Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why Canada Became A Welfare State

Great essay by Brian Lee Crowley:
The reigning political consensus that characterized this country right up to the birth of the New Canada in 1960 took a quite different view of the role of the individual, of government and of the effects of government intervention on people's character than the one that prevails today. The view that predominates today on both sides of the border is of Canadians as kinder and gentler than their American neighbours, more willing to use the power of the state in pursuit of public goods, more welfare-minded, more socially left wing. It is also a view that could establish itself only by defeating and then consigning to a trunk in the never visited attic of our collective memory the older view that had defined Canada for almost the first century of its existence and for many decades prior to 1867.

This revolution in Canadians' intellectual and moral self-understanding was fed by many tributaries. We were certainly well plugged into the broad intellectual currents washing over Western civilization. For instance, the influence of Marxism, some branches of feminism, post-structuralism, and other "radical" philosophies in the universities and elsewhere helped to create fertile soil for new ideas across the West, while simultaneously demonizing the bourgeois virtues. Vietnam and the counter-culture produced a vibrant movement of protest and questioning of authority throughout the Western world, including the authority of traditional values and behaviours.
That's quite an interesting rebuttal to a claim that socialism is a Canadian value. The essay is quite long, but worth reading.

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