What if....? If only...
0 comment Saturday, August 2, 2014 |
In the discussion of my earlier post on 'Founding Stock heritage', the question arose: would we be better off today had our colonial English ancestors not seceded, and instead remained under English rule? Or perhaps we would be better off if we had stayed a colony and presumably been granted dominion status like Canada, or been part of some kind of united English North America? (I am paraphrasing and adding a little of my own elaboration, but I think the spirit of the inquiry is intact in my version.)
I did a little ruminating on this question overnight, and a few questions arose in my mind. I suppose we might look at Canada as it exists now, and ask if our history would parallel theirs had we not become independent.
That thought led to the question in my mind: how is it that the Canadians differ in significant ways from Americans? We all are "children of a common mother".
I suppose Canada is the country that, superficially at least, is most like the United States. I have often thought that if I were to live in another country, Canada would be the one that would require the least cultural adjustment. Granted, when I first thought of that, I was quite liberal, and as I've moved rightward, back to the truths of my upbringing, Canada has become even more liberal. So I would not feel as much at home politically there. However, Canadian people, in my experience, are very congenial and polite, though I know many of them resent America's imperial politics and 'gun culture'. At the same time, many right-wing Americans disdain Canada for its liberalism.
But how did the differences between Canadians and Americans come to be? We did start out as English colonies, and we had similar mixes of settlers, from the British Isles as well as from France. So how did it come to be that our colonial ancestors became restive and rebellious and began to resist rule by our cousins in London, while the Canadians retained their allegiance to the Crown, and did not agitate for independence?
I often stress the role of genes in character and behavior. We are not too dissimilar from our Canadian brothers in our ancestral origins -- or we weren't, at first. And we did share a common culture in our British roots and our English language. Yet we seem to have grown apart.
One other commonality between the U.S. and Canada is our history with the 'indigenous peoples'. We share the frontier experience. According to some historians, our experience of the frontier, of the vast open spaces, of the conflict with the Indians -- these things made Americans the people they are, what with our 'rugged individualism' and our attachment to our right to bear arms.
''The Frontier Thesis, also referred to as the Turner Thesis, is the argument advanced by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893 that the origin of the distinctive egalitarian, democratic, aggressive, and innovative features of the American character has been the American frontier experience. He stressed the process�the moving frontier line�and the impact it had on pioneers going through the process. In the thesis, the frontiercreated freedom, by "breaking the bonds of custom, offering new experiences, and calling out new institutions and activities."
Some people are adamant that Americans' fighting spirit comes from our 'Scots-Irish blood', you know, the 'born fighting' image.
Lately, however, it seems that the American 'spirit' of resistance is curiously absent, unless you count the Tea Parties, which is rather sad.
However, we and the Canadians have taken different turns.
This page gives some information on Canada's demographics.
Here, you can see a breakdown by ethnicity.
My impression has always been that Canada has quite a lot of Scottish blood, perhaps more, in proportion to population, than America. And the statistics seem to indicate that.
Why, then, are they not the fighters and the rebels? Canada also has a fair amount of Irish-descended people. Surely all this 'fiery Celtic blood' should have made the Canadians more feisty, but overall we tend to think of Canadians as a very pacific people.
Genetics and culture don't seem to account for much of the difference between us. Or can it be that the stereotypes of the 'Celtic' peoples are not altogether true?
Whatever the reason, America and Canada diverged, culturally and politically. And it seems that the Canadian government is now even more attached to, and enamored of, multiculturalism and diversity than our benighted government.
So paradoxically, though we and Canada diverged, we are becoming similar in our 'diversity' and multicultural, polyglot populations. Isn't it strange how 'diversity' breeds uniformity?
I think it's a little futile to think about how we might have been better off had we stayed under English rule, or how we might have fared had we and Canada been merged into one political unit.
'We' wouldn't have been 'we', then, or would we? Things would have taken a different course. But we will never know, will we? Unless, of course, the globalist overlords openly proclaim the 'North American Union' that they have been engineering for decades. Then both we and Canada will be united in some polyglot mixed-multitude political unit, bearing little to no resemblance to the countries we've known and loved.
Overall, I think it was better that our Founding Fathers won our independence. Being governed by those closer to us, in a smaller-scale government (as existed at the beginning of our Republic) is preferable to being governed by a far-off government which is usually not in touch with the needs or concerns of a group of subjects across the ocean. As H.P. Lovecraft noted in the essay I quoted earlier, there was not any anti-British xenophobia involved in our secession. We were all of the same people; it was not like casting off foreign rule, as some would make it.
It is unfortunate -- no, it's tragic, that our Republic as it was originally founded could not be maintained. I say it could not be maintained, because our Founders were very explicit that the system they set up was not suitable to a rabble or a group of disparate peoples. They said that the system would not be suitable to any but a moral and religious people -- which we have not been for some time now. And most people who give any thought to these things know that a representative government depends on the people being reasonably educated and literate, informed, and responsible. Does this describe our current American electorate?
So our Republic has been gutted from the inside, by a number of factors, and it's to be determined whether it can be salvaged, or whether it is even desirable to salvage it.
It's certainly interesting to ponder over ''what if?'' -- what if we had not become independent? But we can never really know how things would have turned out.
But perhaps thinking about these things -- such as what made America the country it has become? -- will give us opportunity to think about where we are going, and how we can avoid the gross mistakes of the past.
I feel sure that if our colonial fathers could have foreseen what would become of their country, perhaps they would not even have bothered to shed their blood to create it. And that is a bitter realization.

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