I mean, I'm quite convinced that the American system of government and society is the best yet developed by mankind, and I don't think that my being born here has much to do with that; I like to think that if I were born elsewhere, I'd come to the same conclusion, if I started from the same premise of 'freedom is good' and 'man has basic human rights'. But would I? On sober reflection, the answer isn't so clear.
I was. I did. I'm one of those 'Americans in spirit' that SDB
talks about. But I agree that it's definitely a matter of values and ideology, and tribalism and nationalism hinder acceptance of the obvious. To have reached the conclusions I have (see my profile
), I've had to wholly reject the notion of Canadian cultural
superiority - which is easy enough, if you ignore the Liberal Party's many various propaganda arms
Canada is a nation founded by losers - French defeated by the British in the Seven Years War, and Loyalists who fled the Thirteen Colonies when the Revolutionary War started. (I unfortunately count one of my ancestors, a cowardly cordwainer from upstate New York, among these.) One result of this has been a fuzzy, soft-focus feel-good version of officially sanctioned Canadian history; we're not a nation of losers, we're a nation of compromisers, and other such bunkum. Any remaining positive social values inherited from Britain have long since been papered over by the Cult of Multiculturalism. There's no pride in the actually notable and respectable achievements of Canada any more, like overwhelmingly disproportionate participation (by population) in both world wars - unless it's to make the jab that both Wilson and FDR stayed neutral too long. Too many Canadians have been conditioned for far too long (predominantly by the CBC, but I blame scary blowhard nationalists on the far right too) to think that Weakness is Strength (see former Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy's book
for as rational an explanation one is ever likely to find about "Soft Power"), and all those other vacuous sentiments that Big Brother shares with Joe Canadian.
I have to confess, I did actually buy into this contemptible spin until the age of 14 or so. To paint a picture: I used to loathe Louis Riel
for being a traitorous rabble-rouser; I agreed entirely with Macdonald's decision to hang him, "though every dog in Quebec may bark in his favour."
However, I then started reading history. I found the founding fathers fascinating characters, striking an inspiring balance between idealism and realism, remaking the world as a better place; as my blog's title suggests, I maintain great admiration for, in particular, John Adams. Now, I wish Riel had done the job properly and won the Northwest Rebellion, because the odds are good that part or all of what is now Manitoba would have become American territory, and it probably would have benefited Manitobans far more than Canadian government has since Confederation.
Of course, I don't love America blindly; I am aware of its failings throughout history. Yet the United States has rarely been any less free, benevolent, and fair compared to any of its neighbours, allies or enemies at any particular point in history, and has consistently made an effort to improve on the lot.
This is why I want to be American. This is why I plan to emigrate after I finish university, including law school. (I may be against the principle of post-secondary education being governmentally subsidized to the large degree it is here, but I'm not stupid. I'll take the graduate degree, thankyouverymuch, and then become part of the Brain Drain problem.) This is why Old Glory hangs in a place of pride on my tiny apartment's living room wall.
I believe in pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps, in rugged individualism and taking personal responsibility for one's own success. I believe in free minds and free markets. I believe in the American ideal. And I'll be joining the party soon enough.