Thursday 12 April 2012

Harperium In Excelsis: Game of Drones, Part I

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
And there shall no torment touch them.
In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die,
And their departure is taken for misery,
And their going from us to be utter destruction,
But they are in peace.
For though they be punished in the sight of men,
Yet is their hope full of immortality.
And having been a little chastened, they shall be greatly rewarded,
For God proved them and found them worthy for Himself.
As gold in the furnace hath He tried them
And received them as a burnt offering.
And in the time of their visitation they shall shine…

(Wisdom 3:1-7) 

My theme tonight is of the soul of a nation staggering through its banishment of Astraea, where the righteous are punished and seem to die at the hands of the unwise. 

Of many thorns is made the crown of mundane injustice that spikes the head of the world. Chief among those is humankind’s ceaseless re-crucifixion of Christ; nevertheless, the fruits of the originary catastrophe were joyful. Last Sunday, a far lesser thorn, but one void of healing transcendence, embittered my Paschal meditations. I thought of how Canada has been led for six years by the political equivalent of the impenitent thief—an insolent rabble who daily abuse the nation they consider a trivial non-entity with the mocking demand that she remove herself from the cross fashioned and erected by the very corruption of which they are the most avid practitioners and who have, moreoverin a sick parody of Calvaryproclaimed themselves the authoritative canon by which we may measure our fitness to enter into their transvestite kingdom.  

For “parody” is the most accurate characterisation of Canada’s current civilisational stage: we are become the burlesque—the satiric antithesis—of everything the Fathers of Confederation envisioned and of every article of the heritage of freedom and order we inherited from our founding Anglo-European tradition.

Perhaps we are wandering through a cultural winter made inevitable by our long and dismal thirst for every last dram of intoxicating gibberish distilled by the neighbouring southern tribe who, in elevating their rebarbative hybrid of irreverence and vulgarity to the dignity of a national ethos and in establishing irony as both the engine of their cultural discourse and the presiding genius of their every collective myth (where a vicious civil war, an event internally divisive enough to spark one of history’s largest mass emigrations, becomes a universally approved “revolution” against foreign domination, where legitimate defensive action against an unruly and violent mob far more provoking and dangerous than that which faced the National Guard at Kent State is called a “massacre”, and where naked expansionist aggression, the success of which would have re-imposed slavery on the first colonial jurisdiction to ban it, is called a “war of liberation”).

What else but the perverting influence of a nation that recently crowned two centuries of feverishly prosecuted domestic and foreign moral squalor by twice electorally self-inflicting the kind of Caligulan cretin that other peoples have had to suffer as a brute force imposition can explain Canada’s sudden decision to place the tin wreaths of federal office upon some of the most existentially worthless vessels of intellectual bankruptcy and moral debility to ever ooze out of the free exercise of a Western franchise?

Quite apart from the very real possibility that the last election was stolen, the fact that more than a handful of Canadians were willing to vote for what must be considered Canada’s first objectively degenerate national political organization is an index of the degree to which “decadence” is the only appropriate descriptor of our current cultural character. All that now remains is to enumerate the salient consequences of Canadians’ grant of the legislative keys to a canting racaille that hates common decency, hates the truth, hates the constitution, hates democracy, hates the rule of law, hates Canadian sovereignty and national security—hates Canada, in effect. The fundamental meaning of the election and continued dominance of our first ideologically anti-Canadian (or at least anti-Confederation) national government shall be outlined over the course of the next few posts.


Chasman said...

CPE Bach, Sonates pour Violon et Pianoforte (Zig Zag 50902)

I don't think Boethius's retreat will serve you, but this music might.


Dr.Dawg said...

Just out of curiosity, what did you mean by a "transvestite kingdom?"

Sir Francis said...


A student once asked T.S. Eliot "Sir, what do you mean by the line 'Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree'"? Eliot replied, "I mean, 'Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree'".

In other words, I don't know. But I have the impression that a "transvestite kingdom" is a celestial realm in which a ring of burnt orange shag-carpeted bungalows surrounds an enormous 24-hour all-you-can-eat Taco Bell.

Purple library guy said...

I agree, it is quite amazing that we have democratically elected to govern the nation of Canada a group that hates democracy, governance and the nation of Canada.

Dr.Dawg said...

Heh. Always wondered about that line, and I've heard the anecdote.

No matter. That kingdom, as described, transvestite or not, bears even more elaboration. The clock on the ill-shaped roof of the Taco Bell must be stopped, for example. And the bungalows must be amply furnished with black velvet paintings in which the kids are laughing, not crying.

Over to you.

