Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Founding Values, by Brian Lee Crowley
Two forces have shaped Canada profoundly in the last fifty years: the entry of Boomers into the workforce and the rise of a separatist Quebec nationalism. Large-scale unemployment plus the threat of the breakup of the country caused Canada to jettison its traditional values—a ferocious work ethic, a commitment to the family as the most important social institution, a suspicion of overweening government and an aversion to dependence—in favour of a vast expansion of the welfare state. We rapidly became a nation of “takers” rather than the “makers” we had always been. But the tide is about to turn with a vengeance: the Boomers are retiring and Quebec nationalism is increasingly a spent force, presaging a resurgence of our founders’ values that had served us so well. Thought-provoking and meticulously documented, Fearful Symmetry will change the way you think about Canada.
Fearful Symmetry finalist for the 2010 Fisher International Memorial Award.
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What people said about Fearful Symmetry
“A profoundly important book… nothing less than a revolution in our way of looking at Canada, its history, and its future.”
–Andrew Coyne (from the Foreword)
“The book really is marvelous: challenging, original, thought- provoking, smart and brave. Truly deserves congratulations.”
–David Frum, An End to Evil
“An original, lucid and witty exposition of how the Canadian state became a giant coercive Ponzi scheme with harmful effects on the culture, the institutions, the work ethic, the families and, above all, the character of Canadians themselves.”
–Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What’s Left of It
“This brilliantly original book will change the way you think about Canada. It deserves a wide audience.”
–Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail
“Fearful Symmetry is one of the most important analyses yet written of the recent history and directions of Canadian public policy. It will undoubtedly be required reading for politicians, civil servants, all possible policy wonks, students, and everyone else concerned about our country’s recent past and its uncertain future.”
–Michael Bliss, Right Honourable Men
“An outstanding intellectual achievement.”
–Barbara Kay, National Post
“Your book will become the most important book for Canadian conservatives since Peter Brimelow’s Patriot Game and Bill Gairdner’s The Trouble with Canada. Indeed, it will be more important because it gives us guidance for the future.”
–Tom Flanagan, First Nations? Second Thoughts
“The book is remarkably original. I have learned much from it and it will affect my way of seeing things from now on. It is a book that deservedly will have l’effet d’une bombe when it is published…It’s a must book. Congratulations.”
–William Johnson, Globe and Mail
“A blockbuster! To be Canadian once meant standing up for individual freedom and responsibility; marriage, family, and work. Today, according to Brian Crowley, we’re a nation of “rent-seekers,” political opportunists and lobbyists, ever looking for someone else to take charge, to pay the bills, to tell us what to do. How did this happen? In a compelling account of economic and political developments from the 1960s to the present, Crowley argues that big government inevitably corrupts identity and mores. But the die isn’t cast. Big government isn’t obligatory. Crowley’s last chapters set out reasons for thinking that Canadians may yet recover their former and better selves! Fearful Symmetry will be an eye opener for the political scientists and sociologists who still believe that the Canadian propensity to depend on governments is bred in the bone and shaped Confederation.”
–Janet Ajzenstat, The Canadian Founding
“A genuine cri de coeur…Fearful Symmetry provides a fascinating account of the demographic forces transforming Canada and does so with a deep appreciation of the historical trends and political forces that have shaped the Canadian nation. This is a book that is required reading for every informed citizen.”
–Rudyard Griffiths, Who We Are: A Citizen’s Manifesto
“In a forthright manner, clearly-expressed and with plenty of hard facts, Crowley’s Fearful Symmetry is like an up-to-date national looking-glass into which all responsible citizens ought to peer. There they will find well-grounded political and economic analyses of such as Canada’s worrisome fertility crisis, the debilitating effect (on Quebec as well as on Canada) of Quebec’s quixotic role in confederation, the effects of immigration, population movements within Canada, the reasons for regional disparities, and much more. It is refreshing to have in one’s hands a book that helps us understand where we came from, the mistakes we have made, and how to chart a more certain course for the future.”
–William Gairdner, The Trouble with Canada
“A first-rate book that is a massive challenge to conventional thinking and certain to be denounced by all the right people.”
–Jack Granatstein, Who Killed Canadian History?
“You’ll never see the big picture by looking through the microscope of a single academic specialty. That’s one lesson of this important book. Drawing on history, economics, political science, demography, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, even poetry, Crowley constructs an insightful new interpretation of Canada’s still recent shift to Big Government and the “fearful symmetry” of the coming shift back to its more classically liberal origins. Many new and surprising connections are drawn and in the process many a conventional wisdom bites the dust.
Do you love Big Government? Look here for compelling reasons – moral reasons – to reconsider. Do you dislike Big Government but despair of its seemingly unending growth? Find here new reasons for cautious optimism. Do you simply seek to understand the particular trajectories of Big Government in Canada? Seek no further.
A ‘must read’!”
–Rainer Knopff, University of Calgary
“A bracing, relentless argument for a ‘character-shift’ that will release Canada from its torpor.”
–William Thorsell, CEO, Royal Ontario Museum
“This book’s exposé of some of the sources of Canada’s rush to the left of the United States; of the fact that the chief motives for it are obsolete; and its prediction of a traditional revival, make a stimulating read. The pursuit of a kinder and gentler Canada compared to the US will give way as a national mission to something more galvanizing, as did the preceding inspiration of Imperial solidarity. This excellent analysis by a distinguished and original public policy expert is a fine effort to map out the next national raison d’être.”
–Conrad Black, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Brian has not only captured and crystallized some of the most critical conundrums facing the Canadian body politic, he has also provided a path out of our present policy perdition. One doesn’t need to agree (though I mostly do) with his prescriptions to benefit from his clarity of thought.”
–Ken Boessenkool, Research Fellow, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary