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  • Getting in Touch With Your Sensitive Side

    Posted by James R. Rummel on July 3rd, 2004 (All posts by )

    The rest of the world constantly accuses the United States of the worst kind of insensitivity. The consensus is that Americans are rude, insulting and lacking in the most basic of manners. It’s said that the most basic of cultural icons, mores that are vital to a people’s identity, are routinely trampled by the louts from the US.

    This does happen sometimes, mainly because some people from the US are too quick to dismiss people from other cultures as naïve. But considering that American culture spans the world it’s to be expected that we can’t keep everything straight all of the time. All of those different ways of dealing with your fellow man, all of those social conventions that we come in contact with, and it’s rather surprising that we do such a good job. I’d like to offer this short post on my personal blog as an example of the conditions that many Americans are exposed to every single day. (Keep in mind that I live in a dull, ordinary Midwest city. It’s so boring here that we refer to it as “Cowtown”, yet I still hear all of these different languages swirling around me every day.)

    But the reverse doesn’t seem to be true. Most of the other countries of the world have people who only experience American culture through our media. TV shows and movies, popular music and pr0n. At best this is a gross distortion of America, most often it’s an outright fabrication. Yet people from other cultures are all too ready to accept this packaged fantasy as reality even though it’s thunderously obvious to someone from the US that this is pure entertainment and nothing more.

    Remember when I said that some Americans tend to think of people from other countries as being naïve?

    This lack of understanding seems to be prevalent the world over, even among the people that share a common language and common values. In this post I discussed the possible outcomes of Canada’s recent election. A great many people, some from Canada, were kind enough to leave comments. Some of them even suggested that, should the elections not go as they hoped, growing discontent might cause Alberta to secede from Canada and become America’s 51st state.

    I was inclined to treat this as a joke at first, but the comments made it plain that this was considered a done deal. Put the matter on the ballet in Alberta, vote themselves out of Canada and the next day there’s a new star on Ol’ Glory.

    Not gonna happen, guys. No way, no how.

    Comments from European intellectuals aside, this isn’t the days of Manifest Destiny when the US was greedily grabbing up as much territory as it could. If it was then we’d simply take what we wanted since the rest of the worlds militaries are in such shabby shape. (Lucky for the rest of you that we got over that little phase, huh?)

    So let’s say that Alberta does decide to go it alone. Cut themselves off from the rest of Canada. Then what?

    Oil and big rodeos aside, there’s simply no reason why the US would accept a new state. We’d have to be plenty desperate to even consider it. Desperate as in “the only alternative to complete destruction”. And I think that we’re doing pretty well right about now. Instead the best that Alberta could hope for would be to petition the US for protectorate status, like Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands.

    It’s extremely unlikely that the US would actually accept Alberta as a protectorate state. Everybody would claim that the US had engineered Alberta’s secession as part of a Byzantine plot for total continental domination, so we’d hardly be interested in turning what remains of Canada into our bitter enemies by giving them any proof. But, just for the sake of discussion, let’s say that the US makes this incredibly stupid move. What happens then?

    Well, at this point the people and government of Alberta have to prove that they’re worthy of joining the US.

    It wouldn’t be a quick process. Think a few decades at the very least. If you’re over 40 when Alberta is accepted as a protectorate then there’s a fair chance that you’d be dead before it would happen.

    So that’s what Alberta, or any other province, has in store for it if they decide to go it alone. I doubt that any of this would be news to any politician in Canada, which means that there’s very little chance for any province to take leap off of the edge and actually tell the rest of Canada to stuff it.

    Except for those separatists in Quebec. Those guys have never let reality get in the way of their grand vision.

     

    25 Responses to “Getting in Touch With Your Sensitive Side”

    1. Tom Bridgeland Says:

      I meet up with this sort of ignorance of the US every day, here in Japan. People assume, because perhaps they have seen many movies from the US, or have watched ‘Little House on the Prairie’ on TV, that they have a deep understanding of the place.

      As one example, I am often asked if I was drafted. Great surprise when I tell them that no, no one has been drafted in America since the early ’70s. It goes on and on.

    2. lindenen Says:

      I don’t know. I’ve often thought it would be …well… awesome if Canada and the US joined. I’d welcome Alberta.

    3. lindenen Says:

      Perhaps West VA and VA could get back together and we’d still only have 50 stars on the flag.

    4. TangoMan Says:

      James,

      Let me see if I understand you. You’d rather take 3 years of illegal immigration of low wage migrants than one fell swoop of gainin 3 million productive citizens, their capital stocks, massive amounts of oil reserves and other resources, and a trust fund of $12 billion, which if applied to the US on a per capita basis would amount to over a trillion dollars. Further, considering that the US runs a trade deficit with Alberta, we would also gain fiscally by internalizing that trade.