Peter said...

of everything the Fathers of Confederation envisioned

To the extent that you mean to suggest Canadians should be politically either inspired or fettered by what the Fathers of Confederation envisaged or intended, that strikes me as a very American perspective. You yourself have noted the difference between revolutionary and non-revolutionary traditions. At times, it can appear that every American walks around with a well-thumbed copy of their constitution in his back pocket, to which he/she refers repeatedly to glean their Founders' intent as they march through daily life. The French, too, are prone to repeated references to fulfilling their revolutionary promise. But do the Brits care what Good Queen Anne or Disraeli or even a giant like Churchill envisaged or intended about anything?

Like all Canadian students, I was press-ganged into too many years of Canadian history, but I simply don't recall being taught anything about what the Fathers of Confederation envisaged or intended beyond mutual defence and establishment religious protection. History wonks like you will relate today's politics to MacDonald or Laurier or whomever, and seamlessly connect the prospect of 19th century military invasion with your terror of Taco Bell, but isn't the contempt you show for so many Canadians predicated on the assumption they should be taking an American approach to Canadian national purpose? Put another way, shouldn't you first have to make the case ordinary Canadians have a responsibility to be guided by some notion of historical destiny grounded in 19th century imperial politics before you condemn them for feckless abdication of duty because they go cross-border shopping instead?

Sir Francis said...

...that strikes me as a very American perspective.

You're arbitrarily and illogically equating a respect for cultural continuity with revolutionary origins, I think. Of the European nations recently grown wary of (or at least anxious about) the potentially culturally destabilising effects of multiculturalism, none has a revolutionary origin (and only two, France and England, have a revolutionary component to their history). Bizarrely, Germans still revere the memory of Arminius, who left no constitution but is yet remembered as a kind of Ostrogoth Washington.

There's nothing specifically "American" about a respect for constitutional/cultural origins (though Americans, most of whom believe there's something specifically American about truth, goodness, and beauty, would no doubt like to think so); in fact, given that the U.S. has arguably strayed much farther away from the constitutional framework established by its founders than has any member of the Commonwealth that can be said to have had a species of "founding" act, the American passion for origins has been spectacularly impotent.

I simply don't recall being taught anything about what the Fathers of Confederation envisaged or intended beyond mutual defence and establishment religious protection.

I suppose I must apologise for such a disgracefully neglectful exercise of my profession, Peter. I, too, was led astray by English teachers who insisted that Rudyard Kipling was a technically accomplished poet.

We're both older now and perfectly capable of auto-instruction. Thus, I'm sure you've had occasion to notice that Canada's constitutional documents, from 1791 onward, mandated norms much broader than "mutual defence and [the] establishment [of] religious protection", concerns granted very little space in the BNA Act, incidentally.

The much more fundamental question is "What was it about the country that those people felt worthy of 'mutual defence' and 'protection'?" This is a question one can safely elide if functioning under the liberal assumption that we clever, modern folk need not inquire into or understand the assumptions that govern our institutions and the ways in which our daily inter-relations are mediated (or if functioning as a modern "conservative"), but I can't conceive of the possibility of having anything worthwhile to say about one's nation without having asked, and answered, that question.

...ordinary Canadians have a responsibility to be guided by some notion of historical destiny grounded in 19th century imperial politics.

How odd that Trudeau and (most of) the premiers felt that the BNA Act wasn't too deeply compromised a "notion of historical destiny grounded in 19th century imperial politics" to form the basis, practically the entire body, of our current constitution. How odd, too, that our Criminal Code, composed virtually from scratch by Tory arch imperialist John Sparrow Thomson in the late 1800s and thus yet another relic of a "notion of historical destiny grounded in 19th century imperial politics" is still considered fairly relevant. I wonder why Magna Carta, a musty rag inscribed by a superstitious rabble ignorant of the mechanics of rainfall, is still taken seriously.

Sir Francis said...

My "case" is that a constitution, the body of law and precepts under which a nation lives and develops, needs to be, first, understood and, second, respected. I would further urge that a constitution is (speaking theologically) a dead letter unless the spirit animating its words and customs are also understood and respected. This does not mean that the constitution should be protected from legitimate debate—quite the contrary. It does mean that those who say they are operating according to sound and ancient constitutional principles, such as your friends on the Treasury Bench, should mean (after first understanding) what they are saying.

Peter said...

Sigh. I would have hoped it was possible to have the odd discussion with you that doesn't end with the obligatory ad hominem about my "friends on the Treasury Bench". Do try to remember that it is Harper who has the secret agenda to destroy the country. I, Sir, am a mere lowly useful idiot.

