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Bee BS: Is Stephen Harper's Rule Ending ? (162* d) RE: BS: Is Stephen Harper's Rule Ending ? 16 Oct 08

Depends on where you are, LH, and how much one really delves into the differences. Here's my philosophizin' for the day.

One on one, in a social atmosphere, there most often doesn't seem to be much difference between Canadians and Americans. Scratch the surface a little, though, and one often discovers profoundly divergent philosophies and beliefs, on government, on society, on freedom, even on individuality.

For example, Libertarianism is on the rise in the US, with plenty of people who might not elect a Libertarian but who sympathize deeply with a lot of their basic concepts. Most Canadians are somewhat horrified by Libertarianism.

I had a conversation with an American online recently. I like this person - he's funny, intelligent, compassionate. The topic was the horrors of dog-fighting and whether making it legal would mitigate the horror of it - most vehemently disagreed. The ethics of big game trophy hunting came up as a side issue. And here's where the conversation went all Libertarian. A fair number of Americans chimed in, and the essence of their thoughts on the issue was that the 'nanny state' had no business making laws about ethical hunting. People should be able to make their own minds up, and in fact, on second thought, it probably was an infringement on individual freedom to even make dog-fighting illegal. Here's a quote: "It is about allowing people freedom, even when that allows some the freedom to do things we don't agree with. I don't feel it is the job of the Government to force people to adhere to my personal ethics."

I think Canadians are considerably more likely to want to legislate based on consensus. I'm not saying one or the other is the better philosophy. I'm just suggesting our philosophies on the whole are still quite different.

Sure, we are saturated by American media, but I tend to think we overestimate the effects of that. We watch it, but through the eyes of being Canadian, and whatever that may mean depending on our own background and experience.

I suspect we are more impacted by our large and diverse urban immigrant population, forcing us to face the world and open our minds, than by American media. And it's interesting that the cities with the largest immigrant populations are the cities that have elected no Conservative MPs.

About half of Canada's population is still rural, and the smallest numbers of immigrants live in rural areas. That's where you'll find the mostly white, mostly Scottish/Irish/English/French descendants of early settlement whose culture is likely the one of whose demise you're lamenting.

Are we changing? Yes, of course we are - change or die, eh? But I don't think we are changing into Americans - we're on a different path, and where that leads remains to be seen.

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