What does Canada Day mean to you? I can tell you what it means for me.
Canada’s golden age was between 1840 and the 1900s, before World War 1.
You may say, Caleb, Canada wasn’t a country in 1840.
But I’m afraid I have to disagree. When Upper and Lower Canada were united and given responsible government, I contend that this was the actual beginning of Canada. The move from colony to nation-state didn’t occur all in 1867.
Hell, the country didn’t get its constitution from England until 1982. On February 10th, 1841, politicians unified Canada. From the shores of Lake Superior to the ports of Montreal and Quebec City.
And then, we know the rest of the story. Other British North American settlements merged with the Canadians, and eventually, we all became Canadian.
Canada Day: Hemp History
In 1606, French botanist Louis Hebert planted the first hemp crop in North America in Port Royal, Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia). In 1801, the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Upper Canada distributed hemp seed free to Canadian farmers. Canadians used the robust fibre of the hemp plant for ropes, clothes, and other goods.
The 19th century in British North America was the golden age. The world had barely changed from 1800BC to 1800AD. But by the end of the century, the world would be unrecognizable.
Living standards rose. Goods and services fell in prices; wages increased in purchasing power.
Of course, governments interfered with gold and the monetary system. However, banks were still independent enough that consumers could withdraw their funds and put a run on the banks. A bank run, while unstable, is one of our most remarkable remedies against fractional reserve banking.
So what happened? How did we go from A to B?
In 1840 Canada had a functioning capitalist economy with strong civil institutions and a government that more or less stayed out of the daily affairs of individuals and commerce. In 2022 we have a bankster-run stock-market casino of debt, war, and welfare. And despite the legalization of cannabis/hemp, we are far from a classical liberal free market.
What Happened to Canada?
In the late 19th century, especially as technology and capitalism made life more luxurious for many people, God’s death was easy to come by. Scientific progress increased our understanding of the world. The primitive stories of the Bible looked more like myths than anything true.
These myths or narratives can provide value and give life meaning. But after nearly 1900 years of Christianity, new ideas had come.
Democracy and socialism consumed the minds of men and women. Without God as the head of the State, we can, as free men and women, choose the most capable leader among us by voting in a free and fair democratic election.
Through Canada’s democratic institutions, we become masters of our fate.
But since Parliament can’t keep up with the proliferation of legislation they’ve created, subordinate bodies have been established to carry out the details of every statute.
Unlike MPs, we don’t elect these people. And unlike the private sector, we can’t stop paying their salaries by patronizing competitors.
Performing excellent or lousy work isn’t a criterion imposed by the end-user. In other words, I can’t bankrupt Health Canada by not using them. A hierarchy of commands rules the day, and sufficient political capital or budgetary crises are usually needed before anyone even risks losing their jobs.
Is Growing Government Justified?
Technology and capital have increased and become more complex. Private enterprises must respect “public health and safety.” So it follows that the legislative response must be involved and nested in technical language, covering various activities.
That’s why government grows beyond “classical” liberalism.
But does this argument follow?
Must government grow larger and become more of a tax burden because people want to buy, sell, invest, and consume?
Proponents of the State will say, “because there is no area of human life and affairs not covered by law, we need laws in order to maintain our free and civil society. So when a problem arises, politicians and/or the public demand legislation in order to solve it.”
Yet, as Upton Sinclair famously said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
The Trouble with Canada
The more problems governments can contrive, whether real or imagined, the better off they are. It doesn’t need to be nefarious. It’s just human nature. That’s why real liberals are government skeptics, not their cheerleaders.
This is obvious in the cannabis space. Those who believe in the merger of state and corporate power champion Trudeau’s legalization scheme. Those aware of what constitutes a free society are appalled by it.
The current State of Canada demands that we ask ourselves whether legislation and the resulting branch of administrative law are the best means for resolving our complex social problems.
Since World War II, and definitely after the 1960s, a proliferation of legislation at federal and provincial levels has delegated authority to inferior tribunals that set policy, enforce and render decisions.
Governments, through taxpayers, supply budgets for permanent staff and their pensions and funds for hiring outside consultants and experts.
