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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32336

Title: National Fate and Empire: George Grant and Canadian Foreign Policy
Authors: Staring, Scott
Advisor: Forbes, Hugh Donald
Department: Political Science
Keywords: Canadian Foreign Policy
Political Thought
Issue Date: 27-Mar-2012
Abstract: This study examines the foreign policy views of the Canadian thinker, George Grant. It focuses on the years between Mackenzie King’s re-election in 1935 and the Liberal party’s return to power under Lester Pearson in 1963. During this period, Grant argued, Canada was transformed from a British dependent to a satellite of the United States, a process that he believed had been accelerated by the continentalist economic and security policies of successive Liberal governments. As a young man during World War II, Grant admired the United States of F. D. Roosevelt. But as he began to contemplate the threat that a postwar Pax Americana posed to the societies of the Old World, and, ultimately, to Canada, his misgivings grew. His attempts to understand the emerging order led him to a critical study of modern liberalism, which he believed provided the chief philosophical justification for America’s expansion. Unlike Marxists who saw liberalism as simply an ideology of individual greed, Grant claimed that it succeeded largely by appealing to our hopes for social progress. These hopes found their loftiest expression in the belief that liberalism’s internationalization would produce the conditions for the overcoming of war within and between nations. Grant feared that this ideal could only be achieved through the annihilation of all real cultural diversity—the realization of what he called the universal and homogeneous state. One of his unique claims was that the Liberal policy of rapprochement with the United States after 1935 signaled the growing dominance of this ideal within Canada. This dominance was fed during the Cold War by “realists” like Pearson who decried the utopianism of communism, while failing to reckon with the utopian aspirations of his own society. Fearful of Marxist one-worldism, Pearson committed himself to a single-minded defence of a liberal order that tended to produce even greater homogeneity around the world. Grant’s own practical aim in writing about foreign policy, I argue, was neither to defend liberalism against its “utopian” critics, nor to reject it for an alternative like Marxism, but to highlight the utopian aspirations of liberal society, and thereby subject it to the moderating influence of doubt.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32336
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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