9.22.2005

alternate take

There's a discussion going on about whether or not Canadians are generally anti-American. It's pretty much Rob against everyone else (but what's new).

I personally haven't seen anything I'd characterize as anti-American. People vehemently oppose current US policies, for sure. But if they were anti-American, I don't think they'd be so warm and welcoming when they learn we are Americans.

And if Canadians are a tad obsessed with the US, who can blame them, sharing a border with the 800-pound gorilla of the world. On our last trip to London, I remember thinking that the British were similarly obsessed, and this was many years before W stole the election and Tony Blair dragged them into a useless war.

Rob sent me an essay by an self-described liberal American living in Toronto. (It turns out several wingnutters sent this to me when it first ran.) The writer sees anti-Americanism at every turn. Now, she didn't relocate to Canada for political reasons. She made a career move, and thought the political side would be a nice plus. Instead, she found that being away from home helped her get in touch with what she values about the US:
And it's helped me discover what I do value about it: its contradictions, its eccentricities, its expansive spirit, all the intensity and opportunity of a deeply flawed, widely inconsistent, but always interesting country.
How nice for her. For me, those deep flaws and wide inconsistencies prove that the "opportunity" is a bunch of crap. The expansive spirit is a just that - spirit. A bunch of slogans and hot air.

Perhaps I don't see the supposed anti-Americanism because to me it looks like honest criticism, and I agree with it. Perhaps I don't see it because it isn't there.

Maybe the writer is not as liberal as she imagines, or maybe she exemplifies why I don't call myself a liberal anymore. The results of the 2004 election made her miss the US. That might be a clue.

A year from now, if I've come to agree more with the observations expressed in this essay, I promise I'll let you know.

44 comments:

James said...

Maybe the writer is not as liberal as she imagines, or maybe she exemplifies why I don't call myself a liberal anymore.

Maybe it's anti-American of me, but I generally don't trust any American's characterization of anyone (themselves included) as "liberal" until I see some actual evidence for it. Clinton was considered "liberal" in the US, but up here he'd be more of a red Tory. Generally, what we'd consider "liberal" up here gets described in the US as "totalitarian socialism" -- hence "Soviet Canuckistan".

(Of course, our current Liberal government up here is more red Tory-ish than the liberal goverments of 20 years ago as well...)

L-girl said...

Maybe it's anti-American of me, but I generally don't trust any American's characterization of anyone (themselves included) as "liberal" until I see some actual evidence for it.

I second that.

One: I go with Phil Och's definition of the American liberal: ten degrees left of center in good times, ten degrees right of center when it effects them personally.

And two: Whenever someone begins a sentence with "Now I'm not prejudice or anything, but..." you can bet a racist statement is about to follow. "I'm very liberal, but..." is often heard the same way.

G said...

Agreed.

Much of the time, people will see only what they want to see. In that particular writer's case, wanting to see anti-Americanism will lead to any criticism to be seen as such.

Similarly, the Bush administration has been criticised by those within for its view of disagreement equalling disloyalty. If they want to see disloyalty, and be able to use it to polarize the country, and paint the Democrats as the enemy, then any criticism will become anti-Americanism.

How about anti-current-GOP? I wonder how many people think that means the same thing as anti-American? Last I checked, some 50% (and possibly more) of Americans voted against the current GOP. Did that make them anti-American? Or were they exercising their rights under democratic rule? And if so, does that mean that pro-democracy equals anti-Americanism?

And theirein lies the hole in the argument ... and perhaps an awful truth.

L-girl said...

Last I checked, some 50% (and possibly more) of Americans voted against the current GOP. Did that make them anti-American?

According to those GOP, it did. And the guy they voted for - the war hero - was un-American too.

That's the really sad and infuriating part.

Wrye said...

Welll, LG is in the honeymoon phase of the culture adjustment,
(different=good. "There's French TV!")
so a year from now (or perhaps by wintertime) she and redsock are bound to be in the throes of culture shock (different=bad. "where's my HBO? I hate French!"),
so the real reaction to look for will be two years down the road.

L-girl said...

(different=bad. "where's my HBO? I hate French!"),

Ah, but I may surprise you there. I thrive on different. Sameness is what kills me. If a year from now I feel as if I'm living in a colder, bilingual version of the US, that's when I'll start whining... :)

Kyahgirl said...

Interesting subject L.

I wouldn't say Canadians are ant-american as in 'let's wipe them all out' (I'm thinking of anti-semitism here). I'd say it more like the Canadians I know 'tsk tsk' and shake their heads at their boorish cousins.

