I must confess that I love Central Europeans. Especially Hungarians. Why? The motto I composed on my business card, the one that encapsulates my philosophy, explains why. It reads, “Candor before tact, honesty before diplomacy.” Ever since I was introduced to my uncle Jack’s Hungarian wife, my aunt Marion, and her family in Calgary, Alberta, I was impressed by their typically blunt, direct and candid speech, and a refreshing honesty that underpinned the close friendships which they formed. The quality of conversation and personal relationships which they enjoyed was beyond that which most Canadians experience. The Hungarian belief seemed to be that durable harmony between people cannot be achieved with a superficial truce. Reserved inhibitions and dissembling pretence are the enemy of truth. The apostles of chaos are superior souls to the apostles of order. Only by venting differences with frank discourse can ultimate reconciliation be achieved. Hungarian dialogue appeared to me to be prototypical Gestalt therapy. It is the very antithesis of contemporary CBC doctrine and the Canadian “peace keeping” persona.
How my Hungarian relatives must have chafed at the student Marxism of the late sixties. They fought Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails in 1956, and when the revolution was crushed, fled to Canada, as did George Jonas. Like me, they came to regard free speech not as Canadians now do, as simply one “right” to be balanced off against other “rights”, but the very condition of all rights. In an interview given some years ago, Jonas explained that it is only when you have lived in a country that is not free, that you realize that, as he put it, “liberty is a bargain at any price”.
The tragedy was that Jonas, and my Hungarian relatives, jumped from the frying pan into a fire that did not ignite until it was too late to see the smoke. When he arrived in 1956, or soon after he became conversant in English, he noted that two sayings were popular in Canada. Whenever someone disagreed with your statements, he or she would add, “Oh, it’s a free country. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.” But eventually, Jonas observed, that saying virtually disappeared, to be replaced by another: “There ought to be a law”. And within 15 years, there was a law, he said with emphasis. (I would nominate a final expression as the latest mutation in Canadian speech. “I am offended.”) He compared Canada to a moody woman that you courted. “The moment she says she likes something, she tells you the next day that she loathes it.” No sooner did he come to know Canada as a free society, it changed into something else---a regulated society. “If we lose the qualities that made Canada free, the Canada that I knew 50 years ago, we will eventually resemble the countries that refugees escaped from.” I am afraid that has already come to pass. The laws against “hate speech”, and the kangaroo courts of Human Rights Tribunals and workplace adjudications, have chilled discussion and debate in Canada to the point that self-censorship now does the dirty work for the kind of quasi-judicial censorship outlined by law. One can only concur with Jonas that yes, “it is possible to live in a society that is not free---it is just terribly restrictive.”
Jonas was somewhat scathing in his characterization of intellectuals and their double standard toward “the two totalitarianisms” of Nazism and Communism. Just as Marxists described religion as “the opiate of the masses”, Jonas described Marxism as the opiate of the intelligentsia. Even those who were not presently Marxists, embraced Marxism as a right of passage, and were retroactively tolerant of their past affliction. They remained in a kind of “quasi-Marxist” fog, and never thought it permissible to have gone through a “Nazi” phase. Hungarian refugees were puzzled by the reaction of some Canadian intellectuals who believed that while experience was an advantage in any of life’s endeavours, somehow if you experienced communism, that detracted from your credibility as anti-Communist. The truth about Marxist Leninism was not permitted to challenge the intellectuals’ world view. “They did not want the facts to interfere with their ideas”, Jonas explained. Sound familiar?
Have things changed since then? Not in your life. Canada’s high priests of soft totalitarianism, the Secular Multicultural Growthist Theocracy, “those who know better”, the mouthpieces of the chattering classes, “the herd of independent thinkers” who find a ready podium at Mother Corp, CBC Pravda, are in as much of a stupor as those whom Jonas met as a recent refugee. It is Official Multiculturalism, and the cant of “cultural diversity”, not Marxism, which is now the opiate of the intellectuals. Cultural relativism has replaced Christianity as the state religion. Its first commandment: All Cultures are Equal---except THEIRS is more equal than ours, which actually, never existed to begin with, according to the Party line. Canada is no longer the true north strong and free, but merely “Home to the World”, a vast and empty warehouse for a steady stream of migrants and refugees from safe areas, half of whom file fraudulent claims.
Australian sociologist Katherine Betts has examined this phenomenon. She uses the term "new class" (a group similar to what former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich calls "symbolic analysts") to describe the intelligentsia, professionally-educated internationalists and cosmopolitans, lawyers, academics, journalists, teachers, artists, activists, and globetrotting business people and travelers. Her cogent analysis of why the new class has eschewed the cause of limiting immigration in Australia is germane to the case of U. S. environmental leaders: "The concept of immigration control has become contaminated in the minds of the new class by the ideas of racism, narrow self-seeking nationalism, and a bigoted preference for cultural homogeneity....Their enthusiasm for anti-racism and international humanitarianism is often sincere but there are also social pressures supporting this sincere commitment and making apostasy difficult." And later: "Ideologically correct attitudes to immigration have offered the warmth of in-group acceptance to supporters and the cold face of exclusion to dissenters." It is "politically incorrect" to talk of reducing immigration, or indeed of population stabilization and reduction anywhere. It is significant that Bett’s “new class” was just the term that the expelled and imprisoned Yugolavian Communist, Milovan Djilas, used as the title of his book that vivisected Tito’s ruling clique so well. Totalitarian mentality appears in many ideological guises, and intellectuals are most commonly afflicted. In the post war Eastern Europe the ideology was Communism. It has another name here.
In Canada, as in many other places, it is all about economic growth, and preparing a climate of intellectual terrorism that makes it impossible to question it. Multiculturalism is just a flag of convenience, a banner to cloak naked corporate greed. Perhaps it is best to ignore the trailer, and aim our guns at the plane itself---growth.
Jonas survived the CBC gauntlet of advancing political correctness for 23 years as a script editor and producer, until he left in 1985. One wonders, would the CBC hire a man like him today? I rather doubt it as well.