The 51st State

A conservakin implied I’m not cosnervative because I said single-payer health care is not the worst thing in the world.

So, I’m going to take a round about way to explain Canada and why single-payer is not good but not horrible, but why this might not necesasrily work for the US.

Contrary to what most believe English Canada is conservative, it always has been. The US has always been the liberal. When the US revolted against the British in order to install Puritan liberalism Canada was mostly French Catholic at the time and was wary of Puritan anti-Catholicism, so it refused to join the revolt and remained a British possession. The loyalists, Americans who opposed the revolution, moved to Canada because and formed the core of English Canada. At the very beginning, Canada was founded by conservatives who were opposed to the revoutionary liberalism of the Americans.

Almost a hundred years after the American Revolution, Canada became indpendent in 1867. The process was slow because of the inherent distrust fo the loyalists for republicanism and mob rule. Until 1931, the UK still had the power to legislate for Canada. It wasn’t until 1982 that Canada was allowed to modify its own constitution and introduced a Bill of Rights. The Queen is still the Head of State and technically legally owns Canada.

Until the late-70’s Canada was a liberal-conservative country, in the Burkean sense. It conserved its institutions, had a free-market, and reformed slowly. The Liberals were pro-free market, anti-government interventionism, and pro-responsible government. The Conservatives were aristocratic, in favour of noblesse oblige and organic community.

That changed in 60-70’s. During that time, Quebec had the quiet revolution, and its moved from traditional Catholic social doctrine to French socialism and an independence movement began. The Liberal Party under Pearson and Trudeau moved from classical liberalism to social liberalism and the New Democratic Party formed as a social-democratic party from an older farmer’s party.  In the Progressive Conservative Party the Blue Tory (neo-liberal) faction began to arise in the traditionally Red Tory (aristocratic). The Blue Tories continued to grow stronger and eventaully eliminated the Red Tories in 2003 with the creation of the Conservative Party.

Around this time, English Canada, or at least the populous and powerful southern Ontario region, adopted US puritan liberalism and combined it with Quebec’s French socialism to outholy the American puritans.

Also up until this time, Canada was an imperial dependency of Great Britain. The Suez Crisis in 1956 and the development of NORAD in 1958 marked when Canada began to move from Britain’s Sphere to the US’ Sphere. This process was completed in 1982, when Canada officially became its own country and informally became an imperial dependency of the US.

Since WW2, Canada has joined pretty much every American war except for Vietnam and Iraq. In Afghanistan, Canadian troops were literally airlifted over by the US. Our military has been consistently and severly underfunded, as we rely on the US to protect us. NORAD made us an integral part of the US continental defence system, while the NATO partnership basically made Canada’s military a semi-independent arm of the US military. The Canadian and Americans markets are integrated through NAFTA and over two-thirds of out exports are to the US, much of which are just raw materials. OUr cultural products are almost entirely American in origin (despite fairly useless Canadian content regulations).

Despite the nationalist left’s posturing (and yes that exists, and essentially it is ‘we hate America and love socialist health care’), or any practical purposes, Canada is essentially a somewhat indpendent 51st of the US, and the left are the one’s forcing American liberal culture on the US.

Despite having adopted the American revolutionary puritan spirit and trying to outrun the US in the holiness competition, this is not natural to English Canadians. Canadians are pragmatic converts to the faith, not natural zealots, like our American breathern.

This manifests in different ways.

First, Trudeau is the only real radical who has ever led Canada. He combined adopted English puritanism and French socialism to enlarge the state. Under him came a huge bloat in government. But beyond that, all our leaders have generally been moderate, non-radical liberals or conservatives. Change, while always moving left, has generally been small, sane, incremental increases rather than radical, half-baked changes.

Example in point, health care. Canada has single-payer, public health insurance, which is technically more socialist that Obamacare’s mandatory private insurance. But even in it’s Trudeaupian radicalness, the Public Health Act is a short, sane 14-page document that basically says provinces need to offer universal comprehensive public health insurance to receive federal health funding. It mostly followed the lead of what provinces were already establishing on their own and the actual implementation was left up to the provinces. On the other hand, Obamacare is a 900-page monstrosity detailing every last specific of dozens upon dozens of provisions and forces them upon the states, willing or not, and has had to be rewritten by the Supreme Court twice, just to be feasible.

This is generally the case. Canada creates short, sensible, incremental laws that leave the details and implementation up to professional bureaucrats or the provinces, while the US creates insane, bloated, radical laws that address everything related or unrelated in detail.

The second is race. Canada is divided by region: southern Ontario thinks it rules the rest of Canada, if it even deigns to notice we exist, the West resents the East, and Quebec hates everybody. These regional divides define Canadian politics, but because they are regional they mostly don’t matter in everyday life. Our conflict is a distant thing with those folks over there. While we have some minor racial troubles, particularly concerning Aboriginals, race is not that big a deal in Canada.

