Canada – the Case for Conservatism
Another piece by Mark Wegierski to mark the Sesquicentennial of Canadian Confederation
Given the disparity in resources between small-c conservatives and left-liberals in Canada, the situation of conservatism sometimes seems virtually hopeless. What traditionalists call “human nature” is generally considered a fiction by left-liberals, who believe that human beings are almost entirely determined by their environment and can indeed be shaped in any direction that left-liberalism chooses.
What most Canadian conservatives have failed to articulate is what is lost in the transition from a more traditional society, to one characterized by late modernity. For example, there is a loss of a sense of nationhood, of the feeling of living in a more homogenous, more rooted society. A more homogenous society is usually a society where people are more courteous to each other. A more homogenous society is also usually one with fewer economic disparities. The American state of Utah, one of the most homogenous in the Union, has some of the lowest levels of economic disparity in America.
There is in Canada a fracturing of culture, under the pressures of the American pop-culture, the extremes of multiculturalism and excessive Aboriginal claims. Ironically, the official champions of Canadian culture are among the greatest mavens of political-correctness.
Then there are the multifarious crises of family and morality. No matter how many rights and benefits a given society offers, it is still a failing society if it fails in the most essential task of reproducing itself – both in the purely physical as well as cultural sense. Related to the crisis of morality is the triumph of the “permissive” society – the death of respect for legitimate authority and the sometimes lax operation of the criminal justice system.
Another aspect of social decline is the near-disappearance of respect for masculinity and the continual devalourizing of the military and the police. Canada is a society with one of the lowest percentages of men under arms in history. This is combined with contempt for the effective operation of legitimate security and intelligence functions.
The exercise of foreign policy has long fallen under the paradigm of “soft power” – with development aid the preferred instrument of policy. Some Canadians imagine that they are considered a uniquely virtuous nation in the Third World, on account of their “do-gooder” policies. It is more likely that they are simply seen as “suckers”.
All of the various syndromes which characterize present day Canada are signs of a “healthy” society for left-liberals. It is for conservatives to challenge the core presuppositions of regnant left-liberalism.
Sociologist Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer and researcher