The C2C Ideas Archive

The Libertarian Case against the War in Afghanistan

Shortly after the U.S. government’s attack on Afghanistan in October 2001 (which, of course, followed the September 11 attacks on the United States), the Canadian government joined the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries in an occupying coalition in Afghanistan. The first major wave of Canadian troops arrived in Afghanistan in February 2002.

A Graveyard For All: The Trouble With Relativism

Naming a book The Book of Absolutes is a bit hubristic. It’s also redundant. The Book should suffice to christen the book that reveals absolutes. Setting that defect aside, I believe that we should forgive author William Gairdner’s boast, too. His candour and daring is refreshing in an age awash in wishy-washiness. I much prefer it to the feigned humility of one who formulates comprehensive rules and recommendations for restructuring society and then labels it but “a theory.”

Canada Should Push For a Retro NATO

It was inevitable that NATO expansion eastward would at some point run into a hostile Russian reaction. The attack on South Ossetia by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in August was the last straw and Russia finally showed its teeth by crushing the Georgian offensive in 48 hours. The Russians then added insult to injury by recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and the other breakaway region, Abkhazia. The West faces the prospect of a new arms race—and if not the specter of nuclear warfare, at least a serious setback to global peace and security.

Canadian Engagement in Latin America can counter Chavez Mischief

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper conducted his first official visit to Chile, Colombia and the Caribbean in July 2007, he undertook important steps in renewing Canada’s historical ties with Latin America. Now with a renewed electoral mandate, the prime minister should continue to promote an agenda of liberalism, free trade, and democracy in the region, both for the sake of the people in the region and neutralize the destructive authoritarian influence of Venezuela’s Colonel Hugo Chavez.

The Fallacies and the Facts about Terrorism

Terrorism, like so many other human activities, can be a complicated subject – so complicated that nobody has yet managed to come up with a concise and accurate definition for it.

A Plan for Economic Prosperity

With less than a month to go in the federal election, there has been little real debate on the fiscal policies needed to improve Canada’s economic growth and productivity performance. What Canada needs is a fiscal plan focused on economic prosperity that creates and strengthens the incentives for individuals and businesses to engage in productive economic activity.

Election ’08 Report: Challenges Facing Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said on many occasions that he views the path to a stable, durable, Conservative majority government as a long march.By that measure, in the recent election campaign, he achieved several important milestones: He broke through Ontario's resistance; he won new levels of support among Canada's ethnic communities and New Canadians; and began to make urban inroads. It looks like he has bridged the gender gap with important groups of women.

A “Power Shift”: Conservative Principles for the Environment

As Canada gets ready to elect a new government, energy and environmental policy are on the front burner. The Liberal “Green Shift” plan conforms to two of the “first principles” of liberal governance: maximizing wealth redistribution, and maximizing control of the commanding heights of the economy. Liberal leader Stephane Dion’s plan would satisfy both principles by levying a federal carbon tax, then doling out the revenues “progressively” while letting the federal government expand its control of the commanding heights of the energy sector and provincial governance by tweaks of the tax code generally invisible to the public.

A New Canadian Patriotism

The Swiss think they’re better than us; they think highly of themselves,” remarked the German gentleman over a beer in Düsseldorf back on a hot July day in 2000. Ale brings out a variety of comments from people so the beer-induced frankness, this after I mentioned Switzerland was the next stop in my vacation, was not unusual.

Three Dangers and an Opportunity

For most of the nearly three decades since 1980, the United States has been governed from the center-right. Now that era is drawing to a close. Many Canadians will welcome this change. But Canadian policymakers should be on guard: this new era will present at least three serious challenges, even dangers, to Canadian national interests.

Where Marx and Conservatives Meet: The Writings of Paul Piccone

Is it possible to render the intricacies of Marxism, of phenomenology and of critical theory interesting, even intriguing? And could such a topic have anything to offer conservatives? If the person doing the expositing is Paul Piccone, then the answer to both questions is an unqualified “yes”.

Banking on America: Canada’s Trade with the United States

The recent Democratic primary contests in the United States cast a somewhat ominous light on the notion of free trade. And while there is considerable evidence that threats to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were more for electoral advantage than serious proposals, such rumblings can easily take on a life of their own, placing Canada’s trade relationship with the US in jeopardy.