I have several perspectives on Americans.
I know and love many Americans from my hobby. I also work for a large global company centered in the USA. I don't like what I see of American management. People who get into power in the states seem to be pretty harsh.

I grew very close to the border in southern B.C. We were always amazed at how ignorant Americans were. We tended to make fun of it and scoff at them but really, they were the product of their educational system. They weren't taught about any place else because, well, the USA was apparently the center of the universe.

On an individual, human level, I don't think Canadians are 'anti-american' and certainly don't wish them any harm. As a group, maybe Canadians are a bit smug and superior. I don't know. I can't speak for the populace and I don't live in the most populated area of the country. Maybe its different in Ontario and Quebec.

As always, an open mind is an asset for anyone. :-)

Laura

James said...

I wouldn't say Canadians are ant-american as in 'let's wipe them all out' (I'm thinking of anti-semitism here).

Which brings to mind another variation of the "dissent == hate" idea: the current trend of accusing anyone who disagrees with the Likud's policies about Palestine with anti-Semitism. An attitude the Bush administration is keen to promote.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

a group, maybe Canadians are a bit smug and superior.

That's true, which is the crux of things. Basically, the definition of anti-American that I've seen from the America First crowd, and from Canadian conservatives, is that you're anti-American if you believe you're better then them.

Notably, it's a one way street. Americans can feel smug and superior, but that's okay "because they're number 1".

Now, I should put a caveat here that feeling smug and superior isn't particularly nice, and we should rethink our attitudes. However, while it might reflect a bit badly on Canadians, it in and of itself shouldn't be equated as being anti-American.

L-girl said...

We tended to make fun of it and scoff at them but really, they were the product of their educational system. They weren't taught about any place else because, well, the USA was apparently the center of the universe.

I would say that's half right. Americans aren't taught anything about the rest of the world - but they aren't taught anything about their own country, either. The public education in the US sucks, and the country is very ahistorical in general. Mass amnesia is the order of the day.

We've heard this from a few people already. "Answer this for me, why do I know all about US history and Americans don't know anything about Canadian history??" We tried to explain that public education in the US barely teaches any history at all - not to single out Canada - but the guy wasn't listening.

That's pretty typical, though. People of all cultures like to talk more than they like to listen. :)

Liam J said...

"The public education in the US sucks, and the country is very ahistorical in general."

I'll make two comments on this speaking as someone with both a degree in, and a love of history. The fact that American education devalues, or at least ignores history is profoundly disturbing. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it, is not just a cliché, it is a fact. Mistakes of the past now can be only exacerbated thanks to modern technology and weaponry.

That being said, we as Canadians should not be smug. Our education system is sorely lacking in the field of history. The average Canadian is as ignorant of their own history, as the average American is of theirs.

Kyahgirl said...

You're right on that-most people talk better than listen.

On the subject of Canadian attitudes towards American, have you ever seen Rick Mercer's show 'Talking to Americans'?

Its hilarious but the humour is arrived at by making fun of the ignorance of Americans. Its humiliating in a way. The whole concept pretty much sums up some of the attitude.

His 'news' tidbits that he gets people to comment on are really outrageous like, 'did you know the Canadian government won't support he expense of old folks homes so the elderly are put out on ice floes', or 'please congratulate Toronto, they've just recently legalized the use of insulin'.

James said...

Whenever someone begins a sentence with "Now I'm not prejudice or anything, but..." you can bet a racist statement is about to follow.

A subject covered nicely, if violently, in this Xoverboard cartoon.

The average Canadian is as ignorant of their own history, as the average American is of theirs.

For that matter, the average Canadian is more ignorant of their own history than they are of American history. :)

L-girl said...

The fact that American education devalues, or at least ignores history is profoundly disturbing.

I also love history, and it is definitely disturbing.

I should clarify, though. History is taught in school. It's not ignored in the sense that it's not even a subject. It's there. But most of the schools suck, so their treatment of history is going to suck, too.

What I mean is as a culture, as a nation, the US is ahistorical. It can't be bothered with the past - it values new, new, new, out with the old and on to the Next Thing.

I am struck by this all the time. The most recent example I can think of is MoveOn.org and other liberal organizations calling W's invasion of Iraq "unprecedented" - when in fact there were many precedents throughout US history.

