God knows why Christians still go into politics. For every good, honest, ethical one there’s a holier-than-thou hypocrite like Roy Moore, the Donald Trump acolyte who deservedly lost one of the safest Republican Senate seats in the U.S. So, not only do they have to endure the vicious smears of the secular left, but also guilt-by-association with fallen Christian pols. In Canada, Preston Manning achieved remarkable success as an explicitly Christian politician despite all these liabilities. In a new book, reviewed for C2C Journal by Patrick Keeney, Manning summons the faithful to redeem politics by running on platforms of public service and sacrifice.
Author: Patrick Keeney
Most mainstream conservative commentators in Canada and the United States were hostile toward Donald Trump when he was running for the presidency, and still are. Almost alone among the right-wing commentariat, Conrad Black backed him early, and often, and still does. But contrarian is the way it’s always been with Black, writes Patrick Keeney in a review of a new collection of Black columns; he never fails to challenge, inform, entertain – and surprise.
Patrick Keeney is as smartphone-enslaved as the rest of us, but he’s more worried about it than most. Not for himself, but for civil society and democracy. Keeney sees modern digital communications technologies as exacerbating many of the most pernicious social trends of our time: mistrust of elites, rejection of family and community, and “hyper-individualism”. The messages conveyed by new digital mediums are mostly post-modern and progressive, which is not how anyone would describe New England Patriots’ coach and Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick. So it gave Keeney hope when he heard Belichick growl: “I’m not on SnapFace.”
Pushback against oppressive political correctness on university campuses is erupting all over the western world. A new collection of essays by authors from both sides of the Atlantic is yet another indication that social justice warriors have gone too far and provoked a broad, determined and eloquent opposition to rise up in defence of academic freedom, the cornerstone of intellectual inquiry and democratic debate in a free society. Patrick Keeney reviews Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech on Campus
Two pre-humans are shivering in a cave. On hearing a nearby lightning strike, one rushes outside to fetch a flaming faggot of wood ignited by the lightning. The other, fearing an existential threat to life, rushes to extinguish the fire. It was the first argument over global warming. People have been fretting over many such real and imagined threats to the planet ever since. Climate change, Y2K, flu pandemics, Clinton/Obama foreign policy. You name it, it’s an apocalyptic menace. Patrick Keeney is tired of it, and has concluded that news of Armageddon is greatly exaggerated.
Regular C2C Journal contributor Mark Milke recently lamented the demise of the “Calgary School” of classical liberal academics who once dominated the political science department at the University of Calgary. They were a rare source of philosophical diversity in a Canadian academic world dominated by progressives. But there are others like them, including some of their protégés, and a dozen have contributed to a new collection of essays espousing classical liberalism as essential to civic education and democracy. Patrick Keeney reviews Liberal Education, Civic Education, and the Canadian Regime.
Metis are granted full aboriginal rights. Euthanasia lobby seeks broader rights to assisted suicide. Boycotters demand bathroom rights for the transgendered. Court rules that mandatory minimum sentences violate the rights of criminals. All these rights issues made big national and international headlines in recent days. Our modern obsession with individual rights, untethered from responsibilities, exalts self-interest at the expense of the public interest, writes Patrick Keeney, making it ever harder to sustain a functional democracy.
Perhaps befitting the leader of a party hunting middle-of-the-road votes, Justin Trudeau avoids ideology in his rhetoric and his platform. That’s for the other guys, the “extremists” to his left and right, who are so driven by partisan dogma that it blinds them to the virtues of “evidence-based” public policy. Promising to rely on experts and “hard, scientific data” may help Trudeau overcome doubts about his competence to be prime minister. But most voters want to know what their leaders believe in, writes Patrick Keeney, and the risk for Trudeau is that they will conclude he believes in nothing.
For many decades Canadian politics have maintained a sort of triangulated equilibrium featuring two centrist parties regularly swapping power while a centre-left party languished in opposition, occasionally holding the balance of power. Recent history suggests, however, that our democracy is edging towards a sharper left-right competition between “conservatives” and “progressives”. Patrick Keeney examines the origins of this divide in his review of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine and The Birth of Right and Left.