Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Family and Culture

What can I say, I took what I had been told was the reliable laptop, and it crashed. Twice. And took out all my notes on Dr. Crowley's speech. What you have here I was able to rewrite from memory (except Q&A) and while it does not cover the whole speech it at least covers the main point. Family is where children learn to be good citizens and exercise self control. Social programs are undermining the family. I am sorry about this and I will address my laptop issue (preferably by taking a heavy object to it. That would at least make me feel better) in future.

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

Brian Lee Crowley, PhD
, is the founding President of AIMS, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

Crowley is a frequent commentator on political and economic issues for the CBC, Radio-Canada and many other media, and is a former member of the Editorial Board of The Globe and Mail and of the National Political Panel on Morningside with the late Peter Gzowski on CBC Radio. His articles appear in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, La Presse and numerous regional and local newspapers. He holds degrees from McGill and the London School of Economics, including a doctorate in political economy from the latter.

His book Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Founding Values includes an assessment of the tremendous importance of strong families for political and economic stability in Canada today.

Theodore Dalrymple said that there is an unholy alliance between liberals and libertarians. Libertarians believe that how people parent, marry, do whatever, is a free market place choice that is completely autonomous. Liberals believe that the state has the responsibility to pick up the pieces when this devastates the children.

My book is a celebration of the founding values of Canada which existed for the first hundred years of our nation.

Some people seem to believe that the founding fathers were just cranky Calvinist, mean spirited kill-joys, who just wanted people to be obedient. However they had a view of what makes people happy, They believed that family and work are what fulfill people and make them happy. It is what creates adults, what separates a child from a man. Infants are totally dependent, but as they grow up they learn independence through a sometimes painful process. However as they grow up they learn responsibility and this results in self respect, honour, and reputation from society.

They believed that the first nature of people is to avoid work, is to want to be dependent on other people. A society that makes it too easy for people to not work, to live off the labour of others, is putting temptation in the way of people who are weak. It is like like leaving a laptop in an unlocked car.

This is what socialism does. It removes the need for family as the last resort in hard times. This makes it increasingly difficult to justify why you would stay together in hard times. Why you would support the family.

Now it is easier to get divorce and the government will be there to pick up the pieces afterwards.

Welfare, to take one example, a study found that when welfare rates went up 100-200 a year the probability of being a single parent went up 5%.

Why is family important to the economy?

Character is taught. Aristotle taught that what we do is what we become. This is our second nature, we are born with one nature, a selfish one. We have to learn our second nature which can be better.

Family is where character is formed. Parents teach children self control. They learn the values that will make them successful in life. They learn to work hard by watching their parents. Their parents teach them that they can't have whatever they want whenever they want it. They must sacrifice short term pleasure to long term goals.

This teaching must start before children even realize the benefit of it. This causes a tension between parents and children because children don't want to learn restraint. However this restraint will serve them well in life. It will be what inspires them to finish school, avoid teen pregnancy, get a good job, save for a car or house, and ultimately get married and have children of their own.

Family and children is not merely a private affair. It is the foundation on which all our values, our freedoms, our society is built.

However a too generous social state interferes in family and makes it less necessary for economic reasons, but it is still necessary for social ones.

Q: In business management people are being told to adapt to employees that are less self controlled, fostering welfare attitudes in them.

A: An article headline summed up what you are saying, "Dude Where's My Office". People need to understand that they don't bring worth with them, they create worth by work. Employers are not there to accommodate employees. Employees are there to work for their employers.

Q: What role do other institutions(?) play in the family?

A: You can read his book for more on that subject. He has no interest in regulating family size, but women are having too few children. The government needs to see if they are dis-incentivising having children. Family breakdown is contributing to low birthrates because women feel insecure and thus have huge incentive to work more and have fewer children.

Q: People are now trying to make up for this loss of ethics/character by teaching it in schools and universities. Why is this insufficient?

A: Many reasons. Our character is formed before we are an adult. Character must be formed at home when small because no teaching does not create a vacuum, it creates bad character. Adult character is very, very hard to mold and change.

Q: There is a labour shortage coming up. Will this have a negative affect on families as women are strongly encouraged to go to work?

A: IMFC is/should be looking into that.

Q: In the royal family we once had a visible, authoritative representation of family loyalty. Where can we find that now?

A: The Royal Family did symbolise (not so much now) majesty in many institutions. Today? Um.... Brittny Spears? Actually celbrities are important. Kids smoke because cool people smoke. If an actress gets a haircut, everyone gets a haircut. Symbolic representation is very powerful. How do you make it credible for large numbers of people is a big question. Good question, don't have an answer.

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