: they are simply against governments making decisions that ignore the will of the people.
In comparison to the United States and western Europe Canada is a different case both politically and socially. Socialist liberal ideology has as much hold in Canada as Islam in Saudi Arabia. There is no discussion of an alternative nor substantial criticism of the ideology. The only political party that offers an alternative ideology is the Libertarian Party of Canada and they have failed to obtain a seat in parliament in thirty years of trying. Unlike Europe the dynamics of the party system here tends to exclude small start-up parties. In addition, the ruling party in Ottawa keeps a tight hold on its members, telling them how to vote on important matters and discouraging discussion of issues that could potentially go against the party line. Capital punishment, abortion and same sex marriage fall into that category. Even the news media is suspected of being under the control of government, particularly the CBC which is government owned. So far disagreement with the ideology is confined to the fringe but the dissidents show determination to fight against ideological positions on immigration, freedom of expression, abortion and the civil rights of transgender people, to name the most prominent. Consequently, divisions have shown up in Canada and the Liberal government is apparently worried. Their idea to bring in proportional representation has obviously been scrapped, probably because all future governments would be coalition arrangements that could require the Liberals to compromise with other political philosophies. Similarly, the idea of changing the senate to an elected body that would bring a populism and pragmatism to that reviewing body is never discussed. To the average Canadian such challenge to the government’s ideology would be as popular as a challenge to Islam in Arabia. In both places most people today grew up with the respective ideologies.
The avenue of challenging the government on the basis of fundamental rights (a priori rights of every individual) was headed off in 1982 when the liberal government of Pierre Trudeau issued the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This grand sounding document told Canadians what rights the federal government would acknowledge, the corollary being that they would only acknowledge other fundamental rights when it suited them. The main rights missing from the charter are the right to security of one’s property and the right to control one’s property as one chooses (so-called property rights). These rights would have obstructed the implementation of the government’s plan for society which requires that the government controls what is privately owned. There should be no mistake: this declaration of rights goes with the ideology and other rights, such as those derived from natural rights, are rendered ineffectual by this document.
Through the transformation of Canada into a socialist liberal state there has been little reaction from Canadians. The travesty of phony rights, denial of true rights, false equations, and naive immigration policy has so far not aroused the majority and apathy rules. What is it going to take? That is a good question.
Filed under: Uncategorized | January 3rd, 2018