Essays in Idleness


Blue & gold

“Javelins” and “Stingers” are among my favourite hand-held weapons, or “man-portable, fire-and-forget” as they say in the (sexist) military literature. Costing very little, in comparison to the weapons they negate, I don’t think even the present inflation will put them at a serious disadvantage.

A javelin will take out a tank, supply truck, or armoured personnel carrier; a stinger will bring down a helicopter or jet. Equipped with infra-red guidance, these wonderful inventions need only to be approximately aimed. Once fired, they seek out what ought not to be there — all by themselves — leaving the trooper at leisure to reload, and select his next target.

The AK-47, or Automat Kalashnikov, is a gas-powered, rotating-bolt “assault rifle.” Popular among gun users and enthusiasts everywhere, it is very convenient for reducing the number of invading soldiers, once they have stepped out of their shelters. The “47” indicates when Mr Kalashnikov’s weapon was introduced — seventy-five years of reliable service.

Gentle reader may study the design of these weapons in greater detail elsewhere — these Essays in Idleness were never meant as a source of technical information.

But as I once mentioned in this space, we are apt to neglect the joy of battle, when writing our (often scarcely readable) sad-sack memoirs. Blowing up nasty enemies can be fun, and there is the camaraderie of the trenches.

To be grimly practical for a moment, the reason I promote these weapons, despite my reservations about modern technology, is that each is, as we say of a handgun, “the great equalizer.” Not every one, not even every country, can afford supersonic jets and intercontinental missiles and aircraft carriers and the like. But all of these assets can be converted to scrap metal, by putting holes in them.

Although I was a fan of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, I think it is no longer much use in deterrence. The Russians do not appear to be afraid of it any more, and yet, the Russian armed forces still need to be destroyed.

“Small is beautiful,” as I like say. Let us pray the noble Ukrainians can show the ex-Soviets a thing or two — especially, how to cease from existing.

Towards Kiev

I have, I suppose, an animal’s notion of freedom, or as we say in politics, an animal’s “vision” of it. I do not, however, have a sophisticated theory. Quite plainly, I want to be left alone. So to say: my belief in freedom is “absolutist.” It is endowed by God, or must be, since it is shared (without exception) by all the creatures in the creation He has made.

It is the one thing that, at every level of calculation, from Earthworm to Einstein, must exceed even the calculation of death, and may be demonstrated to do so by, for instance, even the most humble, disarmed Ukrainian soldier. For he would rather die, than surrender his freedom to the Russian invader.

Democracy, I argue at the Catholic Thing today, is a Communist plot; though I do not say this in so many words. The editor apportions me one thousand words, which allows space for a certain number of distractions.  The reader must make a few logical and rhetorical leaps in the course of them. (If I did this myself, I’d likely have my bank account frozen.)

But this is the strange state of affairs, in the annals of paradox. Democracy is the opposite of freedom. It is a system of compulsion, based on voting, and it has always been resisted by those who prize aesthetic tranquillity, and independence of mind. It does not matter who you think will win the election, or if you care, it is likely for the party that will lose. For as our ancestors knew, “The Voice of the People is the Voice of Satan.”

Let me throw caution to the wind, and supply a missing connection. It is that the fashion in worldly argument has, since the eighteenth century, pitted a Left against a Right. Perhaps you have read how this started in the Parlements of France. Of course, one needs a Speaker to judge which is which, so that representatives in a legislature may arrange themselves on his two flanks. By instinct, they sat upon his left, or right, according to their political leaning.

There was a profound difference between them, as there is between good and evil. To the Speaker’s right, the forces of order and sanity migrated, naturally. To his left, those of disorder and madness. This was not a perfect alignment, however, for imperfect men sat on either side.

In brief, Communists, and their fellow crazies, Girondists, Jacobins, the Fascists and the Nazis, have always, instinctively, sat on the left.

Alas, this is concealed by the American and Continental habit of designing semi-circular legislatures, and the British parliamentary custom of placing the governing party to the Speaker’s right, even if the government is made up of demented Leftists.

