Grant praised Diefenbaker for rejecting America’s request to place nukes on Canadian soil. He predicted (in 1965!) that scientists’ growing “control of heredity” and that their “victories in biochemistry and psychology will give the politicians a prodigious power to universalize and homogenize.” He saw that “modern civilization makes all local cultures anachronistic,” and that America was the spearhead of modern progress. He chastised American “conservatives” for failing to realize this, noting that they were simply the mouthpieces for an alternative form of liberal progressivism. Not that he thought that the Marxists were any better; he knew that they were worse. But even so, “The United States is no longer a society of small property owners, but of massive private and public corporations. Such organizations work with scientists in their efforts to master nature and reshape humanity. Internationally, the power of these corporations has destroyed indigenous cultures in every corner of the globe. Communist imperialism is more brutally immediate, but American capitalism has shown itself more subtly able to dissolve indigenous societies.” ~Jeremy Beer, Reactionary Radicals

Reading the Red Tory philosopher in the last couple of years, I was reminded that conservatives did not have to be the intellectual lackeys of corporate interests and that, in fact, no one worthy of the name conservative was. Grant made paleo-style complaints against corporate consolidation and critiques of imperial hubris in terms much more stark than anything most conservatives here could manage, and I came away convinced that his basic critique of our conservatism as warmed-over liberalism was unfortunately only too correct.

In addition to Lament for a Nation, which is excellent, Grant’s English-Speaking Justice and Technology and Empire are worth a look. This window onto the Canadian conservative tradition also caused me to look again at the history of the Loyalists and the Fathers of the Confederation to appreciate the kind of traditional conservatism they expounded and to consider the expulsion of Loyalists to be one of the great, if perhaps understandable, mistakes of the early Republic.