There is a trial brewing on the West Coast of Canada that may have extensive ramifications for Canadians. I am speaking, of course, of the polygamy trial.
In brief, the leader of a polygamist sect is being put on trial for being, well, a polygamist. There are some allegations of child abuse, or that the welfare of children is at stake, but I do not know the details.
For the last while Crown attorneys have turned a blind eye towards polygamy, as they know the trial may start a Charter of Rights case that could very well overturn the law. And now, here it is.
I have several thoughts on this.
First, I would like to reflect once again on just what a bad idea the Charter of Rights was. The country went along just fine without a Charter, and then some bonehead decided that we needed something similar to the Bill of Rights of our neighbours to the south. Unfortunately, the '80's were not the time to make a document for the ages.
Most troubling among our `Rights' is the right not to be discriminated against. Although it sounds nice, it is troubling because it is an amorphous right. The rights of the Americans tend to be more concrete. The right to bear arms means just that. The right to speak freely means just that. The right not to be discriminated against means- what, exactly? Discrimination has no form, can take any shape, and exists in the mind of the victim. Potentially any law can be overturned as it discriminates between those who choose to obey the law, and those who don't.
Plus, the recent study that states that whites are racist, no matter what they do, and you got me shaking in my boots.
Second, and related, the Charter put the Supreme Court in charge of the land, and not our elected officials. Any law made can be overturned. In fact, they can even make new laws, despite all precedent, despite all democracy. They did so when they overturned our marriage law.
The Supreme Court has shown, spectacularly, an inability that has swept our land: the inability to make distinctions. They will see no difference between someone who chooses to have one spouse, and someone who chooses to have two, or three, or four, etc. This problem will only increase. Our society has lost the places where we once stood, the certainties we once believed. The truths of the past are now the opinions of some dead people, and now there are no givens, no first principles, no nothing. One thing is as good as any other thing.
Lastly, there will be predictable calls about how allowing polygamy will further damage the family and so on. I happen to agree, but with one caveat. The polygamists could not destroy the sanctity of marriage, nor could gay marriage, nor any other new twist, were it not already damaged by straight couples. It is hard to argue sanctity of marriage when we have revolving door marriages, and adultery, and pornography, and a hundred other abuses crawling into straight marriages. How is marrying and divorcing repeatedly different from polygamy? The one man, one woman model of marriage could not have been damaged from without if it had not first been attacked from within. Only in our weakness are they strong.