Political ‘Knifing’?

Deb MatthewsI have been meaning to comment on a ridiculous article in the National Post at the end of August, but one which does pertain, at least indirectly, to the current election.  The article described the supposedly unassailable argument of Deputy Premier Deb Matthews against Patrick Brown on the subject of ‘women’s rights’ and abortion.


Here are the words of Ms. Matthews, for your own consideration:


Ever since Patrick Brown rose from obscurity to take over Tim Hudak’s PC Party, I have been feeling uneasy,” Matthews wrote.


“As a woman, a mother and a grandmother, I am concerned about how far right Mr. Brown intends to take his party.


“Across Canada, women have fought and won the right to choose. Across Canada progressives fought for marriage equality. I thought those fights were over.


“But Patrick Brown sees things a different way.”


The apparently hot-for-Liberal author of this article, Kelly McParland, concluded breathlessly


As a political knifing, it doesn’t get much more skillful than that.


Pardon me?  This rehashing of feminist platitudes passes for an ‘argument’, and an eminently ‘skillful one’ at that?  I know they stopped teaching logic a long time ago, but perhaps Ms. Matthews is old enough to have benefited; if so, not much stuck.  Or she is deliberately deluded. Or just complacent and assured of her sheep-like and docile audience.


The author of the article points to Ms. Matthew’s credentials as a mother and grandmother, but that just makes things worse.


Here is the rub:  By her logic, Ms. Matthews is declaring that her children exist only at her whim; by another whim, and in another set of circumstances, she could have had them killed in the womb.   The same goes for unborn children across this fair land, hanging by a fragile thread on the decision of their mothers for the first nine-months of their formation.  For any reason whatsoever, declared or not, they may suffer capital punishment for the ‘crime’ of being a nuisance to their mothers, a situation that the minister and her colleagues, along with their federal counterparts under Trudeau, see as sacrosanct and beyond discussion.  So much for the kindly nice-as-apple-pie-I’ve paid-my-dues-which the bachelor-Patrick-Brown-has-not grandmotherly Deb Matthews.


And marriage equality?  Should we not at the very least be permitted to discuss in the open forum whether anal ‘sex’, what used to be termed ‘buggery’ ‘and ‘sodomy’, along with whatever it is that lesbians do, are legitimate bases for ‘marriage’?  If so, what else might marriage be?  Are these equivalent to conjugal, and life-giving, relations?  Are we willing to jettison what every civilization has considered its foundation (i.e., natural marriage between a man and a woman) to please various self-confessed identity groups to fulfill their objectively disordered desires?  Is this what Ms. Matthews actually thinks in her heart of hearts?


Patrick BrownOne would hope that Patrick Brown has the acumen, or at least the willingness, to respond in kind, but I have not seen much evidence of either, especially with his attendance at the ‘Gay Pride’ parade.  Does he really think this will appease them?


Not one of the political parties wants to touch these shibboleths with a twenty foot pole (or is that poll)?  Rather, they lie like fetid compost under the floorboards of our common house, but their stench is ever-present, and eventually the rot will become more and more difficult to hide.


There is a vast moral corruption and emptiness behind the pleasant facade of our modern civilization which, by the mercy of God, I hope is exposed soon to the full light of day.   We already see part of this exposition in the migrant-refugee crisis engulfing Europe.  I fear Steyn is correct, that the Muslim world, at least, has recognized our weakness and our own death spiral, and is arriving in daily-increasing droves (predominantly vigorous young men, according to U.N. reports) to fill the vacuum.  As Father Rutler  points out, paralleling my own post on this subject, a naive and emotional response to this crisis is, by definition, not the most prudent one, and may well lead to the destabilization of that ancient and venerable entity we call ‘Europe’.  Does one really think that these Muslim men (with the minority women and children) are going to adopt ‘Western values’, to say nothing of Christian ones?  Will Ms. Matthews, and her own disordered world-view, find a place in such a brave new world we are allowing to unfold?


