Author: Patrick Keeney

Atheism, Scientism And The Lingering Of The Numinous

Disasters – natural or otherwise – have a way of bringing out extremes in human behaviour and emotions. And so it was with the Easter Week fire at Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris: from the Catholic priest who risked his life to save irreplaceable relics and artwork, to French businessmen pledging grandiose sums for rebuilding, to the almost psychotic architecture some proposed for the restoration. For Patrick Keeney, the near-catastrophe triggered deep reflection on our era’s tense relationship between science and spirituality.

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Homage to the Booksellers of Yangon

A tour of Southeast Asia brought Patrick Keeney to the city of Yangon in Myanmar and its clutch of used bookstores on Pansodan Street. He writes of the joy of his literary discoveries there, in language echoing Orwell’s beautiful prose in Burmese Days.

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Can we be democratic without God?

God knows why Christians still go into politics. For every good, honest, ethical one there’s a holier-than-thou hypocrite like Roy Moore, the Donald Trump acolyte who deservedly lost one of the safest Republican Senate seats in the U.S. So, not only do they have to endure the vicious smears of the secular left, but also guilt-by-association with fallen Christian pols. In Canada, Preston Manning achieved remarkable success as an explicitly Christian politician despite all these liabilities. In a new book, reviewed for C2C Journal by Patrick Keeney, Manning summons the faithful to redeem politics by running on platforms of public service and sacrifice.

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Black and Right and read all over

Most mainstream conservative commentators in Canada and the United States were hostile toward Donald Trump when he was running for the presidency, and still are. Almost alone among the right-wing commentariat, Conrad Black backed him early, and often, and still does. But contrarian is the way it’s always been with Black, writes Patrick Keeney in a review of a new collection of Black columns; he never fails to challenge, inform, entertain – and surprise.

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Can democracy survive Twitter?

Patrick Keeney is as smartphone-enslaved as the rest of us, but he’s more worried about it than most. Not for himself, but for civil society and democracy. Keeney sees modern digital communications technologies as exacerbating many of the most pernicious social trends of our time: mistrust of elites, rejection of family and community, and “hyper-individualism”. The messages conveyed by new digital mediums are mostly post-modern and progressive, which is not how anyone would describe New England Patriots’ coach and Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick. So it gave Keeney hope when he heard Belichick growl: “I’m not on SnapFace.”

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In praise of unsafe spaces

Pushback against oppressive political correctness on university campuses is erupting all over the western world. A new collection of essays by authors from both sides of the Atlantic is yet another indication that social justice warriors have gone too far and provoked a broad, determined and eloquent opposition to rise up in defence of academic freedom, the cornerstone of intellectual inquiry and democratic debate in a free society. Patrick Keeney reviews Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech on Campus

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Apocalypse Fatigue

Two pre-humans are shivering in a cave. On hearing a nearby lightning strike, one rushes outside to fetch a flaming faggot of wood ignited by the lightning. The other, fearing an existential threat to life, rushes to extinguish the fire. It was the first argument over global warming. People have been fretting over many such real and imagined threats to the planet ever since. Climate change, Y2K, flu pandemics, Clinton/Obama foreign policy. You name it, it’s an apocalyptic menace. Patrick Keeney is tired of it, and has concluded that news of Armageddon is greatly exaggerated.

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Liberal Lessons in Democracy

Regular C2C Journal contributor Mark Milke recently lamented the demise of the “Calgary School” of classical liberal academics who once dominated the political science department at the University of Calgary. They were a rare source of philosophical diversity in a Canadian academic world dominated by progressives. But there are others like them, including some of their protégés, and a dozen have contributed to a new collection of essays espousing classical liberalism as essential to civic education and democracy. Patrick Keeney reviews Liberal Education, Civic Education, and the Canadian Regime.

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Why Americans yearn to be great again

The U.S. education system has been hijacked by cultural vandals who have dismantled its core purpose of intergenerational transfer of cultural values, creating a nation without a unity narrative.

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Waxing Rights

Jessica Yaniv, the self-described B.C. transgender activist, was in the news again recently, the RCMP searching her Langley, B.C. apartment after she brandished a prohibited weapon during an online debate. Yaniv, you may recall, is seeking redress from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after more than a dozen female aestheticians refused to perform a Brazilian Wax on her (his?] male genitalia. Yaniv’s claim appears preposterous. Yet as Patrick Keeney explains in this thoughtful essay, framing public morality exclusively in terms of human rights ushers in a certain logic, one which suppresses personal responsibility and allows any human desire to be transformed into a moral claim.

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