What They Think of Us, FT on Canada

They don’t think of us often. In the ten years or so that I’ve been reading the journal First Things, I don’t think I’ve seen Canada mentioned more than a few times and it’s never more than a mention. We’ve sometimes rated a wry note in editor Father John Neuhaus’ monthly comments on religion and politics entitled, “The Public Square.”

But here we are in the current issue. George Weigel writes: “Thankfully we [in the U.S.] are not in quite the same mess as Canada where the preaching of classical and biblical morality can now get you hauled up before a new form of Star Chamber known as a Human Rights Commission” (“A Campaign of Narratives,” FT, March 2009). Star Chamber! Weigel goes on to liken us to Europe. I’ve read I don’t know how many articles on the moral decline of Europe by Weigel and other First Things authors. There’s a good one by Jean Bethke Elstain in this very issue. By comparing us to Europe, Weigel is saying that Canada’s treading the primrose path to hell.

Can I bear the pain? The worst of it is that what Weigel says is true.

The March issue concludes once again with “The Public Square” by Richard John Neuhaus. Reading the cover I thought for a happy moment that the reports of his death had been exaggerated. But that is not so. The April issue will contain tributes to his life and work.

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1 Response to “What They Think of Us, FT on Canada”


  1. 1 roger February 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    “Thankfully we [in the U.S.] are not in quite the same mess as Canada where the preaching of classical and biblical morality can now get you hauled up before a new form of Star Chamber known as a Human Rights Commission”

    Given that Weigel’s magazine actually argued that America was already a “tyrant state” in 1996, its not clear how these sorts of statements should be interpreted. But you can be sure that in a couple of years time you can be sure that he’ll be back to writing something similar about America. For instance, Weigel writes that:

    “From the beginning of the Bush administration, then, a passionately held conviction that dared not speak its name smoldered in many Democratic and liberal hearts: George W. Bush is an illegitimate president–morally, if not quite constitutionally”

    In fact, less than two months into the Obama adminstration, “a passionately held conviction” that “smolders in many Republican and conservative hearts” has “dared speak its name”: namely, that Obama is in fact a constitutionally illegitimate president (on account of not being American). As for the moral concern, Weigel’s description of Obama’s collusion with “the gay insurgency” gives a good indication of the direction his writing will be heading.


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