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Friday, July 09, 2004

Blowback on Fox News

Since Fox News is not available in Canada probably not many Canadians managed to catch this Memo by Bill O'Reilly on Hating America:

Hating America. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." According to a new poll, 40 percent of Canadian teenagers think America is an evil country. Among French-Canadian teens, the number jumps to 64 percent. Those numbers can be laid right on the doorstep of the Canadian media and government

As you may know, the FOX News Channel is not allowed in Canada, but CNN is. Fair and balanced? You decide. (snip)

So, pardon me as I object to the Michael Moores of the world — and that man is too cowardly to come in here, all right? Pardon me as I object to the anti-American foreign press and bums like Chirac in France and Chretien in Canada.

America has a provable history of freeing oppressed people all over the world in fighting evil dictators. Canada should be ashamed that so many of its young people are flat out ignorant. And Americans should wise up and realize we are living in a changing world. Old friends are not necessarily true friends.


Posted by Kevin Jaeger on July 9, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Comments

Though, I disagree with anti-Americanism because 1) it is mindless and 2) it is too often used as a defence for socialism, I find O'Reilly's rosy picture of America equally as incorrect.

Let's consider some facts about America: it holds more power than any other state (and uses/abuses it regularly), it has created world’s largest prison state (more people incarcerated than any other nation in known human history in both per capita and real terms), it has been involved in 200 armed conflicts in the 20th Century, it leads the drug war (which adversely affects Canada's high population of pot smoking teens), it started, because of the drug war, widespread asset forfeiture (which is the greatest violation of property rights in the Western world), it illegally invaded Iraq (according to international law), it occupies 200 countries world-wide (with military bases), etcetera, etcetera.

I think there is ample room to criticise America. For O'Reilly to call Canadian teens ignorant for not loving America blindly is itself ignorant.

Anti-Americanism is wrong, but so is "rah-rah" praise of America. I think we need to take a balanced approach in assessing pro and cons of America. As an example, we should praise America for her amazing market economy, but critize her for viciously persecuting marijuana users/producers.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 2:00:06 PM


And to O'Reilly's claim that people should praise America because she goes around the world liberating the oppressed from dictators, consider the following quote by John Quincy Adams (who clearly disapproved of any such practice on the part of America):

"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been unfurled, there will [America's] heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own... She well knows that, by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the color and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlets upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished luster the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world; she would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit."

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 2:21:51 PM


Yeah, Michael. I know the rights of stoned boys listening to Floyd over and over again are foremost on my mind.

I find it really hard to care about drug dealers getting their Humvees auctioned off. But then I'm not a pot head, I mean, libertarian.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-07-09 2:33:54 PM


Kathy,
You're sentiment comes across as both barbarous and inhuman. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your myopic perspective is caused by ignorance.

A person doesn't have to like marijuana to realise that the drug war is the greatest DOMESTIC affront to individual liberty in North America -- greater than terrorism. (A lot more than 3000 people have died as a result of the drug war.)

Consider what happens to busted pot growers: 1) the state steals their children, 2) the state steals their property (and in America it is sold BEFORE trial), 3) the state outs them in the press in an attempt publicly humiliate and ruin them, and 4) they're sent to a prison camp. Their lives are destroyed. And you wave a hand at the issue like it's a joke. America now has the world's largest prison population in both real and per capita terms because of these policies.

Our streets and families are unsafe because organized crime is enriched and entrenched by these policies -- a sizeable part of the pot trade is now controlled by organized crime, just ask the police.

Thugs and goons flourish in an environment where an action is threatened by arrest. And yet anyone with a basic grasp of economics will tell you that extending marijuana growers the same property rights as wheat farmers will expunge criminal elements from the trade. When legitimate growers can phone the police when thugs physically threaten them or their property, organized crime will lose its competitive edge and dissappear.

Further, marijuana prohibition is cultural genocide against the cannabis culture. The state is literally trying to wipe these people out by outlawing them.

It's really only tiny step away from shooting these people in the streets. And tyrants like William Bennett and Newt Gingrich have proposed (almost) as much (calling for pot people to be murdered after a trial). In Signapore, you're shot for possessing over one gram of marijuana. In China, you're shot for growing marijuana. Certain American politicians and drug agents would like the United States to be next.

The issue is not funny, comprised of hippies and Cheech and Chong; the drug war is brutal draconian oppression. And any human being with a basic concern for individual liberty will appreciate that.

It's not about whether you enjoy smoking pot. It's about whether you enjoy liberty.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 3:12:07 PM


As a Texan, I started to tune into Canadian politics when Canada voted against us in the UN in respect to the Iraqi conflict. This came as a surprise to me. Believe it or not, we have a tendency to think of Canadians as extended family.

One of the first things I discovered was the tremendous amount of anti-American feelings in Canada. Frankly, though some of us are discovering these anti-American sentiments, we really don't have the foggiest notion of why Canada harbors this dislike. I was really happy when I started to discover that conservative Canadians did not share the anti-American views of their liberal compatriots.

This anti-Americanism has been going on for a while, and what I think you should be aware of is that Bill O'Reilly is just the very beginning of Americans starting to feel about you as some of you do about us.

If more cordiality and friendship are not found between our two countries, one day ten years from now you are going to wake up to the realization that you have 80-90 million Americans who are as anti-Canadian as previously Canadians have been about about us.

I thank God for publications like the Western Standard and people who comment on the shotgun, because it gives me hope that we North Americans can put our differences into perspective and have the friendship between us that we should.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas | 2004-07-09 3:56:58 PM


Kathy,
You're sentiment comes across as both barbarous and inhuman. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your myopic perspective is caused by ignorance.

Michael - I'll forgo the pleasure of pointing out your misuse of the contracted "you are" in place of the possessive "your", and simply speculate that I'm sure you win a lot of arguments with that supercilious tone right out of the box.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-07-09 4:25:04 PM


Yeah Kathy,

I know the rights of robotic god-fearing girls reading their bibles over and over again are foremost on my mind.

I find it really hard to care about Christian schools being forced to hire homosexual teachers. But then again I'm not a Jesus freak, I mean, neo-con.

Mike

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 4:26:10 PM


Oh yeah, Michael, then let me move on to the meat of your argument:

Growing and selling narcotics - and pot is still, despite what some might say about medicinal herbs, or ancient rituals, or "beer is just as bad, man", a narcotic as classified under law - is illegal, and as any cop will be happy to tell you (if you'll bother listening to a "pig"), the growing and selling of drugs tends to involve criminal networks, who tend to do more than just sell bootleg Phish concert tapes under the counter at their head shop.

Until the laws are changed - and I may amaze you by saying that I favour decriminalization in some cases - then breaking the law tends to invite the law's punishment when caught.

So it's awful sweet of you to try and pander to the free market prejudices of conservative folks like us by calling pot growers enterpreneurs, but I think there's a big difference between running a grow operation in a low-income apartment building and physically threatening other tenants (which just happened in my own neighbourhood), and starting your own software company.