Be that as it may, the Left has always been fashionable, as it has always been intensely fashion-conscious. It has always claimed to represent The People, while despising them, and promoting its own élites. The Democrats are to the left, and those to the right they smear as the Enemies of Democracy.

The Left rules, when it rules, or misrules, by compulsion, and spits upon the advocates of voluntary acts.

Murder is the definitive act of compulsion.

To get all the way from Moscow to Kiev, would take some additional leaps, however.

Piping Pollers

I refer, perhaps incorrectly, to an Australian variant of the Magpie. For yes, the birds have variants, just like the Batflu. Australian magpies are excellent flautists, who sing the most exquisite melodies, once they are let out of their cages. They are a knowing bird, which is to say, much smarter than the average scientist. This was recently discovered when they — the scientists — tried to fix tracking devices upon the birds. They had designed an ultra-light, high-tech, durable and reusable tracking device, with a comfortable and secure harness to attach to the backs of their captive magpies. These would broadcast the activities of the birds through a large range, whether or not they were ever recaptured.

The magpies, however, made their own plans. They did not want their wanderings spied upon, let alone their cognitive abilities, sexual characteristics, or dominance rankings. These eccentricities strike most animals as none of a scientific investigator’s business. Anyone who has met a magpie knows that he is a free bloody bird, who enjoys his piratical, thieving life, occasionally molesting but seldom molested.

Within moments of the first affixing, a leggy adult female without a tracker had stepped up, to try some experiments with her bill. She found an ingenious way to detach the unwanted device from one of her offspring. Within hours, a group of five had all worked out the complex procedure, and captive Australian magpies were once again as free as Canadian truckers on the open road.

Magpies are polite, or at least circumspect birds, who appear to be tame until approached. During their breeding season, however, they will swoop and engage in spectacular aerobatics. This they do to ward off strange animals, including unfamiliar humans, whom they suspect may be up to no good. But this aggression of the chivalrous males is quite selective. A magpie can remember at least one hundred human faces. He is well equipped to judge which ones should be obliged to get out of the magpies’ faces.

My own speculation is that the captive magpies took particular exception to carrying “backpacks,” that concealed their handsome black-and-white saddle markings. The females thus had to dress as boys, the males as girls. Magpies are not into gender confusion; they consider it to be a scandal. Whatever their motive — this, or many others — they have added to their repertoire of ways to tease over-curious researchers, while subtracting one of the ornithologists’ tricks.

That birds and other animals, even across species, do many impressive things cooperatively, yet generally beyond the sight of man, and invisible except to the most sympathetic, is a part of natural history worth learning. They can be clever, intuitive, and inventive.

Darwinists take note: the activity of these magpies is entirely altruistic. It could have nothing to do with an evolutionary advantage, for it is only a response to the tedious behaviour of the scientific community.

Your most sweet voices

There is quiet along Wellington Street and throughout suburban Ottawa. It is the quiet of death, now that the government has cracked down: arrested some hundreds of people and seized their property through the banks. It was a reasonably polite, “Canadian”-style of police action, by relatively tame thugs. Mostly it consisted of rewriting laws, with vague, undefined Emergency provisions. “Mischief,” and “Counsel to Mischief,” are now the leading crimes; things like axe-wielding masked eco-terrorists at a pipeline site in British Columbia (last Thursday) can, by contrast, be overlooked. The right to protest peacefully against tyrannical government acts has been retroactively withdrawn.

But this does not mean Black Lives Matter, Indian race groups, and environmentalist crazies, may not continue to physically threaten and intimidate the public, for extended periods, blocking traffic, &c. They are, after all, “onside” with the government’s “reset” agenda, and can expect the most favourable treatment from Canada’s bought-off, prostitute media, while they selectively dox the Liberal Party’s ideological opponents.

Justin Trudeau himself is their principal darling. (Or, “Duplicitous Ken Doll,” as an American observer calls him.)

