Lacking a mooring in a rich and textured sense of history, most Canadians today are adrift on an ever-thinning present moment, driven by consumerism, pop culture, and "politically correct" cliches about the past. Being a person of Polish descent and having studied history extensively, I have a certain insight into totalitarianism-whether of the Nazi, Soviet, or politically-correct left-liberal variety.
It is possible to see the history of countries like Poland since September 1939-the beginning of an ongoing calamity for that nation whose consequences continue today-and of Canada since the 1960s as tinged with tragedy. In both cases, this is the result of forces, which although apparently dissimilar, often share a disdain for living, breathing, actual societies and peoples.
Although World War II may seem remote for many persons (especially young persons) today, we are living in the shadow of its consequences. Recoiling from the horrors of Nazism, an evil ideology clearly buried in the rubble of Berlin, Western countries such as Canada have increasingly plunged themselves into new nightmares. As J.R.R. Tolkien acutely observed, "... Evil always takes on another shape and grows again."
The new evil was not only the manifest genus of the Soviet empire, to which East and Central Europe had been notoriously betrayed. It was also a rising miasma of trends and tendencies that would eventually drive most Western countries toward social disintegration.
Three major prophets of the new mode were Alfred Kinsey (who, according to critics like Judith Reisman, manifestly misrepresented the reality of sexual behavior in an attempt to create the very tendencies he purported to describe), Benjamin Spock (who introduced highly distempering errors in the understanding of how to raise children), and Timothy Leary (the '60s guru and youth drug culture advocate).
Although many European nationalists, conservatives, and traditionalists had fiercely opposed Nazi Germany, as of 1945 the entire right-wing option stood discredited in the eyes of the broad masses of most Western countries. In today's world, those who continue to hold the ideals of such World War II heroes as Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, or Wladyslaw Sikorski (the preeminent leader of the Polish Government-in-Exile and commander-in-chief of the Polish armed forces in the West) are seen as retrograde reactionaries.
Indeed, it did not take long for the left's "long march through the institutions" to get underway. During one year at the alleged height of McCarthyism in the U.S., a young William F. Buckley, Jr. went around talking to thousands of professors in the social sciences and humanities at prestigious U.S. universities. Only two or three actually admitted being conservative to him and that was at the height of the reactionary '50s. In almost every sector of society, left-liberalism has been winning one spectacular victory after another, rapidly pushing further and further into all areas of social terrain. Authentic traditionalist conservatism in the U.S., but especially in Canada, despite some apparent electoral successes, has been running ragged for at least the last quarter century. And the outlook for some parts of Western Europe is dystopic indeed.
The only exception appears to be the economic sector. However, with their manifest prevalence in academic, social, media, and cultural sectors, especially in Canada, left-liberals can well allow the existence of a large, dynamic private sector that will function to efficiently produce the economic goods that they want to give to themselves and to their client-groups. There is also a major difference between social conservatism (emphasizing family, nation, local communities, and traditional religion) and fiscal/economic conservatism. Fiscal/economic conservatism alone can, in fact, coexist with a fair number of varieties of left-liberalism (as typified by the many technocrats in the Canadian Liberal Party today). Such parties as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the predecessor to today's ultra-politically-correct New Democratic Party in Canada) were social democratic in economics but mostly socially conservative on issues of family, nation, and religion.
The question that now faces Canada is sharp. Is it going to be politics-as-usual, a continuing slide in the direction the country has been going for the last 30 years, or will there be a belated attempt to generate some real countervailing tendencies-such as an attempt to tame the excesses of multiculturalism and of social and cultural anomie? It is possible that an uninterrupted continuation of the slide will result, in the next 20 to 40 years (a mere sliver of time in terms of world history), in the all-but-inevitable social and cultural dissolution of Canada.
Editor's Note: Mark Wegierski is a Toronto-based writer, social critic, and historical researcher and is published in major Canadian newspapers, as well as in U.S. scholarly journals.