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(A copy of my letter to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accomodation of 2007-8)

It has been suggested by eminent individuals, represented most highly by men such as Cardinal Turcotte and the Commission's own Professor Taylor, that a certain cultural malaise has stricken the people of Quebec of late. Such is the nature of this malaise that it demonstrates itself as a loss of faith -- an existential driftlessness has become most stark when contrasted with the strength of faith of others.

I would rather argue that it is not the loss of a faith, but rather a misplaced one that characterizes the Quebecois condition, and it is the slow shattering of that faith that provokes the egophantic fear that grips us and our political dialogue. Stripped of their confidence in the progress of society towards a utopian fulfillment and challenged by forces that we perceive as reactionary, we lash out in defense of an ephemeral sense of self that we have founded upon a myth of spiritual and material revolution. Now, it is that very self that we sense to be sliding from our grasp.

Quebec's dominant myths have taught us to yearn for apocalyptic fulfillment in our material condition -- we have trust in the communal heavens promised to us by prophets as divergent as Marx and Smith, but who are of one mind in pronouncing that we are engaged in a great project. Thus we desire to experience the truth in its ultimacy in the here and now, and, as Neitchze suggested, have taken God into ourselves to do so. Now though, our faith in our Godlike self is challenged by pagans who, against all logic and rationality, choose to remain pagans -- these Moslems, these Hasidic Jews, these Christian Evangelicals, these Pure Land Buddhists, who insist upon chants and protestations that the modern age, we believe, has proven to be irrational and therefor hollow. In the face of this irrationality, we suspect ourselves of being caught-up in a spiral of decline whose source we cannot pinpoint, born of a love of Self that dare not speak its name, and inspiring a fear that we are losing that most precious part of that which makes us -- that part which is both Ourselves and deity; both subject and recipient of messianic fulfillment.

And now, it seems, to protect this feverish, romantic dream of progressive ascension, we are willing to toy with totalitarianism in order to weed-out or force conformity of those elements in our midst which threaten to wake us up. Like perverse Church Fathers, there are those wandering amongst our ivory halls and cabanes de sucre whom would gladly pronounce excommunication in order to protect the faithful from the corrupting influence of the pagani; but now our Church -- our vehicle of communion with the divine -- is the State itself. And where do it's gabled stories end? Where is there a space outside of our Church for the pagans and the apostates to live in peace and not affect our purity?

Whereas Augustine, in the wake of the sacking of Rome, once counseled the Christian faithful to put not their faith in the City of Man, and store rather their riches in the vaults of the City of God, we, the modern faithful, put our trust solely in that which we have helped build with our own two hands (a rudely broken trust, in the wake of our crumbling bridges and roads). Unlike Augustine, the Buddha, Socrates, Mohammed, or Confucius, we are not so inclined to thank perdition and good fortune that the City has lasted as long as it has whilst we worked on more important matters. We insist that the City must last forever, and have dedicated ourselves to reifying that dream and to training our children to take-up the task should we pass on before its realization. In the meanwhile, we witness the pagans and apostates disrupting the order and our chances of success by working on matters related to the Heavenly City; we react accordingly.

For my part, I cannot offer a trite answer to the questions that are posed by this situation, nor to the roots of their origins; I think, however, that more than enough such answers have been offered to the Commission by those who are too assured of their wisdom by virtue of their position in society. I should, however, suggest certain matters for consideration for those whom we hold responsible for responding to the Commission's advice.

Firstly, if we are to continue to raise children whose most fundamental expression of Selfhood is made only through speaking a certain dialect of French with one of a certain, distinctive selection of accents, how are we to be surprised when an existential panic erupts whenever we are faced with other tongues?

Secondly, if we attempt to choose for ourselves a collective destiny that is tied so closely to a purely linguistic sense of Self, and so patently Utopian, how else should we be expected to react to those whom suggest that our goals and destinies are absurd, fantastic, or dangerous?

Lastly, given our need to protect our Selves by protecting the only destiny that we have ever known, wouldn't we necessarily issue increased demand for our Church of State to protect us from the multitude of tongues and opinions regarding the good that now assail us?

I, for one, expect nothing more than a rational, logical continuation of the xenophobic hysteria that is so deftly being exploited by sophistic individuals such as the Honourable Mme. Marois, leader of the Parti Québecois. That is not to say, however, that I am not saddened to see that, having told ourselves that we have rescued our Souls from the care of priests, we've now handed their cultivation and protection to State bureaucrats and elected politicians. The figure of the Athenian Stranger, in Plato's Laws, once remarked that, from the divine perspective of the Gods, the theatre of human life is truly a comedy. We, the citizens of Quebec, seem inclined to prove him right.

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