Saturday, January 15, 2005

SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES IN THE UNITED STATES like to talk about "American values" -- aka "American core values"; and they frequently express the view that our foreign policy should be about "teaching" the rest of the world about these "American core values."

Well, now we have competition in the values-education department. Canada's new ambassador to the United States, Frank McKenna, tells us that Canada actually has values, too. He calls them "Canadian core values," and he wants to use his new position as an opportunity to "encourage" these Canadian values in Canada's neighbor to the south.

Mr. McKenna said he hopes to urge the United States to embrace some Canadian beliefs such as multilateralism, along with encouraging the United States to look at Canada's social programs and "civility."
Let's compare these two sets of core values.

American core values:
  • unilateralism, aka "it's our way or the highway"
  • rudeness, as in "The United States is not going to let a foreign power tell us when to get our troops out of their country"
  • rugged individualism, aka unfettered capitalism, as in "You're on your own, buddy, now get out of my fucking way"

Canadian core values:

  • multilateralism, as in "Let's discuss our plans with other countries and see what their needs are, how our actions will affect them, and how we can help each other accomplish our common goals"
  • civility, as in "We're so sorry we bombed your country and killed thousands of your civilians; we'll get out now"
  • social programs, as in "Welcome to your post-knee surgery physical therapy appointment. May I have your health card, please? Thank you, you're all set."

Hmmmm, which one should I choose?

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