The lovefest over Ronald Reagan's death was another example. And that reminds me of Richard Nixon's rehabilitation before he died. Facts and history are completely ignored, a new myth is written, move on.

In the US, history is something either to be mythologized (he cannot tell a lie, he freed the slaves), paraded to show greatness (he had a dream, they protested, now we are all equal) or quickly buried and forgotten (almost everything else).

The average Canadian is as ignorant of their own history, as the average American is of theirs.

From what I see and hear, I don't think this is true. The ignorance of the American public cannot be overstated. Have you seen survey results where most Americans can't find their own state on an unmarked map? Don't know their own state capital? Think Africa is a country? Remember, Toyota chose Ontario partly because the workers in Alabama had to be taught with pictograms...

L-girl said...

have you ever seen Rick Mercer's show 'Talking to Americans'?

I've heard of it here in wmtc, but haven't seen it yet. I'm very curious.

RobfromAlberta said...

Notably, it's a one way street. Americans can feel smug and superior, but that's okay "because they're number 1".

Not with me, it isn't. There is no excuse regardless of who is doing it.

Now, I should put a caveat here that feeling smug and superior isn't particularly nice, and we should rethink our attitudes. However, while it might reflect a bit badly on Canadians, it in and of itself shouldn't be equated as being anti-American.

Who is it that we feel superior to? Let's face it, you rarely hear anyone in Canada deriding the ignorance of Swedes. We always talk about Americans when our smug superiority shows throught. So, in fact, what we are saying is that we Canadians are superior to Americans. Now, suppose we say "whites" instead of Canadians and "blacks" instead of Americans. Can we still say that our feelings of superiority do not equate with bigotry?

Lone Primate said...

So, in fact, what we are saying is that we Canadians are superior to Americans. Now, suppose we say "whites" instead of Canadians and "blacks" instead of Americans. Can we still say that our feelings of superiority do not equate with bigotry?

This comes within a hair's breadth of claiming that it is illegitimate to contrast any two things for the sake of a value judgement. Suppose instead of painting in such broad strokes as to be utterly self-serving, we limit the scope to something more sensible, like, "Canadian policies on (Iraq, abortion, same-sex marriage, personal privacy issues, capital punishment, soft drugs, etc.) are superior to coresponding American policies"? This is really at the heart of the matter. No one with a brain in his or her head is going to argue that being born in Windsor in and of itself makes one 'better' than someone born in Detroit. But countries and cultures have ways of doing things and behaviours. It's entirely appropriate to contrast them and look for ways that are more humane, or effective, or efficient. Canadians, on the whole, are satisfied that our ways are more suitable, and a lot of the world seems to be in accord with us. There's nothing inherently anti-American about saying so. Ascribing policies one considers misguided to Americans on a genetic basis would be; ascribing them to flaws in its educational system or mythos isn't.

James said...

Now, suppose we say "whites" instead of Canadians and "blacks" instead of Americans. Can we still say that our feelings of superiority do not equate with bigotry?

I don't think that the substitution is legitimate here. The playing field is much more level between Canadians as a whole and Americans as a whole than it is between whites and blacks, and the history is completely different.

If I say that I think the Liberals are better than the Conservatives, am I being bigotted because you could substitute "white" and "black" into that and get a racist statement?

Kyahgirl said...

Popping back in here. I have to hold up my hand and emphatically shout 'whoa'!
When I said that 'Canadians, as a group, are a bit smug and superior,' I wasn't anywhere near the territory of racism and bigotry that is being explored here.

Where I come from that smug attitude might be attributed to derisive humour because our neighbors south of the border don't realize we have phones and television just like them or because they call a creek a crik. Nothing too dastardly, just a slightly immature intolerance.
Canada has its own shameful story of racism. Believe me, one of my best friends is an East Indian woman. When we would go around the city together I'd catch measureing looks and get to see her being treated rudely while I was treated politely. It was plain as day.
I don't see us being any better than the US and I don't think anyone here with their eyes open could ever really believe we're managing things that much better. Sure, I'd rather live here over any other country because of our freedoms and intellectual latitude but we're far from perfect.

Wrye said...

An American friend once ventured the idea that in Canada our intercultural tensions are so multipolar that they tend to foster a gruding tolerance. There's always been a fairly strong White (Anglo) versus White (Franco) tension here that's had little to do with race. Optimisticly, our cultural experience with dealing with the three nations in the bosom of a single state does count for something. On the whole, in general.

Lone Primate said...

I don't see us being any better than the US and I don't think anyone here with their eyes open could ever really believe we're managing things that much better.

