On the move!
Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, ianking.ca is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.
Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace vancouverscrum.blogspot.com with www.ianking.ca in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.
Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at ianking.ca!
—Ian King, December 13, 2004
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Suzuki on anti-Americanism
In my youth I received a scholarship from an American University worth more than my father made in a year and it allowed me to attend one of the finest colleges in the world. Later I earned a PhD there and I am forever grateful to Americans for that. When I returned to Canada, I could not compete with my peers elsewhere in the world because of the poor funding available in Canada at the time. I stayed because I received a large U.S. grant. I will never forget the generosity of the U.S. and owe a huge debt of gratitude.
But it is precisely because I love America that I am so profoundly disturbed by what is going on there. Unquestioning acceptance of the status quo isn’t exactly an American ideal. In fact, it strikes me as decidedly un-American.
A similar argument that you’ll hear from Americans who don’t like the direction their country seems to be headed, but who have to deal with being called unpatriotic or worse. He’s got a point—Americans don’t like to think of themselves as deferential to authority; in fact, it’s been part of what’s fuelled the conservative culture warriors over the last four decades, this idea of rebelling against the establishment.
Something changed in the Bizarro World nineties, though. A lot of things flipped around. Leftish politicians went from being unconcerned about deficits (as the were in the sixties) to being the fiscal hawks, while those on the right were happy with deficit financing, as long as it was brought about by tax cuts. Idealism became associated with conservative foreign-policy wonks, many of whom had started out on the left.
Right-wing revolutionaries went from being on the outside to being in control, politically with Newt Gingrich and his successors, in the media world by a conservative publishing industry that had matured and bolstered by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black, and intellectually by a crop of think-tanks. And as Environics guru Michael Adams argues, Americans became more deferential to authority, while it has become the duty of all good Canadians to slag their leaders. Go figure.
But here’s the gentle geneticist’s killer blow: using one of your opponents’ favourite weapons against them.
Pundits who insist that critics of President Bush are anti-American are really saying that if 52 per cent of Americans believe anything then that’s what America stands for and everyone else has to respect that. This is a morally relativistic viewpoint that doesn’t even withstand the most basic of scrutiny and Bush administration critics should not be bullied into believing it does.
Ben Franklin had a great line about all this. Paraphrased it is this... Those who would give up essential liberties to gain a little security deserve neither security nor freedom.
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