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In Conversation with Barbara Kay (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/05/15


An interview with Barbara Kay. She discusses: the things the conservatives are doing right and wrong, and the things the liberals are doing right and wrong; the mono-lensing on issues; honor codes and hookup culture; Dr. Leonard Sax, Jerry Seinfeld, homosexual men and women, and hypermasculinity and hyperfemininity; inheriting Canadian democracy, the trajectory of the country.

Keywords: Barbara Kay, columnist, conservative, homosexual, honor, Jerry Seinfeld, journalist, Leonard Sax, liberal, multiculturalism.

In Conversation with Barbara Kay: Columnist and Journalist, National Post (Part Two)[1],[2],[3],[4]

1. Jacobsen: What do you see the conservative side of the political aisle in Canada doing wrong and right? What do you see the liberal side of the political aisle in Canada doing wrong and right?

Kay: Gee, that is a big question. The conservatives, they have a problem. They have support from two very distinct groups. One group, the social conservatives, would really like to see them take their concerns very seriously.

They cannot afford to take them too seriously because they do not constitute a critical mass as they do in the United States. They have to be cautious in how they tread on those issues. The other conservatives that they serve are other people more interested in fiscal responsibility, smaller government, beef up the military, reduce immigration or be more selective on immigration, all these concerns.

They do not care that much about the social conservative side. It is two distinct groups. The media and the general tenor of our nation are very liberal right now. It is very hard to beat against that current without looking like you are either racist or homophobic. All these mantras that bled out of the universities into our general culture.

They are very much present. There is a knee-jerk reaction to any conservative leader who says that they are going to be effective or change policy. I think for a leader like Andrew Scheer who is not charismatic and who is not really pushing policies that appeal emotionally to people.

If I were him, I would focus hard on making life better for veterans and the military. I would concentrate on beefing up Canadian cultural institutions. That you know everybody loves. I would talk about strengthening the family. I would not focus on taking sex ed. out of the schools or anything like that. I would say, “Families need to be stronger. Whatever is going to be good for families, I will be there. I think children need both parents more than the state. I want to make sure the parents who want to stay home with their kids, mothers who want to stay home with their kids, are going to be able to do that.”

Then, of course, everybody, especially liberals, would say, “Oh! That is so old-fashioned.” But ordinary people would say, “I like that.” So, they are not tapping into the middle. The Evangelical Christians, for instance, who do not like what they are seeing with the progressive agenda and having gender equality in everything.

Every board of directors having gender equality. They do not like the forced agenda. Trudeau’s knee-jerk instinct to reject anyone in the liberal caucus who does not believe in abortion on demand. They do not like that. But they get away with it because there is no pushback from the conservatives.

What are the liberals doing right? It depends. If you mean, what are the liberals doing right for themselves? [Laughing] Trudeau is going out and meeting the people and talking about Aboriginal rights, going to smudge ceremonies, getting all emotional about how we have to make things right, where we are guilty of this or guilty of that. People seem to like that.

It makes him seem like a compassionate person. People seem to like it. They seem to give him a lot of scope in spite of all the faux pas and the shallowness. His failure to understand what true evil is. He doesn’t understand about Iran. He doesn’t understand about ISIS. He doesn’t understand history.

He doesn’t understand the difference between evil empires and our own. He doesn’t seem to care about preserving or saving or helping Western civilization to survive as a civilization, but he is getting a free ride for some reason because the media still like him – or like him enough. I guess, they dislike conservatism far more.

It is far more important to oppose conservatism, so they cut him slack to a certain extent. He is still appealing to people. I guess, I am not the best political commentator. I do not understand it so much – how it is that our quiet majority does not seem to mind him. Unless, it affects them personally.

They accept that this is the way it is. I think we have a fairly passive population on the whole. So, [Sighing] I guess he is going to be re-elected. We do not have a strong conservative party right now. I am not being coherent here. This is not my strong suit.

