Lament For A Nation – A Review
(Originally written as a review for Good Reads)
Here is a must-read for all Canadians – George Grant’s classic masterpiece, documenting the poor decisions which led to the loss of sovereignty of Canada to the US empire, just at a time when the British empire had been weakened enough that our former subservience to that great power could be severed, and the nation finally become truly free and independent.
While the book became, and remains, seminal in the literature of Canadian history and politics, it’s lessons have yet to be learned, and are as relevant today as they were when Grant’s essay was first published, more than fifty years ago.
Grant’s critique holds all the more power and poignancy, because it does not come from the left, nor even from a liberal vantage point, but from a conservative. And while I cannot agree with him on everything, Grant shows what a conservative of conscience might look like, and represent. Neoconservatives, such as George W. Bush, or Stephen Harper and his posse of saboteurs and corporate raiders, should stop and listen, and reflect.
I don’t agree with all aspects of Grant’s view (the biggest thing I disagree with is his pessimism), but the crux of his argument is a devastating critique of political weakness in the face of imperial powers – and that is a message which needs to be heard, because it simply speaks the truth.
Anyone living outside of Canada, who wishes to understand Canada, its history, politics or people, should read Grant’s major work. Within Canada, the Liberals, the NDP, the Green Party, and especially the Conservative Party, along with all other Canadians, simply must read (or re-read) this book.
Yes, I am Canadian, and proudly so. But no matter where I may have been born, or where I might live or call home, I despise imperialism, and the imposition or dominance of one nation or power over another. If I were American, I would join the American Anti-imperialist League, along with Mark Twain and other great Americans. Being Canadian, I find kindred spirits in George Grant, Margaret Atwood, George Woodcock, David Orchard and Maude Barlow, among many others who have stood up for Canada and have opposed political, economic or cultural domination by any power.
If we value freedom, or democracy, or independence, as we should, then we should value it for ourselves and others alike. Both subservience and domination are abominations to the soul, to human dignity, and to any nation – be it the dominating or the submissive party. We should be disgusted by either attitude, and repudiate them both alike.
J. Todd Ring,
October 18, 2015