7.18.2006

idiocy

I see our new friend GaryStJ - who doesn't mean to attack, of course, he's just inquiring - hasn't returned to respond to our questions and answers. Perhaps he was busy last night.

I'm still cracking up over "jingoism" and "imperialism". Jingoism! Canadians! The people who are always apologizing for themselves, and saying things like, "We're a young country, doomed to fail, but we do the best we can..."

And imperialism? Canada was founded, in part, by British and French imperialism, but it wasn't Canada then. We don't say India has a history of imperialism, because it was part of the British empire.

We're talking imperialism, and we're weighing the US against Canada, and we find them indistinguishable?

Maybe I'm the idiot for taking these questions seriously!

27 comments:

Lone Primate said...

I suppose Gary has a point in suggesting Canada's not guiltless. What nation is? Groups of people make mistakes, and often trample, deliberately or inadvertantly, on the rights of others. Canada volunteered to help in the Boer War (well, Canada besides Quebec, anyway). Canada excluded Asians for decades, and denied those born here of the vote till the mid-20th Century. Canada refused entry to all but a few Jews, even after Krystalnacht. Canada interred citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent during WWII, stole their property, and refused to let them move where they chose in the country for several years afterwards. The list of offenses against the First Nations is long, and, frankly, ongoing. These are shames, serious issues. But still -- and this is not to excuse them -- they often seem mild when one looks beyond our shores. I think Gary misses the point that while two people can both be guilty of the same offense, it's not necessarily the case that the severity of the offenses are equally profound. And I think Canada is deserving of credit for recognizing its shortcomings, and attempting to make amends, even to the point of that being reflected in the reworking of the Constitution in the 1980s. Many nations face up to their mistakes, many nations try to better themselves in terms of humanitarianism... but not all, and sometimes only when and where it's convenient or politically expedient. The only pressure on Canada has been the conscience of its people.

In the end, reasons for living in one place or another are subjective. They depend entirely on the character of a person, and what social environment best suits him or her. There are probably as many "right" answers as there are human beings. But that doesn't mean it's correct to say a sin is a sin is a sin, and they're all equal. That's not true. Gary really needs to recognize that.

L-girl said...

Well said (as usual).

However, note what Gary wrote:

You might, save for a few current events here and there, feel confident in the overall direction this country has taken in the past few decades.

In the past few decades. Boer War, Jewish refugees from Hitler, Japanese-Canadians - all of those decisions were wrong, but none of them qualifies.

Lone Primate said...

Well, in the past few decades, we've gotten our own flag marking ourselves as our own nation, refused to participate in the Vietnam War, recognized the government of the PRC, decriminalized homosexuality nation-wide, legally enshrined bilingualism and multiculturalism, gone metric, legalized same-sex marriage, abolished the death penalty, installed a Charter of Rights and Freedoms which includes the equivalent of the ERA, declared Canada a nuclear-weapons-free zone, decriminalized abortion, created a national medicare system, removed national and racial quotas from our immigration system and relied on required skillsets alone, refused to sign on for Star Wars I or II, and refused to invade Iraq. These are all issues where we are either in advance of US policy, divergent in some respect from US policy, or completely at odds with US policy.

On the other hand, we co-created the St. Lawrence Seaway, NORAD, the Auto Pact, the FTA, and NAFTA; we participated in the war in Yugoslavia, and we invaded Afghanistan. These are ways we've been in concert with US policy in recent decades.

It's true we've worked with the US on many issues, but Gary's wrong to suggest we haven't gone our own way, and nearly all the time, too. We've waved amicably over that fence we both own from time to time, but it should be clear we live comfortably on our own side of it, abiding our own conscience.

redsock said...

Here is a list of US foreign military actions, covert operations, coups, etc. (I've seen other (better) lists, but I can't locate the URLs. Wikipedia will have to suffice.)

It's a long list.

Gary, could you please provide the list of Canadian foreign military actions, covert operations, coups, etc. that is "almost indistinguishable" from that of the US?

Thanks.

M@ said...

On the other hand, we co-created the St. Lawrence Seaway, NORAD, the Auto Pact, the FTA, and NAFTA;

I don't really see these as being "in concert" with US policy. It shouldn't be surprising that any nation creates agreements with its neighbours. To what extent these things have been good or bad for Canada is another story, but the agreements in themselves were made in good faith to help Canadians, I would think. Am I wrong on that?

we participated in the war in Yugoslavia

Here you're going to have to help me out. I'm assuming you're talking about the NATO bombing campaign in Serbia in the late 90s, correct? Because our extensive early involvement in the former Yugoslavia, under the UN banner, was most certainly not in concert with the Americans' policies.