2. Jacobsen: If I think about some of the statements that you have made over the last 60 of the total 85 minutes, so far, of the conversation, the things mentioned as pathologies.

Problems in public discourse amount to mono-lenses on individual citizens and, subsequently, groups. So, if someone focuses only on their sexuality as per that show Transparent, you have an individual focus, a laser scope focus, on one thing: sexuality and gender identity.

It begins to look bad in the sense that it lacks balance. Aristotle talked about this a long time ago with the virtues. Akin to “norms,” it is a boo word. You can’t use that term. But it bears repeating, I think. Also, with respect to some of the political discourse, people will identify as the Conservative Party of Canada or the Liberal Party of Canada, and so on.

If you talk to people individually, in my experience, you bring mid-sized issue after mid-sized issue. You talk to them. You ask them questions about them. You probe. I find people are a mix of these things.

But the slack someone might get, such as Justin Trudeau being our first legacy prime minister as George Bush Jr. was in the United States, he will be able to get away with a few more things in the public.

Also, the young are probably a big voting base for him. So, they tend to lean more to the liberal side with him. So, not only with the trans issues or the focus on political identities, or on sexuality – reiterating some of the discussion points so far, I note a single focus as a problem. People are more complicated than these things.

However, I do not know why there is a narrowing of focus. It might relate to that Twitter picture. That highlighted the self-segregation of people. It also relates to a large problem talked about before with the mosaic of Canada.

People will self-segregate. I think Aristotle’s ethics are relevant here because he talked about moderation as an important part of virtue. If we take any of the Canadian democratic values, which amount to somewhat international values and somewhat not, you have one value.

You have another value. They rub up against one another. You find that balance point that the general population, democratically, votes for. So, it seems like a large cognitive problem, in how people think about things.

I do not know why that is; that mono-lens on so many levels of analysis. That I am reflecting on what we have talked about so far.

Kay: I agree with you. If you talk to people as individuals, they will have one persona agree with the liberals on this and the conservatives on that. People are not monolithic at all. But they are – I used the word – “passive” before. I think that is the right word. People are so afraid of offending. We have taken in this idea by osmosis. That to be offensive is a kind of social crime.

So, people often say to me. “You are courageous because you say things that anger people.” I say, “I do not call that courage. Courage is when you say things that may end up with a knock at 2:30am in the morning where the secret police show up. That would be courage.”

My “courage” is that I don’t care if someone tweets, “Oh, that old bag Barbara Kay is at it again. With her stupid…” I do not care about that. It does not take courage to expose yourself to people on Twitter who hate you. I am not getting rocks through my window.

They think it courageous because I have discovered that many people, maybe most people, are very agitated by the thought of somebody calling them out publicly as “you’re a disgrace” or “you’re wrong” or “what you have said is hateful” or anything like that.

The thought of being publicly denounced. As they say, there is a greater fear of public speaking than of death. I read about that many years ago. I have no fear of public speaking, so I do not understand that at all. But I do understand because I was forced to understand that so many people will sit on their hands and be quiet rather than voice a sentiment that may bring them criticism or public censure.

They do not want to be unacceptable. They want to be accepted. We are very social people. It is considered courageous to speak against the general consensus. Oops – that is a tautology.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Kay: Our consensus now, the political consensus now, is, for example, if I were to say, “The residential schools are not the reason why Native people are having such a tough time. That is a contributing factor, perhaps. But it is by no means the most important reason.”

If I said that publicly – I am saying it to you, which is sort of public, if I said it on CBC, well, I did get fired from a radio show for saying something like that on a blog or in an interview with a non-mainstream program.

I did get fired from a radio show. It was fun. It was called Because News. It was a trivia news program. I used to be on a panel every few weeks. I was fired because I said something about Indigenous people which was considered politically incorrect enough to have me fired from the show.

I did not say anything that wasn’t arguably true or not at least up for discussion. But I didn’t need that job. I can see how terrified people can be that work in industries or in the entertainment industry. If you can lose your job by saying something that is reasonable but not allowed to be discussed, that is a, first of all, sad commentary on our society today.

