Canada’s Indigenous Policies Constitute a Harmful Retreat from Liberalism by our Country’s Elite Classes

Since the late 1960’s Canada’s political, academic and media elites, in all matters relating to the position of Indigenous Canadians within the Canadian polity, have been engaged in a steady retreat from the principles of liberalism which, up to that time, had formed the ideological basis for Canada becoming one of the most justly admired countries in the world.

Much damage to the country and much division and demoralization of the Canadian people has been caused by this retreat.

Canadians now find themselves confusedly living in a society that is illiberal in many material respects- a society alien to their instincts and beliefs- driven and managed by our dogmatic, out-of-touch and unresponsive elite classes. History has noted the occurrence of this phenomenon- a phenomenon usually associated with national decline- in other countries and in other times under such appellations as “the revolt of the elites” and “trahison des clercs.”

For the sake of all Canadians, especially Indigenous Canadians, a correction- a return by our elite classes to the liberal values and sensibilities that constitute the heart of what it has always meant to be Canadian- is desperately needed.

It’s hard to define “liberalism”, a part of 18th and 19th century Enlightenment philosophy, because every Western country has had its own different experience of it.

The Canadian version, since the early 1800’s, has been characterized by nonviolent, incremental, ameliorative, social and institutional changes, the product of free and open debate in advance, all of which have tended to reduce (but never intended to completely eliminate- that kind of utopian thinking is anathema to liberalism) social, economic and political distances between citizens- to make Canadians more equal.

These changes were brought about in an atmosphere of toleration of- even sympathy for- human needs and frailty, and human differences, and, as stated, from a policy of free and open speech, debate, and enquiry.

Except for Indigenous Canadians, these changes, in addition to being ameliorative, were based on the principles of equality under the law- egalitarianism- and the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of man- universalism.

Universal suffrage, including the vote for women, trade unionism, government-provided pensions and health care, legal equality between the sexes, and gay rights, including their right to marry, are only a few of the ameliorative changes brought about through the adherence to these liberal values and mechanisms.[1]

The leaders of Canada through our long, progressive period of Canadian nation-building- the men and women who shepherded the development of our country into the prosperous and progressive model of nations that by the 1960’s it had become, constituted a necessarily literate, high-quality elite class of persons, (all nation-states must have a hierarchy, at the top of which are the elite classes), the quality of which could be characterized as follows:

“An (elite class) which was not only capable and enlightened, like most successful (elite classes), but which possessed the peculiar attribute of being deep-rooted in popular sympathies and of drawing its life blood from the popular will.”[2]

Winston Churchill made the same point of successful elite classes always remaining supportive of and in sympathy with the values and sensibilities of citizenry below them in the hierarchy- popularly (but inaccurately) referred to as the “common people”. While naturally tending to their own basic interests, (such is life and human nature), successful elite classes always keep that self-interest in check to the extent of keeping faith with the basic interests and aspirations of all levels of the citizenry and with the basic tenets of the civilization of which they have the privilege of being stewards. They responsibly subordinate their self-interest, as a steward -or trustee- would, to the “settled customs of the people” [3]and to their general will as expressed in the long-standing laws, customs and traditions of the country, at least to the degree necessary to preserve the basics of that very society which permitted them to personally so flourish.

Successful elite classes in a liberal society are guided by the profound and often unspoken and/or just assumed reality that:

The liberal-democratic-capitalist matrix we all inhabit depends for its livability and sustainability and decency upon pre-liberal forces and habits, unchosen obligations and allegiances: the communities of tribe and family, the moralism and metaphysical horizons of religion, the aristocracy of philosophy and art.[4]

William A. Henry[5]neatly summarizes the essential characteristics of liberalism as follows:

“Respect and even deference towards leadership and position; esteem for accomplishment, especially when achieved through long labour and rigorous education; reverence for heritage, particularly in history, philosophy, and culture; commitment to rationalism and scientific investigation; upholding of objective standards; most important, the willingness to assert unyieldingly that one idea, contribution or attainment is better than another.”

If a liberal country or society were to be compared to a tree, successful elite classes carefully remove its dead branches and keep its live branches pruned, while always preserving its tap roots.

On-reserve Indigenous society is not liberal. There are no private property rights there. The Canadian Charter of Rights, at the insistence of Indigenous elites, does not apply on Indian reserves. Indigenous Canadians do not live in a liberal state of being with the rest of Canadians. This has always violated Canadians’ general instincts and will towards egalitarianism and universalism, and shamefully, continues to do so. The historical reasons for this are well known and do not bear repeating.

