Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Monday, 2 July 2007

The Kingdom of Canada

He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

- Psalm 72:8

I'm disappointed I missed Dominion Day, so instead I will share what I thought was the finest column written yesterday commemorating 140 years of Canadian Confederation. David Warren writes:

Canada today is “deux nations.” There are the people who speak and think in French; and the people who speak and think in English. Together they make up one nation, with a continuous history, of more than five centuries. And then there are the people who speak, effectively, no language; who are deracinated, who have no history. That is the other nation. There is very little communication between these two nations -- the “old” Canada, and the “new” Canada -- because little communication is possible between two such groups. The one is aging and shrinking, the other expanding while growing ever younger. (Yet all trends are reversible.)

Demographically, but also spiritually. Those who have no language, no culture, no religion, no sense of past, and therefore of destiny, remain ever young. Outwardly they may become old and wrinkly, but inwardly they retain the mind of the pre-school child, unformed and cloudless. Yet they fulfil the requirements for citizenship set out in John Lennon’s famous hymn to emptiness, “Imagine”:

“Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living for today. Imagine there's no countries: it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for; and no religion, too. Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”

This is the postmodern dream, of perfect vacuity -- of the serenity we imagine will sweep over us like sleep. All we need do is abandon everything of value in our heritage, everything for which so many of our ancestors actually fought and died. In this great zero, everyone will be equal, and no person will be better than another. The heroine and the harlot will be one and the same, great saints and great monsters indistinguishable. “Judgementalism” -- the aversion that one individual has behaved better than another -- is, among the vacuous today, the only crime remaining to be punished. And likewise, under the doctrine of “multiculturalism,” there is nothing to choose between one culture and another. They are all just fine, and so far as any particularity can still be distinguished, “everything is beautiful in its own way.”

In a sad, sad way, this is a parody of Christianity: “Judge not, lest thee be judged.” Leave out every other particle of Christianity, and any possibility of context. Retain only this, and one might well call the postmodern void, “Christian.” It is a post-Christian Christianity, and I have heard it preached in several denominations. It is also a ridiculous lie, but who are we to choose between truth and falsehood? (“What is truth?”) Reason itself makes people unequal, for some can reason better than others.

The Canada of the government-funded paper flag-waving and painted faces -- the “new” Canada that is celebrated each year on what is now called “Canada Day” -- has nothing controversially Canadian about it. You could wave a different flag, and choose another face paint, and nothing would be lost. It is a kind of recess from kindergarten, after which we return to “sleepy time” again.

That is the Canada that is taught in our schools, yet wasn’t always. I can remember a Canadian classroom, whenas I was a child, with a portrait of Vanier, as well as of our Queen. That was Major-General Georges-Philéas Vanier, P.C., D.S.O., M.C., and Bar, born April 23, 1888, died March 5, 1967, the Canadian soldier and diplomat who was Governor-General from 1959 until his death. A great, good, and illustrious man, the last to fill Canada’s highest office with real distinction (though Roland Michener filled it with dignity).

A lot of young people write to me in email, to say that I am dead right about what they are taught in school, and ask me what they can read to educate themselves, especially about Canada. How many times I have recommended, for a one-volume history, The Kingdom of Canada, by the late William Lewis Morton, as a good place to start. (One needs a place to start.) He was a westerner, a progressive, a “red Tory” -- so many things I am not -- and yet that book, published originally in 1963, veritably sings about the nature of Canada, and tells a history that is true, not evacuated and “imagined.”

Alternatively, spend the day researching the life and career of this Georges P. Vanier. Or, by contemplating this verse from the Psalms, that every true Canadian will be able, immediately, to recognize and translate:

Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae!


Anonymous said...

Of course Georges Vanier is a great man. As a child and during my whole scholar years, I learned a history of pride. Be proud of what we have done in this continent, from the beginning of Nouvelle France until today. Today, I form a terrific nation, a wonderful nation with all my anglo-canadian «compatriotes», I have English blood that comes from the Remington family and Scottish blood that comes from the Blackburn family. I'm very proud but I also remember that, until the 1960's, it was difficult being a «frenchie». We probably learned a lesson when French-Canadians and Anglo-Canadians fought during the battle of Vimy.