I mean, not to split hairs or anything.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-07-09 4:31:54 PM


Rick,
Let's get something straight. I am a laissez-faire capitalist: a libertarian. Libertarians are the primary defenders of the free-market and of capitalism.

We libertarians appreciate conservative support of the free-market in so far as you guys do support it. But let's not split hairs. You guys first and foremost support the warfare state (police and military), just as the Left primary loves the welfare state. We libertarians love only individual liberty and the free-market. For you guys the market is secondary and for us it is primary.

If my free-market arguments appeal to conservatives, great. But it's only incidental.

And, contrary to what you say, not all people growing pot, probably most, are criminals (in the way we generally use the term -- violent or deceitful thugs). They are people who produce a good and sell a good to consumers. Whether or not it's illegal, is irrelevant in the eyes of economics. A business is a business whether or not the state recognises it. Whether or not the trade has violence and criminal problems (as I earlier pointed out) depends on whether or not those armed bureaucrats (what you call "cops") protect the property in the industry.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 4:55:58 PM


As regards the topic at hand, I could care less what a clown like O'Reilly has to say about Canada anymore than an American should care what your typical CBCStarGlobe leftist talking head thinks about America.

Amen, Mike. You'd think people wound up about fighting a terror war would think twice about expending tons of resources on a useless war on ingesting "illegal" substances.

rick [can't resist]: Why do you think that "any any cop will be happy to tell you....the growing and selling of drugs tends to involve criminal networks" ? Imagine that, eh? What might bring that about?
[jeopardy music]
I'm thinking of a certain "prohibitive" era in North American history, Al Capone, speak-easies, etc. Naaah, completely different situation....

Posted by: Jay Jardine | 2004-07-09 5:03:19 PM


Micheal Cust is right - its not about pot. Its about this http://drugwar.usmjparty.com/

Chuck Beyer

Posted by: Chuck Beyer | 2004-07-09 5:08:17 PM


Rick says: "Growing and selling narcotics - is illegal, and as any cop will be happy to tell you , the growing and selling of drugs tends to involve criminal networks, who tend to do more than just sell bootleg Phish concert tapes under the counter at their head shop."

And I say: But that's the point! Illegal pot equals criminal networks. Legalize it, and that connection will vanish. Think prohibition of alcohol. Michael made this point, and you ran right over it in your haste to discount it.

Then you said: "Until the laws are changed - and I may amaze you by saying that I favour decriminalization in some cases - then breaking the law tends to invite the law's punishment when caught."

And I say: Right. It does. But it doesn't make it legitimate. I'm not going to cart out an 'argumentum ad Nazium' (which are bad examples anyway), but I will point out that when the law of the land is unconscionable we have something like a responsibility to stand up to it. This is maybe the most egregious example of just such a law.

Then you said: "So it's awful sweet of you to try and pander to the free market prejudices of conservative folks like us by calling pot growers enterpreneurs, but I think there's a big difference between running a grow operation in a low-income apartment building and physically threatening other tenants (which just happened in my own neighbourhood), and starting your own software company."

And I say: Give me a break. Pander to whose prejudices? You'll find people like Milton Friedman bristle at the suggestion that *any* drug should remain illegal. Conservatives are only occasionally thorough free marketeers and supporters of entrepreneurism.

The link between threats and criminality should be fairly obvious. If pot were legal, you wouldn't have such harassment.

Posted by: Peter Jaworski | 2004-07-09 5:12:39 PM


Mike et. al. - you're really stuck on this pot thing, aren't you?

I don't have time to take on all of your arguments, so I'll just focus on one:

So you're certain that decriminalizing pot will make it all good, that the criminals who are drawn to markets in illegal substances will just disappear? That there's a fantastic, argument-ending parallel between Prohibition and the criminalization of pot?

So pot is decriminalized tomorrow. First of all, you're going to have to figure out just who's going to grow, package, market and sell the stuff. Pro-pot types like to spin stories of some Ben & Jerry's of weed, outlaws coming up from the underground and creating a groovy kind of industry.

It would be more like R.J. Reynolds diversifying their product line in the end. You might have a brief flurry of small growers and sellers, who might even survive as "boutique" weed companies, selling what would be a luxury good, but the market would be dominated by whatever corporation applied the best bottom line to the model, after buying out or bankrupting the competition. Sorry - not the libertarian paradise you had in mind, I'm sure.

And the weed would probably be shit.

And it would be a regulated industry, heavily controlled and licensed by the government. What's that - it doesn't fit in with your libertarian idea of righteous decriminalization? Tough nuts, pal - if any large western government (please don't bore me by talking about Holland) went forward with this thing, they'd have to do it against the wishes of a virtual majority, comprised of people who hate pot on moral grounds, people uncomfortable with yet another dangerous substance hitting the shelves, and people like myself - former users who think the stuff is moron-making poison.

It would be heavily tarrifed, and subject to rigorous health department and medical studies, which would unearth its tendencies to do what most other narcotics can do - fuck up your health, impair mental abilities, cause cancer. And the cops could arrest you for driving under its influence, take away your license, impound your car, even.

Then the multi-million dollar class-action lawsuits against producers and marketers would begin. And the by-laws against smoking in public.

Meanwhile, the criminals would still have crack, coke, heroin, speed, ecstacy, meth and more to busy themselves with. And if you want to talk about legalizing that stuff as well, I'll know you're an idiot. And so the eeeevil War on Drugs continues.

It's lovely to say that "not all people growing pot, probably most, are criminals... They are people who produce a good and sell a good to consumers." I'm sure Milton Friedman would like to buy them a drink. Well, there are people who make their own beer and wine, but they don't make a dent on the bottom line of the major liquor conglomerates. But they can't sell it, and neither could happy hobbyist with his homegrown hydroponic in the spare room. There would be laws - like any other consumable with proven health risks.

Have you thought this all through? Well, I have, and while I'm happy to put pot on the market and let people make their choices - and deal with the consequences (ya see, that's the way conservatives think), I frankly think it'll be as much trouble as keeping the stuff illegal.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-07-09 6:10:32 PM


Rick -

Who cares if a "big corporation" takes over the market? What does that have to do with the principles of the free market? That's what you get with competition--sometimes small guys dominate the market, sometimes big guys. You seem to confuse libertarians with liberals--libertarians don't always have something against "big corporations." Unless that corporation, of course, is the government.

"Mike et. al. - you're really stuck on this pot thing, aren't you?"

Liberty, Rick. Not pot--liberty. I don't smoke pot.

"So you're certain that decriminalizing pot will make it all good, that the criminals who are drawn to markets in illegal substances will just disappear? That there's a fantastic, argument-ending parallel between Prohibition and the criminalization of pot?"

Yes. It is a fantastic parallel, but it is hardly argument-ending as you demonstrate.

Then Rick says (like all good supporters of the "frei market" do): "First of all, you're going to have to figure out just who's going to grow, package, market and sell the stuff."