Perhaps it will only be when the crisis ‘hits home’ for the well-protected, gated and privileged classes, likely in a way they may not expect, that  they, and we all, will realize the full consequences not only of what we have done, but what we have aided and abetted by our political, and our personal, compromises with evil.



Liberal Complaisance

As this interminable election process lumbers on, like a dying African elephant stumbling through the savannah, only to curl up beside some fetid swamp, we, the electorate, are in the danger of ennui, and eventually not caring who becomes Prime Minister, nor who forms a government, just to get the whole interminable thing over with.

trudeau mulcair

The taxpayer-funded-and-supposedly-neutral CBC is replete with anti-Harper rhetoric, a significant portion of their precious airtime given to those who, by hook or by crook, fair means or foul, want nothing more than to bring the whole Conservatives apparatus down in flaming ignominy.  Sometimes, I wonder how much Harper and his fellow party members care, as we watch various bizarre scandals unfold.  Would that the media dug so deep into the back stories of other candidates.


But care, as voters, we must, even if the choice is amongst the least of three evils, like the wicked witches in Macbeth, as it has been in Canada for some time.  I am no big fan of Stephen Harper, and find him milequtoasty and weak, especially on moral issues, which are the only issues that really count. Everything else one believes on less ‘contentious’ issues, like all the blether about jobs and security, flows from one’s views on the more contentious, and more foundational, issues, like human life and family, God and religion.


The thing is, that Harper, for all of his aversion to discussing anything truly controversial, such as the taboos of abortion, euthanasia and ‘same-sex’ marriage, at least allows his MP’s to vote their conscience, and supports at least some policies, like income-sharing and baby bonus, that are supportive of the traditional family (which is the only real family there is, all else being a shadow or a sham).


The other two viable choices, Liberals and NDP, led by Monsieurs Trudeau Jr. and Mulcair, both have rigid pro-abortion and generally anti-life policies.  They may phrase these policies in the context of ‘freedom of choice’, and a ‘personal decision between a woman and her doctor’ (or, now, a patient and his doctor, in euthanasia), but this is duplicitous.  Abortion is almost always not a decision made only by the woman and her doctor, for there is always a man, whether husband, boyfriend or whatever, who may, or may not coerce, or care for, the woman.   Stories are replete of women who would not choose abortion if given some level of support and encouragement.


We will soon see the same in euthanasia, as elderly parents and grandparents are urged to get on with dying, as impatient children run out of money, and wait with baited breath for their inheritance.


Some choices will always have evil consequences, regardless of one’s freedom or lack thereof to choose them, and the law should refrain us from making those bad choices, especially when they inflict grave harm on others, and what graver harm is there than death?


Misters Trudeau and Mulcair seem to believe that abortion is morally equivalent to removing an appendix, or perhaps like plastic surgery.  Even worse, they consider any pro-life policy to be a policy against women, enslaving them to their bodies, forgetting, of course, the child inside their bodies.  They are far indeed from admitting the universal moral approbation and repugnance of abortion, suicide and murder, as any sane and morally healthy individual, or society, would.


This should deeply trouble us,  in two men who may soon become the next leader of this beleaguered country.


But what bothers me even more are the minions underneath them, all of their prospective MP’s with their signs dotted around the grassy areas of this fair land, who kowtow to the dictatorial pronouncements of their benighted leaders.  Trudeau Jr., in particular, has made it very clear that absolutely no pro-life initiatives will be permitted in his ‘party’, and that a universal, publicly-funded ‘right’ to abortion is a sacrosanct principle of Liberal policy.


I ponder this as I meander through the cities I visit, and see row upon row the grinning visages of these Liberal and NDP hopefuls, especially the men:  Do they have a mind or a will of their own?  Do they all believe in a universal right to abortion, and on the taxpayer dime to boot?  Are they all sycophants?


I am reading a book at present by a recently-deceased Jesuit, Father Paul Quay, a rather in-depth and theologically rich argument of several hundred pages on the recapitulatory nature of the Old Testament in relation to the New, as well as to our own individual lives.  At one point, he declares that one of the manifestations of the spiritual immaturity and moral regression of our modern world is that we are often governed by ‘wimps’.  The good Jesuit defines a ‘wimp’ as one who acts primarily to please others.