The last serious attempt by our elite classes to properly ameliorate this civically illiberal Indigenous situation- the last burst of admirable liberal thought and planning in this profound area of Canada’s civic life- was Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 White Paper, which recommended the repeal of the benignly racist Indian Act, the abolition of segregationist Indian reserves, and generally, the integration of Indigenous Canadians into the Canadian mainstream as legal equals. This was fought by frightened, self-interested, dependency-addicted, and illiberal Indigenous elites, and the Trudeau government, losing their confidence and their nerve, and to the incalculable, tragic harm caused to generations of Indigenous Canadians since, backed down.

Even more tragically, and shockingly, our elite classes have, since then, in all legislative, judicial, policy, cultural and academic aspects relating to Indigenous Canadians, retreated from liberalism to the extent that they are now- and in the process making unprecedented hacks against the liberal tap roots of the country and against the settled customs and general will of ordinary Canadians- actively supporting Indigenous elites’ primitive overidentification with their racial group,[6], actively supporting a new and even more illiberal iteration of the reserve system: i.e. the even more segregationist  “nation to nation” fantasy,[7]and actively attacking or at least marginalizing anyone who speaks or writes against this.

Crown sovereignty is the ultimate embodiment of the hierarchy principle- a fundamental aspect of liberalism. It is the basis and backstop of the rule of law- (the bedrock liberal principle employed against authoritarianism and social chaos)- the regulation of our economy, the preservation of our individual freedoms, and of our liberal order generally. It is now under active attack, with our elite classes acquiescing in and even actively enabling these attacks.

The now fashionable but totally irrational idea that each of Canada’s many hundreds of Indian reserves is or can be a separate and independent nation within but somehow apart from the nation of Canada, (but financed entirely by Canadians), has now taken hold amongst our elite classes. This foolish idea presumes that some Canadian laws would not be applicable to or enforceable within or against self-described “citizens” of these “nations.”

In The Social Conquest of Earth[8] the late Professor Edward O. Wilson describes the State – the most sophisticated and complex system of human organization – as “the final step in the cultural evolution of societies,” with bands, tribes, village societies and chiefdoms being earlier, precursor, less complex, forms of social organizations.

A key feature of any successful state is, as stated above, a clear system of hierarchical control- “the ordering principle of domestic politics,” [9]with clear and undisputed control exercised at the top of the hierarchy. Professor Wilson writes:

“As with complexity of any physical or biological system, the society, in order to achieve stability and survive and not quickly crumble, must add hierarchical control…hierarchies work better than unorganized assemblages (in) that they are easier for their rulers to understand and manage. Put another way, you cannot expect success if assembly-line workers vote at executive conferences or enlisted men plan military campaigns.”

The hasty and poorly thought-out enactment of section 35 of the Constitution Act in 1982 [10], followed by the past-renouncing, radical and revolutionary interpretation of it in subsequent decades by the Supreme Court of Canada has destroyed the traditional political hierarchy that worked so well for Canada during its first 150 years of existence. These radical and revolutionary (two words whose meanings are inconsistent with the incremental nature of liberalism), changes, in relation to which the Canadian people were never consulted, have resulted in there now being three founts of constitutional sovereignty in the country; the original two, being the federal government and the provinces, and now a third: the “Aboriginal peoples” referred to in section 35.

Aboriginal peoples should have no partno veto-like rights– in the exercise of Canada’s sovereign rights to make its own laws, other than the rights in relation thereto, such as they are, possessed by all other citizens of the country. The Canadian people know this. They appear to know what our elite classes appear to no longer know: i.e., the buck has to stop somewhere for our Canadian State to work properly. That somewhere must only be the federal and provincial Crowns.

With all tiny Indian bands situated within a long day’s drive of any resource project proposed to take place in any part of rural or wilderness Canada now having to be “consulted and accommodated” before it can go forward we now have unqualified, self-seeking Indian bands having to consent, for a price, to such resource projects proceeding- the equivalent of Professor Wilson’s assembly-line workers having a de facto veto in executive board rooms and of his enlisted men having to sign off on military campaigns planned by their superiors.

