Home/Rod Dreher/Justin Trudeau’s Illiberal Liberalism

Justin Trudeau’s Illiberal Liberalism

Justin Trudeau, the Social Justice Warrior PM (Sergei Bachlakov/Shutterstock)

Class, anybody tell us what the Law of Merited Impossibility is?

That’s right: “It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it.”  

The point is that when liberals promise that an illiberal consequence will not result from some progressive policy they’re pushing, do not believe them, because when that consequence occurs, the liberals will say that it’s justified because it only punishes bigots.

A reader sends in this story from Canada, calling it a perfect example of this kind of thing. Excerpt:

A Canadian government requirement that groups seeking federal grants for student jobs must support abortion rights is inflaming a cultural battle and angering religious groups, opposition politicians and even American conservatives.

Under new guidelines announced in December, groups applying for a federal grant program, which provides roughly $113 million in annual funding for about 70,000 student jobs, must check a box on an electronic form acknowledging that they respect “individual human rights in Canada.”

Those rights encompass women’s reproductive rights, including “the right to access safe and legal abortions.”

In what some critics are calling an “ideological purity test,” the application guidelines, for the Canada Summer Jobs program, have not only offended leading conservatives in Canada, but have also led to anger spilling across the border to religious groups and right-wing ideologues in the United States.

A Canadian pro-life leader tells The New York Times:

He warned that the policy could lead to staff shortages at soup kitchens, shelters, summer camps and small businesses that had received funding from the program, while denying young people work experience.

“Trudeau has politicized a program that up to now was just supposed to be about summer jobs,” Mr. Alleyne said. “In a free and democratic society, you should be able to disagree with the government and not be disqualified because you don’t share Justin Trudeau’s beliefs.”

Even Margaret Wente, a secular liberal columnist at The Globe & Mail, says Trudeau went too far. Excerpts:

Mr. Trudeau and his government like to talk as if women’s reproductive rights were enshrined in the Constitution. In fact, they are not. Canada (wisely, in my view) has no abortion law at all, for the simple reason that trying to write a law would be too divisive and contentious. Yet, to hear our Prime Minister tell it, anti-abortion views are simply un-Canadian. “Women have fought for generations for the right to control their own bodies,” he declared at a townhall meeting last week. “When those [anti-abortion] beliefs lead to actions aimed to restrict a woman’s right on what to do with her body, that’s where we draw the line.”

I am a strong advocate of choice. But I don’t believe that the substantial minority of Canadians who oppose abortion, or some restrictions on it, are un-Canadian. I believe that the liberal doctrine of diversity should allow us to make room for diverse religious and moral perspectives, just as it does for diverse sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds and skin tones. Real diversity should allow for views that are not the views of the prevailing liberal elites.

But that is an increasingly unpopular view. People of traditional Christian faith and values are being relentlessly marginalized in the public square.

And wow, look at this:

I am as lapsed a Christian as they come. But I have a lot of time for people such as Mr. Dreher, who argue that the new orthodoxy of secular individualism is no more tolerant of difference than any other faith. We just don’t see it – because, like all true believers, we believe that people who don’t agree with us suffer from disordered thinking.

The law increasingly exists not to protect minority opinion but to impose majority opinion, Mr. Dreher has written. “Those institutions that hold to Christian orthodoxy are going to be increasingly isolated and stigmatized.”

That is why you will find Mr. Trudeau in mosques, temples, shrines and smudging ceremonies. But one place you won’t find him is in Pastor Jones’s or Ms. Redshaw’s church. Diversity is all very well – but only when it’s good for the brand.

Thank you, Margaret Wente! A liberal who is actually liberal.

You can imagine how American liberals would phrase this, particularly if it had to do with LGBTs: “Why should my tax dollars go to support people who discriminate?” Even if soup kitchens, medical providers, and others have to suffer, nothing, but nothing, matters more to these militants than enforcing orthodox secular liberal doctrine. As I’ve written in The Benedict Option, law professors and others who follow this debate in the US expect courts in the years to come to rule mostly in favor of progressive illiberalism in the years to come.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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