June 8, 2006


The price of 'nice' for Canada: Our northern neighbor thinks being all multicultural and sucking up to the United Nations will keep the terrorists away. Think again. (Jonah Goldberg, June 8, 2006, LA Times)

Canada is arguably the most deluded industrialized nation in the world. Because elite Canadians think the U.S. is the font of the world's problems, they think being different than the U.S. and sucking up to the United Nations will buy them grace on the cheap. They claim to be "a nation of peacekeepers," but they rank 50th among U.N. peacekeeper nations in the number of troops sent. They've bravely contributed to the war in Afghanistan, where 2,300 troops still serve, but refused to join the effort in Iraq, believing that jihadists would honor such fine distinctions. That was awfully nice of them. Too bad nice has nothing to do with it.

The presence of a profoundly evil, homegrown terror cell in Canada has understandably provoked a lot of soul-searching to our north. As one Canadian editorial put it: "We are Canada, peacekeepers to the world, everybody's nice guy. Who would want to harm us, and why?" Or as Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto law professor, confessed to the L.A. Times, Canadians "picture themselves as being thought of as nicer than the United States." Why on earth would terrorists want to hurt a "nice" country? Well, for starters, nice isn't all it's cracked up to be. The frog who carried the scorpion on his back in Aesop's fable was nice. It didn't make the scorpion's sting any less poisonous.

Indeed, there's good reason to believe that niceness is part of the problem, not the solution. Many Canadians (and Americans and Europeans) cling to a deep-seated belief that more multiculturalism, more interfaith dialogue, more "understanding," more Western apologies, more acceptance of Sharia, more "niceness" will fix the problem.

As the American Enterprise Institute's Reuel Marc Gerecht and the French intellectual Olivier Roy have suggested, multiculturalism in many ways breeds Islamic radicalism among deracinated "born-again" Muslims in the West. It foments the climate of grievance and honors the quest for radical authenticity. Indeed, jihadism imports any number of Marxist and anti-colonial bugaboos into its worldview and then spits them back out at the West.

There's an exquisite irony -- one that would be more enjoyable were it not so deadly -- in the way the refusal of states like Canada and Europe to defend the best of Western culture leaves them prey to the what's worst in it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 8, 2006 3:43 PM

This also lays waste to that moronic, "We're fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here" line.

Posted by: Robert at June 8, 2006 3:51 PM

Robert, I don't follow your argument. We are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here, but since Canada et al. aren't fighting them there, they may need to fight (or capitulate without a fight) over at their own shops.

Is this your meaning?

Posted by: erp at June 8, 2006 4:06 PM


Poutine - that's why.

Posted by: Shelton at June 8, 2006 4:53 PM

Kudos on the Frank Burns quote, Orrin.

Posted by: Bryan at June 8, 2006 6:22 PM

Ah well. Even when we start trying not to be so nice, we're still too nice. Canadianism is a heavy burden.

Posted by: Peter B at June 8, 2006 7:48 PM