21 January 2011


I. Your humble correspondent is currently preparing an article on the Catholic blogosphere and the Church in Canada. Yet, as it often turns out, more rumination and research are necessitated than originally anticipated. As per usual, I'm hoping it will prompt some apparatchiks to execute cartwheels throughout the offices of their variegated bureaucracies. You see – and I must confess, it gives me much joy to annoy such people by introducing them to harsh reality. The screech of a hippy heretic, the laments of a chancery apostate, the wailing of a habitless hussy... these are wonderful, harmonious sounds. Like the celestial choir of angels.

II. Now judging by the blunt and bombastic writing style found at this blog, it could logically be deduced that yours truly is a cold–blooded scoundrel. Perhaps. But know that the degree of outrageousness found herein is directly proportional to the pathetic state of affairs I regularly witness. If it's any consolation, I did cry when, in the made–for–TV movie, the castaways were finally rescued from Gilligan's Island. I was especially happy for Mr. and Mrs. Howell. They were getting on in age and I did not want them to spend their remaining few years in that palm tree hell. You can get the DVD here.

III. So in the mean time, let's make a brief detour and visit our old friend Fr. Ron Rolheiser. I've fisked/posted on Rollie a few times in the recent past, which you may peruse here, here and here. One reason for repeatedly being tough on the poor fellow is likely attributable to my guilt. Rollie, although currently US based in the great state of Texas, is a Canadian. Consequently, I feel a kind of Canucki–culpability for his subtle and slyly watered–down kitsch Catholicism, gaining wide acclaim, especially amongst that galley of aging baby boomers so easily bamboozled by cornball pop–theology. Let alone the syrupy, inwardist emotionalism that constitutes much in Rollie's tracts, now syndicated globally in 70+ newspapers. I have experienced the dire effects of this emotionalism first hand. One day at my parish a lady mentioned to me, in a genteel Dutch accent – with hand on heart and eyes gazing aloft – that she found great inspiration in Rollie's newspaper columns. "Dear lady", I responded, "the man reads like Schopenhauer on amphetamines"... Well, I didn't say that. But I wanted to. And how could I betray this innocent creature? Minutes prior, she had just shared with me the most delicious home–baked cookies I have consumed in probably a decade. The dilemma's the good God puts me in! Honestly, I do believe Rolheiser has done significant damage. The only other comparable V2–theo–pop Canadian effectuating similar harm is the ex–Anglican cleric Tom Harpur. However, today he even contends that Christ was not a historical person. If wanting to punish yourself, read my book–long post on this rascal here. But enough rambling...

IV. Just before Christmas a reader of this space kindly advised this blogger of a conference that started just yesterday. So I clicked the link sent to me and then this suddenly appeared:
Oh my... what's going on down here in the peanut gallery? Just look at those smiling faces. Seems interesting. Let's investigate...

V. Now with a title like that it has to be either an advertisement for a Saturday afternoon program on PBS or else – you guessed it Catholic peoples – Ron Rolheiser just got a brilliant idea. Or at least he and his two friends did. So, then, who do we have behind Door No. 1? Looks like it's Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM. In New Age circles, word has it he goes by name Lucidus Enneagramus. But don't tell that to St. Francis. Take a gander:
He considers the proclamation of the Gospel to be his primary call and the related themes he addresses include eco–spirituality, scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and justice issues, male spirituality, and the Enneagram.
Hmmmm... I'm getting suspicious. That descriptor is to be found at the website for the Center for Action and Contemplation, an organization founded by Rohr, sponsor for the aforesaid conference. At this point I am going to ask readers to pause momentarily and retract any food or beverages in close proximity to keyboards as below you will find some titles/topics of past conferences held at CAC:

---------------------------------------o Creation as the Body of God
---------------------------------------o Emerging Church / Naked Now
---------------------------------------o Laughing and Weeping
---------------------------------------o How Do We Breathe Under Water?
---------------------------------------o Holding the Tension: Prague

That first bullet has a twang of emanationist pantheism to it. But to be sure I'll astrally project into the 6th dimension and get confirmation from Meister Eckhart. The second is creepy in a sweaty–frolicking–fruitcake–at–a–nudist–camp kind of way. The third sounds like a 1970s Argentinean soap opera viewed at 2 am on Telemundo. The fourth evidences that Richie is either oblivious of basic hydrodynamics or else he has a thing for Aquaman. The fifth... well, can you think of a better phrase that characterizes homely Oprahesque surrealism? Oh, I forgot to mention that he was on the "Oprah and Friends" radio show. Though I really need not elaborate further. Rohr is widely known for his admixture of Pelagianism and paganized Catholicism, let alone his advocacy of the enneagram and homosexualism.[1] Unfortunately, he's got quite a following.

