Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis McLuhan Grant (New by Arthur Kroker

By Arthur Kroker

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When the dam breaks the flood will be furious. “33 For Grant, the future of Quebec is that of existential despair. “34 But this is not dissent, only political compromise: on the one hand, “a majority of the young is gradually patterned for its place in the bureaucracies; ” and on the other, those who resist will “retreat into a fringe world of pseudo-revoltVY3’ But even pseudo-revolt has a greater nobility of purpose than the happy acquiescence of ,English-Canada in the ideology of continentalism.

He has taken us to the very edge of Nietzsche’s world; but then Grant breaks, heading directly for the sinecure of natural law. Placing his bets on remembrance of things past (historical fatalism) and on a “categorical imperative of the wrong” (abstract justice), Grant turns his back to the problem of mediating justice and politics in the twentieth-century. His philosophy has no means of translation into politics. Thus, the great paradox. Grant, the very thinker who has flailed the participants of the technological dynamo for living so blindly within the horizon of the will to self-preservation, shortcircuits his own analysis by seeking to provide an absolute and fixed standard of justice as a consolation against the cries of George Grant 51 the “tortured self’ for meaning.

His special insight was to immediately grasp the “levelling effect” of capitalist liberalism. 31 For English-Canada, this meant the disappearance of the “inner restraint”, that peculiar derivative of Canada’s continuing discourse with the classical origins of culture in Europe, and the gradual “unleashing of unrestrained passions”32 as the psychological sign of admission to American empire. And Quebec, the last and best hope for an “indigenous alternative” to technological civilization? “As traditional Catholicism breaks up, there will be some exciting moments.

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