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Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada's Founding Values Hardcover – Sep 18 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Key Porter Books; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 18 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554701880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554701889
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.3 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #184,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Joel Barnes on Dec 15 2009
Format: Hardcover
Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada's Founding Values was published in September 2009. The author, Brian Crowley, is an economist and founding president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I should mention Crowley is a free-market economist, which will cause some potential readers to raise a suspicious brow reflexively. In the book's foreword, Andrew Coyne says Crowley started a PhD at the London School of Economics bent on debunking Friedrich Hayek, one of the great economists of the Austrian School. "But in the course of his research," remarks Coyne, "[Crowley] had found himself first unable to answer [Hayek's] arguments, and at last persuaded by them. In a word, he had become a convert." (p. 11)

The book takes its title from a phrase found in William Blake's poem, The Tyger. According to one source, the fearful symmetry of the tiger in Blake's poem speaks to the juxtaposition of opposites: the perfect beauty and perfect destruction of the animal (which, of course, symbolizes more abstract concepts).

The uniqueness of Crowley's book is not the title. A simple search of Wikipedia reveals that "fearful symmetry" has become a catch phrase for various works in the music, film, and publishing industries. No, the memorable feature of this book will be not the title though it is a very fitting summary of the content.

According to Crowley there is an Old Canada (Confederation-1950s) and a New Canada (1960s-present). The Old Canada is a making state, characterized by small and limited government, personal independence, personal responsibility, commitment to the family as the most important social institution, and productive citizens of strong character and work ethic.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Kiff on Jan. 26 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an audacious and striking counter-cultural work that hopefully will shake up our moribund political climate. It is easily one of the most thought-provoking and easy-reading intellectualizations of Canadian society to appear in the past decade.

If like me you were born at the tail end of the baby boom you have grown up with the common wisdom that Canada has historically been a more center-left progressive state than the United States. However, in Fearful Symmetry Brian Lee Crowley presents substantial evidence to the contrary with an inventive mix of historical record and cogent analysis of present day ills.

Crowley argues that Canada until the latter half of the 20th Century was clearly a centre-right country whose founders and leaders put a clear emphasis on the values of both "liberty" and "freedom." It was only during the latter half of the 20th century, he argues, that Canada, in its life and death battle for survival with a surging separatist Quebec nationalism that Canada's leaders discarded these values, in a headlong competition with the Quebec state to massively expand and demonstrate the value of "Canada" to the Quebec populace. An unintended consequence of this expansion in Quebec brought massive statism and big government to the rest of Canada as well. The grave consequences of this were manifested in the stagflation of the 1970s and the current huge government apparatus, which crept into and then ran, across the country.

To prove his argument Cowley frequently quotes many leading Canadian Prime Ministers - particularly the classically liberal first French Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier - who said "Canada is Free and Freedom is its nationality." As well he notes a 1957 quote by Prime Minister Louis St.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roy Eappen on Dec 10 2009
Format: Hardcover
Fearful Symmetry by Brian Lee Crowley is an amazing book. It gives a whole new perspective on Canada's heritage and values. A perspective that has been forgotten by many Canadians. The book is well researched and masterfully makes the point that freedom and liberty are indeed quintessial Canadian values. It actually made even more proud to call myself Canadian. This book is must read for all students and anyone who is interested in Canada and liberty. It is a wake up call to Canadians to reclaim these values from our past. A great Christmas gift!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Bufton on Dec 8 2009
Format: Hardcover
Crowley presents a challenging, and convincing, argument that Canada was once notable more free and more individualistic than the United States. The reason we've become known as a country of big government isn't a result of a change in Canadian values he claims, but rather political and demographic factors.

This book is well-written and well-researched. Agree or disagree, it's a must read for the Canadian policy wonk.
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4 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ensley on Oct. 26 2009
Format: Hardcover
The author is very ideological and assume market forces works every time anywhere...
He is a Canadian and obviously trained in believing he is always correct.
Good to get another opinion...but otherwise, we must hope this person stays in his day job and is never in Govt.
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