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December 02, 2003

They've got a queen

Says The New York Times: Canada's View on Social Issues Is Opening Rifts With the U.S..

Say I, dude, don't you feel silly comparing an explicitly bi-national multicultural nation of 29 million to an implicitly multicultural nation of 290 million?

The gist of the article is this: Canada is becoming more like Europe and less like the United States. A lot of this is based on politics and religion.

Canada is more secular than the United States. And its centrist Liberal party would be part of the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party."

But look closer my dear....

16.2% of Canadians have "No religion" according to the latest numbers. For the United States, the latest numbers give a figure of 14.1%.

How to explain the difference? Well, look at this:

Percent who declared "No religion" in 2001:

British Columbia: 36%
Washington: 25%
Imbler: 21%
California: 17%

Interesting cline on the "Western Wall."

Percent who are non-white:

British Columbia: 22%
Washington: 21.1% (includes all Hispanics)
Imbler: 16.5% (includes all Hispanics)
California: 53.2% (includes all Hispanics)


My main point? The numbers for these American states are "non-typical." But a nation of 290 million has a lot of internal diversity. You might as well compare the United States to the E.U. (though it's not a perfect comparison)-where you have secular Sweden and soon-to-be-member Papist Poland (and has religious Ireland).

John Derbyshire once said this:

18. The U.S.A. is a conservative-Republican nation tilted over to the left by black people, who are overwhelmingly socialist. Black Americans are the last big group of people in the world who havenít yet got the news that SOCIALISM DOESNíT WORK....

I could restate that assertion this way, with some inaccuracy, but with a reasonable dollop of truth too:

18. The U.S.A. is a mildly religious pluralist nation tilted over to the religious Protestant end of the spectrum by black people and Southern whites, who are overwhelmingly religious Protestants. Blacks and Southern Americans are the last big group of people in the world (who are of the fat consumer class) who havenít yet got the news that religion isn't cool....

I'm not being fair, but then, neither do I think Derb was being totally accurate. He doesn't know how white people would vote without blacks around (we know how the French would vote with Arabs around). All-white nations like Sweden pioneered democratic socialism. Iriving Kristol once noted that his love affair with socialism began to wane when he was in basic training and encountered rough talking white ethnics and conservative southerners, and realized that multi-ethnic socialism might just become another racket to screw over the capital classes (Jonah Goldberg continues the argument today).

Or would we know how whites would vote without blacks around? Well, they could vote like North Dakota, or like Vermont I suppose. On the latter, lifestyle liberalism tends to retreat from the real physical presence of socioeconomically deprived people of color. 96.2% of people in Vermont are non-Hispanic whites (higher even than neighboring New Hampshire!).

This image is a source of shame for many progressive Americans:

There is an easy way of getting the United States closer to the line: Remove blacks and the whites that tend to live around them.

Here are states with more than 20% "No religion" and their votes for Nader (Left-wing candidate for president for non-Americans) in 2000 and the non-Hispanic white population:

Colorado - 5% & 74.5%
Nevada - 2% & 65.2%
Imbler - 5% & 83.5%
Washington - 4% & 78.9%
Vermont - 7% & 92.6%

(vs. National - 3% & 69.1%)

The United States is a big country with a lot of internal diversity. I am a fan of federalism. There are dozens of social democracies and quasi-social democracies out there. In parts of the United States savage capitalism flourishes. Where else? I have many friends who are always asserting "But in Europe...." But of course, Europe (or Canada) is always going to be there (well, until it becomes Dar-al-Europa, though with mainstream parties like this, that might never happen). There are dozens of European nations with their own internal governments that set their own economic and social policies (until recently). There is only one United States (well, of northern North America at least). And we are more diverse than a total aggregate of the numbers might indicate.

Also, on a more peculiar note, the United States is the most colored of the Great White Powers. Yes, you heard me right, the conservative, racist and religious United States is less than 70% white! Hell, if you don't count Spain (remember, they're Hispanic!), the E.U. is over 95% white. Canada is 86.5% white. Australia is 92% white. New Zealand is 80-85% white. Judging by the rule of thumb that white = bad oppressor and colored = innocents who are little packages of virtue, the United States is the greatest developed nation in the world outside of East Asia (since the Japanese and Koreans are non-white, they are obviously better than the United States when it comes to the race issue).

Oh, and the title? A few years ago I was in Seattle (the abode of my genetic forebears) and a local company was asking Vancouverites how they differed from Seattleites. It eventually came down to the queen. They've got one. We didn't. So would you trade the republic for a queen if you got a secular social democracy where they "respect" freedom of speech but don't "worship" it? I suspect many out there would say "Yes!" Count me out....

Posted by razib at 12:10 PM