No we don't. That's what the market does. *It* is the selection mechanism, not you or I.

"Pro-pot types like to spin stories of some Ben & Jerry's of weed, outlaws coming up from the underground and creating a groovy kind of industry."

Maybe. But not pro-liberty pot types. You're confusing liberals with libertarians again.

Oops, here comes another dictionary-grabber: Rick says big, bad R.J.Reynolds would come in and take over the pot-growing industry while little boutiques are driven under over time. "Sorry - not the libertarian paradise you had in mind, I'm sure."

Uhm, what makes you think that libertarians want to dictate how pot should be distributed?

"And the weed would probably be shit."

A lesson in market economics: If it's shit, it won't compete on a free and open market.

Back to the dictionary: "And it would be a regulated industry, heavily controlled and licensed by the government. What's that - it doesn't fit in with your libertarian idea of righteous decriminalization?"

Did you mean "legalization?" Because if you didn't, then you need to take a quick peek at what it means for something like marijuana to be decriminalized. It means, given the context and precedents, that it would be regulated, taxed, and so on.

More thoughtful commentary from Rick runs like this: "they'd have to do it against the wishes of a virtual majority," Good God! Not a virtual majority?! "comprised of people who hate pot on moral grounds," What moral grounds? 'Don't smoke pot because it, uhm, does stuff to your brain which, uhm, is wrong because, like, that's not right and stuff.' What's immoral about smoking pot? "people uncomfortable with yet another dangerous substance hitting the shelves, and people like myself - former users who think the stuff is moron-making poison." Wait. Let's spell this out. If you use it, you become a moron. Rick says he used it. Conclusion?...

"Meanwhile, the criminals would still have crack, coke, heroin, speed, ecstacy, meth and more to busy themselves with. And if you want to talk about legalizing that stuff as well, I'll know you're an idiot. And so the eeeevil War on Drugs continues."

An idiot like Milton Friedman, folks at the Cato Institute, and the Fraser Institute, amongst others? I know my dictionary is around here somewhere... (I'm pretty certain that "idiot" is usually meant as a pejorative).

"Have you thought this all through? Well, I have, and while I'm happy to put pot on the market and let people make their choices - and deal with the consequences (ya see, that's the way conservatives think), I frankly think it'll be as much trouble as keeping the stuff illegal."

Uhm, that's the way libertarians think, Rick, you're mixing philosophies up again. And I'm glad you've put thought into this. But it looks like you need to do a little bit more of it.

Posted by: Peter Jaworski | 2004-07-09 6:58:07 PM


Peter is right. Libertarians trust the market to determine how pot would be distributed. It does right now. The only problem is that it doesn't have property protection which leads to the violence we see. I should also point out that marijuana would be grown outdoors and not in basements because people wouldn't have to hide it from cops -- who, for all practical purposes, are currently thieves.

And from what I know about marijuana, legal pot wouldn't be like legal tobacco. And its funny -- the only people who've suggested that legal pot would be like legal tobacco are conservatives who know nothing about pot to begin with.

From my time with the BC Marijuana Party, it appears marijuana is more like wine or cigars. It's a connoisseur hobby. It's about particular strains and certain growing conditions. I think that legal pot would develop like legal wine. Senator Pierre Claude Nolin recommended as much. But again this will be for the market to determine.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 8:05:08 PM


PS I have nothing against big business in the pot trade (if the market produces that outcome). I just don't think it would be RJR Reynolds. It'd be like a wine or cigar company.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 8:20:06 PM


Peter - glad to see you've found your way to ad hominem attacks so quickly. It gives a nice flavour to the thrust of your argument. I couldn't have asked for a better response.

What I was trying to demonstrate was that you can talk abour "frei markets" (ooh - a subtle Germanic slander, perhaps Godwin's Law has been broken already, lad - you callin' me a - no, I won't use the "N" word) all you want, but the libertarian argument against anything - drug laws, censorship, regulation - always jumps the barrier from a discussion based on real-world rules (laws, governments, the fact that not everyone wants to live in the libertarian paradise) to some fantastic plane where we magically overcome all of these inhibitions, and discover our better natures.

Like this dream of the market chaperoning pot into the legal marketplace. Sorry, but that won't happen, like it hasn't happened with cigarettes, or alcohol, or pornography. There are - and will be - very real non-marketplace factors working on anything that gets bought and sold, especially if it lacks an entirely benign reputation. There's a reason why Prohibition happened, and why it ended. Just as there's a reason why opium and cocaine, acid and pot went from legal to illegal status.

And I'll stop you now if you want to infer that I'm putting them all on the same plane. Pot is by far the most benign, but it's still not lemon jello, which is what too many of the pro-pot types would like us to believe.

Conservatives - or at least the ones I know - are first and foremost about taking personal responsibility for your decisions. Libertarians, as far as I can tell, are about abdicating responsibility for anyone else, once you've transformed the citizen into a legal free agent. It's foolish and farcical, no matter how often you hide behind words like "liberty".

And please go ahead and sneer at people who find legalizing pot immoral - it has the same clang of high dudgeon as Mike's comment about "robotic god-fearing girls reading their bibles over and over again", and smacks of that charming "we know what's best for you, sheep" tone that has made libertarian political debate so widely embraced.

Pot is illegal for good reasons, and if it's going to become legal in our lifetimes, I'd like to think that it will be because there was sound debate on the topic, and not the keening and hectoring that characterizes so much of the decriminalizing side.

As for Friedman, the Cato and Frasier institutes, I'm sorry, but I guess I was sleeping in my lead-lined bomb shelter when they sent out their mind control broadcast. I can make up my own mind without their informed opinion most of the time, thanks.

And if I'm still sounding like a pot-addled moron to you, I'm terribly sorry. If you'll excuse me, I've got to go back to synching up Dark Side Of The Moon to The Corsican Brother.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-07-09 8:25:54 PM


"From my time with the BC Marijuana Party, it appears marijuana is more like wine or cigars."

I'm sorry, Michael, but you're sounding like the herb connoisseur. Your argument only holds water if you acknowledge that, while some people are kicking back with the Pouilly-Fume and Cohiba of weed, the rest are making do with variations on Ripple and Philles.

And your fine wine and cigars are heavily taxed, tarrifed and regulated. You're fine with that happening to pot - hardly government abdication, it would seem.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-07-09 8:31:49 PM


Wow! Do liberals fight with each other like this?

Posted by: alan | 2004-07-09 8:50:37 PM


"But then again I'm not a Jesus freak, I mean, neo-con."

Get with the program, Michael. "neocon" is code for "joooooooos".

Posted by: Kate | 2004-07-09 9:02:40 PM


"And I say: But that's the point! Illegal pot equals criminal networks. Legalize it, and that connection will vanish. Think prohibition of alcohol. Michael made this point, and you ran right over it in your haste to discount it."

Bullsh*t.

People who traffic illegal drugs (whether it be pot or harder fare) don't choose this line of work because they couldn't get hired as a used car salesman.