      Alberta would add a Gross State Product, (adjusted to US dollars) that is larger than each of the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. I’ll leave it to you to calculate the Gross State Product per capita.

      I don’t want to come off as an advocate of encouraging a province of a foreign country to secede and join us, but your analysis is wholly lacking in argument and analysis. You’re simply stating positions. I would be most curious as to the reasons you could muster for rebuffing a newly independent Alberta from joining the Union.

      I simply don’t see the downside for the US. None at all. The US admitted Hawaii and Alaska. You can’t tell me that polynesians and inuit have a greater cultural affinity with the lower 48 than do English speaking peoples from a common Anglo-Saxon heritage that have a thorough familiarity with US culture.

      Also from a security perspective, would the US rather have a balkanized Northern frontier, dealing with a various regimes and their differing legal, political and security policies?

    5. James R. Rummel Says:

      “Let me see if I understand you. You’d rather take 3 years of illegal immigration of low wage migrants than one fell swoop of gainin 3 million productive citizens,….”

      I hardly see it as my choice. When did you think that I was elected The Emperor of the United States, anyway?

      This is the way it is. Deal.

      “I don’t want to come off as an advocate of encouraging a province of a foreign country to secede and join us, but your analysis is wholly lacking in argument and analysis.”

      This is the way we’ve done it in the past. I hardly see how your assertion that we’re going to suddenly change is realistic.

      “The US admitted Hawaii and Alaska.”

      And they were terrotories for….how long again? Refresh my memory here, TM.

      James

    6. TangoMan Says:

      Emporer James,

      When did you think that I was elected The Emperor of the United States, anyway?

      I’ve always held you in high esteem :) I got to thinking of you in terms of Emporer when you proclaimed “Well, at this point the people and government of Alberta have to prove that they’re worthy of joining the US.

      It wouldn’t be a quick process. Think a few decades at the very least. If you’re over 40 when Alberta is accepted as a protectorate then there’s a fair chance that you’d be dead before it would happen.”

      I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it seemed you were laying down the way things were going to be.

      To the best of my understanding admission of a new state into the Union simply required an Act of the Congress. Perhaps some more knowledgable folk can clear this up.

      I’m unaware of, but certainly open to correction, the necessity for a step process required territorial status for decades prior to admission. Both Hawaii and Alaska were not industrialized states and there might have been concern that their economic status would be a large drain on the US treasury. I think that such a concern is what is at the root of the issue for Puerto Rico. Whenever Congress wants to pass an Act of Admission it could do so. 1 yer, 10 years or whatever.

    7. peter Says:

      I went to college in France. there was a lot of diversity. And if you wish to you could be exposed to any foreign culture.
      Being naive or not is not the right way to understand what’s happening.
      The US hasn’t and never had to deal with a patchwork of neibourg so the people never develop any sensitivity regarding this issue.

    8. Jay Manifold Says:

      Mmmm, a Byzantine plot for total continental domination. I think we’re just the guys to do it. ;)

    9. TangoMan Says:

      a Byzantine plot for total continental domination. I think we’re just the guys to do it. ;)

      Unless we have a war first. (joking) There seems to be a border dispute between us and the Canadians in the Beaufort Sea, all in order to get to the oil under the seafloor.

      We think that the border should veer off to the East while the Canadians think it should just be an extension of the land border between the Yukon and Alaska. To be honest, the Canadian proposal seems to make the most sense, but you can guess which side has the oil :)

    10. forvrin Says:

      Actually, it is a long process. First there needs to be protectorate status. Then, after a certain period, and if there is a certain population, the protectorate petititions congress for “territory” status. During this, the protectorate will be allowed to elect a government and a State Constitution will be decided upon. Only when a second population level is met, and when the state constitution had been ratified and accepted by Congress does the actual territory become a state.

      As Steven Den Beste said, there’s a process to becoming a state that I dont’ think Canadians would take kindly to. Heck, most Americans didn’t care for it either.

    11. TangoMan Says:

      Thanks for the Steven Den Beste link. Equally as interesting are the follow-up links that he posts at the bottom of his essay because they point out errors in his analysis and introduce new facts.

      They make the case that Texas was admitted PDQ because it met all of the conditions. Same with California.

      The Den Beste anologies don’t really apply do they? The population, legal systems, political establishment are already there. All that needs to be done is to craft a State Constitution. All premised, of course, on the citizen’s will to do so.

      To compare provinces with populations of millions to historical territories with populations in the thousands seems to put things askew.

    12. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      I went to college in France. there was a lot of diversity.
      My condolences.

      By the way. It’s spelled ‘university’. Diversity is its antonym. Although those who spend too much time attending the former tend to catch a speech impediment which makes it sound like they’re saying or even writing the latter.