Our provincial and Dominion governments went formally off the rails of settled law in response to the Batflu epidemic, two years ago. They arrogated to themselves powers never previously claimed by our politicians, except in wartime — to regulate the smallest details of everyday life. It began with “two weeks to disable the Constitution and Human Rights,” both here, and under Trump across the border. The “vaccine passports” were merely the latest crass obscenity of this political and bureaucratic class.

I am modestly optimistic about the course of events, however. True, I must expect direct persecution by the Party of the Dictatorship, which is out to settle scores. But the Freedom Convoy sent to the national capital has shown, for the first time in many years, that a substantial number of Canadians will resist.

That a majority cannot cope with freedom, and are likely to squall when exposed to it, I take for granted. Humans have always been “conservative,” in this worst possible sense. But the splendid Canadian reaction to tyranny went beyond what I had hoped for. In particular, many articulate voices have been raised to speak truth — in the dark fever-swamp of lies in which our culture, and by extension our economy, is choking. This will make a huge difference. The sun is distantly shining; and the spring can once again be imagined. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, to filth accumulating in public life.

In 1993, the then-governing “Progressive Conservatives” were reduced from a majority, to two seats in Parliament, and then to extinction at the “federal” level. Men of good will shall be working towards a similar result, at the next general election, in which the Liberals and NDP should be annihilated.

Marie de l’Incarnation

There is one interesting, nearly universal feature of the demonstrations in Canada for political freedom. The members — called a “small fringe minority” by our prime minister — would seem to be almost entirely Christian. They are also patriotic, as is evident even to legacy media, who feel compelled to use photographs and footage, and thus to admit a fragment of the truth. Canadian flags are exhibited on the grilles of the honking trucks, and generally.

Indeed, a Globe reporter has tweeted that she is now traumatized by this experience, of being confronted by Canadian flags. She gags at what I used to call the “Pearson pennant.” (It is only in the last few weeks, that I have ceased to be “traumatized” by it, myself; though truth to tell, I got over the worst of this trauma by deep breathing, about 1965.)

But the Christian attachments, among the protestors, is not waved about as a flag. It is expressed mostly in prayers, the articulation of blessings, singing “Amazing Grace,” and in subtle decorations worn close to head and heart, that may be illegal in Quebec.

Afghanistan is governed differently from Canada, but the ruling party (the Taliban, not the Liberals as here) has much the same attitude towards Christians. I noticed this when my attention turned from Marie de l’Incarnation, this morning, to the World Watch List of the humanitarian organization, Open Doors.

We do not know, or cannot know yet, how many Christian men have been murdered for their faith in Afghanistan; or how many of the women and girls have been raped, and forcibly converted, &c. We only know that the Taliban have been able to identify such people with the help of fairly good information from the records of United States foreign aid and military organizations, left behind when their keepers fled the country.

While the slaughter of Christians is not, to my knowledge, yet a commonplace in “the true north strong and free,” attacks on churches have now overtaken. Fourteen churches were destroyed in the Islamic world, last year, according to the Open Doors report (and many more monastic and religious sites), but I think none of these had been established in Afghanistan. Sixteen is the number of Canadian churches recently lost to violence, especially arson attacks; and by my informal count there have been more than sixty attempts to destroy or profane them. Approximately none of these have been prosecuted by Canadian police, who know on what side their political bread is buttered. They nevertheless continue to arrest priests and other Christians for defying Batflu regulations.

The excuse for this violence is more or less typical of liberal bilge. “Thousands” of children’s unmarked graves are claimed to have been discovered by Indian racial activists in the vicinity of former residential schools. But zero is the number of bodies that has been exhumed, and permission is not granted for competent investigation of any of these (obviously fraudulent) “genocide” claims.


Reading, the letters to her son back in France, of Marie de l’Incarnation, from roughly four centuries ago — when the white population of Quebec was about two hundred and fifty souls. To the cold winter imagination, one summons her first creation of a hospital, and of a first (“residential”?) school for girls. This was to serve not only the citizens of New France, but the Montagnais, Hurons, and Algonquins. I am reminded that Marie’s Ursuline sisters were, even more than Cartier and Champlain, the reason Canada became Catholic in its heart; why Indian converts were, in the secret annals of our consciousness, probably more significant than the European immigrants — in Christianizing the land, in making it sacred.