A careful reading of your portofolio over the years shows that your passion for the beauty and richness of Canadian national purpose is matched, indeed arguably overmatched, by a less than complimentary analysis of the American exceptionalist narrative, one I will describe for the sake of simplicity as one part Chomsky/Zinn and one part throne-and-alter reactionary. It seems to me that the soaring poetic force you bring to the former hangs in counterpoint to the horrors with which you describe the latter. Would you not agree they go together like love and marriage? Like a horse and carriage?

Now, whether your profession has failed collectively to convey the sheer swashbuckling thrill of Canadian history to dull young Canadian minds is a familiar debate about which I express no opinion beyond noting that, if so, it certainly isn't because you weren't allotted enough hours to try. But surely you have simply abdicated on the second. I studied years of Canadian history, as well as British history, European history, ancient history, etc., but I was never taught American history. Nor were my parents, nor were my children. Indeed, there seems to have been a national pedalogical consensus since their revolution that their story is on the other side of the "There Be Dragons" demarcation on the historical map, beyond which only the reckless and foolhardy explore. There may indeed be good practical reasons to let sleeping dogs lie, but I wonder whether, as with technique-oriented sex education, at least part of the fear isn't that, no matter how carefully managed, our hormonally overcharged youth may get the wrong message and succumb to the lure of the siren song of Yankee freedom 'n fun. This is certainly a fimiliar Canadian neurosis as depicted in novels like Maria Chapdelaine and films like My American Cousin.

Whatever the reasons, surely this puts splenetic old Tory nationalists like you and Grant in a bit of a quandry as you try to solve the riddle that has bedeviled Canadian nationalists since World War 1--how do you get all these lunkheads to fear and dislike the Americans more than they do? By ducking the counter-narrative completely in their formative years, are you not a bit like a Jeremiah thundering about Israel's sinfulness without recalling the rabbis never told the people what the Commandments said in the first place?

Thus while you may continue to successfully challenge my patriotism and make me squirm because my feckless absorption with the NHL playoffs is diverting me from acquiring the kind of subtle mastery of the 1791 Constitution Act needed to save the nation, I confess I can only smile when you speak defiantly of the "legitimate defensive action" in revolutionary Boston. For surely it is your self-inflicted wound that so many Canadians will respond to that by giving you a blank look and a "Whatever!" before rushing off to the latest Hollywood blockbuster in furtherance of what they believe to be their constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness.

Aeneas the Younger said...

"For surely it is your self-inflicted wound that so many Canadians will respond to that by giving you a blank look and a "Whatever!" before rushing off to the latest Hollywood blockbuster in furtherance of what they believe to be their constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness."

That is the point, I think. That is surely the point that Grant made between 1957 and 1965 - that the classical liberalism, technology, and consumerism of the post-war American genus is in itself an all-consuming force that sweeps away anything illiberal, pre-liberal, or pre-industrial.

Grant's lament was that the power of this liberalism would sweep away human & cultural diversity and turn Canada and mankind into a homogeneous mass of consumers hell-bent on acquiring the latest technology. In the process, we would be become integrated as part of the process.

The fear was that in willingly becoming part of the machine, we ourselves would become commodities.

Grant saw - I say foretold - that when this begins to happen, then all sorts of crimes against humanity -and humanness - will occur.

I believe he was prophetic and I further believe that the eradication of Canada is part of the demonstrated process of a sinking into a liberal-technolgoical hegemony that has already turned large sections of humanity into varying degrees of commodity to serve the very corporate organisms that Grant saw as the real governing force in the modern world.

Grant said in 1965 that it was probably too late to turn the tide. I think he was correct in that view - hence my cynical attitude to Canada's continued existence and to Canadian's feeble adherence to their common inheritance - the state and form of which is a "real thing" by-the-way.

That Canadian History and Civics has been poorly presented and taught is really no surprise - as the discipline is not necessary to the creation of a nation of "worker-bees" that can feed our pre-determined role (via models of cmparative advantage) within the Global Economic System. Within the various Canadian Education Systems, this neglect has not been systematic, but benign. The "market" has seen to that.

Aeneas the Younger said...

"comparative advantage that is ...

This is not to rail against the "market" as a mechanism per se, but the modern conception of the market that sees that market as global.

Classical Liberalism - or as it should properly be called, "Neo-Liberalism" - has come to dominate the world in ways that only Marx or Lenin could imagine. It is beyond ubiquitous.

Ubiquity is not always a good thing.

Nature gives us a hint: Do you know what happens when diversity is eliminated from the natural world ?

Aeneas the Younger said...

That Canada is dead as a duck does not deter me however from trying to alert Canadians about that which they have abandoned.