Drug traffickers do so because they're inheritently lazy. They want to make the maximum profit with the minimum effort. Dealing with high risk merchandise like pot means high return.

Removing the risk in selling marijuana will reduce the profitability. And yes, with that, the appeal will diminish with the criminal set....

And they will redouble their efforts in other high-risk, high-return, illegal ventures to compensate for the lost market.

There may be legitimate reasons for decriminalizing pot, but transforming drug dealers into day care center workers ain't one of them.


Posted by: Kate | 2004-07-09 9:13:45 PM


Okay, kids. Keep it civil and reasonably on topic or I'll have to put an end to this thread.

This post isn't about the drug war, it's about America taking notice of the anti-Americanism in Canada, where it used to be ignored.

Posted by: Kevin Jaeger | 2004-07-09 9:50:10 PM


Rick, with a posture of offense writes: "Peter - glad to see you've found your way to ad hominem attacks so quickly. It gives a nice flavour to the thrust of your argument. I couldn't have asked for a better response."

And I say: You're right, that's not acceptable. But I will point out that your prior posts had an air of condecension about them, and I responded in kind. I'll refrain.

Rick then said that my attempt at cleverness by calling it the "frei market" to illustrate Rick's odd use of "free market" was "subtle Germanic slander" implying, without saying so, that Rick's approach is N--esque. And I say that that wasn't what I was implying. I had used the term "freidom (tm)" in a prior post not to imply anything German, but just because that vowel fit. I did say that I avoid what I call the "argumentum ad Nazium." That wasn't intended.

Then Rick says: "the libertarian argument against anything - drug laws, censorship, regulation - always jumps the barrier from a discussion based on real-world rules (laws, governments, the fact that not everyone wants to live in the libertarian paradise) to some fantastic plane where we magically overcome all of these inhibitions, and discover our better natures."

And I say: Exactly what are you talking about here? No one is implying that we be changed in any way, or that our "nature" (whatever it is) requires changing.

What is a "libertarian paradise" Rick? No one has suggested one. So what assumptions are you working from?

Rick writes: "There's a reason why Prohibition happened, and why it ended. Just as there's a reason why opium and cocaine, acid and pot went from legal to illegal status."

And I say: So what? There's a reason why they made Socrates drink hemlock, why butterflies have wings, and we wear socks. I don't see what is relevant about any of that, though...

Rick writes: "Conservatives - or at least the ones I know - are first and foremost about taking personal responsibility for your decisions. Libertarians, as far as I can tell, are about abdicating responsibility for anyone else, once you've transformed the citizen into a legal free agent. It's foolish and farcical, no matter how often you hide behind words like "liberty"."

And I say: Rick, you've just characterized my libertarianism as conservatism. Scan the literature and you will find that the libertarian cry for liberty *is* a cry for personal responsibility, not the abdication of responsibility. Notice, too, that you are changing the subject from a discussion of personal responsibility, to a discussion of taking responsibility for others. Libertarianism is a *political* philosophy, *not* a morality.

True, politics rests on a foundation of morality, but morality encompasses a broader scope than politics does--libertarians agree about what the *government* shouldn't do, they don't agree on what our responsibilities and duties might be to others, and through what institutions we realize those duties and responsibilities. It's a lack of imagination, as well as faulty premises, that lead liberals and, to some extent, conservatives conclude that the realization of our social responsibilities requires government.

Rick then says: "And please go ahead and sneer at people who find legalizing pot immoral - it has the same clang of high dudgeon as Mike's comment about "robotic god-fearing girls reading their bibles over and over again", and smacks of that charming "we know what's best for you, sheep" tone that has made libertarian political debate so widely embraced."

And I say: This is irritatingly confused. To make pot illegal is to tell someone that they are a sheep and can't make their own decisions. Libertarians who say it ought to be legal are saying that we aren't sheep... You're fudging things here.

As for the 'clang'--it has no such 'clang'! I asked about what was immoral about smoking pot. You didn't, and haven't, given a good reason for why it might be immoral. What is the foundation of the claim that getting high is immoral? If you say "hurting others" then you're missing the point of my question--what is wrong with smoking pot, in the absence of hurting others? If you say "hurting yourself" I say, what's wrong with hurting yourself? Don't avoid this question--it's important. I maintain that there is nothing immoral about smoking pot *if* you are not harming others or abdicating any responsibilities that pot-smoking might result in (say, for instance, you're a father with children who spends most of his time smoking pot rather than throwing the ball around, attending parent/teacher nights, helping with homework, and so on.)

Notice that what is immoral in all the cases I mention *isn't* the pot smoking, but the failure to live up to your duties, or not to harm others. If shuffleboard kept you from those responsibilities, we wouldn't say that shuffleboard is immoral, but the failure to prioritize appropriately, and to live up to responsibilities. So, again, what's immoral about pot smoking?

Then Rick says: "Pot is illegal for good reasons, and if it's going to become legal in our lifetimes, I'd like to think that it will be because there was sound debate on the topic, and not the keening and hectoring that characterizes so much of the decriminalizing side."

You've got this backwards, I say. It's the anti-decriminalizers who want to paint all pot-smokers as lazy, non-productive, and so on.

Rick then said: "As for Friedman, the Cato and Frasier institutes, I'm sorry, but I guess I was sleeping in my lead-lined bomb shelter when they sent out their mind control broadcast. I can make up my own mind without their informed opinion most of the time, thanks."

And I say: Wow. Let me quote you: "Meanwhile, the criminals would still have crack, coke, heroin, speed, ecstacy, meth and more to busy themselves with. And if you want to talk about legalizing that stuff as well, I'll know you're an idiot." I *didn't* say that you have to believe something that these guys said. My point was that if you think people are idiots for wanting to legalize these things, then you think people like Milton Friedman are idiots. If you think that, then my response is that I welcome the label of "idiot" if that's what you mean by it. Friedman is hardly an idiot, and if you think so then I'm curious about your standards of intelligence, and idiocy.

Rick concluded: "And if I'm still sounding like a pot-addled moron to you, I'm terribly sorry. If you'll excuse me, I've got to go back to synching up Dark Side Of The Moon to The Corsican Brother."

And I say: Yeah, listen, the joke was obviously there and I took it. Don't take it to heart.

Here's my final point: The general tenor of my thesis is a conservative libertarianism. That is, taking norms seriously and respecting custom and cultural regularities (like a strong family, looking askance at scantily clad people, avoiding drugs--yes, avoiding drugs-- and so on), while recognizing that the governmental institution is not just the wrong institution in principle, but in consequence results in undermining those very values. It is our responsibility, Rick, to help our neighbours, provide for our families, ensure a solid upbringing and so on. The extent to which we place those responsibilities on the government is the extent to which we abdicate our responsibility.

Hayek, don't forget, was conservative in his normative commitments, but a libertarian in his political commitments. That's the sort of libertarian that I am. You're probably thinking of Ayn Rand libertarians, I do not count myself as one of those.