VI. Behind Door No. 2 we have Ms. Edwina Gateley and, goodness gracious, it looks like we have just entered the Twilight Zone. The bio at her website states that she is "a poet, theologian, artist, writer, lay minister, modern–day mystic and prophet". This must be true because the National Catholic Reporter also references her as both a "mystic" and (bonus) "a living saint in our midst".[2] Edwina's subjects of interest include "her own Faith Journey, Discipleship, Women in Scripture, Justice, Mission, Spirituality, Mysticism, and the Feminine Divine". She's also into women's ordination n'stuff.[3] But there's more! A book entitled A Warm, Moist Salty God. Yuck, sounds to me like a vulgar preoccupation with biologic immanentism. Yet the pro–biotic icing on the tofu cake is that Ms. Gateley has been "publicly commended" by Bill Clinton (oh oh) and (oh no...) the late archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin (ding ding ding ding... those would be tiny little bells). Bernardin, you may recall, appointed Gumby the Gallivanting Bishop, another friend of Gateley.[4]

VII. Behind Door No. 3 we have the star of the show, namely Ron Rolheiser. No introduction needed. Indeed, Rollie did well in befriending Lucidus Enneagramus and the Manchester Muffin. Two of a kind: a gnosticized Franciscan and, as one writer noted, "an eccentric feminist whose performances resemble English music hall comedy more than religious presentations".[5] But fear not you people whose demographic likely is 55+ years in age. Rollie and friends are here to teach and guide you on your path to inner enlightenment – so long as you cough up $225 plus hotel costs and other expenses. Come, listen to the wisdom of the elders:

As a society, we have not been taught the art of loving our mortal lives every step of the way... in fact, we have largely lost the art of living. Thankfully, the wisdom of the elders is in our midst. Join Fr. Ron Rolheiser, Edwina Gateley and Fr. Richard Rohr, who will help us to clarify and embrace the two halves of life...Called to a further journey, we will look within ourselves to see that the wisdom of the elders is not only in our midst, but is within each of us
The conference is currently underway. Anyone in the area thinking of attending should learn from Bugs Bunny's mistake: Take that left turn at Albuquerque.

No offense to the memory of Ms. Carpenter. Actually, she is quite enchanting in the video.


1. See B.A. Sibley, "The Fr. Richard Rohr Phenomenon", New Oxford Review, March 2006, vol. LXXIII, no. 3. This article is available online at the Catholic Culture website. LINK

2. J. Dear, "Edwina Gateley's Big God", National Catholic Reporter, September 15, 2009. LINK

3. M.J. Maguire, "'Pink smoke' portrays growth of women's ordination movement", National Catholic Reporter, October 8, 2010. LINK

4. R.J. McClory, "35 years on 'the prophetic edge'", National Catholic Reporter, July 16, 2004. LINK

5. D. Donna Steichen, "A Church They Didn't Expect", Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, June 2006. LINK This periodical is now known as the California Catholic Daily. LINK


16 January 2011

APRIL 26, 1973

I grew up in the area where these murders occurred and, for some reason, this case has remained with me. At the time, my mum worked at a women's clothing store in the shopping centre were the girls reportedly attended (I have faint memories as a kid driving with my dad in an old Ford Falcon during nighttime to pick my mum after work). The birthday gift that Wendy's sister mentions in the video was a blouse, based on information I found on the internet and old newspaper articles. So, accordingly, I deduced the plausibility that Wendy and Donna shopped at the store where my mum worked. I asked my mum about this a few years back but, alas, she has no memory of such an occurrence, nor does she recall the homicide case as such.

The Toronto Homicide link for this cold case can be found here. The attending newspaper article for the video above is here. Also, there is a detailed public discussion thread/forum covering many aspects of the case here.

A new year has just arrived and it has been 37+ years since the homicides happened. Perhaps the reader might take a few moments to say a Hail Mary for Wendy/Donna and their families, with the additional intention for Toronto Police to solve this cold case.


