No, there could not be a Canadian Donald Trump
I've enjoyed my visits to our neighbor to the North and have found its people overwhelmingly friendly, polite, pleasant, and for the most part a joy to be around. I never tire of repeating my story of accidentally dropping $200 from my wallet while paying the check at an Ontario pizza place, and finding it waiting for me in an envelope at the cash register the next day.
Of course, with its ready acceptance of marriage redefinition (even the Canadian Conservative Party is now on board) and abortion (Prime Minister Trudeau favors its legality right up until birth) Canada as a society is even further along the road to ethical collapse in other ways than we are. But the only other problem I have with Canadians is that they can sometimes be a bit smug. Their criticisms of the United States are frequently right on target- which doesn't make them any easier to hear- but also sometimes uncomprehending and stereotypical. We are not all rude, boisterous boobs, and no, their willingness to censor free speech because it might hurt someone's feelings does not make them more tolerant than we are. Just less free. In fact, it makes Canada seem like one gigantic American university campus. And the anti-American bias some show in foreign policy can be irritating in a nation that purports to be and we are eager to see as, our friend.
In my less charitable moments, I'm inclined to think that Canadians sometimes see themselves as better than everybody else. So when I saw an article by a Canadian whose title actually made that claim- in so many words- it caught my attention.
And the really galling thing is that in one limited sense, the author is right.
It's hard to imagine a Canadian Donald Trump. Jonathan Kay lists the various other Western nations who have their Trump-analogs, and while I find it annoying that a nation which has not experienced the problems the United States and Europe have with respect to lawless behavior (and, in our case, illegal entry) presumes to be so smug, Kay rightly points out that to the limited extent that they have Canadians have avoided the temptation to xenophobia and hate. Full credit to them for that.
But while Donald Trump was, of course, obnoxiously wrong in his generalization about Mexicans being predominantly murderers and rapists, a disproportionate percentage of the crimes committed in our Southwestern states actually are committed by illegal immigrants. If Americans were to be sneaking across the border into Canada and taking up illegal and permanent residence there- even if they did not bring a rise in the crime rate in their wake- I find it difficult to imagine Canadians putting up with it. What if they smuggled guns into the country? After all, all Americans love guns, and cannot bear to be without them!
Or if hordes of immigrants acted toward Canadian women the way they acted toward German ones last New Year's Eve, would Canadians react with tolerance and good will? I hope not!
Canada has wisely tied its immigration policy to job skills. But what if immigrants were ignoring Canada's immigration policy, and entering the country and remaining there in large numbers without job skills, simply basking in the free medical care and other benefits of living in Canadian society while defying its laws?
Still, Kay is right about his central point. Whatever the reaction of Canadians might be if they faced the same problems with immigration the United States or Europe face - and excuse me, but I find I hard to believe that it would be as tolerant and gentle as Kay seems to imply- it is also indeed hard to imagine a Canadian Donald Trump. Canadians are too polite. They are too civilized. And in that respect, they are indeed our superiors.
The Canadian mother of a woman I used to date once pointed out that the United States was forged through the ethic of the frontier, while Canada was not. Settlers in the Wild West found it just that: wild and lawless. Settlement came first. Then there was a period of relative anarchy. Only gradually did civilization catch up to the population. But in Canada, the opposite was the case. First came the British army and its forts. Settlements sprang up around them. Civilization and law came first, and population followed.
Which explains, parenthetically, why Americans actually are fonder of guns than Canadians are, and more apt to justify their ownership even today on the dubious ground of self-defense. It explains why we tend to be louder, more boisterous, less restrained- and yes, I imagine often so irritating as neighbors to a society with better manners.
So no. Canada could not produce a Trump, and it has every right to congratulate itself on that fact. The darker side of Canadian culture takes a more polite and genteel a form.
It takes the form of an inability to distinguish between actual injury and hurt feelings- and the impulse to resort to respectable, legal forms of persecution of those who hold disapproved attitudes and beliefs.
It takes the form of an openness and egalitarianism so radical that it is willing to blithely disregard the wisdom of the ages with respect to institutions like marriage, and to fail to consider the damage done to society when a population among whom monogamy is virtually unknown and which is unable by its very nature to fulfill the primary function of the institution- the bearing and raising of children- are nevertheless included among those eligible to participate in a redefined and watered-down version of society's most basic institution. Too exaggerated a horror of hurting people's feelings can take its toll in other ways.
It takes the form of a strange, smug libertarianism which brags about its compassion for the weak while legalizing the slaughter of the weakest of us all, the unborn.
Yes, those things have happened in the States, too. But here, we are in a different sense more civilized than the Canadians are. A not-insignificant number of us resist the cultural and moral rot. Such matters are at least controversial here. And we don't jail or fine people for hurting the feelings of others, though in that respect too we seem to be following the bad Canadian example.
Yes, Mr. Kay, your assertion of your society's moral superiority is indeed obnoxious. Especially your use of the adjective "moral." And it is also absurd. But you are superior to us in one respect: you are too polite, too well-behaved, and too genteel in your barbarism to produce a Donald Trump.
You have produced a Justin Trudeau instead, and as little use as I have for Trump, you are welcome to him.
HT: Real Clear World