As for America--I love its history, constitutional tradition, the culture, and the people. The government is not that, so I might either like it or dislike it depending on what they're doing. I'm pro-America.

Posted by: Peter Jaworski | 2004-07-09 11:23:06 PM


Interesting war of words. I must say that I think the "war on drugs" is a huge waste of time. All drugs should be legal. Yes, America is wrong in fighting the war on drugs but so is Canada. Last time I checked, we haven't legalized anything. We have cops busting pot-growing operations in small towns. Why? These officers could be out on the street catching rapists and murderers and looking for kidnapped little girls. Are drugs bad? Sure they are. Should you go to jail for using them? No.

Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2004-07-09 11:28:08 PM


Kathy says, "Drug traffickers do so because they're inheritently lazy. They want to make the maximum profit with the minimum effort. Dealing with high risk merchandise like pot means high return."

And I say that they respond to incentives just like the rest of us. Less effort for more benefit sounds like rationality to me.

Posted by: Peter Jaworski | 2004-07-09 11:34:43 PM


Rick said: "I'm sorry, Michael, but you're sounding like the herb connoisseur."

Mike says: Yes, resort to the ad homonym. Good work. For the record, I worked for the BC Marijuana Party out of philosophical conviction, not love of the herb.

Rick said: "And your fine wine and cigars are heavily taxed, tarrifed and regulated. You're fine with that happening to pot - hardly government abdication, it would seem."

Mike says: I support a free market in all drugs, which means no regulations AT ALL.

The wine market and the tobacco market are too over-regulated. I would like a return to the way drugs were in the 19th Century, where there were no regulations at all -- you didn't even have to label the contents of your product. No tobacco adds on the package, no tobacco taxes -- NOTHING.

And you're attempt to try and portray me as a Lefty is laughable at best. A conservative lecturing a libertarian on an unregulated market is like Donald Rumsfeld lecturing Ghandi on world peace. It doesn't even make sense.

Then again, unlike you I'm not supporting the drug war -- which you support even in supporting decriminalization -- which Milton Friedman rightly called a "socialist enterprise."

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 11:38:06 PM


I simply cannot believe my fellow conservatives would be for legalizing pot!!! What the hell!!

I smoked weed for over 12 years straight and I can tell you as most Doctors, this is not in the lease a harmless drug......you will be a burnout idiot by the time your 40 if you keep on the ganga that is for sure......

Granted, in defence of those who are in favor of legalizing dope, I do have to admit, booze, or hard booze is even worse to one's person so there does seem to be a bit of hypocrisy ...

But I don't even drink anymore....aside from the very very rare social drink so that really doesn't matter to me...

Again we go back to the slippery slope...once pot is legalized you can be damned sure the potheads will need a bigger fix......such is our depraved human nature.......then we will want magic mushrooms, LSD, Coke, etc etc.....it will never end...

I would suggest to anyone.....simply do not start.......dope only leads to burned out brain cells ........ and sooner then later......

And puhlease.....quit the paronia about those jackbooted thugs abusing your rights......what a joke.......its illegal still.....they have every right to bust your lazy ass......

One thing about people that smoke dope that is universal and was true about me also, is that they are perpetually paronoid......

Gee.....drugs were so much fun......I can't remember why I quit them???

Thanks

Posted by: Albertadude | 2004-07-09 11:43:14 PM


PS Rick I think we should abolish the prescription system too. Are you free-market enough to support that policy or are you conservative?

Mike

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 11:43:35 PM


Kate said: "Get with the program, Michael. "neocon" is code for "joooooooos"."

Mike replies: I was criticising a Christian women, alleging she was a jingoist. That must make me an anti-Semite. Kate, do yourself a favour and think. Your insult doesn't even make sense.

Your vitriolic tactic is characteristic of those who can't create a rational defence of the Iraq war.

For the record, neo-conservativism is a well-established political ideology, not a euphemism.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-09 11:52:52 PM


Albertadude, no one here is saying drugs are good, only that they should be legal. You admit that booze is just as bad - would you like to see booze banned? How about tobacco?

Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2004-07-10 12:16:46 AM


Rick said: "Pot is illegal for good reasons."

Mike replies: Emily Murphy of my home city of Edmonton is why marijuana is illegal. She lead the charge to ban cannabis based on racism. She claimed that drugs were a tool that "the yellow race" would use to take over white Christian society, especially the moral purity of white Christian women.

Murphy made her case in a series of articles in Maclean's magazine under the pen name "Janey Canuck." The articles were later bound into a book called the Black Candle. Her arguments were racist, sensationalized trash. They're why marijuana is illegal. (Note: Marijuana was banned in Parliament without any debate.)

Quoting an LA police chief, Murphy wrote about marijuana:

"Persons using this narcotic smoke the dry leaves of the plant which has the effect of driving them completely insane... The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility... Addicts under this drug's influence are immune to pain, and could be severely injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty."

Here is what Murphy wrote about opium:

"An addict who died this year in British Columbia told how he was jeered at as a 'white man accounted for.'
This man belonged to a prominent family... and used to relate how the Chinese peddlars taunted him with their superiority at being able to sell the dope without using it, and by telling him how the yellow race would rule the world.
They were too wise, they urged, to win a battle but would win by wits. They would strike at the white race through 'dope' and when the time was ripe would command the world."

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-10 1:59:52 AM


Yo Mike, I working for the Marijuana Party for purely philosophical reasons sorta like reading Playboy purely for the articles.

I've obviously touched a nerve, and I find it so amusing. "Personal liberty" is ever so terribly important to adolescents of all ages. Some of us just like a little civilization to go along with our freedom. Living in a world full of Ayn Rand obsessed, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (note my lack of ignorance about pot here...) isn't my, er, bag. Man.

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-07-10 6:36:00 AM


And by the way, being called a neo-con and a jingoist feels a bit like being called a "prude" by Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt. It's only an insult in their world, not mine, so it isn't an insult at all. And I thought pro-drug people were so much more imaginative and clever than we stoopid uptight Jesus lovers.

A coherent philosophy? Perhaps. However I'd like to propose Shaidle's Law before we got any further: First one to mention Leo Straus forfeits this fight :-)

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-07-10 6:42:05 AM


And one more thing: how tedious hearing Ghandi's name trotted out, with the implication that he is on the correct (libertarian) side. At least Donald Rumsfeld doesn't sleep with teenage girls, Mike.

If anyone even remembers Ghandi's name 50 years from now I'd be surprised. In the end, Rumsfeld will have done more for world peace than Ghandi anyway. All Ghandi did was make India safe for wars between Hindus and Muslims, resulting in the partition. Funny: pound for pound he may just end up responsible for the death of more Muslims than Rumsfeld ever will...

But that's another flame war.

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-07-10 6:47:23 AM


Please pass the paraquat.

I am delighted that some Americans are finally taking notice of anti-Americanism in Canada. May they remember it every time our government whines about a trade dispute, or wants a Canadian drug mule released from prison in some Third World cesspool, or aligns itself with France and against human freedom.... Only Canada's utter insignificance and the fact that America has higher priorities have allowed us to escape any meaningful retribution for attempting to subvert every American initiative from the Iraq war to the North American security perimeter.

