The nicest, politest explanation of such swings is the Canadian desire for “peace in the family.” We may not like what is going to be done, but once it has been done, we won’t look back. Paradoxically, the success of “progressive” policies in Canada, advanced in consciously undemocratic ways by our political, legal, academic, and media elites, has depended upon a general public that is “conservative” in the lowest sense. That is to say, a public attitude of “don’t rock the boat,” which is maintained even when pirates are boarding it.
Now, I am a Catholic, and my Church teaches that “despair” is a sin (since it involves the abandonment of hope in eternity). So I opt instead for “desolation,” which is not a sin, merely a psychological response to everything around one being in an advanced state of disintegration. For civilization requires, among other things, a general populace with moral ideas that cannot be altered by the slightest breeze.
Alas, it also requires constant public reinforcement of those moral ideas, or they will in fact drift — since human beings are very prone to choose “the easy way out,” and to tolerate the intolerable rather than make a fuss. Complacency in this sense is a general human, rather than specifically Canadian quality.
Still, when I compare the amount of resistance that is offered to “envelope pushing” up here in Canada, to down there in the States,w I cannot help but conclude that contemporary Canadians are relatively starch-free.
The sad thing is that, while all trends are reversible, the amount of labour and sacrifice that will be required to rebuild a consensus in this country, in support of the moral order, is out of all proportion to the work that was needed to overturn it. It took centuries to inculcate such notions as “you must not kill people to solve your problems,” or, “freedom requires constant vigilance.” It takes only a few years to throw them over, and the task of Sisyphus must begin again.