Friday, January 28, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Brimstone and Deceit

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Here’s a hot topic we’ve yet to discuss, IC — at least, it’s generated some serious heat for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sufficient to rate an article in The New York Times.

At issue is the government’s determination to tie federal funding for youth job programs to the expression of politically correct opinion. It’s about $113 million annually, give or take, and approximately 70,000 jobs are at stake.

The Prime Minister dismisses the very predictable negative reaction from Canadian conservatives as a “kerfuffle”.

Three Paragraphs, Four References

Here’s the actual text that is causing objections from organizations like the Toronto Right to Life Association [emphasis mine]:

“CSJ applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The employer attestation for CSJ 2018 is consistent with individual human rights in Canada, Charter rights and case law, and the Government of Canada’s commitment to human rights, which include women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.

The government recognizes that women’s rights are human rights. This includes sexual and reproductive rights — and the right to access safe and legal abortions. These rights are at the core of the Government of Canada’s foreign and domestic policies.”

Now, let’s at least give them credit for full disclosure, IC. Three paragraphs, four plain statements that they’re looking for approval from Canadians for their views about abortion, even if that approval has to be obtained by coercion.

Wrong About Rights

Immanuel Can: Well, their account of “rights” is all wrong. There’s no moral or philosophical rationale for it, nor any wording in any Canadian rights documents that says there is a “right to life, liberty, property, transgenderism and abortion”. No such right exists or has ever existed. And there’s no rational argument for a basis for any such thing. This is smoke and mirrors. Or rather, brimstone and deceit.

Tom: Well, thanks; I’ve got my title now. Yes, let’s concede that tying the ability to earn a living to mouthing the right words goes back millennia, and it’s always rank wickedness at the root. “Fall down and worship the golden image,” said Nebuchadnezzar, who had effectively just declared himself a god. Sometimes you just can’t do that, even if doing so would make your life a whole lot easier.

And earning a living is really what’s at stake here, though it’s employers rather than employees (so far) that are required to attest to their ideological “orthodoxy”, as I understand it. But take away a Christian employer’s ability to hire kids without compromising his views, and those jobs are lost, largely to Christian kids, I’d estimate.

IC: I’d love to have the statistics on that. But I suspect they won’t be collected by anybody. Nobody really cares if Christians get hurt. If recent foreign policy and immigration patterns tell us anything, it’s that the government doesn’t care if you are a perpetrator of crimes against Christians; you’re welcome. And if Christians are dying by the hundreds of thousands overseas, our government doesn’t care to prevent that by intervention, or to favor Christians as refugees in order to save them.

The government’s just not interested in the welfare of Christians right now.

Taxpayer Dollars

Tom: That’s fair. And we’re not all that savvy about promoting our own welfare. Some readers — even some Christian readers — may object that it’s not ALL jobs that are at stake here, only a few student positions. Like the thin end of the wedge is no big deal. Or some may say, “If Christian employers want to hire kids, let them pay them out of their own pockets and there won’t be any problem. Tapping into taxpayer dollars necessarily demands certain restrictions.” What would you say to that argument?

IC: Well, so much for government representing and serving everyone. So much for equal human rights. So much for fairness.

Tom: Yes. Canadians tolerate every sort of diversity except for diversity of opinion.

IC: Not only that, but it puts all such employers at a competitive disadvantage: they pay for what their competitors get for free. And wages are their biggest expense.

It would also be interesting to see what would happen if an employer put a sign in his window, “Jobs for Christians available.” That’s what he’d have to do, so that Christian applicants would know they had a chance in running against those who are subsidized by the government.

Tom: It would be entertaining to see the media hostility that would generate.

A Liberal Win-Win

The elephant in the room is the question of how exactly our next generation of believing children is supposed to make a living (hint: a new sort of black market). The sort of compelled virtue-signaling we are currently seeing may only be restricted to employers, but extending it to employees takes only the stroke of a pen. And if you think the private sector will play their cards any differently than what they see coming down from the federal government, you have another think coming.

IC: No, of course. For unbelievers, there’s nothing really at stake: bow to the idol at the doorway, and enter smiling. They get to keep the benefits, and have their own secret opinions. I guess the only thing they’ll lose is the best employees; because Christian workers are notoriously diligent and honest, compared to the masses.

Tom: From the government’s perspective, a small price to pay for the sense that you have managed to control the opinions of an entire nation. Here’s what you get from this initiative if you’re Justin Trudeau: (1) anyone who signs on has implicated himself in the taxpayer-funded abortion travesty our government currently sponsors; and (2) anyone who doesn’t goes on a long list of potential enemies of the state. It’s win-win for the Liberals. You either make unwilling allies of your enemies or you force them to “out” themselves. That’s a pretty smooth move. Given the stakes, framing the pushback as a mere “kerfuffle” is even more disingenuous.

Main Actors and Bit-Parters

IC: Is it that intentional and devious, do you think, or is it just that the current government has no idea what it’s like to be a person with real moral convictions?

Tom: Honestly? I have no clue. Logic suggests some of these initiatives are diabolic, while others are just the usual suspects in government going along to get along. Movements like the Third Reich, Maoism and Stalinism depended on the cooperation of a host of what are often referred to as “useful idiots” — people with careers and families to worry about that just went with the flow and didn’t think about what was happening around them too much. They just assumed that if the government and the media said, “This is the way to go,” then that was the way to go. So it’s difficult to determine at any given point in time which are the main actors and which are just the bit-parters.

In terms of the net effect, does it really matter what the motive is?

IC: No. It doesn’t really change anything. Even if the government’s actions are more clueless than malevolent right now, in net effect they’re still prejudicial. And they’ve certainly set up the situation for somebody else’s malevolent actions later, using the laws and data they have created.

A Question of Time

So what now, Tom? What do we do?

Tom: It’s an interesting dilemma. It starts with those beholden to the government for their salaries, and it cascades down to anyone working for a business sufficiently large that they have a locally-staffed human resources department. All of that is already in play. For those folks, it’s already bow or starve. But it will definitely expand to include everybody in every field of labor who fails to take the pledge of allegiance to our new overlords. It’s just a question of time.

So I appreciate the folks who are stepping up financially to take this sort of legalized discrimination into the Canadian court system in order to apply for temporary invalidation of the guidelines. They’re only staving off the inevitable, but I think they’re doing Christians a service.

Nominally, at least, we still live in a democracy, which gives Christians the right to express an opinion on this.

IC: You know, I shouldn’t look at this as “some strange thing” happening among us. But in a country so deeply shaped by Christian values, it’s hard to realize how normal it is for the world to hate us. But the time must come when we are not at all popular or well-treated by the world. And maybe that time starts now: who’s to say?

In any case, so long as we have means and a government system in which protest from the populace is part of the normal business of politics, we should perhaps object. But we have not got an infinite lease on that. And when our comfortable d├ętente with the secular government is gone, the last thing we should be is surprised.

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