On the cutting edge of late modernity
Lacking a mooring in a rich and textured sense of history, most Canadians
today are adrift on an ever-thinning present moment, driven by consumerism,
pop culture, and “politically correct” cliches about the
past. Being a person of Polish descent and having studied history extensively,
I have a certain insight into totalitarianism — whether of the Nazi,
Soviet, or politically-correct left-liberal variety.
It is possible to see the history of countries like Poland since
September 1939 — the beginning of an ongoing calamity for that nation
whose consequences continue today — and of Canada since the 1960s
as tinged with tragedy. In both cases, this is the result of forces,
which although apparently dissimilar, often share a disdain for living,
breathing, actual societies and peoples.
Although World War II may seem remote for many persons (especially
young persons) today, we are living in the shadow of its consequences.
Recoiling from the horrors of Nazism, an evil ideology clearly buried
in the rubble of Berlin, Western countries such as Canada have increasingly
plunged themselves into new nightmares. As J.R.R. Tolkien acutely observed, “… evil
always takes on another shape and grows again.”
The new evil was not only the manifest genus of the Soviet empire,
to which East and Central Europe had been notoriously betrayed. It
was also a rising miasma of trends and tendencies that would eventually
drive most Western countries toward social disintegration. Three major
prophets of this new mode were Alfred Kinsey (who — according to critics
like Judith Reisman — manifestly misrepresented the reality of sexual
behavior in an attempt to create the very tendencies he purported to
describe), Benjamin Spock (who introduced highly distempering errors
in the understanding of how to raise children), and Timothy Leary (the
Sixties’ guru and youth drug culture advocate).
Although very many European nationalists, conservatives, and traditionalists
had fiercely opposed Nazi Germany, as of 1945 the entire “right-wing
option” stood discredited in the eyes of the broad masses of
most Western countries. In today’s world, those who continue
to hold the ideals of such World War II heroes as Winston Churchill,
Charles de Gaulle, or Wladyslaw Sikorski (the preeminent leader of
the Polish Government-in-Exile and commander-in-chief of the Polish
armed forces in the West) are seen as retrograde reactionaries.
Indeed, it did not take long for the Left's “long march through
the institutions” to get underway. During one year at the alleged
height of “McCarthyism” in the U.S., a young William F.
Buckley, Jr. went around talking to thousands of professors in the
social sciences and humanities at prestigious U.S. universities. Only
two or three actually admitted being “conservative” to
him — and that was at the height of the reactionary Fifties! In almost
every sector of society, left-liberalism has been winning one spectacular
victory after another, rapidly pushing further and further into all
areas of social terrain. Authentic traditionalist conservatism in the
U.S., but especially in Canada, despite some apparent electoral successes,
has been running ragged for at least the last quarter century. And
the outlook for some parts of Western Europe is dystopic indeed.
The only exception appears to be the economic sector. However, with
their manifest prevalence in academic, social, media, and cultural
sectors, especially in Canada, left-liberals can well allow the existence
of a large, dynamic private sector that will function to efficiently
produce the economic goods that they want to give to themselves and
to their client-groups. There is also a major difference between social
conservatism (emphasizing family, nation, local communities, and traditional
religion) and fiscal/economic conservatism. Fiscal/economic conservatism
alone can, in fact, coexist with a fair number of varieties of left-liberalism
(as typified by the many technocrats in the Canadian Liberal Party
today). Such parties as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the
predecessor to today’s ultra-politically-correct New Democratic
Party in Canada) were social democratic in economics but mostly socially
conservative on issues of family, nation, and religion.
The question that now faces Canada is sharp. Is it going to be “politics-as-usual,” a
continuing slide in the direction the country has been going for the
last 30 years, or will there be a belated attempt to generate some
real countervailing tendencies — such as an attempt to tame the excesses
of multiculturalism and of social and cultural anomie? It is possible
that an uninterrupted continuation of the slide will result, in the
next 20 to 40 years (a mere sliver of time in terms of world history),
in the all-but-inevitable social and cultural dissolution of Canada.
View From The North archives
View From The North is copyright © 2009
by Mark Wegierski and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
Please forward this copyright info and links when sending to friends
Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer, social critic, and historical
researcher and is published in major Canadian newspapers, as well as
in U.S. scholarly journals such as Humanitas,
Review of Metaphysics, and Telos, and in U.S. magazines such as Chronicles
and The World & I. His writing has also appeared in Polish, British, and German publications.
See author's bio and other articles.
To subscribe, renew, or contribute, please send a tax-deductible donation
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation
P.O. Box 1383
or donate online.