I am very sorry for the delay in our Canadian-American dialogue. As you know, last month my wife and I moved from Inglewood to Burbank to be closer to her new job she started this week. (I’ll spare you and Rebel readers’ the rant about LA’s housing market - after much uncertainty and stress we did end up in a new home that makes us very happy.)
This was a move of around 20 miles, from Los Angeles’ South-West side to the North East. These are both two cities that are considered part of LA and they are very different. You might be intrigued to start with their political differences. When I moved to Inglewood last year and chose to switch voter registration from “Independent” to “Republican” I joined a mere 6% of registered voters in the city who identified with the GOP.
Inglewood is one of California’s most Democratic districts - 74% are Democrats. It’s also one of the poorest (not a coincidence!), though not as dangerous anymore as its 1990s Boyz N the Hood image. (I was still offered cocaine, for the first time, by a neighbor. No, I did not accept - I have too much energy as it is, I explained to him!)
Moving to Burbank, the town where Walt Disney moved his studio after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I am now instead joining 26% of registered voters who identify as Republican vs 44% Democrat.
So, all this to say: I am accustomed to being a political minority. And that makes sense, given that I am a religious minority and an admitted “counterculturalist” preferring to live apart and on the edges of the “mainstream” and “the average” and other such abstractions of anonymity. One of the things I found surprising in your previous post was your dismay at how the “average Canadian” didn’t care about politics and thus politicians had little reason to try and do anything:
Dave wondered why I’d want more average Canadians to take interest in their politics, given how screwed up the American system is. He advises me to work to get politicians who share my values elected, but to do that I’d need them to express actual values in a consistent manner. Because average Canadians don’t care about politics, Canadian politicians have no reason to do that!
You lamented how “most Canadians” wouldn’t get what we’re talking about:
Dave, my friend: The American concepts you're talking about are wonderful and interesting, but they are simply abstractions to most Canadians.
Josh, this “average” or “most” Canadian you’re talking about is really much the same with the “average” Californian or “most” Americans. Another stat about Burbank and Inglewood is their levels of voter registration: 59.4% and 49.8% respectively. The “average” person doesn’t even vote, and a good number who are registered barely care enough to vote in presidential elections, forget off-years when just Senate, Congress, and local offices are up.
Forget about the people who are smart enough to escape politics and enjoy the largess of Western civilization while we idealistic fools waste our lives defending their permanent party.
You should concern yourself with the kind of independent-minded Canadians I’m concerned with: those like yourself, Rebel Commander Ezra, Five Feet of Fury, Blazing CatFur, Mark Steyn, Andrew Lawton, and the Megaphone’s Rick McGinnis are a good start. As I wrote on Canada Day:
The Canadians who inspire me are the kinds who have congregated around The Rebel, my kind of people: Counterculture Canadians who are rebelling against their nation’s groupthink and conformity enforcers.
You concluded with this question:
Ask yourself: What is it about our history and culture that appeals to you? Then we can work from there to find common ground.
To be honest, I suppose my affinity for certain varieties of Canadian culture and personalities stem from a kind of North American geographic familiarity. I am a blend of California on my Dad’s side and northern Indiana on my Mom’s side. I’ve also grown up half in California and half in Indiana and since 2010 have been back in California, editing and blogging at various publications.
Not to oversimplify too much but I think growing up in the cold winter climates of the United States/Canada border region creates different cultural strains of people than at other parts of the continent. (And yes, of course these regions share certain European cultural and Native American heritage too. But I think we need to think seriously about how where we live and its climate shapes who we are and what we become.)
Perhaps an odd phenomena of the cold climate is how people can respond to it in different ways. For some the answer is what you identify: the urge toward “average” and conforming and, I’ll add, politeness at best, aversion to necessary conflict at worst.
For others they embrace the Frontier and the challenge it embodies -- an explorer, nomadic, wanderer impulse can create unique, tough individuals who can handle the heavy weather and thrive and adapt to whatever Nature delivers.
Just a week after moving last month I attended the Calliope Workshop for Fiction and Nonfiction Authors at UCLA put on by Taliesin Nexus. It so happens that two of the coolest people I met were Canadians now living in America, one for over a decade, the other a more recent immigrant. They too met the Canadian Individualist, Rebel With a Smile tradition I’ve come to see: encouraging, unique, creative, filled with fresh ideas and eager to explore further. I was glad to make two more Canadian friends and colleagues.
All it takes to change the world is for the right combinations of passionate people with the right skills, who share common values to come together in pursuit of common goals. History is filled with examples of how minority, “counterculture,” oddball positions have emerged as what the “mainstream” embraces.
When National Review launched in 1955 it was a strange, broad assortment of writers and editors and its initial audience included charter subscribers like Ronald Reagan. Thirty years later its ideas and positions had become policy and the GOP mainstream and soon the USSR was defeated.
The “mainstream” and “average” will come to us eventually -- over time people can grow and change. But it’s usually not going to be through rational arguments and laying out the by-the-numbers case against socialism and Shariah. This fall I’m focusing on a different professional path, one that actually might inspire some of those “average” people who don’t care about politics.
I’m writing a novel and editing others’ novels for Liberty Island. I think that the way to shape the culture is more to participate in it and try and influence it through characters and narratives that transcend political and ideological boundaries. I’ll still make time for blogging and social networking and hope we can grow the discussion more to find more individualist-minded Canadians, Californians, and others across this continent we share. I’m curious to learn more about the various geographic regions of Canada and how living within them may shape people in unique ways in the culture and ideas they embrace.
Who are the Canadian rebels across the provinces? How did they become that way? Who are the individuals pushing forward against bureaucracy and reactionary, obsolete ideological cliches? Who are the enemies of freedom in Canada they fight? What issues should unite freedom-minded, classical liberal Canadians and Americans together?
If past generations had the Cold War to provide a sense of ideological focus and priority, what do we have today to unite creative individualists across borders to organize and support one another politically? I’ve previously made the case that the struggle against Shariah-slave states and the revolutionary Jihad terrorists who want to spread them should be the defining fight uniting Westerners today. What do you think?
With warmest regards from down south as the Dog Days of Summer finally conclude,
P.S. Maura sends her regards from her new hilltop lookout...
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