Well, I sure hope you're wrong, or Laura and Allan went to a whooooole lot of trouble for diddly.

An American friend once ventured the idea that in Canada our intercultural tensions are so multipolar that they tend to foster a gruding tolerance. There's always been a fairly strong White (Anglo) versus White (Franco) tension here that's had little to do with race.

I've really felt that that, combined with our mutual interdependence due to a fairly harsh environment, has been at the root our identity. The US has been successful in a lot of ways, and in large part its success has been due to struggles with one faction coming out on top. It's less about compromise as someone getting the upper hand, but then, mercifully, not using it to utter crush the loser (with the possible exception of a number of native peoples).

In Canada, the British did win in 1763, but it was a measured win. Almost immediately, the US broke away, and aside from being "officially" in charge, the British were not all that secure in their position. There had to be compromise, and a lot of it, or we could never have formed a single polity... and it's shaky as it is. Canada's really been an experiment in finding a middle way. There are other nations like us, but not all that many. But in a world where we're all discovered now, and all in touch, it's countries like ours that really light the way and truly are the last, best hope of Earth.

Coloratura said...

Try living and working — and when I say live/work, I mean really doing it for at least 5 years minimum — in any non-capitalist country (Canada doesn't count, it's way too close to what we have here) and I can just about guarantee you that you'll be nostalgic for our flawed but at least open and somewhat efficient system... I've known several who were ready to glory in all the wonders of socialism and communism only to hightail it back to a little good old economic freedom — myself included. No we're not where we need to be yet, but it's truly far, far better than any other existing system. I am married to a non-American and he came here to get away from all that. I've lived abroad too, so I know where he's coming from.

Why else would so many, many people want to come and live here: check out the INS office of any city in the US. The number of requests for entry are absolutely astonishing... and they only increase with every year. Our immigration lawyer could tell you more facts that would make your jaw drop...

L-girl said...

I can just about guarantee you that you'll be nostalgic for our flawed but at least open and somewhat efficient system

La Coloratura, who are you referring to as "we" and "our"?

L-girl said...

I don't see us being any better than the US and I don't think anyone here with their eyes open could ever really believe we're managing things that much better.

I think you must have an overly rosy view of the US. Canada is managing things much better in this regard! It's incomparable. Treatment of immigrants/ immigration; treatment of minorities; affirmative action programs (no matter what they're called); open dialogue and discussion about these issues - Canada ranks higher than the US all down the line.

The US will always have the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. They cast their shadows even today.

L-girl said...

I've known several who were ready to glory in all the wonders of socialism and communism only to hightail it back to a little good old economic freedom — myself included.

What are you even talking about here? Where do you put Canada in this little scenario?

I've chosen Canada - which is more socialistic, but still has plenty of economic freedom - over "good old economic freedom", which includes the freedom to work at poverty wages w/out health care.

What does communism have to do with any of this? What communist countries are you even referring to?

L-girl said...

I don't see us being any better than the US and I don't think anyone here with their eyes open could ever really believe we're managing things that much better.

Remember, most US states have the death penalty. The two biggest predictors of its use are (1) the income level of the accused and (2) the race of the victim. Meaning, if the victim is black, the accused is overwhelmingly more likely to be given a prison sentence; if the victim is white, and the accused is poor, the death penalty.

That says a lot, I think.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

No one with a brain in his or her head is going to argue that being born in Windsor in and of itself makes one 'better' than someone born in Detroit

I'm sorry LP, but you overestimate us fellow Canadians. I'm quite sure (actually I know) that a lot of us would say that we're better because we're born in Windsor/Toronto/Vancouver instead of Detroit/NYC/Seattle.

I understand the attitude that Rob is complaining about, but I don't see it in the same way. Everybody in Canada outside the GTA complains about smug, self-centred T'rono. Yet I've never heard people in Toronto saying "you're anti-Torontonian", or people in London (Ontario) saying that we should be nicer to Toronto. Yet if we substitute "America" for "Toronto" and "Calgary" for "London", the discussion changes dramatically. This is also a far more apt substitution than "Black" and "White".

I see this attitude as somewhat bad, but to me its a molehill, not worth stressing over. Rob (and other like-minded people) see it as a mountain.

Lone Primate said...

I'm quite sure (actually I know) that a lot of us would say that we're better because we're born in Windsor/Toronto/Vancouver instead of Detroit/NYC/Seattle.