For three or four centuries we remained indisputably Christian. What we are now, you would have to ask the Devil.

Stop it now

The idea that one has the right, under a “Charter,” to speak freely, demonstrate and protest, but not the right to occupy physical space and time, has long been apparent to persons of the cold-blooded, criminal disposition.

In this respect Justin Trudeau is hardly unique. Like, for instance, the New Zealish prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, he rose to his present eminence as the embodiment of an empathy, that was entirely fake. Indeed, he had no other skills or gifts, and like Miss Ardern, has only offered administrative incompetence. He is what we call “a nasty piece of work.”

He has now declared a national State of Emergency: because there are trucks parked illegally on Wellington Street in Ottawa. Had he been quicker with his proclamation, he could have mentioned a bridge in Windsor and border crossings in Manitoba and Alberta. But this would not have made his claim more plausible, as all the demonstrations were provocatively peaceful. The only chance of violence is to use force against them.

An economy is a controversial thing, for economic activity will often involve the use of space and time. For instance, truckers, and most others who are inclined to resist government “mandates,” are known to have bank accounts. They buy food to put in themselves, and fuel to put in their vehicles. By “freezing” these financial instruments, Trudeau vainly hopes to starve his opponents into panicked submission.

Indeed, one of this reptile’s remarks was that people who think vaccinations should be voluntary are “occupying space,” and therefore he must do something. Their very numbers call for decisive population management.

Other activities (as spring slowly approaches, the mind turns to global warming) have implications in the realm of physics — scientists affirm this. Anything that sets the electrons bouncing should be raised as a political issue. (Vide Karl Marx.) We must have government intervention, in one hundred per cent of historical developments. According to this argument, we cannot be safe until the Liberal Party of Canada (or its equivalent elsewhere) has regulated all human action. Anything short of this is Nazi White Supremacy.


Readers of the webpapers and other news hounds will know that Canada’s prime minister, the contemptible Justin Trudeau, has declared a State of Emergency in whatever parts of Canada he may choose from day to day, and to confiscate the bank accounts of people he dislikes. He will not, however, call out the military, perhaps from the fear that they would not take his orders. Our veterans have been siding with the truckers; and quite a few police have already demurred. Indeed, Liberal Party backbenchers in Ottawa are defecting, and one hopes that Mr Trudeau’s political career will end in the humiliation he has begged for. But for the moment, he can count on Canada’s “silent majority” of the unthinkingly obedient and easily scared. That is what the Batflu was, after all, probably designed to exploit, by the Red Chinese who invented it.

It is a special, bespoke-tailored emergency, so that Trudeau may settle scores with truckers who are honking their horns right outside his offices in the Parliament buildings. A more scientific solution would have been to go to his secret RCMP cottage, and camp there indefinitely.

At the back of every sad, defeated, timid mind is a fear that might be expressed in this way: “What if ‘they’ discover a new version of the pandemic, and it turns out to be even more awful? If we are not all locked down and wearing facemasks, &c, we are ALL going to DIE!”

Surveys show that the vast majority of Democrat and Liberal voters entertain wildly exaggerated estimates of Batflu transmission, and casualties. Though yes, if you are more than eighty years old, and dying from something else, even Omicron constitutes an additional threat.

“Pandemics” have been afflicting us since time out of mind; they are not answerable to human wishes. Every attempt to make them answer, through the centuries, has caused an increase of death and suffering; the Batflu is nothing new. “Public health” cannot honestly claim a net positive influence upon medical wellbeing. Through their natural tyranny and propensity to lying, governments spread suffering far beyond any disease.

Little truths

I have spent too much time on the Internet, lately. This is due to the truckers’ Freedom Convoy, and being “locked down” by slippery winter, physical unfitness, the Batflu and medical regulations. In turn I probably bore those readers whom I do not actually annoy, with my kicking against the pricks. Yet there is so much more to say, both gently and harshly.