06 January 2011


I. After arriving at the eastern shores of Canada in 1534, the French explorer Jacques Cartier (1491–1557) is reported to have said this: "I'm rather inclined to believe that this is the land God gave to Cain". Let's explore that...

II. Until recent times, Canada has been a innovative country. This land was formed not through armed conflict, but by the negotiated British North America Act of 1867. Slavery was abolished as early as the 1830s. Canadians invented the first telephone and light bulb (not Edison); worldwide standard times zones originate from this blogger's homeland; we discovered insulin and kerosene; we have our excellent transcontinental railway, highway and airport systems. The zipper and foghorn are products of the Canuck intellect; our pulp and paper industry is internationally renowned; we have designed wheat strains to grow quickly over short Prairie summers. Many of our scientists, engineers and doctors are top ranked. Some Nobel prize recipients, a discoverer of the defective gene for cystic fibrosis, expert mappers and surveyors, emplacement of the first transatlantic underwater communications cable, and excellence in the medical treatment of children. The electron microscope and pacemaker originate from here. Pablum, the CN Tower and the Avro Arrow belong to us.[1] And, yes, we do have the best hockey players in the world.

III. Now at this point Multiculturalist ideologues and other sub–Marxists, secretly contemptuous of the Western world view, will be quick to remind villains such as myself that the occurrences of colonialism and free market economics (from which the abovementioned achievements are associated) were wrought at the expense of Canada's Native peoples. Abuse and injustice against Canada's indigenous people there has been, no doubt; though not to the extremes regularly expounded by sanctimonious public intellectuals (let alone the crazy historical revisionism found on the internet). Erik von Kuehnelt–Leddihn wrote:

There is, of course, nothing evil and nothing extraordinary about colonialism. It is the inevitable result of a historical law according to which not only nature, but also political geography, does not tolerate a vacuum. Where no effective resistance can be expected, other powers, other nations, other tribes will occupy, dominate, and administer an area. Our history could not be imagined without the forces of colonialism constantly at work.[2]

Despite its occasional problems, it is my opinion that European colonialism has been a good thing and has worked, over the long haul, for the benefit of all. The obvious must be repeated: there would be no Canada without colonialism.

IV. West Coast Liberals, Latté Luddites and other allied Leftists regularly argue that economic vigor, high technology and population growth are cultural demons to be exorcised from Canadian society; that we must return to a sparsely populated Eden and live as the "noble savages" did – a fiction concocted by lovers of Rousseau's romanticist socialism. These people see it as positive that "aboriginal" man failed to take further advantage of his proto–discoveries or whatever primal innovation, that they did not culturally move forward. Moreover, they will even assert that certain tribes had "advanced" cultures, as if compatible with Western Civilization. So you're equalizing a canoe with an aircraft carrier? Right. Stonehenge as an "astronomical observatory" is comparable to the Hubble telescope? Whatever. European man, by contrast, worked quickly upon the discovery or recognition of an innovation, be it scientific or economic. Within the span of about seven centuries, he extricated himself from the so–called "Dark Ages" (thank you, Whigs, for that phrase), triumphing with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the late part of eighteenth century. What, then, of the discrepancy between the technological/economic progress of European civilization and the stagnation of Native Canadian paganism?

V. For centuries, indeed thousands of years, "aboriginal" man did not progress. Yes, he did develop agricultural, fowling and fishing techniques; he constructed tools and weapons for hunting and war; he devised various forms of shelter to protect himself from harsh meteorological conditions; he had his fabrics, wares, arts, handicrafts and ornamentations; he had his spiritual rituals and hierarchical structures of familial/group relations. Why, after these initial espials and adaptations, did not "aboriginal" technological and social systems augment in competency and complexity? Native peoples had indeed satisfied and sustained Maslow's basic physiological needs of the human being: food, clothing, shelter. Yet having made some prototypal breakthroughs in tool making, and having made some headway in utilizing the capabilities and talents of the "tribe" to attain particular socio–political goals, these cultures nevertheless remained inertial. An awareness of these facts demands a query as to why conditions remained unchanged, or even why some tribal cultures proved to be abortive before the arrival of French, English and Spanish explorers. Most importantly, we must ask what were the forces that hindered development of the variegated Native tribes in Canada? And why did not the peninsula–hopping Vikings, emerging from Scandinavia – travelling via Iceland and Greenland, accomplish permanent settlements on Canada's eastern shores circa 1000 AD? Did they not learn anything from the more advanced Byzantine Empire when marauding there in 860 AD?

