The one and the many in Canadian national identity. So too with these United and/or Confederated States of America?
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The root term of dominion defines the relationships of governance that the Continental Congress surmounted by threat of force. Voluntary confederation of equals went out the window. Nostalgia for dominion -- above and below the 49th parallel -- is a desire to subsume multiculturalism to inherited privilege. Note the scant reference to First Nations.
Using contemporary Europe as an example, the bedrock nations (Catalonians, Sami, Flemish and Basques) are achieving cultural and political autonomy through the principle of subsidiarity -- governance at the most appropriate level -- which enables civic participation and national identity to flourish within modern state constructs.
The administrative overlay of states is less an identity than a fetish of centralized power, a power that requires dissemination in order for democratic principles to prevail.
Regional identities that recognize landscapes as integral to a sense of belonging are probably stronger in Canada than in the largely arbitrary state demarcations in the US, and indeed are recognized in our notions of regions that span these boundaries. Affiliation with place as well as pre-diaspora heritage is an essential aspect of mental health, and ultimately might undo the unhealthy governance customs of dominion, empire, and superpower.
To achieve a more human state, we will first have to dispense with nostalgia for the dominant point of view.
Posted by: Jay Taber | July 08, 2008 at 11:37 AM
Jay, I think that's a very good point.
I remember being in a hotel room in London in a small, intense "master class" being led by Charlles Handy, someone I admire a lot. He was using Canada as an example of the possibilities for governance in the 21st century. He was spoeaking of how it was heading towards "subsidiarity".
So, unlike my more (small-c and classic) conservative friend who wrote the post linked to above, I prefer to interpret the move to Canada day from Dominion Day as one step in modernising the concept of Canada from dominionating towards preparing the ground for what and how subsidiarity might bring as we move towards a mosaic that is increasingly complex each year.
The cynefin reference in the linked blog post is apt, for Canada's future. It refers to the theory and practices of the making of sense through the mass capture of narrative, Canada always becoming what the stories its' citizen and visitors are telling each other. The politicians just have to get the job right of staying clear on the principles.
Posted by: JJ Commoner | July 08, 2008 at 12:03 PM
"Conservative" is a loaded term these days.
In the sense of being one who conserves tradition, then, yes, I am conservative. In the sense of being a so-called "right-wing" neo-liberal, then, no, I am not.
I, as a Canadian Red Tory, believe in a bond between generations, to carry on that which my forefathers created and to be a good steward of that for the generations to come. Change should be seen through the prism of "first, do no harm".
This is what leads me to hold to our old names. Yes, many have used "dominion" to indicate centrist rule. But to recall that sense of building something new - what may be a 21st century polity way back in the 19th - is merely honouring our indigenous traditions.
Thanks for linking to my original posting.
Posted by: Bruce Stewart | July 08, 2008 at 12:14 PM
Superclass by Rothkopf makes clear that many of the highest level leaders in politics, business, media, and the arts, now have as their community not a nation at all but a global elite. It is from that group that they derive a sense of status and belonging. They have good friends there, and a high profile identity. It is their "reference group," or a key one. The group as a whole has no legal dominion and control, but is in fact the operative informal governance mechanism, filling a void, since world government does not exist in any meaningful way, and because the largest global corporations, and the richest people, have effectively escaped the governance of states. They can domicile their companies where laws are lax, and can move their money to tax havens. So, informal governance by this "community," (not conspiracy) of about 6,000 people is the defacto government laying over Canada, the US, Europe, Russia, and to some extent Asia.
Posted by: phil | July 08, 2008 at 12:19 PM
So, informal governance by this "community," (not conspiracy) of about 6,000 people is the defacto government laying over Canada, the US, Europe, Russia, and to some extent Asia.
Yes .. sigh ... and, how do we fight back ? Small quiet interventions ?
This small, quiet intervention got ticketed for trespassing. Free speech is obviously no longer a component of USian identity.
Posted by: JJ Commoner | July 08, 2008 at 12:46 PM
Rats, didn't close html tag
Maybe this will work.
Posted by: JJ Commoner | July 08, 2008 at 12:47 PM
Pegagogy of the oppressed, is that a Webex kind of deal, an amphitheater, a classroom, or is it done in small informal groups, of Hedge Schools, as Jay calls them? The pedagogy doesn't change anything except consciousness, but that is a lot. Then when the larger uncontrollable events happen, like gas lines, breadlines, collapsing dollar, and the crisis of confidence in the 6,000 Oligarchs, and the scapegoating of the immigrants or whomever, perhaps a few who have learned to think more clearly can lead like the Tibetan Monks, peacefully, and to no visible effect?
I wonder too. I am on email and phone lists with progressives who are meditating, doing self work, body work, dancing, chanting, passing rocks around in a circle, channellig cosmic energy, or aligning their minds with evolutionary forces. Maybe that will help.
Diogenes as Alexander the Great began his illustrious career did what he could by stripping naked and rolling an empty barrel up and down Main Street in imitation of the Halliburton Employees who were loading trucks headed for the War Zones. It may not have stopped Alexander, but in restrospect many people have considered it excellent color commentary, on a par with even Tim Russert.
Posted by: Phil | July 08, 2008 at 01:52 PM
Learning the tools of effective organizing like investigative research, grassroots communication, and principles of psychological warfare (my hedge school idea) should not be conflated with progressive opportunism or liberal elitism. Progressive careerists posing as community activists are as much a problem to democracy as their authoritarian brethren known as neo-conservatives. Pedagogy (the science of teaching), developed by and for the marginalized themselves, is the only means of overcoming social exclusion.
Native American tribal schools are one example of this. These and other hedge schools both change and preserve consciousness, as well as build political autonomy and economic independence.
Posted by: Jay Taber | July 08, 2008 at 03:35 PM
"Pedagogy (the science of teaching), developed by and for the marginalized themselves, is the only means of overcoming social exclusion," Jay wrote.
Yes, "by and for."
Posted by: phil | July 08, 2008 at 04:05 PM
Thomas Langan describes that global elite and its lack of fidelity to community, region or nation in his books "Tradition and Authenticity in the Search for Ecumenic Wisdom", "Being and Truth" and "Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality".
Posted by: Bruce Stewart | July 08, 2008 at 08:42 PM
Thanks, Bruce, will have to check him out.
Posted by: phil | July 08, 2008 at 09:31 PM
Taking on an elite community - even when that community has its own internal divisions - can be hazardous to your health, especially if you're simultaneously "gifted" and half-smart.
Posted by: ikoruskie sikorsky | July 08, 2008 at 11:21 PM
"On July 17, 1803, Callender drowned in two feet of water in the James River, reportedly too drunk to save himself." That was some time after he got out of prison. So much for populist political satire. Thank you for the link. Fascinating.
Posted by: phil | July 09, 2008 at 08:57 AM