To personal responsibility, add national responsibility. I'd like to see the U.S. plant a boot firmly on Canada's throat and maintain the pressure long enough to adjust Canadian attitudes permanently.

Posted by: Charles MacDonald | 2004-07-10 10:42:55 AM


I think I'm the only American to post on this thread, and I gotta tell you, I'm completely confused. O'Reilly was not talking about the possibilities of Canadian marijuana legalization. And BTW, 95% of Americans couldn't care less what happens about marijuana legalization in Canada.

He was talking about the fact that the long duration of anti-American feelings in Canada are starting to be known by ordinary American citizens. O'Reilly is just the first in what could be a growing cacaphony of American voices starting to dislike you back.

Grave consequences could come from Americans beginning to feel about you the way so many Canadians feel about us.

What are you going to do when 10 or 15 million Americans start actively lobbying the Alberta people to join the United States? Why not? Alberta is a beautiful place with wonderful people, and many of them already think about US statehood. It would be in their best interests and American best interests to become a state. We would love to have them. We love the people. And since Canada dislikes us in significant numbers anyway, why should we care what Ottawa thinks about it?

What are you going to do when a 100 million Americans are anti-Canadian as a backlash against anti-Americanism? And we start to pressure our senators and congressmen to withdraw appropriations for military protection of Canada? At the moment we still regard Canada as extended relatives. At the moment anyone who dared to touch Canada aggressively would be utterly destroyed by American power. We would protect you at the cost of our lives. We would go to your aid without a second thought. Before the next heartbeat, without taking a breath.

But if anti-American sentiment is not diminshed, why should we offer this protection? Then what is going to happen to your welfare state when you have to start ponying up to the table to pay for military power to defend yourselves? Right now, Canada is not capable of even rallying a credible defense for its own territory.

What are you going to do when a 100-150 million Americans are completely disregarding your welfare in trade disputes, in negotiations. What are you going to do when we start boycotting your products?

Yesterday, before this thread disappeared in a marijuana haze, I tried to bring up this discussion in a diplomatic way. Some of us care about Canada and don't want to see the relationship between our countries deteriorate. However, if this anti-Americanism is not addressed, some of the things I have pointed out are real possibilities.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas | 2004-07-10 11:02:36 AM


"Frankly, though some of us are discovering these anti-American sentiments, we really don't have the foggiest notion of why Canada harbors this dislike."

Nor, Greg in Dallas, could most Canadian anti-Yanks articulate any convincing justification for doing so. "Americans are evil -- they don't want us to smoke pot." I realise that's a really compelling argument -- at least among 17-year-olds who want to stay in the dorm, smoke pot and play "Don't Fear the Reaper" incessantly. Surely the rest of us have more important concerns and could enumerate any genuine points of contention, if they exist?

Kathy, don't forget Gandhi's other distinction as the foremost proponent of rape as a political weapon. But he will be forgotten. For some of us, "Gandhi" has always been a peculiar appellation for Rehavam Zeevi, not some goof in a diaper.

Posted by: Charles MacDonald | 2004-07-10 11:13:11 AM


Greg, you have put your finger on a fact that most Canadians haven''t bothered looking up;

It is far easier to defend a land border than it is three coastlines.

Posted by: Kate | 2004-07-10 11:48:48 AM


Hi -

just ringing in from the border to the south:
Someone has CLEARLY been "passing the doochie" if they think that more that a handful here cares if dope is legal in any province - beyond the point that it ends up flowing over the border. Nor is it likely that anyone other than an american doper even know that this debate is going on in Canada.
Sound like the "pro-doobage" crowd is looking for some way of bringing the general public into their initiative using a generalized dislike of the US. Call it "mother's little helper," if you will.

There already is defacto non-enforcement in a lot of places. All it does is let society ignore all those losers who go straight home after work to watch TV and do bong-hits every night.

Posted by: Joe | 2004-07-10 12:03:38 PM


"What are you going to do when 10 or 15 million Americans start actively lobbying the Alberta people to join the United States?"

As a native Albertan and Calgary resident, I'll say, "I thought you'd never ask! We're separating from Canada as fast as we can!"

It's obviously in America's interests to have stable, friendly countries on its borders. If instability threatens American security, they'll act decisively to remedy the situation (e.g., Pershing's Mexican expedition). Until now, Canada has been sufficiently stable and friendly to be allowed to remain as a buffer state. The question is, at what point does Canadian military weakness and political hostility make decisive action by the States worthwhile? How much of a threat to its strategic and security interests will the United States tolerate? Greg in Dallas, you're probably in the best position to answer that.

Apart from the obvious military options, the United States possesses a full array of political and diplomatic weapons to promote its interests in Canada. American intelligence must have innumerable details of jiggery-pokery in Ottawa, things which not even Ontarians could condone (perhaps I exaggerate). A major scandal could bring down a minority government, or at least prompt a few instances of seppuku in a government that displays an appalling paucity of talent.

The possibilities are almost endless....

Posted by: Charles MacDonald | 2004-07-10 12:35:08 PM


Kathy said: "Yo Mike, I working for the Marijuana Party for purely philosophical reasons sorta like reading Playboy purely for the article."

Mike replies: Kathy nothing you've said on here has been rational or substantive. Everything you've said has been a dismissive ad hominem quip. For someone alleging I'm an adolencent, you're arguing like an adolencent -- a firm grasp of insults with nothing meaningful to say. Doesn't it bother you never saying anything meaningful or rational to contribute?

Further, not only myself, but one of the owners of this magazine worked for the BC Marijuana Party out of philosophical convictions. So I suggest you watch your tongue or you'll get thrown off of here.

FYI The BC Marijuana Party is a provincial party which is much different from the single issue FEDERAL 'Marijuana Party.' The BC Marijuana is quite libertarian. Read their platform: http://www.bcmarijuanaparty.ca/article_fulltext.htm. It even has policies that benefit Christians like a voucher system for the schools.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-10 1:50:31 PM


Kathy said: "Some of us just like a little civilization to go along with our freedom. Living in a world full of Ayn Rand obsessed, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (note my lack of ignorance about pot here...) isn't my, er, bag. Man.."

Mike said: It's not civilization you crave Kathy. It's big, strong, and firm government. You want the state to tell others how to live -- just like the Left does.

Civilization is the product of the market, not government bans on vices. What gave us our current civilization was unrestrained human action. People allowed to trade created wealth. People allowed to blaze their own moral path, created the moral conventions you are so fond of.

