(Disinfo.com previously published this essay, but has since shut down...)
I am a dual citizen. In Canada, I am allowed to be a dual citizen, Canadian and American. I was born in Illinois. We moved to Canada when I was very young. My Dad was Canadian, a leftist liberal. My mom was American, a republican. Both came from blue collar homes, as did I, as did my children.
Being a dual citizen has little benefit, I still have to wait at the border when I go to a Mariners game, I still have to wait when I come back. I only bring it up because I wish to make it clear that I have experienced the differences between an American and a Canadian. I'm not educated on the matter, I've lived it. I've also heard all the jokes. Today these differences are no laughing matter, for I believe that America, on the whole and in general, needs to chill the fuck out. Of course, I'm a socialist Canadian, what else would I think? Hear me out brothers and sisters, for you all can take a big clue from your nerdy upstairs neighbour, maybe even stop killing one another.
1.) In 2015, America was the ninth richest country in the world (by GDP PPP) and the fourteenth in average ranking of its educational system. By comparison, Canada, a very similar nation culturally, was the fifteenth richest country in the world and seventh in its educational system. Our national IQ's are 98 in America, one point higher in Canada. From these fact we can deduce that wealth doesn't necessarily beget an education and that an education, while nurturing intelligence by exercising thought, doesn't necessarily enhance intelligence testing. IQ tests, it turns out, are always calibrated to average 100. Meaning, that if I could transport 50 average subjects from the year 1916 and give them today's IQ test, they would score lower than they would taking a similar test from their year. Oddly, if we were to take an intelligence from their year, we too would probably also score lower than we would taking our own time's test. This is because of the differences in language and fortunately, reason. It is the same reason that I find it hard to understand Shakespeare, or read Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. While I don't have much faith in IQ tests, I do hold out hope, both for myself and humankind, for if it is true that our species is experiencing an overall intellectual growth, it has to be due to improvements in our ability to be logical creatures. Reason always wins because it must.
2.) America is the most armed nation in the world. Not everyone in America has a gun, but there are enough guns in America to accommodate its citizenry. With 112.6 guns for every 100 Americans, I think we should all feel confident that there will never be a moment in history where Red Dawn comes true and any force should paratroop into suburban neighbourhoods. Such a farce would end in corpses gently floating to the ground in a rain of blood. If we again compare ourselves (being Canadian) to our neighbours to the south, they have ten times the deaths caused by gun violence per year, but they also have ten times the population. I think the more telling stat is while they have more than a gun per citizen, we have three for every ten.
3.) Everyone is afraid. It might be because they know everyone is armed. They react from a place of fear, combined with a substandard education, an inability to cope with the stress of change. If they react, it too will likely take a violent form. The cycle has been socially engineered into their lives: you have the right to perpetuate this existence, perhaps even the duty. You have it all and want to keep it. You are correct to fear terrorists, criminals and nut jobs, they have weapons and ideals. You have ideals too, luckily you're in the right. Quick kill that guy before he kills you! Of course the problem here is that you don't have any really valid reason for killing that guy, in exactly the same way he has no valid reason to kill you. You're both programmed to believe the things you do by a system that wants you to do it. If you happen to be hungry, you're in possession of what I consider a valid reason to take action. Also, if you're: oppressed, violated, or otherwise damaged by the actions of others. But if you are killing people for things other people have done, there's something wrong with you, not them.
If your populace is entitled, armed and afraid, with a poor education, misguided since birth, it should come to no surprise that by way of competition rather than cooperation, we should end up killing each other rather than those who make us do these things. Wouldn't you rather just put down the gun and party with your neighbour, the gay, black, policeman. (You know he's got all the good drugs.) I know I would. What the world needs to see right now is the Chill American. Said American, having taken a moment to chill, might have a second to think about what is going on around them, what everyone is doing and more importantly, why? I fear that the only Chill American is a Canadian.
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