Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
S. Muuor Timday, April 18, IV75 THt UTHBRIOGI HERAIO Predicting the end of the world again 'JTILU; Cabal with i 1 s Mes- sianic predictions m a y contain on explanation of thu cliiliiistic pessimism over tlio end ot tlie world that, at tlio approach of llic one thousand mark, has gripped the Western U'orld for Ihe second time id its history. Last lime it hap- pened towards ttie ciul of tlio 10th century, and now, as tho year 2000 looms, it lias rc- cmcrged with imclimmcri vigor. 11 impresses ilself upon us as an i n e 1 u c I able phenomenon, and it is impossible lo deter- mine whether it stems Irom the morphology of politics dis- cerned by the lace Sir L e w i s Namicr, the onetime doyen o( British historians who argued Ihat recurrent situations in his- tory reproduced analogous forms, or whether it is an un- conscious Imitation of the past, an ineradicable human trait that lias rendered mankind's history so repetitively monot- onous. Whatever the causes, less than 30 years before ttie ad- vent of the second millennium mankind Is given over lo a mood of despair, and is behav- ing in a manner not dis- similar lo that of its forbears of a thousand years ago. To- wards the end of 1000, after centuries of wars, invasions, break-ups of e p i r e s and a break-down ut law and order, tlic conviction thai tlio end of Hie world was ijnini- Jient. Indeed, a number of rev- olutionary movements rose in anticipation of (lie tmthcomini; final reckoning to advance thu Lord's work and cio some reckoning of llieir own. The social disintegration that liad then been going on for five centuries had begun, according to Gibbon, the decline ot Home, "where laxcs were mul- tiplied with the public distress" and "economy was neglected in proportion as il became ne- cessary" iwo slartlingly fiinliliar phenomena. Tl'.o name- of Roman citizen continues Gibbon which had formerly excited Ihc ambition of man- kind, was abjured liy who preferred to join the barbarians and adopt their own With the disintegration of flic once-stable ftoman structure came the barbarian invasions so reminiscent of the preach- ings of Chairman Mao in his prc-Kissinfler days, that is when he used to incite Ihc peo- ples of the "world villages" to attack the "cities." The Huns, the Slavs and the Magyars hart done exactly that until another empire rose lo deal with them, The erosion of British symbols By Christopher Young, editor ot The Ottawa Citizen there is one phrase in the current political argot Ihat I find increasingly irritat- ing it is "the erosion of our symbols." Perhaps only in Canada would the use of Ihe word "our" in such a conlcxt actually mean "Iheir." The phrase translates in English speaking Canada as "Ihc erosion of Brit- ish symbols" surely a nat- ural and inevitable process in a country that ceased long since to be a colony and thai has been moving steadily away from the post-colonial status symbolized by the word "do- minion." The desirability of gradual- ness is obvious iti an area which is not of very great prac- tical importance but where psy- chological and emolional fac- tors impinge on politics. The changes are analogous to that process by which, in a normal family, a child passes imper- ceptibly into adulthood with a gradual relaxation and ulti- mate severing of the apron- strings. Canada has been i. grownup for quite a while now, though some arc slow lo recognize iL Less than 30 years ago a front- rank Brilish politician, Lord Halifax, seriously proposed a common post-war foreign pol- icy for the Brilish Common- wealth and Empire, as it was then known. Sixteen years ago the Conservative opposition in Canada took the position in Lhe Suez crisis that the duty of this country was to rally ue'iind Britain without asking cheeky questions, regardless of the motives snd methods that had led the Eden government into its policy of folly. Today it is doublful that im- portant politicians in cither country would speak in the same terms. On neither Rho- desia nor Ireland, to take tv.o current areas of Brilish diffi- culty, have we heard serious proposals that Canada should be lining up with Mum. VeL still they quack on in Parliament, about "the erosion of our symbols." Slill they mount the platforms oi such ouality named organizations as Hie Empire Club to fight a bat- tle that was really decided in Victorian times. More seriously and more di- visively, the ultra-Brits among us try lo spread Ibe poisfmo-.is idea that (he erosion of Brit- ish and royal symbols is a French plot, devised by a French Canadian prime min- ister and his republican hench- men. History, of course, demon- strates otherwise. Those slurdy Borden and King, per- formed the decisive surgery on the apron-strings; Pearson dis- pensed with the Union Jnck. But the Tory royalists jra nol much interested in histor- ical evidence. They are inler- esled in stirring up hostility against a Liberal government, and if that can best be done by rousing ancestral animosities of race, language or religion, they praise the Queen and pass the gasoline. That Is why it may be impor- tant for those of us who are by ancestry, but who think as Canadians rather than as exiled Britons, lo stand up on Ihe issue. "speak Ihe tongue Ihat Shakespeare spake"