Thursday, July 1, 2010

Peace, Order and Good Government

Canada's "motto" contrasts significantly with the American one of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".  At first blush there's not much difference in the three aims of each catchy little phrase.  However it's interesting to speculate in a totally unscientific way on whether - to the extent that each motto accurately defines its nation (a questionable concept in itself) - how each is faring.  Peace: I'd give Canada a 7 out of 10, with one demerit for allowing thugs to wreck downtown Toronto (why not use real bullets, not rubber ones?), another for staying in Afghanistan after the Americans let Osama Bin Laden get away on purpose, and a third one for our lax criminal justice system in general.  The U.S. probably rates a 5 here; the demerits are not worth listing but are offset somewhat by the U.S.'s necessary status as world policeman and nuclear watchdog.  (I know, I know, but can you imagine if a really repressive regime like Russia or China was the cop on the beat?)  As far as Life goes, both nations still have a pulse, so 10 out of 10 for each (kind of a dumb thing to even have in your motto really).  Order: Here Canada probably delivers an 8, we like to debate politics endlessly and call each other names (with all due respect) but we rarely draw our guns - even if we have one and can find it - and the UFC was an American invention after all.  The U.S. gets a 5 here too - generous by any measure when "Liberty" and "Order" are almost diametrically opposite concepts to begin with.  (Actually, I'm not sure we have as much Order as we think we do, or that Americans have as much Liberty as they think they do.)  Good Government: Canada wins hands down (6 to 4) as evidenced by our "nice" international reputation and the way we're surviving the worsening recession.  The U.S. is paralyzed by its two party system, Presidential veto, the 3-month lame duck period between election and inauguration, mortgage interest deductibility, need I go on?  The Pursuit of Happiness: we win again, 7 to 6 in my humble opinion.  (Note: I didn't say the pursuit of money; money is only one aspect of happiness, and Canada taxes the hell out of it.)  Happy Canada Day!