My mind is in Ottawa, and all other places in Canada and abroad where people are struggling to get their lives back — now, before they die. These people are overwhelmingly the self-employed, and workers in small businesses: such as truck drivers, who bought their own rigs. They have consistently been made to pay in many ways for government lockdown measures, and are generally despised by the “laptop class,” who cannot lose their jobs, and work from home.

Few people in the Big City (which includes Toronto and Ottawa) have ever met a trucker, or would think of chatting with him. They may patronize small “boutique” operations, for conspicuous consumption. But Amazon drivers deliver their regular goods, and their services, too, are mostly dialled up.

True, the Batflu has sometimes interfered with their holiday bookings, so I must add, boo hoo.

A Rasmussen report on public opinion recently showed that in America, three-quarters of Democrats supported vaccine mandates, more than half thought those who refuse should be fined, and almost half would give them gaol sentences. Nearly a third thought the “vaccine hesitant” should have their children taken away. As Californicators, and the inhabitants of most urban constituencies, seldom have children, this can be received with rolling eyeballs. For luckily, there are Republicans in the more rural places, whose votes are sometimes counted.

Ottawa (outside “the Valley”) offers a caricature of this point of view. I recall my days as a columnist, published in the Ottawa Citizen. (Eventually, I was deleted.) To walk downtown was to invite verbal assaults by those who recognized my mug in the paper. Some were actually friendly, and said hiya. But I was often called a fascist, or something else obscene, by people who didn’t notice I was human. “Are you David Warren?” the grim inquiry would come. I tried to counter it with some jest. (“It depends: do you like David Warren?”) This might cause my assailant great pain. (Humour is violence, as every Leftist knows.) But it was tiresome for both of us.

One may check election results from the middle of that town, to learn that a large majority of its inhabitants vote Liberal, in the manner of zombies. One thinks of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The Ottawa authorities, beginning with the police, have summoned Children’s Aid to help them punish the invasive truckers. It is an organization designed to capture children from traditionalist homes, and expose them to woke brainwashing in isolation. A large portion of the truckers brought their families, including children not wearing masks. Indeed, the city was disturbed to find “bouncy castles” had been set up, and to witness the spectacle of kids playing on them, and producing decorative art. Worse, they were flagrantly laughing, and running about. Their parents, and other adults, were seen hugging each other, and confessing to happiness, for the first time in two years. For Ottawa, this is a grave scandal.

A lady friend who was somehow born and raised in that town often says (now from a safe distance), it is “the city that fun forgot.”

But the truck “occupation” is a spot of good news. For however the demonstration ends, people who live in the Big City will have had a glimpse of human life; of its friendliness, humour, and good nature.

Big lies

At the moment, the Big Lie of Satan appears to be diffused, mostly by the Batflu, and should it recede, by the (imaginary) imperatives of global warming. A large number of big lies (and a galaxy of lesser fibs) is needed to assure the devil that the public (which includes Catholics) is mesmerized. Our progressive political and medical authorities may be relied upon to keep these lies in circulation, and to replace each one as it begins to deflate. This is because their power and wealth depend on it.

For example, the vaccine imposture is tottering, and will need more than exaggeration to survive. We were told that “the vaccine” (in fact, several multi-billion dollar commercial investments) would prevent Batflu infections in individuals, and slow their spread through the general population. Shortly after these vaccines were introduced, however, their more intelligent sponsors clarified, that neither of these claims were true. Pathological liars, such as successful politicians, nevertheless continued to confuse the masses.

The vaccines were said to be safe, and as a precaution, information about their sometimes lethal effects was methodically censored. Injection might not prevent disease, according to the latest propaganda, but it will make it milder; fewer will need to be hospitalized. The public was warned not to ask for those medications which might work against the Batflu, but were out of patent, available as generics, and therefore could not fabulously enrich the pharmaceutical companies. Hideously expensive, newly-formulated experimental drugs were soon introduced, with ad-agency fanfare.