VI. Perhaps the forces responsible were environmental, due to rugged geography and climatic shifts? Archaeological, geomorphological and palaeoclimatic data evidence that, between 20000 to 12000 years ago Mongol humans emigrated from Asia to North America by way of an ancient land bridge, its remnant being the Aleutian islands. At approximately 16000 BC, when the last ice age was at maximum severity, the Laurentide Ice Sheet enveloped most of Canada, its thickness being roughly 4200 metres over Hudson Bay.[3] This gargantuan ice sheet and its concomitant colder temperatures incited the first wave of human inhabitants to migrate southwards. When the ice sheet receded during the warmer mid–Holocene period (approximately 4000 BC), they re-emigrated northwards, with a second wave of emigrants arriving from Asia almost contemporaneously. However, the barren landscapes and frigid winters of the hinterlands did not pose a deadly threat to the survival of tribal communities. Some adapted accordingly, as is illustrated by the acclimaticization of the Inuit in periglacial regions of perpetual darkness, near–continuous snowcover and infertile soil. Similarly, the Norsemen eventually settled in Iceland, certainly not known for its tropical weather. Overall, populations were modified only in a territorial sense, dictated by the nomadic imperative, climatological circumstance, availability/scarcity of natural resources, or, as with the Vikings, that berserker impulse to plunder and vandalize distant lands.

VII. If, then, not geophysical, were economic factors responsible for hampering cultural development? Were religious forces at work? In actuality, the technological and the economic were all constrained by what might be called a political straightjacket, a point to which I will address momentarily. Like the ancient pagan cultures of Greece and Rome, pagans in the Americas and the Vikings did not achieve the economic/technological status of the European West. They had no Industrial Revolution, no Isaac Newton. The concepts of freedom and the individual (or personhood more specifically) were, in the final analysis, alien to these peoples. And it must be emphasized that the mutually interdependent spheres of politics and economics and science – their functionality and perpetuation – are intimately linked with the notion of personal freedom and individual initiative. Elevate one of these spheres over the others and the behemoth of Determinism ambushes the scene. Economics devolves into Economism, as in Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat" after the so–called inevitable collapse of bourgeois capitalism. Science transmogrifies into Scientism, with its sub–branches of behaviourism and biologism, all of which deny the freedom to choose – between truth and error, good or evil – by relegating human inclination and action beyond personal control. Politics degrades into an unfree totalitarianism, where the State relegates personhood to nullity. The masses are statistics, said Stalin. Though their scales of impact have been less widespread than a neo–pagan West in the twentieth century (adopting statist political policies and collectivist economic agendas, which by the 1970s had refashioned the individual into a shape–shifting abstraction and stifled free enterprise), the effective rejection of personal liberty and individualism by the Natives precluded the germination of any seed that would have engendered free polities and dynamic economies.

VIII. Can evidence be provided to bolster these Politically Incorrect claims? Can we argue against the cultural relativism propagated by the academe? Let's try.

IX. Firstly, a note on "aboriginal" technology. It can be characterized with one word: primitive. Unlike the Europeans, they were not equipped with mathematical genius of the Greeks. They had nothing of the engineering acumen of the Romans. Maxwell and Lavoisier would have been regarded as demons from the underworld. Taking a photograph of someone, some Natives claimed, steals that person's soul. Perhaps these comparisons are invalid and the characterization unkind? Not, however, when North American Indian tribes are compared with the somewhat more advanced Aztecs and Mayans of Central America. In this case, the latter’s pre–eminence is likely attributable to warmer climes, which permitted for ample leisure and therefore greater time for rumination on social betterment and technological knowhow.[4] Regardless, that did not quell the barbarism since both had a taste for human sacrifice and cannibalism. Native tribes in Canada, let it be known, also practiced cannibalism.[5]

