Like some other bloggers you might read, I was also in attendance at last week's Mark Steyn book signing at the Bay and Bloor Indigo. I didn't get a front row seat- I stood at the sidelines, in the shadows.
As these other writers note, it was a case study: articulate, wordy, and prescient author calls attention to things that are desperately wrong with society, and the peacemaking, bridge-building, empathic, centrist elites pulls the veil right back over what has been revealed. There, in the soft light of the Manulife Centre, the central tension of what we do was exposed for all to see, if only for a moment, before Heather Reisman smoothed it over.
And yet Steyn, to his credit, was able to pierce the veil by exposing the flaw inherent in Reisman's calls for tolerance. "A society, that is prepared to tolerate extreme intolerance in the name of liberalism, has signed its own death warrant"- this, of course, struck a chord with Reisman because she and all the others who cannot bring themselves to accept the existence of evil know that we are right. In the dark corners of her mind, she feels the same fear of the Other that all humans feel.
She cannot allow herself to acknowledge that fear. None of them can, because they prize social acceptability over all. But the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men (and women, and transpeople, and two-spirited individuals, etc. etc.....)
Ignorance of the darkness, the looming threat- be it a refusal to accept the corruption of a Liberal government at Queen's Park, soft-pedalling the threat posed by Justin Trudeau on the part of CPC staffers grown complacent, or the attempt to normalize the loss of speech caused by the Charlie Hebdo killings- leads inevitably to disaster. It is the same covering of the truth by the polite segment of society in every case, every time.
The left can be counted on to acknowledge the place of ugliness and darkness in society, as something to be fought against. In this, they are closer to the truth than the dead weight centre represented by Reisman. But they see this darkness as unnatural. They believe that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and general dislike of the Other is the result of invisible conspiracies by the powerful perpetrated against the powerless as opposed to natural, basic feelings felt by everyone.
When the various segments of the left proclaim that they are bathing in male tears, shouting "die cis scum", calling for wealth redistribution through government action or saying racism against white people does not exist, it is the same unwillingness to look at the truth, to accept that these thoughts come from the same dark places as anything that issues forth from the right side of the spectrum. No amount of education, of validation of feelings, of common ground or of striving for intersectionality can ever fully beat back the darkness.
It is with us everywhere, and the only cure is too look into the shadows and confront, to accept, what is there without fear, to constantly remind ourselves that we are human despite our best intentions and our best actions.
The spectre of hate and intolerance will haunt us forever. Fight it, but acknowledge its power, and your own lack of power in the times that you fail.
Ah, but no. You will throw it back in our faces and say, "I don't believe." You will hide in your safe spaces. You will judge and cast us out. Again, the supposedly tolerant will reveal their own intolerance. Predictable. All too predictable. All too human!
And so the cycle continues. Plenty followed by war, boom followed by bust, empires declining only to be replaced by new empires. This is the story, the only story, told and retold a thousand different times.
Just wait and see.