At a minimum, each public sector employee makes at least $20,000 a year. Many are making a lot more. Public sector employees only “work” six hours daily but get paid for eight. Ottawa is the only city in Canada where rush hour is at 3 pm.
In the private sector, an employee is likelier to work eight and a half hours a day and only get paid for seven and a half.
Public sector employees pay consultants and contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars to do “work” while they get paid to check the “work.”
And the reason I keep putting “work” in quotations is that government work is different from work in the private sector.
Government is a bastardization of the real thing.
Free Markets v. Bureaucracy
Entrepreneurs in the private sector are responsible for their capital. It’s money they’ve raised or earned on a consensual basis. They use prices and factor in capital goods for accounting and balancing the books. When they do this, they perceive scarcity and provide consumers with the most efficient uses of resources.
This is not what government bureaus do when they mimic the real thing. Businesses must find a way to persuade individuals to give them money. Government taxes.
Bureaucrats pricing goods, purchasing capital equipment, factoring components into the production structure — it means nothing. It’s a confirmation bias.
Entire countries have attempted to run their economies, believing that capitalism is merely arithmetic the government can replicate. This mistake cost hundreds of millions of lives over the 20th century.
Unfortunately, Canada’s political elites and the corporate press have not bothered to learn these lessons.
It’s little wonder that taxes and government borrowing have trended upward with no end.
A Canada Day Solution
Nevertheless, we should probably find transcendental values beyond participation in Canada’s democracy. Democracy is a tool, not a religion or way of life.
With its ethical and financial costs, state intervention has crowded out the spontaneity of regulatory rules and customs that once flourished in private life and business. The poor and less fortunate were once the responsibility of civil institutions like the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, the Kinsmen Club, and the Lions Club.
We’ve now outsourced that problem to politicians. Our taxes are high, but our social programs are inefficient despite whatever level of funding they receive. Our streets are full of homeless and drug-dependent.
The State mediates to an increasing extent in regulating private conduct, and the ramifications are detrimental to liberty and prosperity.
And whenever conservatives or libertarians attempt to dial back the State, we are met with cries of “deregulation.” The people denouncing a culling of the State are the same people who believe defending Western culture and traditions is “racist” and an example of “white privilege.”
But the fact remains: we are a society heavily taxed and regulated by various levels of government that run counter to the ideas of liberty Canadians lived with 155 years ago.
The 19th century was an age of political deliberation when politicians and the public had confidence in the power of words.
Today, the strong monarchical element in our system has been displaced by a populist PMO. And in the postmodernist tradition, words and definitions no longer describe real things. They have become arbitrary proposals for the use of a term.
How To Save Canada Day
To return to a golden age, one must accept the universal truth that “every step that leads away from private ownership of the means of production and the use of money is a step away from rational economic activity.”
To save Canada’s democracy, we have to rely less on it.
Canada may never return to a classically liberal government. The country may break up into smaller regions. Or, a top-down socialist or fascist “strongman” may swoop in and make matters worse.
Whatever happens, here’s one way we can save Canada before things get too out of control.
A Cannabis Democracy
First things first, establish “Special Economic Zones” (SEZ) in Canada. This isn’t a made-up thing. A lot of third-world countries attempt SEZs for various reasons.
In Canada’s example, taxes and regulations would be nonexistent in these zones. Protection of life and property emerges from voluntary association and trade. No one tells anyone what to do without their consent.
The idea is to provide a real-life comparison. Give Canadians a choice between living in their so-called representative democracy or an SEZ.
The SEZ will focus on hemp and cannabis as its staple commodity. The environmental record of this society will surpass anything stemming from Ottawa.
Justin Trudeau’s treasonous sell-out to the World Economic Forum attempts to “build back better.” But a quick history lesson about Mao’s China and the USSR will debunk that nonsense.
In reality, free markets produce prosperity. The Anglo-American common law system is the closest we’ve ever come to free markets in law and order. And the result was a golden age for Canada.
We can reproduce that prosperity. And we can do it with cannabis and hemp. But first, we must abandon our emotional commitments to ideas that haven’t worked out for the ordinary person. We must eat humble pie and realize that Canada’s democracy pits us against each other and benefits a ruling class more than anyone else.
As the French philosopher and economist Frederic Bastiat once said, “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”