It is a terrible thing sometimes to live in a clown world. I would like to state at the outset that like many people I am not terribly fond of clowns. As a child I found them to be deeply creepy and my opinion of them has not greatly improved over the course of years. If I am more inclined to pity clowns than I am to hold them in contempt, I am certainly not fond of a world where people disguise their face in order to distract and amuse in a world where distraction and amusement is not the appropriate sort of response to what is going on.
For years now we have been treated to the phenomenon of Canada seeking to present itself a model of a well-functioning democracy, and today such claims have been put paid for a long period of time. After giving dictatorial power to their current Prime Minister, who has already demonstrated an appalling lack of good sense and restraint as a leader in putting up with well-deserved criticism, it is likely that Canada will not be able to set itself as a good example of a nation for some time. While today offered a chance for well-principled members of the Canadian ruling party to rein in their leader and preserve some sense of sanity, it so happened that only the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois were interested in preserving the norms of Canadian politics in the face of the premier’s power grabs, supported by the ruling Liberals and the NDP, neither of which has any credibility as a pro-democratic party now.
On the same day that Canada was sliding into totalitarian rule, we were treated to an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, following the standard sort of Russian playbook when it comes to violating the borders of its neighbors. First, Russia isolates those nations with promises of respect for borders in exchange for actions to preserve those nations’ neutrality and weakness–in the case of Ukraine, involving the destruction of thousands of nukes that would have more effectively guaranteed its defense than any promises or agreements from Russia–all the while intervening and neglecting its own obligations when it has the chance to press its power. Just as it did with the Crimea years ago, Russia has recognized the independence of a puppet breakaway state that has been propped up by Russian efforts, and we can imagine that such territories will soon be swallowed up into mother Russia and used to project Russian power further westward.
That this is alarming is all the more true because rarely has the West been ruled by more feckless and incompetent leaders, most of whom lack any kind of genuine mandate. Germany is ruled by a weak coalition, and the rest of the rest is ruled over by leaders whose competence and mandate are certainly not above challenge or reproach. On top of that, there is no great enthusiasm to stand up against Putin or China among the people of the West or international institutions which have long been subverted to a cowardly party line that avoids stating obvious but impolitic truth because of the lure of corrupt money for corrupt institutions. Rarely has the entire West been led in such a fashion where no leader inspires confidence, and given the times, one cannot think that any leader who would seek to inspire confidence is going to be ultimately good for the nations and institutions in Europe or North America. We live in dangerous times, made all the more dangerous because we have lost sight of what it is that makes our civilization and our freedom and our well-being possible. Few generations are receiving a fate as richly deserved as our own, small comfort it is to those of us who see such things happening.