X. Correspondent with their animistic worldview, natural eventuations and causations (particularly those of a spectacular kind) were controlled by the astro–spirit realm. Natives in the southern Yukon, for instance, believed that a lunar eclipse emanates particles downward to the land–surface, omnipresent and all–pervasive. Disease occurred if any one of these particles embedded into an implement. Accordingly, women overturned pails, pots and dishes when the moon unexpectedly emitted its malevolent contagion.[6] True, sometimes sensible medicaments were used. For example, the Haida of the Canadian West Coast alleviated bruised appendages by immersing them in hot sand, and broken bones were set with splints made from cedar trees.[7] Nevertheless, they evidently had no real curiosity for the mechanics of human physiology and the natural world. Ailments were also attributed to curses from evil spirits or spells cast by enemy tribes. To be sure, in narratives of New World explorers/missionaries incidents are recurrent where the Natives are steadfastly reluctant to even consider new or alternative methods to ameliorate themselves. The missionary Charles Harrison (1847–1922) recounted one experience with a shaman of the Haida:

During the first two or three years of the author's residence at Masset the Shaman was apprehensive that a competitor had arrived, and he endeavoured to persuade the people that the medicine of the European was inevitably fatal to an Indian unless its effect was eradicated by a course treatment also at his hands, in fact, the people that were seriously sick were expressly forbidden to take the white man's medicine on pain of being disregarded by their own witch doctor. They dreaded the consequences of departure from old customs, yet faith in European medicines gradually won its way even though they at first hid them away and were reluctant to use them, at the same time paying strict attention to the witch doctor and his remedies.[8]

In the famous narrative of his capture and enslavement by the Nootka from 1803 to 1805, John Jewitt (1783–1821) recounted on how they felled trees:

...a slow and most tedious process... two or three days in cutting down a large one; yet so attached were they to their own method, that notwithstanding they saw Thompson [Jewitt's fellow captive] frequently, with one of our axes, fell a tree in less time they could have gone round it with their chisels, still they could not be persuaded to make use of them.[9]

Another case of disinclination to progress was observed by Samuel de Champlain (1567–1635; Canada's other famous explorer with Cartier) during his encounters with the Iroquois (ca. 1616). He reported myriad instances of blindness and respiratory problems endured by elderly inhabitants. The reason for these maladies was easily explainable. The Iroquois lived in poorly ventilated longhouses. Except for minimal aeration from opposing doors and holes at the roof above heaths, the atmosphere therein was fuliginous. Continuously burning fires with its smoke made the interior climate of the dwelling asphyxiative, murky and soot laden.[10] Why, over the course of centuries, did not somebody conceive a new architectural design more conducive to freer air flow?

XI. What about the Vikings? True, they were proficient ship builders, called "lords of the sea" by some. In the seventh century the keel (a nautical component which allows for directional and stability control) was invented in Scandinavia. The sail of a Viking ship was rectangular and large, providing a greater area for wind capture and quicker travel.[11] A good knowledge of the sea was needed for their extensive voyages – rarely for trade, never for scientific discovery. Mainly, it was the urge to raid and pillage. Despite modernist claims (again Political Correctness) that like to portray the Norsemen as more "civil" and "innovative" than traditionally thought, as against chronicles from the (implied) backward Medieval Christians, the Norsemen had no real interest in technological improvement and exploration. It was power, conquest and domination, symbolized by the god Thor with his giant hammer. Rightly goes a popular eighth century prayer from England: "Save us, oh Lord, from the fury of the Northmen!" Proof: forest lands of the Scandinavian interior, the region from which the Vikings originated, were never cleared and/or cultivated. A look at any map of the Viking voyages clearly illustrates routes mainly along coastlines. It is much easier to raid and pillage along the coasts than to commit to the hard work of, and development techniques for, large scale agriculture.

XII. Of course the situation of acculturation drastically changed over time when the Anglo–French influx became overwhelming – guns, government, trade, treaties, and so forth. Yet it still should be queried as to why an aversion to technical innovation persisted before the incursion of Cartier and his boys. This aversion to adapt to superior technologies was not something biologically inherent. It was not that there was no intelligence and common sense to recognize superior methods. And contrary to the bromides regularly extolled by contemporary anthropologists (let alone History Channel documentaries), the Native's were not always complacent in their way of life, content by "living with" Nature, assuaging her, as opposed to living "against" her. They recognized when something went beyond precedent. Unfortunately, it was invariably the tribal chief or shaman who would be the killjoy. Or in a modern context, political absolutism would intrude. The chieftain of the Nootka tribe that held Jewitt captive, a certain Maquina, was given a harpoon for whaling fashioned by the former. It worked so excellently during the hunt (Jewitt was a proficient metal worker) that other tribal members immediately desired harpoons of their own. Though Maquina would not permit it. That was that, and once again fear of reprisal, engendered by the egoism of an absolutist politico, was the factor that inhibited the dissemination of a new, beneficial, efficient idea.