At last, the disgust of a substantial minority (and perhaps now a majority) has put vaccine “mandates” in jeopardy. (The word is intentionally misused.) This would have been a pioneering act: to use electronic means to track and control the entire population (as is currently done in urban Red China). But the Western public will not readily submit to enslavement, and a more subtle approach must be tried.

These are among the grander lies, told repetitively in “the mainstream media” and underwritten by the sort of governments I despise. There are many more, and I have not yet got to the face-mask fiasco. This is a bigger lie than most realize; the mania for making schoolchildren wear them gives the game away. For the young have little risk from the virus, and are being orally diapered only to advance Satan’s scheme to ruin childhood. Daily mask-wearing also plays a part in the mental illnesses and suicidal tendencies that afflict lockdown victims, from children to elders incarcerated (without visitors) in nursing “homes.” Cruelty is enabled as a medical protocol.

Anyone with an approximate idea of the diameter of a “SARS CoV-2” virus will understand that the mesh on their face-mask is ludicrously wider, unless the mask has been woven and sutured to the face to prevent the customer from breathing. This is the main exhibit of Batflu theatre, and is the symbol of rule by the (pretend) doctors of “The Science.” If there was one plausible study that showed any real benefit from these Batflu masks, governments would have publicized it exhaustively.

The same comment may be made for “social distancing” and various other impositions. The purpose is unambigously political — it is a play for tyrannical power — and only public health “experts” who are tame and over-paid can be trusted with the messaging.

Reconstructing Ottawa

The Ottawa police chief is an embarrassment, but he seems to validly represent the more tight-assed ratepayers, who have objected to the honking of the big trucks; and the ratepayers are an embarrassment, too. (I’ve tried to warn my readers against the perils of democracy.) The chief cop’s theatrical effort to impound some fraction of the Freedom Convoy’s fuel supply, to demolish their food kitchens, and hand out tickets for things like not having licences on their garbage-collecting carts, is now on display. The nominal mayor of Ottawa, who apparently serves under the police chief, is another thoroughgoing jackass.

I once worked out of Ottawa myself; it is our national capital, I was told. And it is where I acquired my notion of the profound corruption that is brought to that town by the Liberal Party — who dominate its bureaucracies whether they are in or out of power. The arrogance, of the gliberal hot-shots, as well as their extravagant waste and incompetence, has left marks on all the Ottawa institutions, and a good place to begin a clean-up would be by “cancelling” the civil service. (They could be taught to load trucks, instead.)

Too, we should defund the municipal police, or more precisely, replace them. A new police force might possibly be funded just by selling off the spiffy vehicles of the old force (after the cost of repainting them), and their dapper “Zomo” riot gear might fetch a pretty penny in the costume shops.

The truckers have been polishing the streets, removing even cigarette butts and gum wrappers. They have been guarding the Terry Fox statue on Parliament Hill, and could be asked to mind all the other defunct worthies, and prominent slaveholders. (There weren’t any up here, as slavery was outlawed in Upper Canada from the start of the Loyalist settlement, but we can pretend.) Sir John A. Macdonald, our hard-drinking and politically incorrigible founding prime minister, may need special protection, now that his effigy has been “disappeared” from his home town of Kingston, Ont.

Voluntary truckers have been shovelling the snow off our war monuments, including our tomb of the unknown soldier. (In their enthusiasm, they were accused of dancing.) And they have been feeding the hungry downmarket types of the inner city, with hot dogs and other good things.

Like all modern towns, Ottawa is mostly vile and ugly, but unlike the worst, it has several exceptional buildings and fairly attractive (if over-planned) public spaces. By inviting the truckers to do the work city employees weren’t doing, the entire spillover urban region might be turned around, or at least tarted up. We should appoint a delegation of truckers to take over the National Capital Commission, and make some better choices for the National Gallery of Art.

For we haven’t seen genuine public spirit here in (central) Canada for a long time. We mustn’t overlook such a wonderful opportunity.