And I'm struggling to remember the extent of our involvement in the late 90s. Did we take an offensive role? I've done some googling and I can't seem to find any confirmation either way.

and we invaded Afghanistan.

This strikes me as the most shameful part of our recent history. If there's one thing I'll thank Chretien for, though, over the years, it's that he didn't want to go to Iraq. Imagine how that would have gone. A lot more of my friends and former colleagues would be coming home in body bags, I'm sure.

Lone Primate said...

...Oh, yes, and we were, of course, in the first Gulf War. That's a biggie, and I left it out. To be fair, that warrants mention.

I did some growing since then. I can remember when the war "started"; I was actually standing in a Blockbuster Video and they switched all the TVs over to CNN. I was a young adult at the time, and I remember feeling not so much pride, but awe that Canada was a part of it. What can I say; it felt good to be part of a mighty force. I still suppose there was a sensible reason for it; after all, Iraq had annexed Kuwait. Still, there's something pushy, exceptionalistic, and triumphalistic about even that war that today leaves me a little nauseous. In so far as we defended Kuwait's right to exist until it should freely decide to join Iraq, I support the war. It's everything we've done to Iraq ever since that sickens me. Cripes, Japan and Germany didn't have to eat this much sh!t for this long after WWII. Fifteen years after the first Gulf War, the US and UK are still pounding Iraq... fifteen years after WWII, West Germany was in NATO. Helps to be white. :(

GarySTJ said...

I've posted in the other thread.

But I would invite everyone to review the comments posted thus far and still claim that I am the rude one. When my comment brings an entirely new post labelled "idiocy", then I think the answer is self evident.

Lone Primate said...

Because our extensive early involvement in the former Yugoslavia, under the UN banner, was most certainly not in concert with the Americans' policies.

This is needless hair-splitting, because clearly, you cannot say we were at odds with US policy in this matter, one of rather significant military import, and one largely pursued and led by the US, and involving NATO in its first mission outside its traditional role. Effectively, the point would be a feather in the cap of Gary's arguments, not those of us who would populate lists of where we've stood apart. Whether it was good or not, justified or not, is a different matter (and not one upon which I am firmly of one opinion or the other).

Lone Primate said...

But I would invite everyone to review the comments posted thus far and still claim that I am the rude one.

Well, Gary, you came in here and gave Laura the choice of admitting she was either stupid for moving to a country no morally different from the one she left, or else a liar for espousing that opinion that it was. It's all very well that you performed a nice hat dance around it, but we're not stupid around here. We can all read.

L-girl said...

But I would invite everyone to review the comments posted thus far and still claim that I am the rude one.

Anyone want to take that on?

Funny how it seems obvious to everyone but you, Gary.

M@ said...

Can I say, for the record, that I've been ruder than Gary? It was a close race, but I think I got all up in his grill.

(First definition! First definition!!!)

And LP -- I probably am just splitting hairs. While our UN work in Bosnia was different from our involvement in the NATO campaign later, we were certainly complicit in the latter. Your point is well taken.

GarySTJ said...

Lone:

Your logic is flawed. You are suggesting that one can quantitatively judge wrong doing, which is simply not the case. Take this as an example - if I murder 10 people and you murder 1, are you less of a murderer than me? No, we are both fundamentally murders.

This is why I can't respond to Allan's request for a list of Canadian international transgressions, because in doing so I would be endorsing the kind of logic that Lone is using.

Of course the Canadian list is going to be shorter than the American one, its a bigger country with a longer history of an independent military. This is self evident, and totally beyond point. The point is that Canada and the US have similar mindsets and are fundamentally of the same ilk. This is evidenced by Canada's participation in nearly every military endeavour the United States has ever embarked on - Vietnam and Iraq being two notable exceptions, but ones that do not change the overall trend. Both the United States and Canada are practitioners of military adventurism, and I think you'd be hard pressed to prove me wrong on this one.

And as for Lone's list of social legislations present in Canada, I think you could find each and every one present in one form or another in individual states or localities. Federally mandated universal health being an exception, but even that is/has been present in some form or another locally. Is your comment meant to illustrate that Canada has a stronger central government which allows it to standardize things more easily than the United States?

