Of Liberals, Peterson and Free Trade

A fine good morning to all our readers, on this blustery mid-June day, at least as the weather is here in Ontario. I have an article published this morning in Crisis magazine on the recent Ontario election, the trouncing of the Liberals under Kathleen Wynne, and what Doug Ford may be able to accomplish with the mess he has inherited. I’m not sure who would want to take over the province at this point, worse than inheriting the house of your hoarding aunt, filled with mildewing newspapers, two-fee-deep in cat droppings, a veritable Augean stable, and Mr. Ford is not exactly Hercules. Then again, God could provide a flood of sorts, metaphorical or otherwise, which would at least allow us to start over.

Concerning the piece today on Dr. Jordan Peterson, our readers should be aware that this is the considered opinion of a professor, who wishes to remain anonymous. There is much that is good about Peterson that we should not discount. His stance against political correctness and the pronoun police, his advocacy of scientific truth in terms of fundamental and inalterable differences in sex, and his insistence on striving for excellence, are all much-needed antidotes to our anodyne culture.

Yet we should be aware, and take caution, that he is no Christian, and I am concerned that so many Catholics, it seems primarily young-ish males, receive a large dose of their intellectual formation from bingeing on his YouTube lectures and discussions, without dipping so much as their big toe into the wisdom of the Catechism, the Summa, Aristotle, Plato, John Paul II, Ratzinger, or a host of other intellectual lights, who can provide a far fuller and more wholesome formation, if not always as titillating and entertaining. Discipline is the only real way to learn, as the very root of the word implies. What is more, as John Paul wrote, we attain truth by the two wings of faith and reason, and are crippled if either is missing. So take the article in the spirit in which it is written.

Krystia Freeland, the Minister put in charge of working out the ‘free-trade’ deal with the United States under the auspices of NAFTA, is now claiming that President Trump’s threatened tariffs are ‘illegal’. There is really no such thing as ‘free’ trade, for everything costs something. And does anyone really think Trump spends sleepless nights on his acre-sized bed, caring what Ms. Freeland or Mr. Trudeau think? The thing about law is that it must be enforceable with ‘vis et metu’, as Saint Thomas puts it, with ‘force and fear’, and on what possible basis would Trump fear Trudeau, and Canada for that matter? Ideologues, politicians and academics live in a world largely disconnected from what we on the ground call ‘reality’, which is a hard taskmaster. Eventually, even for those most disengaged, it catches up with all of us, as it is catching up with Canada, and its economy, sinking in debt and protectionism. We will see how this all unfolds, but be prepared, dear reader, that the gravy train may be coming to the end of its ride.