Not only is Crown sovereignty being dangerously impaired by this, but the rule of law, which is totally dependent on total Crown sovereignty, is impaired and eroded as well. As the result of unreasonable and unprecedented judicial and police leniency, Indigenous persons, on the flimsiest pretexts, often in defiance of court orders, illegally occupy private property, burn churches, deface and tear down statues, engage in other acts of vandalism, and blockade roads and rail lines. Arrests are rarely made. The interests of the law-abiding victims are invariably sacrificed in favour of the essentially incoherent, nihilistic interests of the Indigenous lawbreakers. Twenty years of police and politicians’ passivity in this regard contributed greatly to the widespread disrespect of the police that was a key factor leading up to the 2022 outbreaks of non-Indigenous lawbreaking in Windsor, Coutts, Alberta and Ottawa. “Criminal means once tolerated are soon preferred.”

The public despairs at this new illiberal reality. They look in vain to our elite classes for redress. Our increasingly incapable and unenlightened elite classes, oblivious to the liberal maxim that a society cannot have liberty without order, in reaction to all this, either endorse it or explain it away. Social trust, the glue that holds civil society together, is seriously frayed.

It’s as if our “best and brightest” no longer understand or believe in the value of a strong state or in what they represent -as if “they have wearied of the demands our traditions make of us.” [11]  It’s as if they don’t believe in the value of a strong, sovereign, and unified province or country, where everyone is equal under the law, with the Crown representing and embodying that unity and strength, and best able to preserve and advance the general welfare.

It’s as if our elite classes don’t believe with any passion in the core Western value that the rule of law must be maintained and upheld above all- that without the rule of law, as people have known and written about for centuries, and which, as stated, depends on a strong state, there is physical and moral danger, and ultimate diminishment of freedom. They act oblivious to the truth that “liberal ideals cannot survive without power, and that power requires careful upkeep.”[12]

In this regard our elites are at odds with the vast majority of ordinary Canadians who, in this increasingly complex, uncertain, technology-based world, where the problems inherent in it have to be regulated and dealt with by strong central powers, and where Canadians are becoming increasingly vulnerable to all kinds of negative, global forces, fear and disagree with the handing back of state power to small, decentralized, scattered, undisciplined, poorly governed, self-seeking, technically illiterate, Indian bands.  They fear the weakening of the state’s powers to try to ameliorate the negative effects of these powerful, destabilizing, global forces. They fear the attack on our tax and revenue bases that all this represents. They sense that the weakening of the state means the weakening of legal order, which heralds social chaos. They fear the increasing two-tier nature of our law enforcement and justice systems, and rightfully fear the weakening of the state’s power generally.

Ordinary Canadians sense what our elite classes don’t, that is, that we are going socially, culturally, economically, and politically backwards, and that this illiberal weakening of Crown sovereignty can only accelerate these negative trends.

We see in America what happens when elites breach their stewardship and trust duties and lose their discipline- cease acting like the First Men and First Women of their society-fail to fulfill their responsible “sober second thought” function in a liberal democracy-fail to defend and maintain hierarchy and high standards- fail to defend society’s basic norms, values and institutions-fail to check the marketplace- fail to defend the institutions and  rule of law- fail to defend the polity against threats to reason, restraint and civility-fail to defend democracy against its own inevitable excesses: Donald Trump![13]

Similar features of this American retreat from liberalism are happening in Canada, but instead of emanating from the “right”, as in America, they are mainly emanating from the so-called “progressive left.”

Thejurisprudence devolving constitutional sovereignty to Aboriginal peoples, and our elite classes endorsement and even support for the extension of it, and our  political, bureaucratic and police elites’ weak and confused- and at crucial times, frozen – response to it, represents a full frontal assault by our elite classes in against the system of state-maintaining hierarchy which Professor Wilson suggests must be present for a democracy to function properly- against what MacDonald Laurier Institute writer Brian Lee Crowley describes as Canada’s real wealth -our “endowment of rules, institutions and behaviors”[14]  that make up the civilization we inherited from our ancestors – an illiberal and destabilizing assault on the century-old “settled customs” and “pre-liberal values” (i.e. “old-fashioned” values!) of the Canadian people, and to their will as expressed in our laws, history and practices.

These attributes of civilization applicable here – these settled customs and values – near-absolute Crown sovereignty subject only to a competing set of individual rights, property rights and the rule of law, should be inviolable. 16

To exalt group rights based on race- to diminish Crown sovereignty – the fount and guardian of our democracy, our property rights and of the rule of law – the latter themselves the basis of a superior economic system which has provided so well for us- is to illiberally attack and diminish our democracy- our very civilization itself.

