B E AU T I F U L M I N D S
“ Half of Canada dismisses Don Cherry as an anachronism,” Tony Keller wrote last month about hockey’s most famous commentator. “For the other half, that’s exactly why he makes sense.”
Mr. Keller was evidently right: Mr. Cherry makes sense to an awful lot of people. Up against 22 other prominent Canadians — among them Mark Steyn, Preston Manning, Naomi Klein, Irshad Manji, Conrad Black and Margaret Atwood — in the National Post’s search for Canada’s leading public intellectual, the Coach’s Corner
host was voted to the top spot by National Post readers.
This will come as considerable surprise to those who mistook Mr. Cherry’s inclusion in our “Beautiful Minds” series as a joke. But the case for him was an entirely serious one. As Mr. Keller argued, Mr. Cherry’s views on hockey transcend the game itself — the “ rules of honour” that guide his analysis of the game making him one of the country’s leading moralists, and one of the few proponents of old- fashioned values that have widely been abandoned.
“ The rules of honour, which Cherry will also refer to as the ‘warrior's code’ or simply ‘ the code,’ reflect what a political scientist would call ‘natural law,’ Mr. Keller wrote. But if it were expressed in a political scientist’s jargon, Canadians would pay scant attention. It is by putting it into terms everyday folks can relate to that Mr. Cherry has gained such a profound influence.
Our search over the past month was about finding “a thinker who has shown distinction in his or her own field and can communicate ideas and influence debate outside of it.” Other candidates put forward over the past month are more articulate, boast stronger academic credentials and are taken more seriously among the chattering classes. But our readers decided Mr. Cherry fit the definition of “public intellectual” perfectly. Here are the top 15 Beautiful Minds, according to voters: 1 Don Cherry 2Mark Steyn 3 Naomi Klein 4 Preston Manning 5 Sky Gilbert 6 Irshad Manji 7Margaret Atwood 8Michael Bliss 9 Peter C. Newman 10 Charles Krauthammer 11Margaret MacMillan 12 Father Richard John Neuhaus 13 Tom Flanagan 14Michael Walker 15Michael Ignatieff