Further, as the state robs individuals of choices, morality declines. It wasn't until the state told people how to choose on the matter of drugs that drug use became a widespread problem. When individuals have the power to make their own choices morality increases. As the state makes more choices morality decreases because people have no responsibility for their choices. We're at a moral low point in society because government makes more of our choices than ever.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-10 2:06:03 PM


Probably right now the civilian factor is the most telling. America is just beginning to resonate to anti-American sentiments in Canada. My expectation is that anti-Canadianism will grow in reaction to the anti-Americanism. I have already run across Americans who have called off trips to Canada because they worry about being mistreated. As these views are perpetuated, it acts as a basis for discussion of the anti-American sentiments in Canada.

In the USA we do not have a distant relationship to our political leaders. We do not treat them as some aristocratic group who knows best. As anti-Americanism is appreciated, US citizens start demanding that their senators and congressmen respond with initiatives designed to express our anger.

Militarily, Canada and the United States are both members of NATO. As a consequence the US has certain official obligations to defend other NATO signatories. However, the bulk of money for NATO ultimately comes from American taxpayers. And American taxpayers start feeling less generous when they are met with hostility. US citizens could easily start demanding a more lackluster budget.

If the US were called to defend France, for example, we would do it, but our efforts would be lukewarm. We might decide that all-out attempts at protecting countries that dislike us were simply not worth anything beyond a small price.

On the matter of Alberta's statehood, I had a conversation with someone in one of our senator's offices. I was told that some people had been talking about this for a long time, but people in Alberta had never approached us about it. I took this to mean that it would be desirable for citizens and groups in Alberta to be in contact with some of our senators and make Alberta's desires known along these lines.

My impression is that there are people in Alberta who would like statehood, and there are people in the US who would like Alberta statehood. However, Alberta is waiting to be asked, and Americans feel it would be presumptuous to suggest. Once the ball got rolling, who knows what might happen?

Finally, regrettably the military and the spooks do not confide in me in respect to our ongoing intelligence operations anywhere. However, as a Vietnam veteran my suspicions are that the loose immigration practices of Canada with inherent terrorist possibilities probably keep our intelligence services hopping in the Great White North.

We do not ask that all Canadians love us. After all, I was pulling for Harper, but I don't hate Canada because Harper was defeated. Canada could have provided support by interfacing with the UN on our behalf in respect to Iraq. Canada voted against us, but I do not dislike Canada because of its political orientation. Canadians don't have to approve of everything that the US does to maintain friendship with us. After all, we disagree with Canada in respect to many things, but that doesn't mean that we started disliking you because of these differences.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas | 2004-07-10 3:01:40 PM


Separating to join the United States is not a good idea. We'd simply be trading one set of chains for another. I don't want to trade public healthcare for Waco, the world's largest prison population, and the drug war. I want freedom, period.

If Alberta separates it should be to put Albertans in control, not Washington.

Plus, a free Alberta could be much freer than America -- no gun control, no federal income tax, no international treaties, etcetera.

If Alberta joins anyone, I think we should ask the freedom loving people of Montana to separate with us. But that's it.

America can keep the tyrants in Washington.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2004-07-10 3:09:10 PM


An excerpt from a North Carolinian editorial at: http://tinyurl.com/225j3

"...It's so ... so ... French. But that's not a surprise, given that Canada is a poorly disguised French colony.

How do the Canadians hate us? Let me count the ways. During the past National Hockey League season - another Canadian import that makes about as much sense as 557-pound Ontario native Dan Aykroyd pitching Charter Cable - Canadians booed "The Star Spangled Banner" when it was played at the start of matches. I guess we Yanks could retaliate by booing the Canadian national anthem, if only someone would alert us when the song was playing.

This hatred starts at the top. The Liberal government came into power in 1993 gushing anti-Americanism - just like, I might add, American liberals, proving that old saw about the sincerest form of flattery. During the June 28 federal election, Carolyn Parrish, a Liberal legislator, publicly stated, "I hate those American bastards," and before that, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's communications director, Francoise Ducros, made headlines when she referred to President Bush as a moron. Well, he just may be a moron, but he's OUR moron, God bless him. And in Quebec, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe said that he would rather live under the rule of the United Nations than the USA - the same United Nations that had the great wisdom to appoint both Cuba and Libya to that organization's Human Rights Commission, which is akin to letting Michael Jackson run a day care.

The indoctrination of Canadian youths into the Hate America Club starts in the schools. According to Amy von Heyking, a professor of education at the University of Alberta, Canadian textbooks are filled with anti-American sentiments. After studying 75 actual Canadian classroom textbooks, Heyking found that American society has been portrayed as revolutionary and lawless. For example, America's contribution to World War I is dismissed as coming a day late and a Canadian dime short, when the tide had already turned; and American children live in slums that push up the crime rate - according to one text: "Children reside in filthy tenements, driven out upon the streets to play in gangs."

Oh, yeah? Well, your mama wears mukluks and lives in an igloo, you self-righteous, French-speaking, draft-dodger hoarding communists. And did I mention they like to eat mayonnaise on their french fries?..."

Bill O'Reilly was onto something. You Canadians have no idea how much the typical American's attitude towards your country have changed from a state of complete indifference to one of recognizing you as a potential facilitator if not an actual enemy.

Posted by: Mike | 2004-07-10 6:21:15 PM


Well I've never done dope, so I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment in this thread :)

If nothing else it just proves that stoners just can't stay on topic...

Back to the original O'Reilley comment, I don't know if everyone was aware of another part of the same "40% of Canadian youth think the US is eeeevvvvvviiiilllll" poll. It stated that 45% of Canadian youth would move to the US for a better paying job. (http://www.canada.com/national/features/youthvote2004/story.html?id=391e2d21-a509-4ace-9fac-4b98aa8f4320).

Sure the US might be evil, but we can easily be bought with the filthy Yanqui dollar. And ignore the fact that millions of people from all over the world want to to emigrate to the US.

To my friends in the US, please try not to get concerned about the pathetic junk that tends to spew from our government, the media and even lots of the people here. Yes, I know it hurts to hear this from a close neighbour (...and I know exactly how this feels. I live in Alberta myself and had the thrilling pleasure of having our Prime Minister talk about how the western conservative values I hold are "unCanadian" - this coming from a guy whose shipping company has none of his ships flying Canadian flags)

Look, Canada is basically an immature country. We're a teenager with an identity crisis. You're all rich and powerful and famous (sometimes infamous). You do things that change the world (for good and bad). Everyone wants to talk to you. In Canada, we just talk alot, do nothing of consequence and wonder why no one ever pays attention to us.

I could say that Canadians are hypocrites (maybe that's too strong a word, but I can't think of a better one - maybe inconsistencies). Some examples:

- We have no distinct identity of what being Canadian is. Public Health care makes us "different" from the US, but lots of other countries have public health care (Britain, Sweden) and run their systems better. No one can define anything else. We are supposedly "not Americans". Hardly not a ringing identity to define yourself as a negative instead of a positive.

- We watch the same TV shows, see the same movies, listen to the same music. We also create all of the above, but are so insecure that we need a ministry of culture to protect us and "let us tell our stories". Our government is so confident in our public ability to make up our own minds, that is it illegal (yup, you heard that correctly) for a Canadian Citizen to purchase DirecTV or a similar US based satelite service. Even if I pay for it, it's illegal.

