Friday, November 12, 2004

Cartesian Logic

A couple of times since 9/11, I have been forced to re-examine the roots of anti-Americanism, mostly my own. So I have tried to start with a clean slate, and try to understand it in a way I can explain to people, American or not.

Rene Descartes, the famous French (!) philosopher, invented the modern idea of individualism, and the ethos of the U.S.A. is based on that. In America, you're on your own. If you're successful, great. If you're not, it's your own fault. They were slow to catch on the socialist reforms of Europe, like welfare and unionized labor. They are, as the Irish would say, "Sinn Fein (ourselves alone)". And of course, there's the idealizing of the market by Adam Smith. Not to idealize European or Canadian standards, but I'm glad to be living where I am and I don't want Canada to be any more Americanized (hear that Mr. Martin?)

Mulroney has some good (!) advice for George W. Bush.

A new war story, quickly forgotten
There's a new book coming out about Canada's peacekeeping operation. It's had a checkered past in the last ten or so years, but this is one apparantly worth remembering. Peacekeepers who were in an impossible situation in the former Yugoslavia. It should break some stereotypes.

Note to Quebec seperatists: you have not seperated yet.

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