L-Girl: Was your move prompted by the desire for a strong central government? Somehow I doubt it.

In the end, reasons for living in one place or another are subjective.

This is true, as I have said over and over again. But this is also where you haven't been paying attention. L-Girl's case is different because she claims not to have moved for subjective reasons, but rather objective ones. Objective implies easily recognizable and apparant facts - ones which I simply don't see - and all I'm asking for is clarification. So far all I've gotten are re-iterated platitudes that sound as if they came straight out of some Sponsorship Program.

Can anyone give me an answer that addresses my question, which is substantiated, which doesn't generalize and which isn't some regurgitated platitude from a "Heritage Moment"?

Thanks.

L-girl said...

Can anyone give me an answer that addresses my question, which is substantiated, which doesn't generalize and which isn't some regurgitated platitude from a "Heritage Moment"?

Once again, and for the last time, I direct you to the comments in all three threads.

Please read them, accept them or ignore them as you choose, then go the fuck away. You are rude, you are not paying attention, you are dismissing the well-thought-out and substantial answers you have received, and your further participation here is not wanted or required. Nick is right.

L-girl said...

L-Girl's case is different because she claims not to have moved for subjective reasons, but rather objective ones.

I have never claimed this. Don't speak for me.

L-girl said...

And as for Lone's list of social legislations present in Canada, I think you could find each and every one present in one form or another in individual states or localities. Federally mandated universal health being an exception, but even that is/has been present in some form or another locally. Is your comment meant to illustrate that Canada has a stronger central government which allows it to standardize things more easily than the United States?

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you ever been to the United States? Do you know anything about it??

Why am I arguing with this guy??? Will someone please get me away from this keyboard??!!!

GarySTJ said...

I have never claimed this. Don't speak for me.

Oh, really?

http://wemovetocanada.blogspot.com/2006/03/me-again.html

L-girl said...

You are suggesting that one can quantitatively judge wrong doing, which is simply not the case. Take this as an example - if I murder 10 people and you murder 1, are you less of a murderer than me? No, we are both fundamentally murders.

I disagree with this. Quantity does matter, to most people. Hence our repulsion at serial killers.

Vietnam and Iraq being two notable exceptions, but ones that do not change the overall trend.

58,000 Americans and 1.5 million Vietnamese say hi. Or they would, but they're dead.

Quantity counts. The decision not to invade Iraq counts for a lot in my book.

Thanks for linking to my essay. I'm very familiar with what it says.

redsock said...

I can't respond to Allan's request for a list of Canadian international transgressions ...

Of course the Canadian list is going to be shorter than the American one ... This is self evident...


Indeed.

Lone Primate said...

Your logic is flawed. You are suggesting that one can quantitatively judge wrong doing, which is simply not the case. Take this as an example - if I murder 10 people and you murder 1, are you less of a murderer than me? No, we are both fundamentally murders.

You are suggesting that society would equate, say, a person who killed a single person known to him or her as the moral equivalent of a Ted Bundy who kills without end, remorse, or motive. Sentencing and parole eligibility trends would tend to suggest society is quite capable of quantifying effect, intention, scope, result, future trends and implications, and a whole host of other criteria.

This is evidenced by Canada's participation in nearly every military endeavour the United States has ever embarked on

Substantiate this. You have Allan's list... off you go.

And as for Lone's list of social legislations present in Canada, I think you could find each and every one present in one form or another in individual states or localities.

This sounds to me like you're quantifying right and wrong... state by state, municipality by municipality... Pardon me, but weren't you just telling us that a single instance of sin is the entire volume of another? There's noplace in Canada same-sex partners can't marry, no province in Canada that bans abortion, no town in Canada where you're not health insured. But instances of all these exist in the US. So which argument do you want to make? Absolutely moral equivalancy based on the single instance of sin, or moral relativity based on the single instance of merit? You can't have it both ways, try as you might.

Can anyone give me an answer that addresses my question, which is substantiated, which doesn't generalize and which isn't some regurgitated platitude from a "Heritage Moment"?

Just as soon as you back up your platitude that Canada's morally as bad as the US on, say, the military aspect. Like I said, you have a list to get you started. Please show your work.

Canrane said...

Your logic is flawed. You are suggesting that one can quantitatively judge wrong doing, which is simply not the case. Take this as an example - if I murder 10 people and you murder 1, are you less of a murderer than me? No, we are both fundamentally murders.

