“Virtue -signalling” erodes constructive debate

di Joe Volpe del July 7, 2020

TORONTO - Eventually there would be a backlash. For a while, it seems, that the idea that “your moral ethic and your icons have caused be personal grief, therefore they are evil and must be eliminated” had lorded it over everyone and everything else. Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien used to say, if you don’t like the law, change it.
Toppling statues, spreading graffiti, erasing the names of people whose past (no matter how far away) we deem injurious to our current “self-image” may appear an attractive substitute in the short term but they have yet to stand the test of time.

Curiously, in our generation, we have already forgotten the “outrage” our own governments expressed when the Taliban tore down historic Buddhas because they were deemed “offensive” to adherents of Islam.

Now we are witnessing our own toppling of icons and “ideas” in the name of… “progressive thought”.

In Canada, as in most civilized societies, there are only two legitimate ways to effect change: public, open debate leading to a decision sanctioned by a duly constituted legislative body, or challenges in the Courts. Interestingly, almost everyone agrees that “language appropriation” is a tactical decision – one to dislodge a contrary view from ascending to a position we hold to be exclusively our own.

For some time, the promoters of disdain, criticism, and vilification by those who have appropriated the “virtuous ground” has gone unchallenged. For any number of reasons, self-defined “progressives” have been given free reign in the public discourse. This has been so even in the context of a time-tested, constitutionally vested rights acquired, and earned, in the educational system for adherents to a specific religious denominational group.

As in all things democratic, vigilance is the sine qua non of any rights and/or liberties. Activist/anarchists have had their sway even in the Toronto Catholic District School Board, thanks to a group of four self-hating, anti-Catholic Trustees who have been consumed with violations of their own Code of Conduct. meanwhile, the rest of the world appears to be settling into a mode of public debate on some of the “moral” issues of the day - stripped of the concept of “sin” but dressed with the usual vocabulary reflective of where societies see their best interests.

One week ago, Italy’s Istituto Superiore per la Sanita’ (counterpart of our National Health Institute) reported that 70% of gynecologists and 40% of anesthetists refuse to perform abortions. These are “conscientious objectors”, if you will, not necessarily motivated by religious affiliation.

The health organization pointed out the number is consistent with that in most European countries. It also referenced the fact that the number of abortions is in a virtual freefall in a secular Europe where, incidentally, in almost all countries deaths outnumber live births. The religious overtones of a “pro-choice vs pro-life” debate no longer resonate with the “sharpness” of the past.

Late last week, a motion presented by a “pro-transsexual rights” MP in the Italian Chamber of Deputies unleashed a tirade of opposition lead by a former MP (female, co-founder of Italy’s aggressive “if not now when”, feminist movement) because the language threatened to reduce women to the status of just one more minority group calling for “equality”. She said she would never support the language of “gender identity” because biologically she was born a woman, as is/are 50% of the population, and such language is regressive and repressive to her sexual identity.

The Italian political system was the first in Europe to elect an openly gay candidate, in 1978, (Nicky Vendola). He went on to become Governor in his province, form and lead his own national party and hold the balance of power in the subsequent national government. He later married a Canadian, former page in Canada’s House of Commons, and moved to Canada a few short years ago. Italy is not some economic or cultural backwater.

Neither is Poland, a country with a population almost identical in size to Canada. In the last 35 years they generated world leading movements (Solidarity) to overthrown oppressive military backed Communist regimes and one towering individual (Saint) Pope Jean Paul II, arguably the most significant world-wide figure effecting change in the last forty years. He visited Canada twice and greeted by adoring crowds numbering in the millions each time.

Earlier in the week, Andrzej Duda, incumbent President of Poland (incidentally, in the past, he has visited Canada and Polish Parishes) won the first leg of his re-election bid by painting himself as a defender of children against the pernicious (his characterization) “anti-children ideology” of the “progressives”.

In Toronto’s Catholic District School Board, “progressive” trustees (the foursome, Rizzo, De Domenico, Di Pasquale and Li Preti) counter with threats of legal action against parents who have an interest in, and a right to, speak on an agenda and curriculum for their children.

To boot, they denigrate the religious tenets that sustain the foundations of the Board they have sworn to uphold as indicative of bigotry and hate.

Three Trustees responded to our request for comment in preparing this article.

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