Tuesday, March 15, 2005


"The government will not tolerate statements that create dissonance in our society and disrespect for others."--Hon. Jean Augustine, P.C., M.P., former Minister of State for Multiculturalism

This statement, made by a minister of the Crown in addressing a public controversy, should have alarmed Canadians and raised a great public outcry when it was made more than a year ago.

It did not.

It should have.

This statement reflects a dangerous attitude that has infected the current government and many of its supporters in the media, academe, judiciary and the public service.

It is founded in a principle that represents a far greater threat to our liberties and free society than any external force.

This principle has sustained despots, relatively benign or grossly malignant, since man first organized government.

It has taken many forms and served many different aims, yet it is as ancient as civilization, and has manifested itself in all civilizations.

The master's will is the only law.

It matters not how benign the master, nor how noble his intentions. Men, being wilful, seek to impose their will with as much force as they can muster. Yet men will not live forever in constant fear of each other's power, unless they are prepared to meet each other only with force.

Thus the rule of law, a recognition that all men must submit to a higher authority than their own wills for their individual good, and for the good of society as a whole.

Yet for the rule of law to function, the law itself must have meaning, and be derived from an authority independent of the will of those who enforce it. Traditionally, that authority has been God, first in Christian theism, later in Enlightenment deism, and in a looser relation, the natural law and inherent dignity of man.

The limitations of state power against individuals have been expressed in terms of rights deriving from that external authority, which no state, however powerful, can alter or abrogate.

Today, the notion of an external authority or an absolute truth is ignored, even actively opposed, by those who espouse post-modern philosophies of relative truth and competing truths.

To them, law is itself only a construct of those who hold power. Thus has law come to mean, in effect, only what the state's enforcers and interpreters say that it means. And thus rights themselves have no existence except by the grace and favour of the state.

We have returned, through a process that has led us through the Code of Hammurabi to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to that ancient principle of absolute power:

The master's will is the only law.

If you want to know why our courts and legislatures believe that that they can alter our basic social institutions at will and suppress opposition thereto, in the name of freedom, that is why.

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