This struck me, as I reflected upon my own wimp-dom, and how often I have acted, or more often not acted, to ‘please others’.  We do not reflect enough upon the sin that this entails, called ‘complaisance’, approving of evil by deed or omission just to please someone else (you will find it in the Catechism under the eighth commandment).


But complaisance runs through the very heart of our political machine.  I would much prefer they acted on principle, for better to be hot or cold, than a lukewarm wimp.


The conclusion seems clear.  Presuming Trudeau and Mulcair are themselves acting on principle in permitting, even supporting, the wholesale murder of a good portion of our future generations at the whim of their expectant mothers, their would-be ministers are either with them, which is bad enough…


Or, on the other hand, they are not, but ‘go along to get along’, and, wrapped in the mire of complaisancy, say nothing, sticking a ‘Team Trudeau’ or ‘Team NDP’ beside their own faces, which is in some ways worse.


A vote for the Liberals, or the NDP, is a vote for evil, or a vote for profound weakness, or, more likely , both.

Reason and the Refugee

Following on my last post on the ‘refugee crisis’:  One danger in a situation like this, especially one of its global impact, is to act purely on the basis of emotion, a gut reaction which we later, to put it mildly, regret.


Saint Thomas has an article on ‘alsmgiving’ (II-II, q.32, a.10), wherein he asks whether the ‘giving of alms’ (which we can apply to any work of charity) should be an act of reason, and he answers most definitively in the affirmative.  He states that in ‘giving alms’ we must “employ discretion, according to the varying degrees of connection, holiness and utility”, and to these he adds also, of course, ‘necessity’.


In other words, we are bound in reason, and therefore by natural law, to give alms first and foremost to those who are most connected to us (most evident in Saint Paul’s dictum that we must feed our families first before others); also, to those who are more holy (we may choose to give our money to Mother Theresa’s order rather than to a U.N. ‘charity’); and we must offer our aid on the basis of utility (those who will make use of it most effectively…There is often not much point giving money to an alcoholic, who will just spend it to aggravate his condition).


Overarching all of these is the question of necessity:  Someone who is facing death is more in need than another who is not.


male refugeesHow this plays out in the tide of migrants and refugees (see my last blog for the distinction) is complex indeed, but these questions must be asked.  As one writer put it, we cannot let the whole of the Middle East into Europe and North America.  Mark Steyn also made the comment that 75% of the ‘refugees’ are young adult males.  I am not sure of the accuracy of this figure, and not even sure how they would determine it, but I suppose one could estimate.  Given its near accuracy as a given, allowing tens of thousands of restless young Muslim men into a country wholesale, all of whom will be dependent upon government (i.e., taxpayer) assistance indefinitely, is not a recipe for civil cohesion, and there are quite literally millions more behind the current tide.  Islam is by its nature segregationist, and, moderate or not, every Muslim must see a non-Muslim as an ‘infidel’. How they treat said infidel varies quite a bit, from the ISIS-head-hacking-man-burning jihadis, all the way to the friendly, but sort of distant, Muslim neighbour next door; in any case, the principle remains.  Here is Steyn quoting an interview between John Kasich (current governor of Ohio and presidential hopeful) and Sean Hannity:


John Kasich was on TV last night and Sean Hannity asked him how many of these belligerent young Muslim men posing as “fleeing refugees” America should take, and he blathered on a bit about our good hearts and putting safeguards in place to ensure that fellows with ISIS membership cards would be asked to resign first and a lot of other twaddle. And then he said limply something like, “Your families and mine both came here as immigrants, Sean.”


We should be careful painting all the refugees as opportunists, for most may well be true refugees, but as Steyn rightly replies,


That’s it? Sentimentalist rosy-hued Ellis Island twaddle as the Middle East (here’s that word again) implodes and ISIS games the system?


