Thursday, September 14, 2023

A Nation of Useful Idiots

This isn’t going to be a nice post. It’s going to be rude, pointed and blunt. It’s definitely going to offend a lot of people … maybe as many as half of our readers. But that’s also one difference we at Coming Untrue have long prized in comparison to some other, more diplomatic sites: we’re not going to back down on principle in order to stroke an audience.

If political correctness and flattery are what you like, you’d maybe better move on now.

Tolerance as a Vice

“A nation of useful idiots.” This is exactly how Canadians were characterized in a new documentary film by no less than Dr. Jordan Peterson. Peterson, you will recall, is the distinguished professor of psychology, formerly of Harvard, now emeritus of the University of Toronto, who has been ruthlessly persecuted by Leftist ideologues for refusing to allow government to compel him to use politically correct speech. Whatever one thinks of him, he’s a man of deep intelligence and precision of speech: he meant it.

And, alas, I think he’s absolutely right.

Canada’s greatest strength is its tolerant nature as a country. But that is also its most dangerous weakness. As a nation, our immediate instinct in the face of anything new is to accept and integrate it if we possibly can, and it seems the Canadian capacity for absorbing new things is almost unlimited.

Almost. The one thing that seems to have put a slight brake on Canada’s hellish slide to the political Left has proved to be the attempts by government to indoctrinate and then surgically castrate and sterilize our children. Even for that, protests from most quarters have been slow, muted and rearguard. Canadians are habituated to yielding to our government. We don’t want to end up being called “transphobic”, after all …

Hitting Them in the Wallet

Canada’s most significant public protest in recent years was economic rather than ideological. The draconian measures implemented by the government, allegedly to combat COVID infection, which proved in retrospect to be a gross overreaction to a relatively minor outbreak, so severely threatened the livelihood of many Canadians that some were actually driven into street protest — and that, in the dead of a Canadian winter. But it was the economic hardship, along with the severe erosion of basic human rights, that was the primary incentive in that case. Canada is still not truly awake to the incipient peril of ideological wokeness.

This sort of quiescence and willingness to “get along”, so characteristic of the Canadian identity, has made us more generally appreciated abroad (particularly in Europe) than our more fractious and vocal American cousins. But it is becoming increasingly clear that going along to get along comes with a huge price. The truth is that we are not people of principle. We are compliant, conformist, open and all-accepting. We are almost entirely unfit for resistance to evil.

Come On In, Evil!

We’re tolerant. We pride ourselves on our multiculturalism, our inclusiveness, our empathy and our welcoming manner: “Come on in, Evil,” we always seem ready to say, “we can find a place for you, too.” And we don’t fight. Outside of the hockey rink and the occasional excursion into the formal military field, we have an aversion to conflict. We go along rather than stand up. And nowhere is this compliant nature more evident than the level of sheepish docility we exhibit whenever any new government policy comes down to us.

We mistake compliance for rightness. Obedience for reasonableness. Conformity for safety. Inclusion for principle. Thoughtlessness for generosity of spirit. Passivity for achievement. Smugness for moral superiority. And the absence of conflict for the presence of righteousness.

We’re useful idiots.

Useful Idiots

What does that phrase mean? The term first appeared in print as early as the mid-19th century, but really wasn’t popularized until the mid-20th during the Cold War — most often in reference to na├»ve liberal academics in the Western world whom the Communists found serviceable to the spreading of their aims. “Useful idiot” was to become a synonym for somebody the Communists could use and discard at will because of their foolish trustfulness.

Today, the same nuances certainly apply. Wokeism, the regnant political correctness of our day, is a covert, watered down, idiot’s form of Communism, really, as James Lindsay and a host of others have precisely revealed. The case is very clear. But Canadians, compliant as we so often are, have swallowed much of this poisonous ideology whole, allowing it to permeate our public education and universities, our press and our professional bodies, and even our federal and provincial governments with little resistance, apart from the courageous but suppressed efforts of a few principled dissenters like Dr. Peterson.

“This I have against you,” says the Lord, “that you tolerate …”. And this is an offense to the Canadian personality. We prize tolerance above all, and make no distinctions between good and evil in that regard. Conversely, the church at Ephesus is commended that they “cannot tolerate evil people”. This if nothing else should alert us to how the Lord sees the Canadian propensity to admit evil in the name of inclusivity. But we must also remember that both are spoken not merely to the general public, but primarily to churches. If “useful idiots” are a danger to our larger political world, how much more so when they are permitted to characterize the local church?