Freedom of Expression: Is it a dying value?

Perhaps one of the most offensive things I have ever heard a Canadian say, was uttered by human rights investigator Dean Steacy of the Canadian Human Rights Commission: “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”

Looking Deep into the Canadian Navel

Oh how we Canadians love to dwell on our “national identity.” As narcissistic as it seems, though, maybe we should do more of it. Because then we might discover, as Adam Daifallah did in this thoughtful piece, how contrived our modern identity is, and how unfaithful it is to the vision and intent of our nation’s founders.

Adam Smith Meets Big Bear: The Prequel

This article by Tom Flanagan about Indigenous entrepreneurial involvement in natural resource development shows how far ahead of the curve he’s been on this subject. Today, many people are concluding the only way to get the TransMountain pipeline expansion built is through native ownership. This could herald the end of the old aboriginal/green obstructionist alliance, and the arrival of a new aboriginal/industry partnership revitalizing Canada’s resource sector.

Fundamentalism in Religion, Politics and Science

The word ‘fundamentalism’ has traveled a long way since it began life in California nearly a hundred years ago. At first it was a defence of what were seen as the ‘fundamental’ beliefs of American Protestants. The literal truth of the Bible, the creation of the world by God, miracles in the Old and New Testaments, and the central miracles of the Virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Christ had been called into question by Darwinian Evolution, by scientific naturalism more generally, and by the so-called ‘higher criticism’ of the Bible by German theologians.

Truth, Reconciliation, and Aboriginal Residential Schools: A Reply to Michael Ignatieff

Late in the autumn of 2007, approximately 87,000 aboriginal people who attended the 130 residential schools, many of which were administered by the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United churches, began receiving payments from the Federal government. For these people, the payment is $10,000 for their first year, or part of it, in residence, and $3,000 for each subsequent year, or part it.

Back to the Future: Helping indigenous peoples recover autonomy and self-reliance

It is no secret small and big-C conservatives have a perception problem within the Aboriginal community . Every election, Aboriginal organizations send out ringing endorsements of Liberal candidates, arguing that Grits are usually the lesser of two evils. Moreover, Aboriginals associate right-wing policies with leaders who wish to eliminate treaty and Aboriginal rights and, unfortunately, this misleading message trickles down to the masses.

Our man in Havana

C2C editor Mark Milke was in Cuba for the resignation of Fidel Castro; here are his observations on 49 years of Fidel.

Aboriginals in Canada: segregation or equality?

Will Canadian courts uphold the creation of a semi-sovereign Nisga’a “nation” in northwestern British Columbia? Does Canada’s Constitution allow for quasi-independent Aboriginal principalities within Canada, each with the power to pass laws which prevail over Canadian federal and provincial law? To what extent should aboriginals have the same rights and responsibilities as other Canadians? What, specifically, should “aboriginal self-government” mean in practice? What terms and conditions should new treaties incorporate?

Christianity and Politics, Past and Present

One can hardly pick up a newspaper or newsmagazine these days and not find an article on the contentious subject of faith and politics. In the United States, there are heated debates over President George W. Bush’s world view, the religious right, and foreign policy in the Middle East. Recently, editorialists have been preoccupied with the role of religion in the lives of various Democrats and Republicans who would run for the presidency, and the candidates themselves have issued public statements on the matter. These controversies aside, there remain the perennial controversies about abortion or the teaching of creation and evolution in the nation’s schools.

The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West

In academic circles, the future of Muslims in the post-Cold War world was being debated long before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In The End of History and the Last Man , the 1992 book he expanded from a National Interest essay, Francis Fukuyama argued that the world was witnessing “the universalization of Western liberal democracy.” The Islamic world, he wrote, “would seem more vulnerable to liberal ideas in the long run than the reverse.” Samuel Huntington published a response of sorts in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order , his own article-turned-book, which held that Islamic countries would remain theocratic and illiberal. In large part, Huntington wrote, differences between Islam and the West resulted from the “Muslim concept of Islam as a way of life transcending and uniting religion and politics versus the Western Christian concept of the separate realms of God and Caesar.”

