In praise of Canadian hedonism
A prominent American conservative, Paul Weyrich, head of the far-right (wingnut) Free Congress Foundation, has written an article claiming that Canadians are "liberal and hedonistic," indeed, that we are cultural Marxists. The CBC has the story here. It's just more anti-Canadianism from the American right (see here).
Now, taking Weyrich seriously is akin to taking, say, Ann Coulter or Pat Robertson seriously. Unfortunately, these extremists are taken seriously by many in the U.S., even by many in the U.S. media, such is the state of things in today's America. Clearly, Weyrich is yet another dangerous idiot, which is what I've come to call the wingnuts of the right.
As far as I'm concerned, Weyrich can go to hell. I know that isn't the intelligent commentary that I try to bring to The Reaction, but Weyrich and his ilk don't deserve intelligent commentary.
Whether it's possible to be liberal, hedonistic, and Marxist simultaneously is another matter. Conservatives throw such labels around without really understanding them. Anyone who understands Marxism knows that it's neither liberal nor hedonistic. If anything is hedonistic, it's the anti-government, capitalist reductionism of the American right (even the religious right, much of which has blended comfortably into the right's illiberal neo-liberalism.
As for Canada, we are liberal, as I've argued here and here. Is it hedonistic to value each and every human being, to respect gays and lesbians, to welcome immigrants from around the world, to encourage self-fulfillment and a healthy society through an appreciation of diversity, and to provide health care, education, and the basic necessities of life to all?
If so, then I'm a hedonist and proud of it. But it's not. It's liberalism. It's what we in Canada are all about. Even most of our conservatives respect and promote these fundamental liberal values. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party were not my choice to govern this country, but they represent a conservatism that isn't Weyrich's conservatism. It's a decidedly Canadian conservatism that can be traced back to a long-standing Tory tradition imported from Britain. I don't support it, but I'm not unconditionally hostile towards it.
But you know what? I love my country. I love everything about it. And I know that many of you do, too.
And if the American right would criticize us for not being conservative enough, "conservative" according to the wingnut definition, then so be it. That just makes me love Canada all the more.
It proves to me that we're doing something right.