But I think most people in one way or another, even if they are not public figures, have taken it in. They know what they are allowed to say and not allowed to say. They have taken it in. Because they are afraid someone will publicly say, “You are hateful.” They cannot bear to be singled out like that.

They won’t do it. Whether they fear losing their job or their status, or that someone will not like them anymore, whatever it is, it is hard for people to overcome that natural herd mentality.  I do not mean they are stupid. I mean people want the comfort of being accepted and to being members of good standing of their circle.

It is interesting. You read a book in life and it changes your concept of how you read the world. One of the best books that I ever read was Honor: A History by James Bowman. I was trying to research honor-shame societies.

Speaking of multiculturalism, we have people who come to us from areas, not just countries but whole entire areas governed by cultures of honor and shame. I do not think most people understand what an incredible difference growing up in that culture means.

To come here, where we have gotten rid of the idea of honor, which we no longer subscribe to. We used to. It was a different definition of honor. I wanted to understand, “What does honor mean to people when they talk about an honor killing? Why would someone kill another person over honor?”

In James Bowman’s book, he defined honor as the good opinion of those who are important to you.

Jacobsen: I like that.

Kay: Very simply, the good opinion of those who are important to you. People would say, “We should not call them honor killings. We should call them DIShonor killings.” I say, “No, you are confusing honor with morality.”

That is where we do not understand where people are coming from when they come from these societies. To us, we try to do what is moral and we say, “To punish your daughter because she wouldn’t wear the hijab, that is not moral, but it may have very much to do with your family’s honor.”

For example, the mafia have codes of honor that have nothing to do with morality. But soldiers also have a strong sense of honor and it does have to do with morality. When the marines, for example, say, “No marine left behind.”

They will put themselves at risk to save a dying brother, a dying marine. If they left a dying soldier, a dying marine, behind, they would feel ashamed, because it is part of their code. I sometimes think to myself, “To have an extreme code of honor and shame, that is no good. You do not want to be killing girls because they wear the hijab.”

Aqsa Parvez was killed because she refused to abide by her family’s traditional gender roles. She wanted to be free. She wanted to act like a Canadian teenager. She got killed. Her father and brother who went to jail for the rest of her lives over it.  They said, ‘We had to kill her. Our family’s honor was at stake.’

James Bowman also said Male honor and female honor are two different things. Male honor is always concerned with physical courage or courage. Female honor is always concerned with sexuality.

He said this is true instinctively. It has nothing to do with culture. Everybody has a built-in sense of honor and shame, but it can be bred out of a society. Our society, and I think this is one of the problems with our society, is that in realizing that our sense of honor had taken us too far, we got rid of honor altogether, not such a good thing.

Our sense of honor died after the First World War. That was a war entered into for honor’s sake, to honor the promises that were made. Millions of men died for nothing in the First World War, for nothing.

England didn’t need to go into that war.

Jacobsen: For honor.

Kay: They felt as though they had died for nothing. Our Western civilization turned against honor as a motivating force in public life. It still lives on in the military because militaries have to have a code of honor or they can’t function.

Who would go into the military if not for a sense of honor to serve the nation, you have to have a sense of honor. But apart from the military, our society has no sense of honor as a personal obligation. It is one thing to have too much honor, but to have no sense of honor at all is not good for a culture.

I think we should have some sense of the dignity that comes with that sense of “I have boundaries. I will do this. I will not do this.” It is a question of honor. We do not have that anymore. This is actually too big a discussion [Laughing] for this, but you wanted to know what was on my mind and what I think about when I think about society.

When I critique society, this, for me, is the fact that women have decided that they did not want to have anything to do with the normal, traditional, sense of female honor. It has been not good for our society at all.

It has not been good for male-female relations because women want men to still have a sense of honor, but they do not want to be told that they also have to have a sense of honor. So, we have this sense of men needing to be a gentleman, but women don’t need to be ladies.

