United North America: Part 1.

December 6, 2007 at 2:40 am 11 comments

I found the United North America site a few days ago. The first page I came across was a page on Nationalism. Since I’ve come to a place in life I feel patriotism is unnecessary and counter-productive at this stage of Earth’s evolution, I was intrigued by what this guy had to say.

 

The first two paragraphs of the essay on Nationalism (click link to see essay) were promising:

 

“Nationalism unites people of different classes and ideologies. It can create harmony, link our past to our present and give a people a sense of identity. But nationalism is also a tool used by dictators, despots and power-hungry politicians alike. It can create violent and mighty forces as well as divide people from different geographies. It is used to exaggerate differences, foster generalizations and cause discriminatory thinking. These two halves of nationalism can perhaps best be viewed in the context of World War II. Churchill, Roosevelt and King used nationalism to unite their nations against brutal enemies for the preservation of democratic civilization. Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo exploited nationalism to fuel an expansionist voracity the likes of which the world had never seen before. Therefore, we observe from history that nationalism can be a force for self-preservation, heroism and honor, or for vengeance, conquest, enslavement and dishonor.

In the context of today’s North America, such polarized comparisons are silly. There remain positives and negatives of nationalism in North America that can still be analyzed, but certainly nationalist issues do not rise to the level of real life and death. They are more aptly described as a matter of taste. While nationalism is a strong force in both the US and Canada, the expression of it is quite different on people divided by the arbitrary border line. The difference is not due to ideology or culture, but should be understood in historical and psychological terms. In many ways, the imagined differences are more powerful and divisive than any true realities.”

 

So far so good, and I fully agree with what the authour has written. In fact he’s pretty much summed up my opinion on the matter much more eloquently than I ever could.

 

A little further on the authour writes this:

 

“But it was also fully embraced by the Tory Americans who, fleeing from the American colonies of their birth, sought to define themselves as something other than as the Americans that they were. Remarkably, this search for identity that could unite a diverse people divided by language and geography has spanned the centuries right down to our day. Although the Canadian sense of nationalism has changed a great deal over time, it remains essentially a “non-American” sentiment. Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. ”

 

This I had to look into a bit more closely. At first I couldn’t believe that enough Tories moved from the 13 Colonies after the War to make a difference when compared to the existent population in the British territories that would eventually become Canada. With some quick searches, the authour appears to be correct.

 

This is from the StatCan website:

 

“Whilst the War of Independence of the thirteen colonies was being prosecuted, the Loyalists, as they were called, a large number of whom had joined the British Army, suffered confiscation and banishment, the greater number remained, notwithstanding, in their native or adopted country ; others sought refuge in England ; others, again, to the probable total number of from 35,000 to 40,000 persons, including disbanded soldiers, came to seek an asylum in Canada and Nova Scotia. Before their arrival the population of British origin in the latter Province amounted to 12,000 souls, being a decrease from the number by the Census of 1772 in Nova Scotia, which then included New Brunswick. That part of the Province of Quebec now constituting that Province contained about 10,000 souls of the same origin ; that part of Quebec, now forming the Province of Ontario, may be said to have been then uninhabited. “

 

Fair enough. It does appear that enough Tories moved to the future Canadian provinces to become a significant portion of the population. It’s not hard to imagine that these people did have a problem with Americans and would have passed on that issue to future Canadians.

 

But, that being so, I still have issue with the last sentence of the second passage I quoted:

 

“Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. “

 

This denies the fact that Canada has evolved over all the years from then until now. When you take a look at the body of Canadian and American art and music culture over time, is there not a distinctive flavour to each? I’m no literary historian, so I don’t have the tools to make an accurate argument for this case, but a Nation — in the sense of a people bound by a type of culture — will usually have artistic culture that varies from its neighbours culture in some way. What Canadian wouldn’t be able to instantly pick out a Canadian produced television show? Or a Canadian produced movie?

 

Then I clicked over the the site’s front page and found this paragraph:

Here at United North America, we attempt to answer such questions, work to further stronger integration between the United States and Canada, and promote the democratic and peaceful accession to statehood of all of Canada’s provinces. On the following pages, you will see facts, ideas and commentaries on what such a peaceful Union would bring about.” (emphasis added by me)

 

The statement, accession to statehood of all Canada’s provinces, got a little stuck in my craw, whatever a ‘craw’ is. My thoughts don’t run towards Canada being ‘repatriated’ into the U.S.A., whether or not I may have inherited (possibly genetically) a dislike of all things American. Which isn’t true since I lived in America for a long time and quite enjoyed my experience. This, for some reason, bothers me. I still need to work out my thoughts on it, but there must be a better solution to the dissolution of borders that has nothing to do with assimilation, as the United North Americans suggest.

 

What other ways may this be accomplished without the obvious bias towards Manifest Destiny?

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Canadian Health Care Arguement in American Paper Fermentation

11 Comments Add your own

  • […] Without meaning to minimize the contributions, I think I can sum-up the entries by saying that the general consensus is that Canadians do define themselves to a large extent as not being American. As fellow Canadian, Paulmct from Bloggin’ Off, points out, much of this attitude stems from the Loyalists moving to the future Canadian territories after the American revolution, to avoid further persecution. This is a fair point, and I’ve written a little about it one of my early posts at Canadian Fermentation called United North America: Part 1. […]

    Reply
  • 2. virgomonkey  |  June 12, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I think it’s the pride for your country that makes you not want to “come together”. This is totally natural and justified. I find that Canadians DO have a unique identity and also one that stands out in governmental terms as well. Canada has contributed a lot to the world, however, what Canada (in my opinion) is severely lacking is genuine confidence in herself as a country and a people.

    When a people must say, “I’m proud because I’m not you”, it’s coming more so from anger and not from authentic confidence and security.

    This is why I believe we must continue to be divided as countries. Especially with a weakened state of identity, can you imagine that we were all totally one nation? That would turn into a civil war! Seriously. We Americans have enough problems getting along with ourselves. 😈

    Your entry was VERY informative and interesting, by the way. I was able to learn a bit from it.

    As for this part:

    Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. ”

    If I am understanding correctly, the phrase, “their own Americanness” is referring to the time of the removal of one’s self from America during the period after the Revolutionary War? I don’t see any more than that and no particular patriotism/nationalism in that. This phrase, however, if used in modern society, can be considered as chauvinistic.

    Reply
  • 3. C. Fraser  |  June 13, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I like to think that I’m more proud to be a good human and a good citizen of my community than a proud Canadian. It’s an honour to have been born in such a country, but I don’t think anyone should be so attached to their nation that it blinds them from contemplating what the rest of the world has to offer.

    “Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. ”

    I would agree with your synopsis of the statement. The people of UNA, though, use it as a rallying cry.

    Reply
  • 4. virgomonkey  |  June 14, 2008 at 6:35 am

    People can be proud of what they want to be proud of, of course. And there’s no denial in that people shouldn’t aim to be good people, either. But in my opinion, one can be proud of being an [insert nation] and still see the wonders and live the wonders of the world outside them at the same time. That mindset is possible. But these days, I’m beginning to wonder if the American definition of “patriotism” is different from that of other countries.

    It’s just that some people can confuse patriotism with insular-nationalism. They are two completely different things.

    I have recently learned from a German friend of mine the reason why Europeans cringe at patriotism. If you read that guy’s post, it dates back to the time of Hitler. So, any reference to being proud of where you are from is automatically associated with fascism. And this is taught in Europe.

    Reply
  • 5. Sun Warrior  |  July 5, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Part of the ‘non-American-ness’ is the rejection of the American myth about their terrorist rebellion against peace, order and good government.

    It was a civil war, dividing the colonies in half. Imagine, at least the Muslims get upset about something important, oil. The rebels took up arms over a friggin’ ‘tea tax!’ Does anyone want to live with people who go to war over a single tea tax!

    “THE WAR OF THE BEVERAGE!”

    Yes, Canadians are not Americans. Canadians have a sense of balance. Americans have been flipping out ever since, instead of evolving out of colony-status like Canada did.

    It is too bad Americans can’t compare themselves to us, or anyone else. Americans refuse to be un-armed. Americans refuse to provide basic healthcare to human beings. Americans are extremists. Americans don’t know their place in the world. Should I go on?

    So Canada is relief from being extremist. AaAAAHHH! Feels good… what a relief… at least we are aware of our environs as part of the whole planet, not the center of it.

    Wow. You got me writing something positive about my country!

