Cracking the code on how to be socially good

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Aug 08, 2003 12:00 AM

You have to love those crazy Canadians.

As it used to be with all things Scandinavian, so now with much in the realm of social policy that emanates from north of the border.

Welfarism was the Scandinavian - northern European - cry. Government health care - government "care" of just about everything, because government knows what's best for people better than do the people themselves. Correspondingly lofty taxes to pay for diminished service. Flight from God. Illegitimacy, easy divorce, family collapse. Diluted drug laws. Pacifism. Sloth.

Lots of license without much responsibility. Government enhancement of the self-centered self - an abundance of the things that make your everyday sociologist's heart beat pit-a-pat: humming, finding your karma at the convergence of forces, and doing your own thing. Don't worry, be happy.

You know.

And you know, the United States should emulate the northern European countries, as all the right people urged it to do, because Scandinavia had cracked the code on how to be - you know - socially good.

Scandinavia found in Canada a similar sister. Early on - remember, during Vietnam? - Canada proved particularly hospitable to peacenik refugees from the American draft selective in their opposition to the U.S. effort to stanch the flow of communism there. Maybe it's something in northern waters, or perhaps it's what all that cold weather can do to the brain.

Anyway, comes now in Canada a flight from right reason, a "gadarene" rush over the edge of normalcy. Your correspondent long has owned a log cabin well north, just shy of the Canadian border - so, from demographic spillage, he well understands attitudes in northern latitudes. Canadians are marvelous people, but recent pronouncements are revealing their country as Haight-Ashbury north, with black flies...

- Who can ever forget Canada's single-payer health-care system, which hillaries everywhere ballyhoo as the worldwide paradigm despite (a) its ineluctable downward spiral and (b) its determination to drive physicians and patients south? Hear The New York Times: "A recent (Canadian) government study indicated that 4.3 million Canadian adults - or 18 percent of those who saw a doctor in 2001- reported they had difficulty seeing a doctor or getting a test or surgery done in a timely fashion. Three million Canadians are unable to find a family physician, according to several private studies, producing a situation all the more serious since it is the family doctor who refers patients to specialists and medical testing."

- After the European fashion, Canadians seemed to lead their U.S. counterparts in ideologizing, morally corrupting and emptying their churches - too many of which now stand either vacant or as museums and community centers.

- Canada's Supreme Court has ruled that no federal inmate - including murderers, rapists and thieves - can be denied the right to vote in federal elections.

- Along about the time Canada was following the French example and resolving not to join what President Bush termed "the coalition of the willing" to oust Saddam Hussein, an aide to Canada's prime minister reflecting Berkeleyist sentiment in the Canadian realm ungently termed Bush a "moron."

-Canada has moved to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Overseen mainly by motorcycle gangs and Asian organized crime groups, the cultivation and trafficking of marijuana are major Canadian businesses. What's more, some of Canada's provinces and cities - e.g., Vancouver - have set up injection sites ("shooting galleries") for drug junkies and euphemistically call them "treatment" centers.

- In a smell-the-coffee assault on the traditional nuclear family, Canada has followed the lead of Belgium and the Netherlands in federal sanction of homosexual marriage. In the United States, only Vermont recognizes those so-called nuptials; other states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey have adopted, or are considering, certain domestic-partner protections. Given the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Texas sodomy law, the debate now will move to whether the United States should continue to restrict marriage to heterosexual unions, as a 1996 federal statute requires. Meanwhile, love-struck homosexuals will have to head north of the border to make it legal - there, anyway; they'll have to wait, maybe forever (and a good thing, too), for recognition of their "marriage" here.

XXX

In these many ways, Canada has put a chill in the cultural air. The tendency of self-appointed highbrows here and in Canada is to term all such movement - all such developments - "progressive." But their proposition fails to recognize the truth that not all forms of motion are necessarily progress in the sense of advancement: Moving to the rear and going to Hell (as in Canada now) are forms of motion, too.