Idiocy and Church Life

It might not be the case that in all churches in Canada today discernment has been entirely abandoned. Some courageous congregations have taken stands against the political excesses of our day, especially when, as in the case of COVID regulations, they came calling at the church door. But alarmingly, there have been all too many Christians who participate more in the spirit of the world than in that of God’s Spirit — who have been convinced, snippet-reading scripture (Romans 13:2, for example), that any hint of non-compliance with government tyranny is “unchristian”. Brushing aside all the other scriptures that offend the Canadian spirit (such as Acts 4:19, Acts 5:29, Acts 12:1-11, 2 Corinthians 11:32-33, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, etc.), they simply refuse to discern, let alone criticize or reject, anything their government sends down to them — and they rebuke and abuse their brothers and sisters who do.

Does this need demonstrating? During the last COVID “crisis”, now exposed as an utter fraud, I personally heard numerous pro-vax and closing-compliant church members speak in highly unchristian ways about their dissenting fellow Christians. And following the collapse of the false COVID narrative, most made no effort to repent or apologize for their behavior, and simply sought to return to status quo fellowship with people they had roundly traduced only a few weeks earlier. They seemed secure in the confidence that Canadian tolerance would cover their misbehaviors, too; and if they failed to, then the fault would be on the side of the offended, not the offenders. Yet what will be done to restore the justifiable loss of confidence of the abused in the integrity of their abusers? Or will the roots of distrust, planted so deep by the maligners of their brethren, remain until the next government-induced or real crisis, and cause an instant split in church fellowship?

These are not idle concerns. Compliant Canadian Christians had better get about attending to them.

Idiot Me

I know, as I write this, that I will myself be labeled a radical and a right-winger. The Left is never slack in slander. But the uncomfortable truth is that at least for a while I was a “useful idiot” myself. While it’s nobody’s business but my own, I’m content to tell you that I was double-vaxxed, blithely trusting my health officials and my government to be acting benevolently toward me. Yes, I was a trusting fool like the rest. I was clueless.

But this I did not do: I did not harass or abuse those who chose differently. I did not break fellowship with my brothers and sisters on either side. I did not trash them on Facebook. I did not deny them the hospitality of my home or the continuance of my goodwill. I did not sever long-standing friendships or fracture my own family, either; but all these things I witnessed in abundance among those who call themselves Christians in Canada.

My point is simply this: the God-given responsibility to discern the times is not optional. As Christians, we are not permitted to forego our duty to read our Bibles and pray for wisdom, or to critically analyze the trends of our day. We are not excused from the divine obligation to remain watchful and principled against the efforts of our secular governments to undermine our faith and to abuse our people … especially our children. And we have a sacred duty to call all these things out, the minute we see them, regardless of our Canadian propensity for blind obedience.

For Shame

For shame, Canada. And for shame, church. What have you been doing while your government went radically Left, stole everybody’s rights, poisoned your doctrine and began to abuse your children, and even closed your churches altogether? Where were your principles? And where was your vaunted “tolerance” when your brothers and sisters took a stand you were too craven even to consider? Where, too, is now your repentance for the folly and unfairness which you now cannot help but know you visited on them? Do you imagine that the Judge of all the Earth simply forgets these things if you do?

In the Head of the Church’s message to Thyatira (the one from which we get our prohibition on brainless tolerance), the Lord ends with these words: “Hold firmly until I come” and “overcome”. This tells us that in the last days there will be powerful forces, both within and without the church, that are trying to tear away from us our faithfulness. These will not often come in like stormtroopers booting the front door down; they will slither in gradually, in the form of compliance, complacency, inclusion and tolerance. They will nibble away at our vigilance like rats, and dissolve and dissipate our doctrine like a bacterial infection.

All the more reason for us to abandon our Canadian complacency, and to refuse to tolerate any of it. Compromise will not save us today: it will merely render us exactly what Dr. Peterson called us: “useful idiots”, not merely to the Communists, but ultimately, to the enemy of souls who hovers so deliberately behind our current ethos.

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