    I don’t think of myself as non-American. I just look upon the Canadian character as sensible. And when America does get my attention, something underneath just goes ‘something went terribly wrong there…’

    Do you define yourself as ‘non-neurotic?’

    Reply
    • 6. Kevin  |  January 31, 2011 at 9:04 am

      The declaration of independance explains why we went to war, and i believe thres some damn good reasons in there if you read it.

      Reply
    • 7. Milligan  |  September 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      ” Canadians have a sense of balance. Americans have been flipping out ever since,”

      This brought a smile to my face. My father always referred to the U.S. as “The Excited States of Hysteria”. Note: I am a dual citizen.

      Reply
  • 8. Anonymous  |  April 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    The idea of a United North America is appealing. I believe it is appealing to both Canadians and U.S. Americans. However, I am sure it is also frightening to a number of Canadians and U.S. Americans as well. I do see the day coming when a United North America will be with us, but before that day comes it will require a substantial change to the way U.S. Americans see themselves and their place in the world. A United North America would require just as many sacrifices on the U.S. American side as well. A true integration and coming together would demand it and U.S. American views can not be imposed upon Canadians. At this point in history out two great nations enjoy one of the closest partnerships and friendships in world history. There is much that we can teach each other and learn from each other. NATO, NAFTA, NORAD are just a few examples. A United North America will come, but between now and that day lets all continue to work together.

    Reply
  • 9. K  |  September 20, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    (I wrote this comment then read Part 2… but I’m still going to post it)

    There is no way this will happen; there is simply NO need. Our two countries are fundamentally different on so many levels. Plus, it wouldn’t be our two countries “coming together”, Canada would just be joining the USA. The only reason a nation gives up their sovereignty is out of desperation for security and order, not just because we’re BFFs. Please! Canada wouldn’t be so underestimated as a nation if the Americans didn’t label us as the little USA.

    Ironically, a reason why Canadian nationalism has always seemed so undefinable beyond being “not American” is that Canada still is today, as it was at its birth, a nation of people in denial of their own Americanness. ”

    This statement is completely backwards. We’ve always had own distinct national identity, and most Canadians recognize how morally and politically different we are from the USA. But, of course, the self-centred Americans insist our nationalism surrounds the mere fact that we aren’t American. Uh, no, USA, that wasn’t even an issue until you made it one. Just cause you think you’re all awesome, doesn’t mean the rest of the world think so. There’s a reason nobody here complains about being a British colony; they respect us as a nation. I’m more proud to be associated with the British than I am to be associated with the US.

    Reply
  • 10. I  |  November 16, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I completely disagree. The majority of educated Americans – especially ones like myself who have travelled through Canada – have great respect for Canadians and their culture and would never seriously belittle Canada as a “little USA”. I feel complete kinship with my Canadian friends and colleagues, and could very easily imagine myself not separating us into “Americans” and “Canadians”, but just joining together as fraternal “North Americans”. I would very much enjoy doing so, in fact.

    I feel very at home in Canadian culture, just as my Canadian friends say they feel at home in American culture – the differences between our two cultures as a whole are far less than differences between, say, San Francisco and Des Moines, or Whitehorse and Montreal.

    The hangup on Canada “joining America” is a non-issue, in my opinion. Why not, as Canadian provinces, take advantage of the enormous liberty and autonomy the US Constitution gives to states? In any case, I can’t speak for Canadian sentiment on this issue, but I’d urge Canadians to put aside the nationalist centrism that people are all prone to (us Americans especially, I admit) and consider the potential benefits versus any harm.

    At this point, I sort of doubt that I’ll see this union happen in my lifetime (the next 65 years, let’s say), but I would yearn for and welcome it with open arms.

    Reply
    • 11. Anonymous  |  February 7, 2012 at 12:10 am

      I can not believe the “We are a country established to perfection” view that it seems all Americans claim to be their “great” declaration of independence. During comparison of the two country’s international statistics the fanatic manifest destiny supporter even admits that the Canadian system of government pro ided higher level of democracy than the USA system. Despite you ridiculous Americans saying he simply wants a government beneficial to both countries he wouldn’t wish for an extended American government but rather one based on our government. Now let’s see an AMERICAN 8th grader write a view as smart and contradictory to that websites bullshit as mine.

      Reply

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