XIII. When politics too far imposes itself upon Canadian society, its correlates, namely technology and economics, resultantly suffer and stagnate. For the utopianism that lies at the heart of the agenda of those whose who call for the politicization of all aspects of public and private life, dwells also Leibniz's notion that we live in the "best of all possible worlds". It may be the best of worlds when considered theologically. Though the world cannot be deemed best when considered in itself. If it were, then nothing would require change nor would progress be necessitated. And this was exactly the situation in "Kanata" before the French and English arrived.

XIV. Now it was not as if proto–representative government was completely absent. The Huron Confederacy, for example, had, by 1610, included four large tribes, including villages and clans. It was a cooperative socio–political organization, prompted by the awareness of trade advantages, also acting as a bulwark against the neighbouring, battle–driven Iroquois. It allowed a large number of people to cohabitate, work, hunt and settle disputes somewhat peacefully. It had a sensible division of powers at various social levels, not overlorded by a single chieftain. Although some stations were hereditary and, despite its "size and complexity, nothing about its organization shows any sign of being a radical departure from the ideas about government that prevailed among smaller scale societies of the Northeast. This suggests that the confederacy was an indigenous development out of the Iroquoian institutions of earlier times".[12] The Huron Confederacy and other political structures based on councils/kinship (i.e. family relationships, meaning power by blood, marriage, adoption) were still unable to allay the propensity for ultraviolence existent in all heathen societies, be they ancient or modern, small or large. As a prime Canadian example, the Jesuits Gabriel Lallemant and St. Jean de Brébeuf (spending many years among the Huron), were slowly tortured to death by the Iroquois on March 16, 1649. This torment, lasting for hours, involved stoning, scalping, burning at the stake, "red hot" tomahawk collars, mutilation by knife and a mock "baptism" with boiling water. After death, Brébeuf's heart was feasted upon as he reportedly showed no signs of pain while being tortured.

XV. Correlative with the lack of an established political association that would foster any lasting unity and conciliation over extensive regions, were isolated and closed subsistence economies. Individual tribes hunted and cultivated food for themselves. Implements were locally produced. Interference in a tribe's economic affairs were rarely tolerated. No standard or wide–ranging criterion for economic interrelationships existed. Each of these groups therefore had to be self–sufficient. Consumption by a household infrequently exceeded production, and when it did the goods produced or the food garnered were not set aside for some extraneous, specialized purpose. In other words, nothing originative or creative was done with capital, the key to an open and free economy. If not wasted or disposed of, the chieftain or a select few would confiscate all the goodies and use them to their own caprice. The idea of "an other" economic sphere of life was as remote to them as is personal responsibility to the NDP.

XVI. In this closed economy was a lack of ever new travelling routes and efficient means of transportation that would have allowed the development of functional, orderly trade and commerce on a massive intra–tribal scale. Rivers and canoes permitted merely for the movement of essentials in small quantities. Occasionally, gifts and slaves were exchanged between tribes. The fact that tribes were nomadic precluded the recognition of private property as an expression of personal liberty. Ironically, tribes travelled and lived along their favourite routes and regions, in close proximity to game, fishing and available agriculture. According to a study of the Hare Indians, there tended "to be more frequent contacts between individuals who use the same locality, and in consequence share the same local designation, than between individuals who do not".[13] There was no real sense of an "out there", of an urge to explore and populate untrodden realms, of anticipation for a reward after risk–taking. Thus, these spatially interred tribes and closed economies lacked that element of dynamism which would have sparked cultural mobility. Native societies worked top downwards. The all–powerful chieftain/councils at the pinnacle and everybody else at the communal bottom. There was no "in between", no inkling of a middle class. Instead, a kind of kibbutz existed. Its implicit communalism could aid particular people with the daily routine or those undergoing hardships. But, in effect, it eliminated the idea of personal responsibility, the drive of an individual will, given the opportunity, to exceed and rise above "the rest", be it in economics, technology or art. Innovators, who in all likelihood existed in these communities, remained anonymous or were suppressed.