    13. peter Says:

      Sylvain. As an “intellectuel de chambre” that’s all you found? make fun of my les than perfect english.

    14. John Doe Says:

      Canada is dying because its ruling class includes Catholics and Semites (Moslems) that hate Protestants. The United States is dying because our ruling class includes Catholics and Semites (Jews) that hate Protestants. It sucks being a conquered people.

    15. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Gee, I’m a Catholic and I was taught to love my neighbor. No one ever said anything to me about not loving Protestants.

      What prompted you to develop this thesis of yours?

    16. Jay Manifold Says:

      So that’s why I feel so crummy today! I’m a conquered person! Hell, I’m dying! And it’s not just Canada and the US — the founders of this very blog include at least one Catholic and at least one Jew! Man, it sucks!

      ;)

    17. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      You’re doomed Jay.

    18. Jonathan Says:

      Yes, it’s true. Resistance is futile. My quest for world domination via blogging will soon come to fruition as I recruit fully 25% of the non-Jewish U.S. population to join this blog. Then I will dominate you all by encouraging blog posts in support of limited government, free trade and President Bush’s war efforts. Yes! A Jewish conspiracy so vast that not even John Doe (where have I heard that name before?) could predict it.

      Mwahahahah. . .

    19. Sandy P. Says:

      In 2003, I read in a news article from a Canadian paper that reported during their May(?) convention, whispers of “secession” might be discussed cos they’re getting fed up being the cash cow of Canada. That’s one reason they’re spearheading a different health program. Their armed forces would be happy, they’d actually get high-tech equipment and fuel for their jets that wouldn’t freeze, we’d get some marvelous winter training facilities. And it would drive the Russkies and the world nuts. Think of all the hunting and gun owners we’d get. And the trees! And the Kyoto credits!

      Maybe frogistan-lite’s bluff should be called, then it wouldn’t be so bad. I bet even Nova Scotia and that area would prefer to be a protectorate. It would certainly protect their fishing stocks from the EU, which seems to ignore the agreement it has w/Canada, according to what Damian Penny posts from time to time.

      AND – when the next terrorist attack comes, if it’s found to come via either border, we will find a way to protect both and won’t give a fig what “the world” the UN, the ICC, the activists, environmentalists or the hand-wringers say.

      Borders move all the time now, no sense in buying a globe.

      And tell PR to Shi* or get off the pot.

      Good lord, can you imagine the Cubans going back after Fidel dies and agitate for becoming a territory? Does the younger generation really want to give up their rights and privileges?

      Besides, Canada did get special status in the Articles of Confederation, if they wanted to join, they were in, no state approval necessary.

      Stranger things have happened.

    20. Sandy P Says:

      And then we can invite the British to emigrate.

      Now that would be really interesting, Alberta’s process to becoming a state – watching the population movement would be fascinating. Sort of like the arabs who made sure they were on the Israeli side of the fence before it went up.

    21. James R. Rummel Says:

      “Besides, Canada did get special status in the Articles of Confederation, if they wanted to join, they were in, no state approval necessary.”

      It’s not the Articles of Confederation that you should be interested in. The Constitution is the law of the land. The Articles are dead and gone, and have been since 1787. They do have immense historical value, but they certainly don’t have any bearing so far as present day US government is concerned.

      James

    22. Jay Manifold Says:

      As a process-design geek, I hereby direct everyone’s attention to this diagram (288 kB *.pdf; see page 3), and ask that we consider what it would take to admit Alberta to the Union.

      While the Constitutional procedure is clear, the politics — which could appear under “entrance criteria” or “exit criteria” — are something else.

      Specifically, any decision on admission of Alberta would surely be determined by (among other things) the likelihood that it would mean two more Republicans in the Senate. Lacking the 60 votes required for cloture, the existing Republican majority would not be able to prevent Democrats from filibustering any admissions resolution to death.

      The only way around this I can think of off the top of my head is something analogous to the Missouri Compromise, in which two new states would be admitted, with the second state a Democratic stronghold, like DC or Puerto Rico.

    23. lindenen Says:

      If West VA and VA joined VA would probably go Democrat. And you never know, Alberta is conservative for Canada but are they conservative for the US?

    24. TangoMan Says:

      Crack open your atlas and look at how much land is to the west of Alberta. Why not get 2 for the price of 1? 1 for the GOP and 1 for the Dems. Water galore for CA. Offshore oil. Sounds like a bargain.

    25. Sandy P Says:

      Now James, couldn’t the Articles of Confederation be considered “intent?”

      The wishes of the FF?

      Yes, they could have put it in the Constitution, Canada snoozed, it lost.

      Probably believed what was said about it, that while the 18th century belonged to the Americans, the 19th c would belong to the Canadians and they would sit astride North America. I think Steyn quoted that in an article earlier this year.