An ISIS member has already been found and arrested amongst the refugees, with a box of Syrian passports.  We should keep in mind that the emigrations of the 19th and 20th centuries from Europe to America are quite different from the current emigration from the Middle East.  Countries have a right and duty to screen who gets in their borders, and individual families also certainly have the same obligation, perhaps even more so, before they take other families under their roof.  And any immigrants taken in are bound to respect the customs and rules of their hosts, not easy when Muslims, as a rule, do have a lot of affinity for our ‘customs and rules’.  As Steyn also says, we should not be bound to walk on eggshells in case we ‘offend’ certain over-sensitive Islamic sensibilities, or tolerate some of their, shall we say, non-Christian customs.  Slovakia has refused to take in any Muslims; I am not sure that this is the answer, but I understand their motive.


What I, nor it seems anyone else, has is the answer to the refugee crisis, except that we must strive to alleviate the root of the problem, and do what we can to help ameliorate things in the Middle East, which means defeating ISIS, which, as I wrote earlier, may mean another Crusade, whether that be religious, military or, as the original Crusades, both.



Living like a Refugee

aylanThe lifeless body of the 2 year old Aylan Kurdi lying face down on a beach has caused outrage around the world (I have shown him here alive and laughing, as he may well be in heaven as I write).  Little Aylan was drowned with his brother and their mother as they tried to make their way across the Mediterranean from Syria to Greece in an overcrowded boat.  In a tragic irony, the mother initially hesitated to clamber aboard, as she ‘feared the water’.


Europe is in the midst of what is called a mass-migration problem, but more properly a refugee crisis.  A migrant is searching of a better life; a refugee is running for his life.


Migration has been a fact of human history at least since Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden of Eden, and Cain banished to the land of Nod.  ‘Exile’ is a type of forced migration, but every migrant is motivated by some level of coercion, and every wanderer who must leave the land of his birth and childhood feels a certain sadness.  Pope John Paul II discussed emigration in his encyclical Laborem Exercens (On the Dignity of Human Labour) describes it as a ‘necessary evil’, and the paragraph deserves to be quoted in full:


Finally, we must say at least a few words on the subject of emigration in search of work. This is an age-old phenomenon which nevertheless continues to be repeated and is still today very widespread as a result of the complexities of modern life. Man has the right to leave his native land for various motives-and also the right to return-in order to seek better conditions of life in another country. This fact is certainly not without difficulties of various kinds. Above all it generally constitutes a loss for the country which is left behind. It is the departure of a person who is also a member of a great community united by history, tradition and culture; and that person must begin life in the midst of another society united by a different culture and very often by a different language. In this case, it is the loss of a subject of work, whose efforts of mind and body could contribute to the common good of his own country, but these efforts, this contribution, are instead offered to another society which in a sense has less right to them than the person’s country of origin.


Since I read them years ago, I have been struck by these words of the Holy Father, especially as an emigrant myself.  Of course, I had no say in the matter, being five and a half, but I ponder, should I at a later age have returned to Scotland?


But the Holy Father goes on:


Nevertheless, even if emigration is in some aspects an evil, in certain circumstances it is, as the phrase goes, a necessary evil. Everything should be done-and certainly much is being done to this end-to prevent this material evil from causing greater moral harm; indeed every possible effort should be made to ensure that it may bring benefit to the emigrant’s personal, family and social life, both for the country to which he goes and the country which he leaves. In this area much depends on just legislation, in particular with regard to the rights of workers. It is obvious that the question of just legislation enters into the context of the present considerations, especially from the point of view of these rights.


Much good can come of the ‘evil’ of migration, as we have seen in the many benefits the Irish, Scotch, Italian, Polish and other cultures brought to our own shores.  The Church has always taught that we, both at the level of government and as private citizens, do what we can to welcome migrants, especially those who are refugees, to mitigate the ‘evil’ of emigration.  The Holy Father does not imply a moral evil here, just a privation of a good that should be there, namely, the conditions which would allow someone to stay in the land of their birth.  Sometimes, there is moral as well as physical evil underlying emigration, as we see who are fleeing the horrific conditions in Syria.