- We take preachy moral positions without any moral courage to back them up. Yes, Saddam was a nasty man and killed lots of his own citizens, but we don't like the US doing anything about it. We believe in Lloyd Axworthy's useless concept of "soft power". Effectively talk endlessly, do nothing.

- "Peacekeeping not policing" is another fav CDN illusion. We have a military (surprised?), but starve it of funds, treat it's members like dirt (many elites seem to believe that wanting to be in the Canadian Forces is a sad pathology - dress in uniform, march around in uniforms and kill people?), and expect it to act like more heavily armed RCMP officers. Yes we have sent troops to Afghanistan but don't let them out of town - too dangerous. Iraq needs help restoring a civil society. Can Canada help? Nope, we've tapped ourselves out (deliberately).

- What percentage of the Canadian economy is dependant on trade with the US? 85%? That's a nice fat trade surplus we've have with you.

- We (the collective Canada - not me personally) are more than willing to tell how evil you are. How stupid you are. How stupid Bush is. Blah, blah, blah. But if a prominent American made a similar criticism of us, Canadians will cry like babies and soil their diapers in protest. For people who gift the world with so many comedians, Canadians sure have a very thin skin.

- Canadians are more "multicultural" than Americans? Another pile of crap from those who don't travel in the US much. Ultimately the big difference between us, is that Canadians believe that where you came from is more important than where you are right now. Kind of explains the "lack of a unique identity issue".

I can keep going, but hope you see the drift of this. Canadians are more concerned with appearances than action (we want to appear to be more caring, more thoughtful, etc but when the cheque shows up we run for the bathroom). Americans believe the opposite. Actions not words.

I am not blind to the flaws of America. But I think you do a better job at recognizing and fixing those flaws than anyone else. Sadly, much better than we Canadian appear capable of doing.

In general, I think Americans have no imperial ambitions as some suggest. Your history would indicate that you prefer to be isolationists, but you are realist enought to see that crap happening elswhere in the world will affect you eventually. If I was you, if France ran off the cliff again I'd have no interest in helping out. If Canada ran off the cliff, I couldn't blame you for ignoring the problem other than your own interest.

Regarding Alberta seperation to join the US, I don't know if I'm that interested. Maybe we should just go out for coffee at this stage, you know? Kind of like seeing if we have common interests before dating. Be friends first?

And to any of my fellow Canadians tut-tutting Alberta leaving Canada, let me say this. Yes, it is remote. But remember that you appear to be perfectly happy paying danegeld to Quebec for the past 40 years. Quebec is in no position to leave Canada (they are the teenager whose parents pay all the bills - sounds like a sweet deal to me, I wouldn't leave either). There are only two "have" provinces in Canada (Alberta and Ontario), we may choose to break free to build an economy before the oil runs out and Ontario is only paying province left.

Besides, people in Ontario keep telling me that my views are too extreme and "unCanadian". If I choose to leave, will you hold a parade in Calgary and tell me how much you love me? Does it have to come to that?

Kind regards to all,

Warren

Posted by: Warren | 2004-07-10 6:42:44 PM


"Bill O'Reilly was onto something. You Canadians have no idea how much the typical American's attitude towards your country have changed from a state of complete indifference to one of recognizing you as a potential facilitator if not an actual enemy"

Only if you let Fox News make up your mind for you.

I'm sorry - but I live in the US. I jointly run a process service company where I spend several hours a day, every day talking to different people all over the United States. I am often "outed" as a Canadian by our clients and contractors. They are puzzled as to why somebody from the middle of Florida would have a Canadian accent instead of a southern one. I explain that I am a transplant.

Without exception in the 5 months that I have been doing this - and with literally hundreds of Americans that I have spoken with in the course of doing business - not one has expressed an anti-Canadian sentiment. 8 times out of 10, I am asked where in Canada I am from, and am regaled with stories about how great they think Canada is, how beautiful our country is (whichever part they have visited or that they have relatives that live there).

I've never once had an American express anything negative to me about Canada or myself as a Canadian. If anything - the clients and process servers we have (especially in New York, and Los Angeles) often express how much they appreciate how "polite" and friendly we Canadians are.

Now Gregg in Texas may have a different cohort of friends and family from which he is basing his conclusions. It wouldn't surprise me if folks in the Great State of Texas are a little suspcious about Canada. Such sentiments of anti-Canadianism are also prevelant it would seem in the American-Wanna-be Province of Alberta.

Posted by: MWW | 2004-07-10 7:03:55 PM


Mr. Cust,

"Further, not only myself, but one of the owners of this magazine worked for the BC Marijuana Party out of philosophical convictions. So I suggest you watch your tongue or you'll get thrown off of here."

Please rethink what you just wrote. How small-l libertarian can you be if you go around warning people that if they exercise a derisive freedom of speech they will be silenced?

*shaking head and sighing*

Posted by: Rick Hiebert | 2004-07-10 7:14:29 PM


"...Without exception in the 5 months that I have been doing this - and with literally hundreds of Americans that I have spoken with in the course of doing business - not one has expressed an anti-Canadian sentiment. 8 times out of 10, I am asked where in Canada I am from, and am regaled with stories about how great they think Canada is, how beautiful our country is (whichever part they have visited or that they have relatives that live there).

I've never once had an American express anything negative to me about Canada or myself as a Canadian. If anything - the clients and process servers we have (especially in New York, and Los Angeles) often express how much they appreciate how "polite" and friendly we Canadians are..."

You're a Canadian Transplant in the US, discovering how polite most Americans are. I would guess that most of them are elderly, as well.

I'm trying to express that, despite that, the groundswell of anti-Canadian sentiment in America is very real, very recent, and growing.

I have no misplaced or preconceived notions to dispell. I've been all over Canada, as well as more important parts of the World. I don't give a damn about the doper mentality embedded in this thread.

There are many, very real, ways to manifest displeasure (ie: business, politics) about the longstanding anti-Americanism in place in Canada, and the number of Americans interested in exploring those are growing.

Granted, most of us cannot make direct decisions that will influence your lifestyle, but if enough small contracts go to an equally competent company in another country, eventually you will notice. Of course, you will also notice the results of our upcoming elections.


Posted by: Mike | 2004-07-10 7:28:13 PM


I've lived in the US as well, and experienced no prejudice whatsoever.

I have also lived in Ontario. They hate us so much that they cannot hide it. They believe every stereotype as if it were fact. However, they hate everyone else so much that it doesn't seem so obvious. Non-whites used to Apartheid in South Africa would feel at home in Ontario.

Keep in mind that it is no longer safe to go outside in Ontario because of the crime rate.

The point is clear: it is in ALberta's best interest to seek closer association with the United States. America is fair and honest in its approach to us. Ontario wants only free money and will use every means to get it. They are the biggest threat to Albertans.

Thank God that America is our friend and ally.


Posted by: Scott | 2004-07-10 7:32:54 PM



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