My own feeling is that we tend to wind up as -- on the whole -- more humane and less prone to turn to violence as a means of determining the outcome of contention as a result of growing up in those environments (although the difference between Seattle and Vancouver is probably minimal), but not as a result simply of birth. Conditioning in the environment, yes. But you don't have to be born in Canada to be Canadian... just live here long enough. And even growing up here is no guarantee.

RobfromAlberta said...

But in a world where we're all discovered now, and all in touch, it's countries like ours that really light the way and truly are the last, best hope of Earth.

Your idealism is beautiful, but here on earth, Canada is not a shining beacon, it is largely ignored. The world is becoming multipolar with the EU, China and eventually India rising to rival the US as the major players while we flitter around like a hummingbird from one blossom to another. The only one of the major powers that gives a damn about us is the one we are trying hard to distance ourselves from. We will eventually find ourselves on the outside of everything, first among the world's non-aligned states, smug in our own moral superiority, but never offered a seat at the table.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I think you're worrying too much Rob.

Canada has, and always will be ignored if we stay in the shadows of a major power. Just one of the crowd circling the popular girl in school.

The only way to draw attention to ourselves is to march on our own path, which we've decided to do. Canada has been clinging to mommy England and big brother America long enough and its time to move out on our own. We'll be fine.

Honestly, I don't understand you can fret every time we fall out of lockstep with the U.S. while simultaneouly complaining we have no culture and are too much like them.

G said...

We will eventually find ourselves on the outside of everything, first among the world's non-aligned states, smug in our own moral superiority, but never offered a seat at the table.

You know, I just don't see that happening. We have more than enough to offer the rest of the world ... notably some of the world's top R&D. All we have to do is get past our fear of expanding trade (ie softwood) beyond the US border ... perhaps increase exports to Asia, build further alliances there? The sooner we get a solid relationship set with India (they will be the #1 world economy very soon), the better.

Now, suppose we say "whites" instead of Canadians and "blacks" instead of Americans. Can we still say that our feelings of superiority do not equate with bigotry?

No, because they aren't talking people, they are talking policy. Preference for something like a policy is not bigotry, which as we know applies to prejudgements on human beings, not on inanimate objects (the exception of course being the inanimate object that is Parliament).

By your logic in that statement, as L-Girl points out, we can't compare anything. If one says Random Thoughts From CowTown is superior to WMTC, are they a bigot? (no offense, L-G, just an e.g.) It's a blog - the comment says nothing about the person, just about agreeing or disagreeing with that person's POV. Likewise, are we all bigots for disagreeing with you here? Come on, man, we've come to expect better than that from you!

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

anti-Random Thoughts from Cowtown bigots.....

Actually, maybe we are.....

RobfromAlberta said...

How many times do I have to keep saying this? Anti-Americanism doesn't mean disagreeing with US government policies, it means disliking Americans for who they are. If any of you think that doesn't exist in Canada, you really need to get out more.

RobfromAlberta said...

I don't understand you can fret every time we fall out of lockstep with the U.S. while simultaneouly complaining we ...... are too much like them.

I'm pretty sure I've never said that. If anything, I think we should be more like them.

L-girl said...

Anti-Americanism doesn't mean disagreeing with US government policies, it means disliking Americans for who they are. If any of you think that doesn't exist in Canada, you really need to get out more.

No one is saying it doesn't exist somewhere in Canada, in some people's minds. But you're the only one here who sees a prevalence of it.

But if I ever run into any of it, I promise I will let you know. I have excellent bigotry radar, if anything is a little too finely tuned when it comes to sexism and anti-Semitism, so I'm sure to pick up on anti-Americanism - as opposed to disagreeing with US policy - if I run into any.

I don't understand you can fret every time we fall out of lockstep with the U.S. while simultaneouly complaining we ...... are too much like them.

I'm pretty sure I've never said that. If anything, I think we should be more like them.


But you did claim that Canada has no distinct identity. It just doesn't add up.

But hey, it doesn't have to.

RobfromAlberta said...

But you did claim that Canada has no distinct identity. It just doesn't add up.

Yes, that I did say. I just don't see the relationship with the current discussion. Maybe I fell off the train of thought. It's hard to debate four people at a time.

L-girl said...

That's true. I'm going to go back to observing, as I was earlier. We're all just repeating ourselves anyway, which is a good clue that the discussion has reached its limits.

RobfromAlberta said...

Anyway, things are starting to get personal, so adios amigos

L-girl said...