Ordinary Canadians know or at least sense that. Unfortunately, our increasingly ahistorical and irresponsible elite classes, which are not morally entitled to such obliviousness- which have a patriotic duty to raise their game in this regard and keep it high – our increasingly post-liberal (and seemingly post-literate) elite classes – seem not to know that anymore.

The print media is completely failing in its traditional fourth estate role to act as a check against the illiberal excesses of governments, the courts, academia, and even of itself, having completely aligned itself with all the illiberality described above. Journalists no longer ask tough questions or demand evidence for the many aggressive and accusatory assertions made by their grievance-oriented, pampered and culturally favored interviewees. Editors freely allow the publication of similar, evidence-free statements and opinions of their “BIPOC”-oriented columnists. There’s never a hint of fact-checking. No “other side’s” view is ever sought, as if there is no other side. All context, nuance and critical thinking, on the crucial, even existential, Canadian public policy issues referred to herein has disappeared.

 “Canada’s National Broadcaster”, the CBC, mirrors the print media. Its mandate was originally to unite Canadians, but it now devotes a large part of its content to widening further the already wide racial divisions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. It engages in mere verbalization of mainly emotional content. It openly supports the existence and even expansion of the illiberal, “separate but equal” reserve system, (now being enthusiastically proposed for an upgrade to the “nation to nation” system). No voice is given to reasoned and respectful dissenters and contrarians, all of whom, if acknowledged at all, are dismissed as ignorant racists.

Again, in most cases those reasoned and respectful dissenters and contrarians reflect the liberal “settled customs” and “general will” of deeply concerned and patriotic Canadian citizens who are trying, increasingly unsuccessfully, to participate in democracy by getting their ideas into the public square. Notwithstanding this, our media elites, having lost all “sympathy” with those liberal customs and that general will, dismissively, dangerously and illiberally cut themselves off from these important Canadian voices- voices which reflect and would remind our elite classes of caring and relevant Canadian views and sentiments.

Canadian academia reflects the Canadian media. It has become an enemy of free speech. It is now wedded to and bound by the “nation to nation” fantasy orthodoxy, and any departure from it is grounds for accusations of “white privileged” racism and loss of career. [15]The fact that for the first one hundred years of Canada’s history no part of this orthodoxy was ever a subject of academic study or debate– was never even thought of by anyone, academic or not! – and was only invented in the last few decades of obviously lower intellectual standards, does not deter our new “revisionist” academics from  dismissing outright that entire century-long intellectual history and tradition as, with usually no reasons given, (critical reasoning itself now being regarded as no longer needed), “outdated.” Respect and regard for rigorous scholarship, history and tradition, as stated, is an integral aspect of liberalism, and this fundamental rejection of, or in any event this almost cowardly failure to grapple with, Canada’s intellectual past, shows how shallow, lazy, dogmatic and illiberal academia has become.

A university or college should be a place devoted to fostering critical thought, “the pre-emptive vaccine or antidote to all the destructive “isms” of the world”,[16]instead of the lazy channeling of decidedly lightweight, uncritical, close-minded, inward-looking orthodoxy- instead of constraining academic and intellectual inquiry by “ideologically inspired authoritarianism”.[17]It should be devoted to providing an experience of intellectual emancipation and growth, where old, parochial, racially or culturally specific, self-limiting, mental chains are broken.

But alas:

“The book of the world is being closed by the “learned”, who are raising walls of opinion to shut the world out.” [18]

 Our new elite classes are invariably highly motivated, educated, (but seemingly not so well anymore! [19]) and sophisticated people, which makes their unsurpassable folly and wrong-headedness hard to understand.

 Why do ordinary Canadians sense what these people don’t? Why are ordinary Canadians the only ones who seem to believe, as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi believed, that all citizens of a country should be equal under that country’s laws? Why don’t our elite classes in Canada possess that most fundamental belief and aspiration for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples?

