Monday, May 2, 2011

I am a political scientist

As I mentioned in my last blog, I have recently been working on a final paper for my class on Canada. My professor assigned groupings of chapters in our class text "Canada and the United States, Differences that Count", told us to pick four groupings and provide an analysis of each type of difference, reporting whether or not it was actually, indeed, a "difference that counts".

(Courtesy of blogspot.com)

I chose to look at how Americans and Canadians perceive one another, how the general values are different, how the university systems are different between the two countries, how both the health-care and welfare systems differ, and how the federal governments are different. 

I wont bore you with all the minor details, but I will point out the main facts that I assessed in my comparison. 

According to our class text, Canadians perceive Americans to be both fat and amazing at the same time. Living among Canadians an American may receive some prejudice for unrelated American problems. Canadians view their powerful southern neighbors to be extreme in most aspects, where as they see themselves as moderates. Americans on the other hand, generally don't think at all about Canadians. On the fringe of America's mind, Canada is simply thought of as a Winter wonderland filled with french lumberjacks and maple syrup. 

The general values of each countries are noticeably different. Americans tend to be more conservative, while Canadians are more liberal. While a minority opinion in both countries, 10% more Americans believe both that men are superior than women in all cases, and non-white immigrants are ruining the quality of their nation. 

The university systems in Canada are unlike the commercialized and nationally famous universities in America. Instead they are all the same cookie-cutter public universities that provide no real incentive to choose one over the other. In America the universities are filled with frats and fun; an environment for people to move away from home and experience new things while learning social skills. In Canada they are apparently continuations of High Schools (That cost much much less than American colleges).

As for health-care and welfare, the author indicated that Americans care much less for their indignant and less-fortunate. We all know about universal health-care and all, (I definitely wont be dealing with this as a simple paragraph in one blog entry -- If I talk about it, it's going to be an entire post) So I wont be going into that much more. Essentially it was observed that Canadians love the poor and Americans love to line their pockets with the tears of those less fortunate. 

As for the federal governments, the book merely noted that irony in both of the nation's current power systems. Both countries initially set out to be the opposite of what they are now. The US wanted strong states and a weak federal government, where as the Canadians wanted a strong fed and weak provinces. Unfortunately for the respective founding fathers, neither ended up how they wanted. 

As you can probably tell from the change in my demeanor on the seriousness during this post, I felt the analysis provided by this book was a bit one sided. I wasn't entirely upset, nor did I start to wave my American flag around my living room. I simply noticed how a Canadian author was offering backhanded compliments or faux compliment sandwiches to point out the presumed failures of the American government. I recommend this book as an interesting understanding of a Canadian's perspective on comparative politics, but I suggest its contents be taken with a grain of salt. 

38 comments:

  1. Nice, I'll have to check this book out.

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  2. Thanks for the article, great read.

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  3. Don't know too much about american politics myself but I thought this was interesting

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  4. Haha, ye, they don't give you much thought. I like one Canadian over all others tho, namely Jon Lajoie. He is big on YT and funny as sht. Very interesting article, thx

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  5. Interesting read. Good article man.

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  6. How do you spell Canada? C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?

    While I think most Americans like to poke fun at Canadians, it's really all in good fun. I'm thinking about another trip to Canada this summer, actually.

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  7. That sounds really interesting man. +follow

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  8. I'm taking my second semester of political science right now. It's much more interesting than I expected!

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  9. Great post. I'd be happy to read more like these.

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  10. Great post, the important thing to note is that when dealing with historical texts, the author's bias often seeps through. Not always intentionally but it's there nontheless. As a political scientist, it will do wonders to explore these two countries further to study these sentiments first hand. Keep up the great posts.

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  11. Interesting stuff, I'm from the UK so previously I've only ever based my view of Canadians on the (American) show, South Park - Nice to see a little more depth :)

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  12. Nice write-up, enjoying the blog

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  13. wow, great article, man! followed :o

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  14. canadians are like america light... lucky bastards lol

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  15. Great article, man. Also don't really know too much about Canadians, their 'southern neighbors' tend to steal the spotlight.

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  16. I reakky can't understand the whole quarreling between Canada and America. They have so much in common and almost no differences. Still there is so much hatred.

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  17. I have a Canadian friend. He lives near Niagra though, so he feels like he's American. He sounded American too haha.

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  18. @AverageJoe... I'm going to steal that joke now. Eh?

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  19. interesting, i think i'll look into the "political scientist" stuff a bit more

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  20. Cookie cutter may be better...

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  21. Really interesting article, thanks.

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  22. good luck on your paper, dude! following!

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  23. Good post, like posted above, there is no such thing as an unbiased history book.

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  24. Good luck on the paper and can't wait to read more

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  25. Fat but amazing... made me lol

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  26. Loving the blog so far! :) Hope to see more!

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  27. this was very interesting!Thx for sharing!

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  28. I think that's a great idea for a paper. I live on the American/Canadian border so I see a lot of how both sides perceive each other. It really is fascinating. +follow

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  29. I'm german but im really interested in US politics. thx for info !

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  30. oooh dont get me started on the NAU

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  31. They perceive us as fat.. because we are fat. Lol. All I think when I think about Canada are the mounties!

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  32. It's all opinions like Michelangelo stated. Oddly kinda like the flag pic however

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