Recently Paul Geddes, VP of the West Coast Libertarian Foundation, received a letter from the head of a writing group putting together a book to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation next year. The general theme is “What is it to be a Canadian?” The writer was seeking input from various sectors of society including Canadian political parties. Paul received the letter as VP of the BC Libertarian Party.
No doubt the writer was expecting all sorts of mom and apple pie contributions – flag waving jingoism. I’m not sure how the writer will receive Paul’s contribution or if he will even use it. But it is, frankly, brilliant. Here it is for your consideration.
Nationhood Means Nothing
I reside in Canada (geographically) but not psychologically. I have close family members living on three continents under five national jurisdictions. If local satraps make my stay in this location too onerous, it will be costly, but I can move. My ancestors choose this jurisdiction to better their lives. If our officials make this location uncompetitive in the world market for talent, we (their descendants) will seek out better opportunities elsewhere.
I see calls for loyalty to Canada as nothing more than special interest groups making claims against my freedom, my earnings and/or my property. I do not understand why I should feel a sense of generosity towards those who just happen to reside in the same geographic location as me. I do not understand flag waving or the need to spoil sporting events with anthems to petty nationhood. I can understand the pleasures of local art, but don’t see how adding a nation’s name to such adds any value. I see “Canada” as a man-made artificial division of parts of us from the rest of mankind. It consists of barriers to trade and communication and makes those stuck within its borders poorer and less free than we need be.
I have a picture on my wall of the gravestone of a great uncle who gave up his life (as near as I can tell from his letters) for God and King (WWI) I often wonder what his death accomplished and how alien he would feel about Canada today. Those pictures of acres of similar gravestones, should make you pause and wonder about the wisdom of following the dictates of national leaders.
In short, I look forward to a future without border guards. Where I don’t have to respond to nosy bureaucrats asking me my business or confiscating my purchases. Where being Canadian is just a fact about birth in a particular location, meaning nothing more.
Paul Geddes, Vice President , BC Libertarian Party