In the US race is everything. All conflict is essentially racial conflict and evevrything must address race. There are two large minority groups each making up about 12% or so of the population. It’s white republicans vs everybody else. So, there’s constant pressure to keep pushing the racial divides and keep the holiness competition moving. In Canada, our largest racial minorities are well-behaved East Asians and South Asians (each at about 5%) and some struggling aboriginals (~4%), who live largely on reserves anyways. So, while there’s some racial nonsense in universities, in the real world Canada, race doesn’t really matter. A few neighbourhoods might be bad, but nothing compared to US ghettos.

The third is bureaucracy. Canada’s bureaucracy, while having all the problems a normal bureaucracy has, is a professional bureaucracy made up of competent people. Most civil servants have to undergo some form of testing when entering the civil service and it is seen as a public service to enter the bureaucracy. The politicians mostly leave the bureaucrats alone. This ensures that the Canadian bureaucracy is generally functional if inefficient.

On the other hand, the US bureaucracy operates on a spoils system and is essentially seen as an opportunity to plunder. The politicians appoint the bureaucrats for political reasons rather than professionalism and race issues eliminated testing for competency. So, the bureaucracy is dysfunctional looting rather than simple inefficiency.

Fourth immigration. Immigration in Canada is generally done on a merit basis. Other than a small number of refugees, the people allowed in are either competent job seekers or the families of said job seekers and immigration is generally spread out among varying countries. Illegal immigration is a relatively minor problem. In the US immigration is based on a lottery, Mexicans are the thoroughly dominant immigrants, and illegal immigration is a major problem. Canada does not share America’s fling the borders open attitude.

Finally, Canadian politicians rationally attempt to fix problems, even the liberals are sane in this regard. For example, in the 90’s Canada experienced a debt crisis. The ruling Liberal Party made large cuts to public and introduced some new taxes and eliminated the deficit and tamed the debt in a few years. Since then, the federal budgets have been more or less balanced and the debt growing but stabilized. Meanwhile, US politicians continue to ignore their debt and deficit and continue to ramp up spending without being able to pay for it.

So, while Canada has adopted socialism, it is not the wild-eyed fanatical puritanism of the US, but rather a pragmatic socialism. Even there though the US and Canada’s level of socialism is not that much different. While Canada’s tax levels are 10 percentage points higher, the US actually now has slightly higher government spending levels than Canada because the US funds its spending with debt rather than taxation.

So, now back to the original point. In Canada, single-payer health care is not the worst thing in the world. It’s probably less efficient than a fully free market one would be and tax levels are somewhat higher because of it, but in terms of health care, it not really that bad for most people. A few people have longer wait times for ‘elective’ surgeries, family doctors can be difficult to find in some place, and there’s the rare person who gets overlooked in the emergency room, but mostly it works fine. While the comparative effectiveness of the US and Canadian systems has been debated endlessly, essentially health outcomes are not really all that different once you account for race and obesity, and the Canadian system is cheaper overall.

The question is, though, if this could actually be applied to the US. The Canadian single-payer system more-or-less works because the government is basically functional. The US bureaucracy is basically dysfunctional. Look at Obamacare, regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of a theoretical mandatory subsidized health insurance system, the actual applied system is one giant unworkable clusterfuck. I find it highly unlikely that the US would adopt a sane approach to a single-payer system.

Would the US federal government ever be able to create a simple 14-page law that says the states only get federal health funding if they provide comprehensive public insurance? Doubtful. Even if by some miracle they did, there is no way it would be competently and professionally run.


  1. Good points. Personally I think US conservatives are arguably dumber than liberals when it comes to healthcare; really the only reason we wound up with Obamacare was their refusal to offer any better options for reform, even though our system is absolutely groaning for something, anything to stem the bleeding.
    Our status quo is profoundly anti-conservative, basically a massive ongoing economic rape of the middle class by huge insurance/pharma/hospital corporations and their lobbyist battalions. Establishing a simple, straightforward level of governmental insurance for all citizens would by contrast be profoundly conservative and of huge benefit to normal people trying to lead normal lives. In my ideal fever-dream fantasy world we’d have something like this:

    – Universal gov’t healthcare covering trauma, infectious disease, and probably most genetic diseases. This would be targeted to cost a fixed % of GDP, in line with other developed countries that provide good healthcare at much lower cost than the US (probably less than half what we spend now).

    – Lifestyle diseases due to poor diet, smoking, unsafe sex, etc. would not be covered, or at least people would only receive counseling and advice for these issues. In practice it is not always 100% clear what causes a condition but I think we could find workable standards if we went about it like grown-ups.

    – Insanely expensive heroic interventions to give old people an extra 8 weeks of life expectancy would not be covered.

    – People would always have the option of paying cash (perhaps via tax-deductible HSA’s) or buying private insurance to exceed the baseline government coverage.

    – Hospitals would be required to post and adhere to price ranges for all treatments & procedures.

    – Business can offer private health insurance as a benefit but it receives no tax deduction.

