Canadian Modernity and Its Discontents

by Christopher Berger George Grant’s Lament for a Nation remains a seminal treatment of the state of the Canadian national identity more than four and a half decades after its initial publication. Perhaps even timelier now in the twenty-first century in light of events following its first appearance, Grant’s book addresses the highly controversial and divisive issue of Canadian nationalism in an age in which … Continue reading Canadian Modernity and Its Discontents

Debating Canada – A Reading List for Canada’s 150th

by Chris Berger This year, 2017, marks the sesquicentennial of Canada’s founding. With Canada Day upon us, you’re probably busy planning weekend camping trips and backyard barbecues. Me being me, however, I’m using the occasion to fill any time not spent prepping for the aforementioned parties with my nose buried in books about the birth of Canada and its continuing trials and debates. Perhaps now … Continue reading Debating Canada – A Reading List for Canada’s 150th

Political Redux – May 2017

by Chris Berger It’s an interesting time to be a politico in Alberta, and depending on how one is engaged, that could be good, bad, exciting, ominous, or just plain confusing and frustrating. Theoretically, the next formal political milestones should be the municipal elections in Edmonton and Calgary this fall. Practically, however, all eyes are on the recently announced agreement in principle between the Wildrose … Continue reading Political Redux – May 2017

Making Do With Mere Civility

by Chris Berger Think of the word politics. And then, think of a typical conversation about politics: on the LRT, in the kitchen at home, at the bar, on TV, or (gods give us strength) online. Does the word “civility” come to mind? I’d sincerely hope it does, but I also understand and sympathize if it does not.  It’s something frequently talked about, but the … Continue reading Making Do With Mere Civility

From Pop Culture to High Culture

by Chris Berger A cottage industry of sorts has been made out of deploring the effects of large-scale entertainment on the modern psyche and its tastes and judgment, on its alleged tendency to drain artistic and philosophic depth. This has in turn been sparring with a counter-industry that attacks such considerations and objections as reactionary, antiquarian, and nostalgic, not to mention cranky and stuffy. I … Continue reading From Pop Culture to High Culture

Political Redux: February 14, 2017

by Chris Berger As of this Valentine’s Day, electorates continue their affairs with populism and ethno-nationalism.  Europe in particular has always had its flirtations with fringe elements in mainstream politics, whereas in North America, institutions like First-Past-The-Post have tended, as a general rule, to keep eccentrics both malicious and benign either out of the political spotlight altogether, or reined in by more moderate forces in … Continue reading Political Redux: February 14, 2017

Getting Things Done, Philosopher Style

by Chris Berger Attempting one’s first steps into philosophic thought is a daunting, frankly reckless, and directionless gamble. I say directionless because good guidance is at such a premium and reckless because we seldom have a clear idea of what we want out of it. As for daunting, those who take such a step with confidence know not what they’re getting into. What is the … Continue reading Getting Things Done, Philosopher Style

Political Redux: January 2017

by Chris Berger The New Year is conventionally a time for fresh beginnings, but these have certainly taken an unorthodox, bewildering, and frankly ominous form in 2017.  At three levels of consideration, politics is headed into territory we probably wouldn’t have expected a year or two ago. Alberta Here in Alberta, the “Unite the Right” movement, led on the one side by Progressive Conservative leadership … Continue reading Political Redux: January 2017

No Country for Statesmen

by Chris Berger A professor for whom I worked as a teaching assistant a number of years ago, a fascinating and intellectually generous man in his own right, had the good fortune of studying under the guidance of Leo Strauss, the (in)famous historian of political philosophy, in his twilight years at the University of Chicago in the sixties. Given my own interests and proclivities, I … Continue reading No Country for Statesmen