XVII. Compounding this was the ubiquitous occurrence of polygamy.[14] It posed a significant social quandary. Many wives (polygyny specifically) meant many progeny for an individual man. Though it would be impossible for this fellow to properly raise all and each of his children as a real father. Polygyny, therefore, divorced a man from responsibility to his many children, to teach, guide and correct. His harem could try to accommodate. Yet it was the harsh natural environment that really controlled the population, its overall health and well–being. Hence, when faced with impersonal and sometimes extreme forces of land, sea and sky (causing sickness, disease, damage and death; manifested in destructive storms and floods, etc.), these deterministic forces were made "understandable" in myths. Without an objective science to comprehend and thus adequately control the physical environment, nature could only be divinized and appeased. After empirical scrutiny, polygyny is simply a way to excuse self–restraint in sexual matters. There is no evidence of its having a metaphysical aspect; no economic advantage, except for the idle, unproductive elite. One man cannot perform enough labour to support all his wives and children, unless subscription is made to the fallacy that "it takes a village to raise a child", which is just a rustic expression of "big government" pagan style. Wives become jealous of one another. Which wife to sleep with tonight? Indeed, it is psychologically debilitating for the children. Household chaos. The way I see it, polygyny is just an excuse for a man to satiate his fantasies whenever and wherever a tasty little honeypot catches his attention. It's that simple.

XVIII. What would have become of the Inuit, Beothuk, Algonquin, Athapascan, Iroquoian, Blackfoot, Cree and Objibway peoples if the French had not settled Lower Canada? The English not in Upper Canada? If not Christianized, would the Vikings have returned to Newfoundland after the Little Ice Age? The answer: cultural stagnation and/or eventual disappearance. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that no real distinction existed between the natural and supernatural worlds. This is implicit to the animistic worldview. The entirety of nature – trees, rocks, rivers, sea, sun, sky and moon – were believed to be inhabited by spirits, be they malicious or benign. This failure to see the natural/supernatural dualism in its proper light, namely polarities connected contingently but not necessarily, disallowed them to get an proper grip on the objective, impersonal physical world. The rains yielded maize aplenty. But was it a pluvial deus or a cumulonimbus cloud that produced the rainfall? Simply put, instead of considered as a despiritualized machine, the natural world was apperceived as an organismic entity modulated by extraterritorial powers.[15] You can pray to Pluvius Maximus for a luxuriant harvest, though a weather prediction model, in this case, is better than supplication to some abstract demigod of obscure origin. If you worship nature, the rugged deterministic laws of nature will take no notice of you, irrespective of what you say or do, and as such nature will by and large control all aspects of your life.

XIX. The more consequential problem was political in character. As stated above, a political straightjacket bounded Native peoples, ever tightening around them, causing stagnation. That is, the whims of the tribal chieftains and councils. The pattern followed was analogous with the classical Greeks. As Karl Popper wrote: "when Plato considers religious matters in their relation to politics, his political opportunism sweeps all other feelings aside."[16] Even if the shaman (i.e. the "priest") held some sway, it did not matter because there was no real division between religion and politics, itself related to the abovementioned nature/supernature confusion.

XX. The French and English colonists were imbued (knowingly or not) with two principles, religious in origin, which aided them in avoiding this situation; and whether the colonist a was saint or rogue, priest or explorer, trader or farmer, was irrelative. The first was that imperative to subdue the Earth, as given with the Divine Injunction in Genesis 1.[17] Accordingly, the world was approached in a utilitarian manner, as a subservient thing void of inherent sacred quality. The Earth's resources are, instead, to be harnessed, stored, transported, transacted, dissected, studied, classified for the uses and purposes of man. Man is above nature. The second, more momentous principle was enunciated by the Lord of History: "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's".[18] In his classic work La cité antique, the French historian Numa Denis Fustel de Coulange (1830–1889) went to the crux:

It was the first time that anyone had distinguished God from the State so clearly. For, at the time Caesar was still supreme pontiff, the head and principal organ of the Roman religion. He was the guardian and interpreter of beliefs; he held in his hands both worship and dogma... But behold Christ smashes the alliance that existed between paganism and the Empire! He proclaims that religion is not the State and that obeying Caesar is no longer the same thing as obeying God.[19]

Where with the Natives the world was largely controlled by spirits; where each tribe had its own pantheon of immanentized spirits; where body, soul and belongings of these people were bound to the tribe; where their religion and politics merged into one... now they encounter these explorers and men in black robes enlivened with an astonishing worldview. God is transcendent to the material world. He is One, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. This Christian God makes man focus on his interior, immaterial nature, shifting attention away from the external, material world – yet not distancing himself from it absolutely. Worship is not appeasement out of fear but, instead, is manifested by prayer and faith out of love. It matters not from what tribe or nation you originate, neither your race, nor your status in life, not the nobility of your family line. This Christ is for all humanity and this message must be spread across the oceans, throughout the globe. As such, other clans, foreigners, the weak, the vulnerable, your neighbours, even enemy tribes must be approached with compassion and love. Most astonishingly, you are to forgive your enemy if in whatever way he harms you or speaks falsely against you. What better way is there to form unity amongst all peoples?

