Thursday, July 19, 2012
Review of Brad Jersak, George P. Grant: Minerva’s Snowy Owl: Essays in Political Theology (FWP, 2012).
Only when the dusk starts to fall
does the owl of Minerva
spread its wings and fly
George Grant is, without much doubt, one of Canada’s most significant public intellectuals, philosophers and theologians. He has dared to ask questions that few have, and he has ventured into territory that even fewer dare go. Grant was a creative thinker who sought to interpret and apply the fullness of the Western and Eastern Traditions to the plight and problems of the 20th century. He was, in short, like the philosophic owl of bygone days---wise, and as Jersak rightly notes in the title of collected essays, a snowy white owl-----pure in his longing and quest for wisdom.
The subtitle also speaks much about the recently published book by Jersak------it is a series of ‘essays in political theology’. There has been a silly tendency to separate theology and political philosophy by some----such were and are the prejudices of much of modernity---Grant never did this, and Brad, faithful to Grant does not do this.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Two hundred years ago, on June 1, 1812, United States President, James Madison, declared war on England and its North American Colonies. Now from a 200 year old perspective, 2012 is going to be a reflective and patriotic year in Canada as it goes down memory lane to revisit the events, meaning, and impact, of this war on Canadian identity as a nation. In 1812, the conquest of New France in1760 by England was still a recent painful memory for those living in Lower Canada; for those in Upper Canada, the majority, as Tories, had chosen to remain loyal to Britain during the American revolution of 1776, and had, as Empire Loyalists, emigrated largely to the area we call Ontario today, and to the Maritimes. The war of 1812 involved what existed then, Lower and Upper Canada, (Quebec and Ontario) and the Maritimes. Now scant decades after these social political dislocations and migrations, the death and destruction by American militia type incursions into Canadian Communities around the great lakes affected both English loyalists and French Canadians, and a deepened sense of Canadian identity was forged. Some Canadian historians have identified the war of 1812, more than the loyalist migration from revolutionary United States, as being the significant beginning of Canadian nationalism (Mac Kirdy, Moir and Zoltvany, 1971, p. 117). But read any Canadian History book and you will likely not hear much of the war’s effect on, or participation of, First Nations peoples.