Part of the answer is that serious thinkers have long noted the tendency on the part of such people to, in times of cultural stress, uncertainty and even decline, “in their bubble”, act in such an innocently stupid manner. Robert Conquest writes in Reflections on a Ravaged Century[20]:

 “For it is surely true, if not generally recognized, that real prowess in wrong-headedness, as in most other fields of human endeavor, presupposes considerable education, character, sophistication, knowledge, and will to succeed. …It was basically common sense that kept the mass of people in Britain and America less liable than the intelligentsia to delusion about the Stalinists. As Orwell said, they were at once too sane and too stupid to accept the sophistical in place of the obvious…the explicit habits of mind of the public are often more sensible than the prescriptions elaborated in the minds of the intelligentsia

Our Indigenous and non-Indigenous elites have illiberally eschewed the explicit, and mainly liberal, habits of mind of ordinary Canadians. For them:

…the divergence between facts…and the premises, theories and hypotheses according to which decisions were finally made is total…The internal world of government, with its bureaucracy on the one hand, its social life on the other, made self-deception relatively easy. No Ivory Tower of the scholars has ever better prepared the mind for ignoring the facts of life.

As with the oft-cited, “journey of deconstructing colonialism”, and as with the irrational- even magical- concepts of Indigenous Law, Indigenous Science, “traditional knowledge”, “Knowledge Keepers” (who will never share their knowledge), Indigenous “Ways of Knowing”, (also never explained), “Settlers”, “the Land”, “reconciliation”, “nation to nation” relationships, and all the other similar, largely thought-killing phrases and abstractions now being enthusiastically embraced and touted by our elite classes, as if they were objectively real:

“…(their) rigorous methods of defactualization…dealing with hypotheses and mere “theories” as though they were established facts…the inability or unwillingness to consult experience and to learn from reality…because disregard of reality was inherent in the policies and goals themselves.” [21]

Perhaps our elites-aged baby boomers still in the game, and now, (somewhat disconcertingly to this aged baby boomer writer), the “best and brightest” of the generation following us- all persons who, in the main, have never experienced the kind of real poverty, gut fear for physical security, political fanaticism and war that their depression–era parents and grandparents experienced- think that the “nice” way it now is always was  that way and always will be- people reflected in the words of the brilliant,19th century novelist George Elliot:

“And the present time was like the level plain where men lose their belief in volcanoes and earthquakes, thinking tomorrow will be as yesterday, and the giant forces that used to shake the earth are forever laid to sleep.” [22]

The post- World War Two incredibly wealthy and secure “comparatively dull decades” – a “trivial time that delights in prosperous escapism[23] which can quite reasonably be regarded as an unprecedented, fluky, historical “one-off”- seem to have caused our elite classes to become more shallow- to no longer understand that a deep sense and knowledge of literature and history is a liberal prerequisite to being competent and responsible leaders of society, and to have lulled them into “the fake sense of security common to people who have lost their sense of the tragic. And the sense of the tragic (a product of the knowledge of history) must always be cultivated in order to avoid tragedy.” [24]

One needs to know reality before one can cross its boundaries into idealism.[25]

Part of this lulled-into false sense of security is that they just unthinkingly assume, (again, to a large degree because of literary and historical illiteracy), that some of the fundamental things about our Canadian civilization that we take for granted – our physical infrastructure and our laws and systems of general physical and economic security and well-being – the creation of which would not have been possible except under the aegis of a strong, healthy, hierarchical and active regulatory state supported by the strongest and widest revenue base possible – always existed and somehow always will.

They don’t seem to “get” or appreciate that these things – and our modern social welfare state itself, “whose merits are confirmed by the solid test of long experience, and an increasing public strength and national prosperity”[26] are actually very recent, unusual and delicate things – the result of hundreds of years of “Eurocentric” Enlightenment thinking and often just plain lucky, state-building events, personalities and circumstances – and that unless they are constantly and consciously defended and nurtured, which our elites- acting with such illiberal shallowness – are plainly failing to do at this time, they can easily be lost.

“A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys.” [27]

Novelist David Mitchell:

“Our civilized world is not made of stone, it’s made of sand, and one bad storm is all it will take.[28]

We pity and decry “failed states,” characterized by weak government authority, yet that is the direction towards which our elite classes are permitting section 35 and its radical and revolutionary juridical interpretations to push Canada. One recent radical Supreme Court of Canada decision even went so far in the judicial-swooning-over-Indigenous-rights department as to grant Canadian constitutional Indigenous rights to American Indians with no present connection to Canada! [29]

In the final analysis, it is only the state, represented in Canada by our Crowns, that can protect the rights and integrity of the individual -that can protect our environment – that can be the foundation and best promoter and regulator of our economy [30]– that can best act as a counterbalance to multi-national corporations – that can protect our vulnerable citizenry, personal and corporate – that can best protect the national welfare generally!