The idea of the gentleman is the English idea of honor. It is chivalry. Chivalry was the western concept of honor. Bowman says honor in the Western sense was Christianity allied with honor that produced the chivalric code.

I admire your patience.

Jacobsen: It is an honorable thing.

Kay: [Laughing].

3. Jacobsen: When it comes to honor codes, this does seem reflected in some of the survey evidence based on, for instance, campus life. If you look at the satisfaction rates of men involved in “hookup culture” and women involved in “hookup culture,” the attitudes about it, especially after the experience, do not match up.

Kay: That’s right. That’s right.

Jacobsen: Men seem more okay with it than women.

Kay: They are. This is interesting. It goes back to the idea of honor. James Bowman, in his book, says, If you say to a man, ‘You’re sexually promiscuous. You’re a Lothario…’

Jacobsen: …[Laughing]…

Kay: …The man will just laugh because he won’t take that as an insult. But if you say to a man, ‘You’re a coward,’ he will take that as a terrible insult. If you touch on a guy’s courage, if you say, ‘You’re a coward,’ every guy will be upset by that.

If you say to a woman, to me for example, ‘You’re a coward, I will say, ‘You’re darn right. I am afraid of this. I am afraid of that.’ But if you say to a woman, ‘You are a slut,’ they will bristle. This is innate. A woman’s sexual selectivity is something that is sexual modesty.

I always felt sexual modesty was something innate in girls. If you left them alone, and if you do not tell them that they had to be anything, they are naturally protective of themselves, their bodies; it is not natural for them to just throw themselves out there, if you know what I mean.

To be selective, and to want to have their sexuality aligned with a feeling of intimacy and of being protected, because women are naturally at risk if they can’t trust, that’s what they want; but now, we have a hookup culture in which trust is not something that women are asking for, and they suffer for it.

Men are, yes, of course, satisfied with sex with no strings attached and plenty of it. They are satisfied with it. Women, at heart, want sex to have strings, emotional strings attached. I think they do. They smother their emotional instincts in order to participate in hookup culture.

All of the evidence shows they are not happy with hookup culture.

4. Jacobsen: I have two statistics from Dr. Leonard Sax. To the two statistics from Dr. Leonard Sax, I didn’t know this. But he notes homosexual men are, in a way, hypermasculine. Homosexual women are, in a way, hyperfeminine.

In other words, the men focus more on the variety and the quantity of the sexual experience. The homosexual women focus more on the relationship, the emotional connection, to that.

Kay: You know the joke about gay men and lesbian women. Question: What does a gay man bring on his second date? The answer: What second date? [Laughing]…

Jacobsen: …[Laughing]…

Kay: …What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul.

Jacobsen: [Laughing] There you go.

Kay: [Laughing].

Jacobsen: There was a joke you reminded me when you talked about death and public speaking, which was from Jerry Seinfeld’s special, I Am Telling You For The Last Time. He said, “Basically, with being afraid of public speaking more than death with death as number two, that means people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”

Kay: [Laughing].

Jacobsen: There are some men who are like the U-Haul example. George Carlin, after he died, his partner at the time. They never married, his second “spouse,” but he would propose every week. This is supposedly hyper-countercultural guy. Okay?

Kay: [Laughing].

Jacobsen: He proposed every week at a random point. He would write love notes to her. Things like this. The woman was named Sally Wade. The name of the book was The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade.

Kay: Awwwww.

Jacobsen: She said that she just wanted a one-night stand. Then she pauses, “At least that’s what I tell people.” She ‘thought’ it was supposed to be a one-night stand, but he showed up the next day with a pair of socks and a toaster [Laughing].

Kay: [Laughing] Very cute.

5. Jacobsen: So, up to now, we have covered family background, personal background, a variety of topics within the more or less North American landscape with one mention of professor Chomsky’s critique of postmodernism coming out of the “center of the rot” of postmodernism with France, but within this context I liked the note that you brought very early on in the conversation.

