Who said that the right believes in the liberties of the marketplace but not in those of culture, while the left believes in the liberties of culture but not the marketplace?
Canada, it turns out, believes in neither one. The marketplace is regarded with suspicion. Its dynamism is feared, and, when possible, controlled. Culture, especially commercial culture, is regarded with discomfort. Canadians prefer their markets regulated by governments and their culture mediated by experts (Margaret Atwood, take a bow).
At the moment when commerce and culture have a newly provocative relationship, one funding, and driving, the other to new heights, new intensity, new dynamism, this is a bad place for a country to be. This is not the fount of the “wealth of nations.
Canada never struck out on its own. It managed a seamless transition from being a colony of the UK to being a dependent of the US. Caution always seemed the better part of valor. Actually, caution seemed a whole lot better than valor.
This opportunity for independence came and went again this week when Canada went to the polls in a federal election. It looked for a moment that voters might declare their independence from the old order and the long standing Liberal Party, that champion of cowardice. But, no. It the last days of the campaign, frightened by Liberal scare tactics, the nation lost its nerve again.
Its actually there in the words to the national anthem. Oh, Canada, my home and native land. I stand on guard for thee. “Standing on guard is good and noble, but it is not the path to dynamism.
I believe the person who gave me the lovely little logical package in the first paragraph was Charles Paul Freund, Senior Editor at Reason Magazine. Thanks, Chuck!