I subscribe to Hooker's attitude to such matters in living with this sense of honour so that "Posterity may know we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream."

Aeneas the Younger said...

The dange being, as Grant pointed-out is that the species will lose historical and cultural perspective, and in doing so, will suffer under the greatest of all tyrannies - uniformity.

"The search must be related to the title of this meditation. To lament is to cry out at the death or at the dying of something loved. This lament mourns the end of Canada as a sovereign state. Political laments are not usual in the age of progress, because most people think that society always moves forward to better things. Lamentation is not an indulgence in despair or cynicism. In a lament for a child's death, there is not only pain and regret, but also a celebration of passed good. '"I cannot but remember such things that were most precious to me!" In Mozart's great threnody, the countess sings of la memoria di quel bene. One cannot argue the meaninglessness of the world from the facts of evil, because what could evil deprive us of, if we had not some prior knowledge of good?" George Grant, LAMENT FOR A NATION, 1965.

Aeneas the Younger said...

I have to be honest with you Peter ... I have no idea why we are still arguing the merits of diversity versus monoculture in the year 2012.

This principle was scientifically-proven decades ago. Its application to human relations and culture and economics should really be beyond debate by now.

Humans are organic beings, you know ?

Sir Francis said...


Last year's recipient of The Most Obdurate Blogging Tory Commenter Award just called. He wants his limp-dicked sophistry, mealy-mouthed evasiveness, and red-herring befouled misdirections back.

Seriously, Peter, your "Ya can't keep the kids on the farm" act can be retired now. We get it. We understand that you really believe that my (and Grant's) fundamental problem is that America is too dang fun, that Americans are too dang rich, blond, and beautiful, and that too many Canadians get to enjoy a satisfying, uncomplicated, multi-orgasmic continentalist tryst the desire to join in which we perversely refuse to admit.

I'm sure this straw man is psychologically satisfying to you, but I would find it more satisfying if you addressed yourself to the points I actually make rather than the phantom ones for which you have an arsenal of glib, ready-made quips. For the moment, I shall just assume that you concede the points you ducked and that you now happily acknowledge that an investment in the fundamental importance of the Canadian constitution is neither "American" nor irrelevant to the year 2012. Having thus implicitly admitted the utter semantic vacancy of your first comment, you may choose to try again—with feeling, this time.

...the obligatory ad hominem about my "friends on the Treasury Bench"...

I knew your support for the CPC was somewhat faute de mieux, but I could never have guessed that your cynicism went so deep as to allow you to espouse an organisation you consider vile enough to serve as an effective vehicle of insult by association. Sad. Feel free to retaliate with a formulation such as "your friend David Orchard". I won't mind. David is a friend--a good friend. I'm proud of my long association with him. I'm sorry you can't be as proud of your associations.

This is certainly a fimiliar[sic] Canadian neurosis as depicted in novels like Maria Chapdelaine and films like My American Cousin.

Thanks for confronting my airy ivory-tower inflected divagations with that crucial hard-headed re-grounding in the key issues, Peter. Yes, we must always discuss Canada/U.S. relations in terms of Canadian "neurosis", "inferiority complex", and all the other trinkets in the rag-and-bones shop of continentalist cliche. Let the trivial chatter away about colossally destabilising geo-political disasters, U.S.-inspired global economic catastrophes, and innocent Canadians having blowtorches applied their testicles while guests at American extraordinary rendition facilities. What does all that matter when set beside the outrageous fact that some Canadians see their nation as more than a perpetual continental bridesmaid? Someone has to maintain a proper sense of priorities, after all. do you get all these lunkheads to fear and dislike the Americans more than they do?

Egads! Is the continentalist narrative changing? Isn't the problem still that Canada is "reflexively anti-American"? Isn't that why we didn't go galloping into the Iraqi valley of death and why we refuse to sufficiently deregulate stuff? Have you all changed your minds, or are you ahead of a curve that Granatstein, Fulford, Wente, Warren, Steyn et al. (may I call them your "friends") have yet to encounter?

Unknown said...

Are you the last Anglican in Canada or something?
Who gives a sh*t about religion? I thought that was one of the things you Canadians were proud of; that you'd stopped bothering going to church and went to Timmy's for coffee and Timbits on Sunday mornings now.
What's next-praise for the United Church?

Unknown said...

Why don't you mention any other countries besides the US? Like Mexico? Or Brazil?
What's with the US obsession?
How about the reverse migration-you Canadians going to take back the 100s of thousands of Quebeckers New England absorbed because the "Revenge of the Cradle" was too much of a success? Why did the US have to be Plan B for Quebec's surplus population?