XXI. Christianity, or Catholicism more particularly, obligated man first and foremost to God, to the State secondarily. Because Christ made religion and politics separable, it also opened the door to freedom in the political sphere. Man is primarily duty–bound to God, so he is under the authority prescribed by moral law. Still, because of this separation, the State has been released to a significant degree; thus its policies and laws, acknowledging that man is firstly under God's transcendent authority, disallows the immanent Caesar, embodied in one man or an exclusive group, from dictating absolutely to the majority of people. Therefore, these people have greater freedom in public life. From this arose, as mentioned above, personal liberty, individual initiative, resultantly permitting for innovation, growth in science and technology, by way of exploration, in economics, art and so forth. Animated by this worldview, and weighing it against what he observed on the shores of eastern Canada, perhaps this was the reason why Cartier said what he said as said at the outset.


1. See R. Nader, N. Millerton and D. Conacher, Canada Firsts (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1992), passim. Yes, one of the authors is Ralph Nader, but I use it only as a factual reference.

2. E. von Kuehnelt–Leddihn, Leftism, From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p. 340.

3. See D.E. Sugden, "Reconstruction of the Morphology, Dynamics and Thermal Characteristics of the Laurentide Ice Sheet at its Maximum", Arctic and Alpine Research, 1977, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 21–47.

4. This is discussed in the chapter entitled "The Wheels of Defeat" in Fr. Stanley L. Jaki's classic work Science & Creation, From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1986), pp. 49–67.

5. Both the Huron and Iroquois commonly tortured and consumed captives. The remains of 34 cannibalized people were discovered at an archaeological site in eastern Ontario. Reportedly, a chief on Vancouver Island (western Canada) ate 11 slave children.

6. C. Lévi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked, trans. J. Weightman and D. Weightman (The University of Chicago Press, 1983),
Mythologiques, vol. 1, p. 298.

7. Compiled by C. Harrison in Warriors of the North Pacific, Missionary Accounts of the Northwest Coast, the Skeena and Stikine Rivers and the Klondike, 1829–1900, ed. S. Lillard, (Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1984), pp. 160–161.

8. Ibid., p. 168.

9. J.R. Jewitt, The Adventures and Sufferings of John R. Jewitt, Captive Among the Nootka, 1803
1805 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1974), The Carleton Library No. 76, pp. 62–63. Some commentators claim Jewitt's narrative is sensationalized and fabulist, stylistically modified for public consumption. This unsubstantiated argument, of course, is all done in the name of Political Correctness, so as to maintain the myth of the "noble savage".

10. Realm of the Iroquois (New York: Time-Life Books, 1993), p. 62. Author not indicated.

11. See Y. Cohat, The Vikings, Lords of the Seas, trans. R. Daniel (New York: Harry N. Abrams Incorporated, Publishers, 1992), p. 72.

12. B.C. Trigger, The Huron, Farmers of the North (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Incorporated, 1969), Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology, p. 68.

13. H.K. Hara, The Hare Indians and Their World (Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1985), Canadian Ethnology Service Paper No. 63, p. 28.

14. "polygamy was practiced by several individuals", ibid., p. 252.

15. On the failure of science to develop in pagan cultures, see Fr. Jaki's Science and Creation (note 4). Consider also my essay The Origins of Science. LINK

16. K. Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies (Princeton University Press, 1971), The Spell of Plato, vol. 1, p. 199. Originally published in 1944. For the record, I am not an advocate of Popper's philosophy.

17. Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth".

18. Matthew 22:21.

19. Quoted in R. Graham, Vatican Diplomacy, A Study of Church and State on the International Plane (Princeton University Press, 1959), p. 4. The full, English title of Fustel de Coulange's work is The Ancient City: A Study on the Religion, Laws and Institutions of Greece and Rome. First published in 1864. An English language translation of the entire book can be found here.