Yet as much as more stable countries have an obligation towards the migrants, there is also a reciprocal obligation on the migrants themselves, who must do what they can to adapt and contribute to the country which takes them in.  As the old adage goes, attributed to the fourth century bishop Saint Ambrose, si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; when in Rome, live as the Romans do.


refugeesAs I have written before, culture and custom, which follows directly from one’s religion (and everyone has some sort of ‘religion’), trumps just about everything else.  A country also has a right and duty to protects its borders and its culture, to ensure that the ‘customs’ of immigrants (i.e., their religion) will not precipitate a gradual (or even sudden) breakdown in their own society, that each individual migrant will not cause more evil than good.  Previous tides of emigration have all, by and large, been between Christian nations.  Now, as we have hundreds of thousands of non-Christian, primarily Muslim, emigrants, we must ask some pointed questions:  How many jihadi ISIS-sympathizing terrorists are in the midst of that mass of people moving north?  To what extent do even ‘tolerant’ Muslims refuse to tolerate the Christian principles of the West (at least, inasmuch as we still have Christian principles)?  As Mark Steyn argues, multiculturalism is a failed, in fact an impossible, proposition.  A country without a culture, and a border to protect that culture, is simply a geographical conglomeration of people.  But you need people to propagate your culture.  As Europe enters its demographic death spiral, why would not the poverty-stricken millions in Africa and Middle East see it as nice place to set up?


These are particularly pertinent questions when it comes to Islam, the pathological forms of which can be tolerated in no country, as we see in the breakdown in the Middle East.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that Islam (or any other religion) can only build a sustainable culture and society insofar as it has adopted, or at least paralleled, the social doctrines of Christianity, and specifically Catholicism.  Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of revelation, which means that only the Church offers a clear and untainted view of the natural law, and the principles of a just society. One need only look to see that every country to which the refugees are fleeing is Christian, at least historically, and their laws and constitutions still to some extent maintain the Christian foundation on which they were built (for example, they do not stone adulterers, or chop off the hands of thieves, or inflict capital punishment for ‘blasphemy’, and, most attractively to many of the refugees, they have a generous welfare system, based on the dignity of the individual person).  In fact, an article today in the National Post declared that the six wealthiest Muslim countries near Syria have taken in no refugees.  I wonder why?  Could it have something to do with the ‘culture’ of Islam?


Hilaire Belloc argued that in its origins Islam was a Christian heresy, and indeed many of its beliefs and practices follow the eastern Catholic milieu in which it was born:  Prayer seven times a day, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, pilgrimages, prophecy, mediators, family life, and devotion to one God.


Of course, to understate the case, Islam is not a perfect religion, and, like any other belief system that does not hold to the ‘fullness of truth’, contains the seeds of deep deviancy, as we see in ISIS.  One could argue that, due to its highly devotional, even fanatical, nature, Islam has the potential either for a lot of good (if it continues to follow, even unknowingly, its quasi-Christian principles), or for a lot of evil, if it deliberately abandons, and even tries to destroy, anything remotely Christian, or even not Muslim enough, as we see in Syria.  Then it truly becomes a religion of ‘anti-Christ’.


I will not argue here for the ‘true face’ of Islam, for that, to put it mildly, is a very controverted question, perhaps even unanswerable.  Historically, as I argued in a previous post, there are a number of similarities between ISIS and early Islam, but there were and are also tolerant varieties of Islam. But even here, how much do they themselves tolerate fanaticism?  (Indeed, now that I ask the question, how much do we all ‘tolerate fanaticism’ and grave evil of one sort or another, as our own societies abandon their Christian foundation?)


Eventually, tolerance has limits, and ISIS has a very low level of tolerance.  Hence, we have the refugees, many of whom, we may presume, see no place for themselves in ISIS, and are therefore threatened with slavery or death.  But these same refugees must be willing to see the evil aspects of the religion to which they adhere, and reject them, clinging only to what is true, good and beautiful, willing also, in gratitude, to adapt to some degree to what is good in the Christian countries that welcome them.