Canada itself might not even exist today if the present state of the law which are elite classes are now cheering on had been the law in the early decades of our national existence!  Nothing could have gotten built! – no railways, highways, dams, airports – nothing.  Everything would have gotten bogged down in go-nowhere consult and accommodate and Aboriginal title-nation to nation disputes!

It was strong, sovereign governments that rescued capitalism after the Great Depression of 1929. It was to governments that people turned in 2008 to be rescued from the financial collapses that the wretched excesses of immense private wealth and global, transnational capitalism had wrought. It’s to governments that people are turning to in the midst of the Covid pandemic. It’s to governments that people always turn in times of ultimate need.

Even Indian band elites now, as they carry on about Indian bands being “sovereign nations,” keep their hands outstretched to our governments for help- as we are seeing in the midst of the Covid pandemic- and more Canadian taxpayer money or financial guarantees to fund or secure their so-called “sovereign” undertakings.

The worst, anti “big government,” right wing crackpots in America blame “Washington” for not solving America’s economic problems, an implicit admission by them that, notwithstanding what they otherwise profess, bottom line, they expect their state to solve these problems!

We, as a society, cannot lose sight of the need for strong, well-funded, totally sovereign, central governments, as our higher courts and a disturbingly large segment of our elite classes seem to have done, judging by their weak and incoherent responses to the emasculation of Crown sovereignty, the divisive and illiberal “nation to nation” movement and by their attacks against or marginalization of anyone who criticizes this harmful state of affairs.

We can no longer permit our shallow, transient, ahistorical politicians to debase and fritter away the concept and reality of necessary Crown sovereignty by pretending that small Indian bands dealing with them are politically and constitutionally co-equal “governments” treating on an equal basis with the legitimate, duly elected governments of Canada.

In this new and uncertain world, where a strong and benevolent state can be our only “friend” with sufficient size and resources to meaningfully help us cope, it’s unnerving and dispiriting to see “private and sectional interests trump public goals and obscure the public good” [31] -to watch any part of our state be diminished and, not only that, seemingly act so willingly as a co-enabler in its own diminishment.

Canadians desperately need our elite classes to come back into the fold and once against assume their traditional roles of competent and responsible stewards and defenders of laws, practices and values that, as stated, by the 1960’s had made Canada a model of liberal excellence for the whole world. They need to come back from the ahistorical, dangerous, illiberal fantasyland where they are now intellectually residing, and resume their presently-abandoned, traditional, liberal stewardship roles by actively promoting the restoration of free speech, competent and responsible and thus trustworthy journalism, free and open intellectual debate and enquiry, and Canadian Crown sovereignty, the latter to the pre-eminent and beneficial state it was in before the passage of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the harmful jurisprudence, legislation and government policies that have emanated from it.

Peter Best

Lawyer, Sudbury

January 20th, 2022

[1] This general definition of liberalism in these brief paragraphs is a distillation of writings on this topic contained in four books. They are my own book, There Is No Difference and the sources cited therein (, historian Robert Conquest’s Reflections on a Ravaged Century, (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2001), William A. Henry’s In Defense of Elitism, (Doubleday, New York, 1994), and Adam Gopnik’s A Thousand Small Sanities, (Basic Books, New York, 2019).

[2] From Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century. (Footnote 1 above) The word “aristocracy “in the original quote was replaced with the more current and neutral term, “elite classes.”

[3] From Niall Ferguson, Civilization, Penguin Press, 2011

[4] Ross Douthat, Is There Life After Liberalism? – The New York Times, January 13th, 2016

[5] See Footnote 1.

[6] The phrase “primitive overidentification” from Robert Conquest’s Reflections on a Ravaged Century. The fact that this kind of “primitive overidentification” with racial groups led to the deaths of millions of people in the twentieth century seems to be of no concern or relevance to our nouveau elite classes’ endorsement of the illiberal, in fact racist, concept of Indigenous racial exceptionalism.