    – There’s a lot of risk of fraud here, but I could see benefits to having the gov’t buy out patents for widely used drugs

    – Aggressive anti-trust actions to break up the various industry cartels and prevent concentration of market share

    Obviously this will never happen, and would be unworkable anyway in a country with as much corruption, insider dealing, and illegal immigration as the current US. My point is just that a basic guaranteed standard of medical care for all citizens is not anti-conservative in the slightest, and Lord Protector Trump was perfectly correct to mention in the debate that there was a time when it could have worked in the US, and spared us the grotesque leviathan we have today instead.

    TRUMP 2016

  2. You might want to point out that the reactionary, neo- or otherwise, is already well served – in fact, I would say ideally served – by good old fashioned CANADIAN style Red Toryism. High Tory or Red Tory: that is sophisticated, humane neo-reactionary ideology that is already better than anything I read online by Curtis Yarvin/Mencius or similar.

    It’s all there already but of course even neo reactionaries have to feel they are re-inventing the wheel. Human nature. Alas.

  3. Conservatives always lose because they let liberals set the rules of discussion. E.g. conservatives shun anyone who says anything sexist or racist, but if both sexes and all races actually were the same, liberalism would work just fine and Detroit would still be the “Paris of the West”.

    The Tea Party fell flat too because their message was, “No socialism except Social Security and Medicare!” So old white people are entitled to public largess while everyone else can go suck it?

    Socialism leads to and ends in civil war. When President Poroshenko needed to raise an army to recapture Ukraine’s eastern provinces, he cut off all old-age pensions and support for single mothers. There wasn’t even a debate, he just stopped paying them. A government in peril needs men who can fight, not women who can vote.

  4. I don’t think you understand what American single-payer is about. Our Federal Government was not allowed to implement any such program. Imposing single-payer health care was therefore an illegal seizure of control over roughly one-sixth of the American economy. Wow.

    On top of that, Obamacare was a perfect exposure of Elite treachery. The Democrats admitted they passed it without even reading it. Republicans rightly decried it… and then immediately began discussing ways to make it workable. The catchphrase was to “repeal and replace” the illegal law.

    On top of THAT, Obamacare was intended from the start to be a vehicle by which the Elites bribe their supporters. The very first version required Christians to fund abortion. There’s also a “white list” of exempt parties. Guess what, all Congressmen and many of their good supporters are on it. Why would they do that if they intended single-payer to work? There’s also very lopsided coverage. When my company in California went Obama, I had to get two insurance policies. One was supplemental and covered me; the other was mandatory and covered the wife and kids I don’t have.

    Free mammograms. Comprehensive pediatric dental care. 100% covered pregnancies. Herpes, hepatitis and AIDS, no problem! But I’m a healthy bachelor whose insurance payments tripled overnight for no reason except somebody’s gotta pay for the parasites.

    And then, when I quit that stupid policy to just pay the fine for not covering nonexistent people, I had to get government permission to cancel my Obama policy. Holy shit!

    And on top of THAT, American single-payer is already bankrupt with massive cost overruns. Nobody in power cares… their media lapdogs are silent. America’s economic apocalypse is now growing even bigger, even faster, and the fact that my leaders are perfectly fine with this makes me believe they want to kill my country like Carthage.

    I cannot speak for Canada but in America, single-payer healthcare is illegal in concept and tyranny in practice. Why you think this has something to do with us being Protestant is beyond me.

  5. Yup, it would not be horrible – if run by Canadians. But, it won’t be. It will be run by folks like Lois Lerner who don’t like you, and think that not liking you is reason enough to screw with you.

  6. Canadian Immigration built on merit. Hah. This is NOT how the immigration policy works. IT works on AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY IS WHITE GENOCIDE!!

    hen it comes to the ongoing flooding of Canada and other Western nations by Third-Worlders the colonization process is considered just alright.

    It has made cities unlivable and unbearable, with crowding and rampant cost increases in everything. We have a ‘foreign’ worker program that undercuts Canadians and destroys jobs. Welfare for everyone except those who actually work.

    ITs a slow insidious Genocide. Working?? Not at all. Just don;t try and point it outt to the PC media— they just whistle in the wind.

  7. “Canadian troops were literally airlifted over by the US.”

    As opposed to being airlifted in a figurative sense?
    I’m glad you specified “literally” because I thought being “airlifted” was an elaborate metaphor. :-/

  8. “While we have some minor racial troubles, particularly concerning Aboriginals, race is not that big a deal in Canada….”

    No it’s not a big deal…yet. But it’s going to be.

  9. >>English Canada is conservative, it always has been. The US has always been the liberal.<<

    Depends on what you are comparing to what. The US cities are most likely incredibly liberal, but most of the US outside of the major cities are surprisingly conservative.

    I have many relatives who live in Canada, and it is amazing to me how they look to Government to solve all of their problems. When I point out that Government either created the problem or it is the problem, they look at me like I had two heads.

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