Navigating the Faith/Political Interface

Why even concern ourselves with “the faith/political interface”? Several compelling reasons exist for doing so, including: National and international security: Islamic extremists, professedly motivated by religious as well as political convictions, are a threat to national and international security. Their actions also threaten the political status and security of the vast majority of Muslims throughout the world who do not share these convictions.

Reconciling Faith and Liberty: Can a social conservative be a libertarian?

It is a popular notion within the libertarian elite that conservatives who adhere to traditional morality cannot be libertarian. The libertarians see a desire on the part of moral conservatives to ‘impose’ their vision of the moral good life on society as a central feature distinguishing them from those who are committed to ‘leaving people alone.’ Many social conservatives also have a problem identifying with right-wing hippies calling for hard drug legalization and normalized prostitution.

African Aid: Beyond Celebrity Platitudes

Canadian foreign policy in Africa, as a reflection of G8 foreign policy, is directed towards achieving sustainable growth and eliminating poverty. These goals are laudable, although billions of dollars spent in aid over the past few decades have done little to achieve this. In an attempt to reverse these sub-par returns in well-intentioned aid, or at least to gain some popularity with music-lovers, G8 leaders have turned to Bob Geldof and Bono, for advice. Incredibly, these two musicians appear to have a great impact on G8, and thus, Canadian policy-making and action. Yet, from outside policy-making circles looking in, these two men appear to have accomplished little but to create a new business model for concert promoters.

We’ve been here before: Middle Eastern terrorism circa 1776

In the self-hating narrative all too popular and which serves as a substitute for thoughtful historical analysis, the West deserves recent Islamic-based terrorism – or at least – should expect nothing less. We bring such atrocities upon our own heads given our collective history of imposed colonialism, insensitivity to other cultures and willingness to sacrifice all others and our own principles. We do this for black gold to heat our gargantuan homes and fuel our obscene SUVs. This is the bleating apologia from everyone from Michael Moore to the late Edward Said, from New Democrats to the ever-pacifist Bloc Quebecois, from critics at home and abroad.

Heads or Tails? Extra-national Dimensions of International Development

Twenty-one years ago, Bob Geldoff and a litany of well-intentioned celebrities gathered in London to raise awareness and money to end world hunger. At the time, connections between poverty in the developing world, and dinner in Canada seemed tenuous at best. It was rare to get fresh artichokes out of season; phone calls to Hong Kong were well over $1 a minute, and long-weekend flights to Florida, for all but a few jet-set-millionaires, were completely out of the question. Today, thanks to global supply chains and communication networks, vine-ripened tomatoes sit in corner stores across the country, and South African apples are part of most Canadian diets.

Merkel & Sarkozy: Thatcherism Lite

What do the daughter of a Grantham grocer, the daughter of a Prussian pastor, and the son of a Hungarian heir have in common? According to the received wisdom proffered by the Fourth Estate, potentially quite a bit. In the wake of the installation of Angela Merkel as the Chancellor of Germany, and the recent election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the Presidency in France, gallons of ink have been spilt on the subject of whether either of these conservatives possess the political skills and determination required to achieve Thatcheresque reform of their moribund economies. There is considerable optimism that the national economies critical to the continental European economy, boasting unemployment rates of 12.6% and 10.2% respectively, will shortly benefit from some revolutionary restructuring.

Islamic Imperialism or a Political History of Islam?

Of all the world’s major religions, none is at the center of as much controversy today as Islam. Wherever it comes in contact with other religions, a political storm arises. From Paris to the Balkans, Chechnya to Xinjiang, Kashmir to the Sudan, and most notably, in the heart of the Middle East itself, Islam seems unable to make peace with its neighbours. Various explanations, excuses and accusations have been made in response to this phenomenon. None, however, seem as prescient or as penetrating as that presented by Efraim Karsh in his latest work, Islamic Imperialism: A History .

Incremental Conservatism: Mr. Harper Goes to Ottawa

Absolutist conservatism is currently represented in Canada by Max Bernier’s new People’s Party, Wild Rose loyalists scornful of Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party, and faux-Viking elements in the yellow vest movement. A decade ago it was the Fraser Institute, Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Reform Party nostalgists – all unsatisfied with Stephen Harper’s then-young Conservative government. Tom Flanagan’s advice on the virtue of “incrementalism” rings as true now as it did then.

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