(posted on DAILY KOS, July 28, 2018)
In the comments on an editorial, one struck me in particular. I’m am posting it here because it is a look at the US from the outside, and it possesses a clarity that America seems to have lost. I’m putting it in large type, the better for it to be seen. Memphrie et Moi, writing from Betwixt Gog and Magog, has this to say:
It has been thirty two years since the anti-American Antonin Scalia was given a seat on the Supreme court.
I am a 70 year Canadian who knew the USA when it was committed to the values and ethics of the founders. I have read Jefferson when he warned about the corporate take over of your country.
Back in 1980 if you had told me that in 38 years the average Canadian would be wealthier, healthier, better educated, happier and more secure than the average American I would ask you what you were smoking.
The conservatives were right about one thing neoliberalism would provide maximum economic growth. Low taxes and small government would make the richest most powerful country in the world richer and more powerful. The conservatives never told you that for most Americans conservative economics would do exactly the same thing it did in the 19th century. Most Americans would see less opportunity, stagnant income and a dramatic drop in their personal security.
Nafta saw your GDP grow at twice the rate as ours but as we invested in the health, education of our citizens. Your citizens became consumers and those that could afford to consume the most became the new aristocracy.
The Canadian historian, writer and philosopher John Ralston Saul says America is the most European country on the planet. Saul is an historian and he means 18th and 19th century Europe like the Europe that saw three million Irish starve to death or deported from a land where food was plentiful except for potatoes.
(Note from Kilroy: 18th, and well into the 19th century Europe was “owned” by the hereditary aristocracies running each country–to the point that working people could not imagine owning land–subsisting as tenants on vast estates. Escaping one’s fate as a laborer or craftsperson–usually following several generations at the same tasks, was only a fantasy for most. “Safety nets” for the unfortunate or diseased, barely existed. No wonder then that revolutionary ferment or migration was so popular, despite the perils of being on the losing side or chancing sea voyages on “coffin ships” to unfamiliar lands.)
‘Nuff said? Let’s make this go viral.