Gaaah!!! I can't take it anymore! I thought I could watch queitly from the sidelines...but this last one just boggles the mind! Gary, please, for the love of God...tell me you're really just a university student doing psych experiments on the cheap!

Are you *seriously* trying to apply boolean logic to the real world???

Have you ever actually tried to live life like that? Have you not discovered that it doesn't *work*?

Being an academic does not require willing suspension of common sense!

GarySTJ said...

Lone,

I already said I'm not going to do your research for you. I've given you a examples in many of my previous posts. In fact, you've given us a fairly good list to begin with as well.

It really makes no difference to me if you do or don't.

Allan:

I've conceded nothing. The issue you raise is of a temporal nature only.

Lone Primate said...

I already said I'm not going to do your research for you.

They're your unsubstantiated arguments, not mine; therefore, it's also your research. If you can't and/or won't buttress your own points with examples from the real world, fair enough. I didn't believe you could, anyway. But if that's your attitude, you will at least do Laura the courtesy of ceasing to badger her for what you refuse to supply yourself, won't you?

I've given you a examples in many of my previous posts.

So far, your "examples" consist entirely of A) unsubstantiated claims that Canada is a worse polluter (en masse? individual by individual? in all matters, in all sectors? You never say...) than the United States; and B) a murdered of one is as bad as a murder of ten, if I'm catching your drift. So far, that's it. This is what amounts to "examples" you've supplied to back up your insinuation that Laura and Allan made an uninformed decision.

GarySTJ said...

Well, this is the crux of the issue, Lone - and apparantly the point at which I am most commonly misinterpreted.

I didn't come here to argue that Canada or the United States are anything. I've presented my view that both countries are equally guilty of many things as an aside only.

My real purpose here is, and always has been, to find out from L-Girl and Allan why and how they have come to the decision that Canada is substantially "better" than the United States. I think that in the face of research, this argument falls flat.

I won't provide research here because the point I'm driving at is that L-Girl and Allan didn't do any - or at best relied on the kind of platitudinal rumours about this country which are so common among the mainstream American Left.

No, reasons from the readers about why Canada is a great country (and it is) do not suffice. They have provided an interesting distraction only.

Again (assuming you did research as you claim), in the face of history, in the face of current events, in the face any careful and holistic analysis of this country - how and why did you come to the conclusion this this place is fundamentally better than that place? Period. Don't ask me to answer the questions I am asking you. Don't rely on me to bolster your own position.

You can answer me, or not. Its as simple as that.

Lone Primate said...

My real purpose here is, and always has been, to find out from L-Girl and Allan why and how they have come to the decision that Canada is substantially "better" than the United States. I think that in the face of research, this argument falls flat.

No, this is the crux of the issue: what research? We're still waiting.

I won't provide research here because the point I'm driving at is that L-Girl and Allan didn't do any

Evidently, neither did you.

Prove me wrong.

And no, you haven't. Show your "research", and let's go over it. Or quit telling us you won't give what you won't stop asking for. It's lazy and boring.

No, reasons from the readers about why Canada is a great country (and it is) do not suffice.

What would suffice, or might, at least, would be you demonstrating instances where Canada has proven itself morally worse, or no better, than the United States in matching circumstances. This would be the starting point for your argument; you haven't even left the mark yet. You already know why they think Canada is (at least in some important respects) better. Why do you think it's not? Examples, not generalities, please.

Again (assuming you did research as you claim), in the face of history, in the face of current events, in the face any careful and holistic analysis of this country - how and why did you come to the conclusion this this place is fundamentally better than that place?

Again (assuming you did research as you claim), in the face of history, in the face of current events, in the face any careful and holistic analysis of this country - how and why did you come to the conclusion this this place is not fundamentally better than that place?

GarySTJ said...

I say again -

Don't ask me to answer the questions I am asking you. Don't rely on me to bolster your own position.

I didn't come here to argue that Canada or the United States are anything. I've presented my view that both countries are equally guilty of many things as an aside only.

Lone Primate said...

And allow me to reiterate:

I've presented my view that both countries are equally guilty of many things as an aside only.

You've come here demanding of someone else an intellectual courtesy that you yourself refuse to give, and cry about all you want... I will not let you off the hook. You've made your charge, repeatedly, but we will continue to dismiss it for lack of evidence until such is forthcoming.

Expect it to continue, and do not presume to ask me to stop. I have have intention of doing so.

redsock said...

Gary, You haven't presented shit.

You are nothing but a troll who can string a few sentences together.

But a troll nonetheless.