Canadians: Please Help Keep Canada from Following the USA’s Example of Self-Destruction

Nov 12, 2020 by

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” – Isaac Asimov, from his 1980 essay “A Cult of Ignorance”.

I’m a dual Canada-USA citizen; I lived 52 years in the USA and in Canada since 2009.

The ease of publication and distribution in the digital age of anything composed by anybody has elevated the national impact of America’s dominant wilful ignorance gene from a progress-impeding nuisance to a fierce, self-destructive force. This toxic mix underlies the escalating tribal hatred and vitriol now routine south of the border. America’s tribes despise each other, and each wants the other exterminated–certainly politically and for many literally–wrecking families and shredding the USA’s social fabric.

I intend to live out my life in Canada. I humbly recommend to my fellow Canadians that we each act to prevent a similar collective self-immolation here.

I’m hopeful Canada will not follow the USA’s example mainly because few Canadians aspire to and embrace wilful ignorance; in contrast, a strong attraction to a wilful ignorance “religion” is endemic in USA culture, as Mr. Asimov observed 40 years ago.

Still, Canadians must be vigilant and conscious of the abyss’ slippery edge. I sometimes fail, but I try to do these:

  • Ground my opinions in reliable, credible, and when possible primary (vs. second or third hand) sources of information
  • Use social media for socializing with friends, not for debate and research
  • Keep an open mind
  • Seek, listen to, and respect others’ points of view; recognize that few issues are black & white
  • Put myself in the other guy’s shoes
  • Disagree civilly (Canadians are accomplished at this)
  • I think scepticism is healthy—I’m a natural sceptic—but I understand the difference between scepticism and wilful ignorance

With life experience in both countries, I’m sometimes asked how Canadians and Americans differ. One of my nutshell answers is: “Americans hate each other; Canadians like each other.”

Fellow Canucks, let’s keep liking each other. 🙂

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