On the face of it, a Canadian Civil War sounds like a supremely unlikely thing – verging on an impossibility. However, after finishing and publishing my new book, A House Divided, I must admit that it seems much more plausible to me than it did at the outset.
A House Divided features an East-versus-West Canadian Civil War as part of a story which describes events leading to a Second American Civil War. While this is a very unlikely possibility, I must say that I have also come to conclude, over the course of researching writing both A House Divided and my previous series, The Third World War, that such a catastrophe is possible not only in Canada but, in fact, throughout the whole of the Western world in the years ahead. Between the new book and the previous one, I’ve written about, in terms of internal conflict, a new American Civil War, a French Civil War, a Canadian Civil War, a very British coup, and an attempted revolt on the streets of the United States. While, obviously, all of these are fictional, all of them are, to one degree or another, made possible by the strained fiscal circumstances, undermined respect for institutions and the rule of law, and the extreme and divisive politics of our age.
The problem, as depicted in all of my work, may be easily understood: the governments under which all of us live have made fiscal promises that cannot be kept. Further all of those governments (both of the left and right, but primarily of the left) attain and maintain office through the dispensing of large-scale fiscal favors to client groups of all sorts. No government in the world is, in this day of age, noted for showing particular respect for constitutionalism or for the principles of limited government.
What the above means, in effect, is that as the demands for increasing public expenditures on health care, welfare, and public pensions, especially for the aging Baby Boomer generation but also for clients of the state who belong to other demographic cohorts, continue to increase beyond the ability of the state to pay for them using present revenues and available debt-based financing options, these governments will be forced to resort to increasingly-ruthless measures in search of vitally-needed revenue. Having already shown a generalized disdain, even under less-strained conditions, for the rights of individuals outside of their client base and having no particular regard for the concept of limited government, it seems likely that these governments will have little problem with overlooking legal and constitutional niceties in the course of seeking that revenue. Limited and constitutional government, in the best Anglo-American tradition, will be replaced by quasi-democratic despotism where a tiny and privileged elite uses its control of the machinery of the state to buy the votes of temporary majorities to extort from the rest of the people whatever resources that they believe are required to fuel the machinery of the state.
In Canada we have already seen a preview of this in the 2008-2009 affair of the coalition. Though it may be fairly said that the events of those days were legal, it can hardly be fairly asserted that they were even remotely in keeping with the traditions of Westminster parliamentary democracy. Never, anywhere in the annals of Canada’s government and its siblings, has there ever been recorded any example of so naked a grab for power by a defeated group. That conscienceless drive ought to be considered a preview of what might be expected if the present Canadian left were to ever attain power. I, for one, have no doubt that whenever the left next wins an election they will respond by using all of the powers of the state to attempt to use the public purse to secure new clients to maintain them in power eternally while also working to “reform” the electoral system by permanently twisting it to its own advantage.
Should Canada come to a point in its history where it finds itself buckling under the severe fiscal stresses of the decades ahead and under the rule of a government filled with a seething disdain for the productive private sector economy, particularly the resource-extraction element so firmly rooted in the West, does it not seem likely that that government would seek to solve its problems through a strike against its wholly-imaginary Western “enemy”? And might not a move like that, such as some resurrection of the hated National Energy Program, bring about a furious and utterly predictable reaction in the West? And does it not seem possible, even probable, that in turn a left-wing and anti-Western government in Ottawa would in turn respond to that reaction in such a fashion as would create a fearsome confrontation?
None of this is to say that I expect any sort of civil confrontation in Canada or that I consider it to be likely. Nor is it to say that, even under such circumstances as described above, I would welcome such a development. It is to say, however, that so long as we ascribe God-like powers to the state to equalize outcomes and to redress all wrongs, even those inherent in human existence, we run the risk of creating an evil situation that none of us would welcome but that would be made inevitable through the creation of a situation where principled individuals would be left with no choice but either to fight or surrender.