Canada's View on Social Issues Is Opening Rifts With the U.S.

Lucas Gonze lgonze at
Wed Dec 3 11:10:01 PST 2003

A good book on the subject -- 

Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History
"Almost 60 years after Gunnar Myrdal argued that America's distinctive  
moral consciousness might prove "the salvation of mankind," Morone  
finds that same characteristic at least as likely to legitimate  
invidious discrimination as to inspire utopian strivings."

On Wednesday, Dec 3, 2003, at 13:57 America/New_York, Ian Andrew Bell  

> Why?  I think there's something fundamental about the way Canada  
> contains and respects dissent, vs. the US.  The bread/bible belt in  
> Canada is actually far more socialist than it is right wing... the NDP  
> have dominated provincial politics in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for  
> quite some time.  The coasts tend to be more economically > conservative.
> I think that there's a real, functional libertarianism that was  
> embodied by Pierre Trudeau ("the government has no business in the  
> bedrooms of the nation") and his Canadian Charter of Human Rights And  
> Freedoms, which is an excellent read even outside of its legislative  
> context.
> I believe, having lived in both places, that the difference is  
> tolerance vs. fear.  In Canada you may not >like< someone's choice to,  
> say, smoke pot on the steps of the courthouse or marry someone of the  
> same sex.  You will not, however, attack them or their ideals because  
> of that.  You might lobby to get a law created, etc. but you do not  
> attack them directly.
> In the United States there seems to be a compelling belief that when  
> someone else's choice, whether it's a choice to don a swastika and  
> march through town on Hitler's birthday or whether it's a choice by a  
> man to kiss another man in public, disagrees with your own mores and  
> values that that choice is offensive and must be stopped at any cost.   
> Perhaps because there's less faith in the legislative process, people  
> resort to various degrees of vigilantism (ranging from cat-calling and  
> nasty talk shows to beatings, shootings, etc.) to effectively stamp  
> out that which is offensive to your beliefs.  People seem to feel that  
> those things with which they disagree MUST be stopped, and that the  
> only way to deal with those things effectively is to enforce action  
> directly upon the offenders.
> Hey, look up, America.  There's a thriving democracy right above you.
> (Ironic, considering that there's effectively been one party in power  
> in Canada for 85% of the last 140 years).
> -Ian.
> On 3-Dec-03, at 10:35 AM, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:
>> Ian Andrew Bell wrote:
>>>  More than just borders separate Canada and the US, and that gulf is
>>>  widening. The question is, are Canadians becoming more compassionate
>>>  and libertarian? Or are Americans becoming more self-interested and
>>>  conservative?
>> If you look state/province (let's just say province) by province,
>> I'm sure there's more diversity among provinces than among
>> the two countries as a whole, with a lot of commonality among
>> the coasts vs. the midwest. So this sort of Americans vs. Candadians
>> article is kind of infuriating to me.
>> - Joe
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