[7] In relation to this serious issue generally, see Canada’s Aboriginal Policies Constitute the Rejection of our Enlightenment Heritage at

[8] Liveright Publishing, 2012

[9] Robert Kaplan, The Return of Marco Polo’s World, Penguin Random House, 2019

[10] So poorly thought out that Bob Rae, one of the “framers” of it, blithely stated in Canadian Lawyer magazine, (July 2014), almost bragging about his carelessness, that “some protested no one knew exactly what the implications” of it would be, but that “we knew full well we were making progress in reducing the unilateral prerogative of governments.” In fact, that actual progress was in emasculating governments. And no explanation was offered by Mr. Rae as to why striking a blow at Crown sovereignty was in the public interest. A key tenet of liberalism is that profound legal change gradually goes from the “living rooms” of the nation to the legislature, rather than being suddenly imposed on the legislature and on the people from the top down. Section 35 came about in a distinctly illiberal manner.

[11] From Marilynne Robinson’s essay Memory, in The Givenness of Things, (Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. 2015), in her case, referring to traditional American Christian leaders passively allowing American Christianity to be hijacked by the American right for dark political purposes.

[12] Robert Kaplan, The Return of Marco Polo’s World, above.

[13] The establishments of the West …have lost faith in their own capacities of understanding and action. Sensing a loss of confidence in the centre, strong-willed people on the edges step forward to take control. – David Brooks, Enter the Age of the Outsiders, The New York Times, October 20, 2015

[14] The Globe and Mail, April 18, 2014

[15] The brave and brilliant Associate Professor Frances Widdowson of Mount Royal University in Calgary, who in two excellent books, Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry and Separate but Unequal,  argued in the most intellectually solid, disciplined and respectful way against the illiberal and magical nature of aspects of the Indigenous status quo; in particular their “traditional knowledge”, “Indigenous Science” and Indigenous “Ways of Knowing” claims, and against the extractive, rentier nature of their relationship with the rest of Canada, was recently, solely because of her principled dissent from these and other aspects of the  Indigenous orthodoxy, viciously harassed by other members of the faculty of MRU and ultimately fired from her job. (See Professor who criticized indigenization agenda fired by university ) This attack on free speech and free, open and principled academic debate and enquiry perfectly illustrates the illiberal depths to which our Universities have sunk.

[16] George Packer, from Exporting Jihad, The New Yorker, March 28, 2016

[17] Frances Widdowson, Universities Lose Way in Quest for Truth, The Sudbury Star, November 30, 2016

[18] Saul Bellow, from his Foreword to Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, Simon & Shuster Paperbacks, New York, 2012

[19] No Canadian should be admitted into any of our elite classes without having to first read War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Middlemarch and Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (not the abridged version), and successfully pass a test on them. In the alternative, if they haven’t read these books, or their literary and historical equivalents, they should have to have the letters “CD” always publicly associated with them, standing for “Culturally Deprived”, so that their readers or listeners can better assess the intrinsic worth of whatever it is they are saying or writing. Too many “ones of little reading” are in the halls of power.

[20] See Footnote 1.

[21] This quote and the immediately above from Hannah Arendt’s essay Lying in Politics, in Crises of the Republic, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1972

[22] From The Mill on the Floss, Premier Classics, 1992

[23] As characterized in these two quotes by the playwright Arthur Miller in his biography, Timebends, Grove/Atlantic Publishers, 2013

[24] Robert Kaplan, In Europe’s Shadow, Random House Inc. 2013

[25] Rudolf Safranski, Goethe, Life as a Work of Art, Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017

[26] Edmund Burke, Reflections, Penguin Books, London, 2004

[27] Novelist Edith Wharton, quoted by Lewis H. Lapham in the Preface to Age of Folly, America Abandons Its Democracy, Verso-New Left Books, 2016

[28] From his novel The Bone Clocks, Random House, New York, 2014

[29] See Supreme Blunder, Canada’s Highest Court Grants Aboriginal Rights to American Natives, at David Ben Gurion expressed the frustration he felt with what he considered was unwarranted interference by Israel’s courts in his efforts to build the State of Israel. He said: “Courts don’t know the meaning of statesmanship. Policy is made by policy makers, not by legalists. Jurists need to be subordinate to history, not the other way around”. -From Tom Segev’s A State at any Cost- The Life of David Ben Gurion, Picador (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux), New York, 2000

[30] “Economies are functionally dependent on governments and are only conceptually autonomous.” – John Kenneth Galbraith, from his biography, John Kenneth Galbraith- His Life, His Politics, His Economics, by Richard Parker, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. Toronto, 2005.

[31] Historian Tony Judt, from his essay The Wrecking Ball of Innovation, in When the Facts ChangeEssays, Penguin Books, New York, 2015

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