France vs. Canada

The difference between Canadian culture and French culture is that Canadian culture is a lot more organic and “bottom up” than French culture, which is more about a purposeful striving for a collective goal. Canadian culture is raw too, compared to something like British or American culture.

I get this same sense from English people, or at least many of them. Some of them are “cultured” in the sense that they have purposefully crafted their social identity, along with their conceptions about what others like them should be. Another difference I think exists between France and England is that France is more uniform in its application of culture, where organic diversity of culture, creed, and class is much more prevalent in England.

I was reading JS Mill’s On Liberty the other day, and he said that liberty loving people all over the world seek to bring liberty to their states through two means: one is through establishing rights and freedoms, two is through establishing checks and balances so that ¬†governing power is divided.

Mill noted firstly that there was tyranny, and that there were two solutions to it. The tyranny usually consisted of an oppressive group of people, often a family, who exercised power over a group of people. The people and the family didn’t like each other because, you know, it turns out that governors tend to be oppressive. But the people put up with the governors Hobbes style: the governors protected them from other terrible forces.

The solution? One was to establish rights and freedoms which the governing family was not allowed to cross. The other was to reduce the power of the governors so that it was much more difficult to encroach on the rights and freedoms of the citizens.

Everyone agrees to the first idea. But with the second? Not so much. Here’s why. (Some) people thought that if you just got rid of the tyrant, that everything else that followed would be in our interests, because the new government which would take its place would always be in our interests (because we vote them in periodically), and so we have nothing to worry about because the things they do would be in our interests.

I think this is the position that France took on their way out of the French revolution. They decided that it was okay to give so much power to the government (which is why their bureaucracy is so swollen) because their motto was liberation¬†from monarchy, not something as peaceful as “responsible government”.

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