The Queen

Today is the “Platinum Jubilee” of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II — some seventy years on the Canadian throne (as also incidentally on that of the United Kingdom, Australia, Tuvalu, and other countries). She is the first Britannic Monarch to achieve this. We should pause from all trivial events, and unnecessary thoughts, to celebrate this unprecedented anniversary. Her subjects are blessed, and have for so long been blessed, with a fine and adequate ruler. She has seen them through an incomparable ring of years and changes.

Not every nation of the British heritage deserves such a monarch, and indeed many have broken the royal connexion in displays of tawdry narcissism. Members of her own family have also failed her, and the governments over which she has presided have been a constant source of embarrassment. Yet Her Majesty, and the late beloved Prince Philip, have borne all these modern indignities with grace and extraordinary patience.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour:
Long may she reign!


My heart was lifted by the sight of the ladies, from a Polish deli and bakery in my neighbourhood, delivering a van-load of sausages and much else to the truckers on the front line in Ottawa. It was one of many “meaningful gestures,” that could be traced on the informal Internet, even though news that strays “off-narrative” is ignored by the state-owned CBC. For the moment, before the government (which has huge malice, but very little competence) has the time to re-organize itself, much can be done; and as I suggested the “freedom” trucks, and the beautiful farm tractors, are now appearing at border stations and at Queen’s Park — on the streets of provincial capitals, such as Toronto.

But maybe, like the Polish communist government on which they model themselves (down to the ripely absurd answers to simple factual questions in Parliament), they won’t be able to “get their act together.” Justin Trudeau will go the way of the late General Wojciech Jaruzelski, into the shadows of opprobrium. Things like the police “crackdown” that Ottawa currently threatens, or the open theft of “Go-Fund-Me” donations for the truckers, or the range of very evil lies and smears spread by Liberal Party functionaries, will cease to be aggravating and become a silly joke, should they ever be remembered.

Non-violent civil resistance is the road behind and the road ahead. Like Solidarność and the various slave uprisings of history, good strategy will win through. For what we must teach we must also learn about ourselves: to rise to the responsible government we so easily abandoned. For we only became slaves when we allowed it to happen.

Peace must be dared

I have a correspondent, near Ottawa of all places, who has the delightful habit of transcribing passages he has found in great authors. These he forwards, unsolicited, for my edification. They are never glib, “throwaway quotes,” such as might appear on commercial greeting cards. This gentleman, who prizes his anonymity, has put me in his debt many times, and yet he credits me for putting him in mine. If there is a principal gift, sent back and forth between us, it is the bottomless Christian religion, in literature and art. An example was ping’d into my inbox this morning:

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won where the way leads to the Cross.”

We are confronted with an injunction that is candidly naïve: by a pacifist, unusually willing to suffer the consequences of his beliefs. Indeed, he came from a family with a facility for being executed by Hitler’s flunkeys, more often than not for some plausible reason. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was famously a public opponent of Nazi eugenics, and genocides. He had a curious history as a plant within the Abwehr (military intelligence), which I won’t get into. He was hanged as the Nazi regime was releasing its grip on history (9 April 1945), and is taken for a Protestant saint and martyr. His very return to death-defying service in Germany, during the war, from safe exile in the United States, illustrates the quotation above.

In my inadequate understanding, the quotation becomes flawed as it drifts from the personal, and Christ-like, to the political, and Caesar-like. We approach God, even as a legion, in single file, as it were. Faults like our selfishness should be confessed singly, case-by-case; rather than by class, or collectively. Bonhoeffer himself was sometimes, even admirably, confused, between his nation which was incapable of sin, and its many citizens who behaved abominably.

They were not “collectively guilty” of the monstrous crimes of the Nazi regime. Convicting them thus makes us feel so comfortable, but is of null effect.

A man can be a pacifist. But only a tyrant and demagogue can be a pacifist, on behalf of his whole nation. He leads his people to an involuntary fate, just as he would lead them into a destructive war. He may be called, by his sycophants, “a man of peace,” but he is the opposite.

For peace is not merely the avoidance of war, or we would have it already. It exists only within the mystery of persons. It is not the product of any clever programme of diplomacy, public or private, but rather the acceptance of sacrifice — of a holy sacrifice.