A prince of a man

In my latest National Post column I praise Prince Philip for his character, modesty and acid wit, three things the modern world needs badly.

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Wish I’d said that – May 7, 2017

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

James Madison, “A Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785” according to The Federalist Patriot Founders’ Quote Daily November 22, 2005 (from Federalist.com)

 

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Sorry, professor, we don’t tolerate diversity here

In my latest National Post column I question the coincidence of Jordan Peterson being suddenly refused a federal government grant after he questioned radical gender orthodoxy.

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Defending Canadian free speech

A story in The B.C. Catholic describes my Jan. 14 speech to POGG Canada upholding freedom, including freedom of speech, as a founding Canadian principle.

P.S. If you’re interested in booking me for a speaking engagement contact Robert Abrams at Big Idea Speakers Bureau or email me at jr- at – johnrobson – dot – ca.

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The Great War Remembered – and printed

With the 100th anniversary of Canada’s great victory at Vimy Ridge fast approaching, I’m delighted to announce that the book version of my documentary The Great War Remembered is now available for purchase.

The First World War was the defining event of the 20th century, shaping the modern world in ways we still feel very strongly today. Modern technology and logistics created unprecedented slaughter, and partly as a result the long, bitter, bloody conflict undermined faith in Western civilization. But it was a necessary war and the Allies did win it, with pivotal contributions from Canada, which “found itself” in the war and especially at Vimy, not just as a nation, but as a free nation determined to defend liberty under law.

It is appropriate that we remember the costs of the war and lament the loss and the missed opportunities. But we should also remember, and celebrate, the determined spirit that stood up to aggression on behalf of a way of life well worth defending even at this terrible cost.

Order your copy today and take a timely, fresh look at an often misunderstood conflict central to the modern world.

p.s. American and international shoppers should purchase directly through Amazon.

p.p.s. We also have the Kindle version available, here.

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Manz Drowned in Zurich – It Happened Today, January 5, 2017

On January 5 Felix Manz was drowned. Which might seem like bad luck and maybe the occasion for a safety campaign. But I’m afraid it’s considerably more unpleasant than that. You see, he was drowned on purpose, in Zurich, on January 5 of 1527, as what I can only assume is a grimly ironic punishment for advocating and practising adult baptism.

Manz was an Anabaptist, part of an extreme wing of the Protestant Reformation, theologically speaking. Among other things they argued that infant baptism was just wetting a baby and that the ceremony could only have spiritual effect if performed on someone who understood it and did it willingly.

I grant that they could be annoying in a mild way, because they also tended to refuse to take oaths, defend the state or go along with civil authorities. They based this conduct on a very literal reading of the Sermon on the Mount and what strikes me as a wilful disregard of the injunction to render unto Caesar that which is rightly Caesar’s in this troubled and sinful world.

However that may be, Manz was not drowned for refusing to take an oath. He was drowned by the state because on March 7, 1526 the very Protestant Zurich council, whose members included the leading theologian Huldrych Zwingli whose ideas had a major influence on John Calvin, had declared adult rebaptism punishable by drowning. Which ought at least to dispel any notion that Protestants were better than Catholics on the topic of freedom of conscience and on separating Church and state. In fact Zwingli himself was killed in battle trying to force Protestantism on Catholic parts of Switzerland.

I’m not very sympathetic to Anabaptist doctrine or behavior in a lot of areas. I And I can see legitimate grounds for jailing people who will not pay a parking ticket because Jesus told them not to. But it’s the behaviour, not the belief, that matters, and it’s the behaviour of refusing to do something necessary to public order.

I don’t have freedom of conscience to run a red light or refuse to testify truthfully in court about seeing someone else do it. But holding a man under water until he dies for wanting to be held under water until God is happy is surely so grotesque that it’s hard to believe anyone would do it, let alone do it proudly.

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