The Judicious Sasquatch

A blog about history and public policy with a focus on power relationships in Western polities.

The Blog

The Judicious Sasquatch reconciles states’ monopoly on legal power with local preoccupations. Most of our lives are spent in a local context, but the policies that can come from local, community-based sources often clash with national concerns that, in many situations, result in national concerns dominating the narrative.

National news and creeping consolidation of social media have mimicked state control over legal authority, which again creates problems for local expression. The new national and international monopolies on power can, or so the Sasquatch thinks, be balanced with attention to local, particular power structures.

The Goal

The Judicious Sasquatch aims to stimulate and inspire your thinking about local policy issues. It aims to illicit strong reactions followed by reasoned debate. It pushes policy ideas in new, unexpected directions.

One a more personal note, my objective is to delve into nooks and crannies that don’t often see the light of day. There are myriad curiosities that have been forgotten or dismissed by policy wonks, lawyers, and academics. My posts cut against the grain in this sense. I hope that they inform you and let you take a different perspective on the issues confronting our societies.

The confused Canadian approach to conscience

The Canadian approach to conscience is, as the title suggests, confused. Conscience is often only paid scanting attention in judge-made law because its legal and social meaning is obscured by its most common manifestation. Courts adjudicating on issues relating to religious rights, or balancing the rights of a religious person or group against another minority’s interest, often touch on conscience as a facet of religion.

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Michel Foucault assessing freedom of conscience in Madness and Civilization

A prolegomenon on freedom of conscience

One’s conscience is received by legal institutions and ethicists alike as the centre for moral decisions, yet the freedom to have a conscience is often interpreted in terms of religious belief. This interpretation is, of course, borne from conscience’s long association with religion: Canada’s governors were, for example, instructed to ‘permit Liberty of Conscience, and the free Exercise of all such modes of Religious Worship as are not prohibited by Law’.

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