For most civilizations for most of history, the state was allied with an ethnic group. In other words, these were tribal. They were ethno-states in a lot of ways. With your critique of multiculturalism from one angle, what seems like the trajectory of the country?

Who will inherit Canadian democracy when we do not have a unified ethnic identity? In terms of values, people want to keep all of their values while not fully integrating, even if they are born into this country now.

Kay: I think people are tribal. Certainly, in places where you do not have a very reliable or trustworthy legal system, tribalism does come to the fore because people want to protect those nearest to them. The circles become bigger and bigger as you have proxies. The legal system is a proxy for settling disputes with other people.

I can relax. I do not have to feel tribal. If my neighbor harms me in some way, I will take them to court. But if we did not have courts that were honest or relatively honest, then I would have to surround myself with family.

Then we would have to make sure that we protect our own family. Most people are tribal. Like in Europe, who will inherit the country? It will be the people with the strongest investment in themselves and sense of themselves and are prepared to fight to impose their sense of how life should be and how society should be.

The ones who are willing to invest in themselves the most seriously in imposing their values on that society. If a society is strong in its values and pushes back against other groups that are trying to change it and say, “This is the way we are. This is the way it used to be here.”

As I said earlier in the discussion, my family came to this country with a culture and adapted. Others have a culture informed by their religion. They not only are maintaining that sense of themselves in their own enclaves, but some are saying, “We want the whole society to be like this. It would be more convenient for us if we didn’t have to go to your schools and learn what you want to teach us. We want to learn what we want to learn. It would be convenient for us if we didn’t have to watch half-naked women walking around the beaches. We are going to put our best efforts into making sure this happens. Because this is what we do. This is our ethos.”

Then you have an acquiescent and appeasing society that doesn’t quite know what to do with this attitude. They think this is another culture and “we have to appease and give into this.” This is what is happening in Europe.

A lot of people are saying this is alarmist talk.

I do not think this is alarmist talk. I think a bunch of societies in Europe are on the brink of civil war or of complete submission to a new way of life, where other value systems are given equal standing with the society that was once recognizably European. We used to know what we meant when we said, “European.”

What I used to think of European may not be European for much longer, certain parts of Europe it already isn’t. Sweden, it is very committed to multicultural policies. They are slowly submerged. There is only so much salt you can put into the water before it becomes something else.

I do worry a great deal about what is happening in Europe. I wonder if it is a prelude to what will happen here. We have very different histories and very different ways of immigration. I realize that. I am not saying that it is an exact parallel.

I do believe we are watching something happen in Europe that is rather cataclysmic and irreversible at this point. So, that is a great worry to me. I think to many Canadians it is as well. I know. It is certainly not a worry to our prime minister who takes a very sunny view” the more immigration the better and what could possibly go wrong since we all know that all cultures are exactly the same.

Jacobsen: It amounts to a lack of Theory of Mind about cultures in a way. It is the assumption that everyone thinks the same.  

Kay: Yes, again, it is this sense of narcissism. That what I grow up in is the norm. it is a failure to look at history and other cultures in a deeper sense. Politics is downstream from culture. I believe that is Andrew Breitbart. I do believe that. Not all cultures think the same; not all cultures are as good at creating societies in which the individual is the most important unit and has freedoms. Not all cultures think freedom of expression is a good idea. Not all cultures think freedom of association or equality of the sexes is a good idea.

It seems that I am stating the obvious. Yet, our government acts as though all cultures absolutely have the same values and, maybe, they have a few quirks. They eat different food or have somewhat different traditions, and rituals. It is all very trivial, these differences, they think.

That is the sort of understanding on which our prime minister bases his policies and outlook on life. I think he is living in la-la land. But in fact, since he heads up the government, this is the direction in which his government is directed to move.

That is the basic assumption in all of society. There is very little pushback to that.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Columnist and Journalist, National Post.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 15, 2018 at; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2018 at

[3]B.A., University of Toronto; M.A., McGill University.

[4] Image Credit: Barbara Kay.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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