Suspicion about today’s King Herods

By Hendrik van der Breggen
The Carillon, December 21, 2017
Suspicion about today’s King Herods
Christmas is a time for celebration, but this season I’ve come to view it also as a time for suspicion.
By “suspicion” I don’t mean concern over the usual suspects—consumerism, commercialization, over-eating, drinking to excess—though these are serious problems. Rather, I mean evidence-based suspicion of what I call “today’s King Herods.”
Remember King Herod? He was a king at the time of Jesus’ birth. He told the Magi, who were looking for the newly-born Christ child, that when they found Him they should report back on Jesus’ location, so Herod could come and worship Jesus too.
But Herod wanted to murder Jesus. So when the Magi didn’t report back, Herod set out the policy that every infant boy in and around Bethlehem should be killed.
In other words, Herod was a ruler willing to use stealth and death of innocents to maintain power.
So, who might today’s King Herods be? I submit that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many in his Liberal government are good candidates.
Ah, you say, Professor van der Breggen is getting cranky in his old age—and maybe he’s drinking too much eggnog! I plead guilty on both counts. But bear with me as I give three reasons for my suspicion.
(Judge the reasons, not the old geezer with eggnog in—and on—his mug.)
First, our PM seems to admire power more than goodness. Remember last year when Trudeau praised Fidel Castro? Trudeau described Castro as a “remarkable” person who “served” and “had tremendous dedication and love for” the Cuban people.
But Castro murdered thousands of political dissenters by firing squad, locked up additional thousands of dissenters in brutal prison cells, forced thousands of men, women, and children to flee in rickety boats in shark-infested waters (while Castro’s soldiers shot at them), and impoverished the millions of Cubans who didn’t escape.
Castro was a murderous tyrant. But our PM says a murderous tyrant “served” his people? Our. PM. Says. A. Murderous. Tyrant. SERVED. His. People.
Now couple Trudeau’s praise of Castro with the fact that our PM also will not tolerate pro-life persons as Liberal Members of Parliament. And throw these facts into the mix: abortion kills a human being (a human child); 100,000 abortions occur in Canada yearly; the vast majority of these are not due to the hard cases (rape, incest, serious threat to life of mother). (For perspective: annual homicides in Canada amount to about 600.)
Let that sink in.
Second, our PM employs stealth to pass bills that would be detrimental to opponents, especially those who hold moral views contrary to his.
Remember a few months ago when Trudeau’s government attempted to pass Bill C-51? The bill seemed innocuous on the surface (updating sexual assault protection and deleting obsolete laws). But it would also remove the only explicit Criminal Code provision (Section 176) that would protect freedom of worship from disruption.
Let that sink in, too.
(Many thanks to our vigilant opposition MPs for catching this!)
Third, now our PM and his “pro-choice” government are bent on squelching the choice of pro-life employers to receive summer job grants for students. This program becomes public December 19, 2017.
To be eligible for summer job grants for students, employers must sign an “attestation” to express support for so-called “reproductive rights” (a.k.a. abortion).
Moreover, this “attestation” also requires employers to agree with the government’s views on other controversial matters: e.g., gender identity and expression.
In other words, Canada’s federal government is (to use a phrase from John Stackhouse Jr.) “ratcheting down on dissent.”  Doesn’t this smack of ideological fascism?
Think about it: Obeying the law is one thing; requiring expressions of agreement (on non-Charter matters) is quite another.
And doesn’t this (also) smack of stealth?
Like Herod’s policy, the PM’s policy comes into effect at Christmastime. In our Canadian context this means many of us are too busy with Christmas to think about our government’s machinations.
And some of us are drinking too much eggnog.

Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, is associate professor of philosophy at Providence University College. The views expressed in this column do not always reflect the views of Providence.
For further thought: 

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