Just for this thread, I hope.

If it's gotten personal, everyone should tone it down, myself included.

RobfromAlberta said...

Just for this thread, I hope.

Oh yes, I'm not leaving in a huff. I just think we could use a little cooling off period, especially me.

G said...

Yeah, we probably all could ... touchy subject.

But, the heat is not all bad; it's what makes the discussion fun!

And Rob, if it seemed to go a bit personal, that wasn't the intent. But I think you know that.

Cheers,
G

Lone Primate said...

Your idealism is beautiful, but here on earth, Canada is not a shining beacon, it is largely ignored.

If you ignore the quarter million people plus who uproot their lives elsewhere each and every year to start a new life here, I suppose the country's largely ignored. I wonder how many people consider it for every one who actually does it? Sorry to tell you, Rob; we are a beacon. We worked hard to become one. We earned it. We have a good reputation in the world as a fair player, honest broker, and place that, while imperfect, actually and consciously tries to provide better lives for people. We're a country a ninth the size of the US attracting nearly as many immigrants, and all in the overwhelming glare of the place. Frankly, I think that's stellar. You can sell it cheap if you like; it's your birthright to leave out in the rain or polish and hang in the window as you please. And it's pretty clear which you please.

The only one of the major powers that gives a damn about us is the one we are trying hard to distance ourselves from.

You could have said exactly the same thing a century ago under Laurier, except you would have been talking about Britain. We kept our own course and we're doing fine, and as long as we remember who we are instead of trying to be more and more like anyone we're not, we'll continue to do fine because we'll do what's right for our own interests and our own people. We shouldn't actively subvert anyone else.. but neither are we a slave duty-bound to swallow hemlock with some master, either.

but never offered a seat at the table.

What table would this be? The UN? NORAD? NATO? The OAS? Commonwealth? G-7? WTO? ICJ? Associate of the ESA? Who are we talking about where we're so disregarded the waiter won't even bring a glass of water?

But you did claim that Canada has no distinct identity. It just doesn't add up.

Yes, that I did say. I just don't see the relationship with the current discussion.


Yes, this is another one where you routinely contradict yourself. You love go on about how Canada is nothing, just a button on the US's coat tails, indistinct, the effort to draw a border just a waste of ink... until someone brings up a way Canada's different from the US in some way you wish it weren't (like defense spending), and suddenly, we're nowhere near enough like them, all powerful and proud and rich and lemony-fresh. Again, you take whichever stance will be more humilating to the country. It's as predictable as a sunrise.

RobfromAlberta said...

You love go on about how Canada is nothing, just a button on the US's coat tails, indistinct, the effort to draw a border just a waste of ink... until someone brings up a way Canada's different from the US in some way you wish it weren't (like defense spending), and suddenly, we're nowhere near enough like them

I guess I'm not through with this discussion after all. Ok lp, please read exactly what I write. Don't add any words that are not written here by me, ok? This is the sum total of my position on this matter.

Article 1: National Identity

1.Canada has no national identity.

2.America has one of the most robust national identities of any country.

3.Therefore, by definition, Canada is different from the US.

Article 2: Government Policies

1.Canada's policies on a variety of issues are different from the US. In some cases, I agree with Canada's position, in others, however, I agree with the US.

2.Government policies change as governments change, therefore, by definition, they cannot be part of a national identity.

3.Thus, making comparisons between government policies in Canada and the US is irrelevent to any discussion of national identity.


Any further attempts to erect straw men, misrepresent me or take anything I say out of context may be referred to this post. It will be duplicated on my own blog.

Lone Primate said...

1.Canada has no national identity. / 2.America has one of the most robust national identities of any country. /
3.Therefore, by definition, Canada is different from the US.


Which establishes my both of my points about your attitude -- your first point: Canada's nothing. Your second and third points: wherever Canada is something at variance to the US, the US provides the model towards which Canada is obliged to measure itself and conform.

Thank you.

Government policies change as governments change, therefore, by definition, they cannot be part of a national identity... Thus, making comparisons between government policies in Canada and the US is irrelevent to any discussion of national identity.

In this context, then, explain the societal differences evidenced in the policies on either side of the border towards socialized medicine, bilingualism, military adventuring, capital punishment, and the legality of same-sex relations -- just to name a few -- which have, on either side of the border, maintained their integrity in spite of numerous changes to the ruling party over the course of several generations. If societal differences -- national identity -- do not drive the adherence to these policies... explain what does.