A Civil War of Ideas

As citizens of Canada, we have been called to “stand on guard” for our country. There has never been a greater need for national vigilance than now. Canada is under siege. We have never faced such a clear and present danger.

You may ask,

“Why the great concern?
Why stand on guard?
What are we defending Canada against?
Where is the threat coming from?
Who, or what, is our enemy?”

You may remind me that the War of 1812 was our first and last major threat from a sovereign power, against The United States of American, and we won. You may point to the world’s longest, undefended border, along our 49th parallel, and to the longevity of peace Canada has known within its sphere of sovereignty.

However, there are many things that cross our borders that cannot be easily monitored. They enter our nation inconspicuously. Their source of origin is seldom determined. Their purpose for coming is not checked. The baggage associated with their coming is not processed.

They enter at key points, gain access to physical territory, swarm our bastions of power, and then exert an influence that has the potential of dominating our nation and deciding our destiny. They do not show their colors right away. Sometimes, their presence takes years to manifest in our culture, and generations before their intentions are revealed.

What deeply concerns me is that much of this is happening without one word of dissent, one act of resistance, or one spirited charge to attempt to question what I believe to be potential threats to our society. Instead, they are met with a hand shake and a smile, with a polite “welcome to Canada,” not realizing that our peace as a people may be dramatically shifted forever.

I am not referring to a people group or some foreign power. What I am speaking about are ideas. Napoleon stated that ideas were more powerful than armies. Victor Hugo stated that there was one thing stronger than all the armies of the world and that was an idea whose time had come.

Ideas affect individuals, but they also change worlds. Ideas have created, and now control the society and culture we live in. When an idea is conceived, it is called a thought. When a thought evolves, it is termed a concept. Concepts are the materials that philosophy is made of. Those ideas eventually become somebody’s ideology or reality. Ideas must be challenged, sincerely and aggressively.

The civil war I am referring to in Canada right now is a “war of conflicting and dividing ideas.” Our citizenry have lost the meta-narrative of the Canadian story: ie. the plot of the play is missing, the rules that make sense of the game are absent, the center that holds society together and makes sense of Canadian life is collapsing. The anchor has lifted and we are drifting as a nation.

Believe me, this war of ideas is real. There are winners and losers. There are enemies and there are allies. There is blood shed. There are POW’s. There is post traumatic stress. Sometimes the extent of the impact of this civil war can not be seen in real terms for generations, but the cost of this war will be hefty.

Oliver Holmes stated, “The ultimate good is better reached by free trade in ideas. The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” I agree. I sincerely believe that we must bring every idea to the light, and let truth triumph and create new realities in our culture.

I invite you to join the journey of discovery as we “stand on guard for Canada,” and over the weeks to come, challenge some of the ideas that I believe are “enemies at our gates.”

Castanet Article
Thursday 26th, 2007
Oh! Canada! Column