And after all, isn’t Canada the real danger? We may not become Albania, but as Montreal-dwelling Jacob Levy has noted with some glee, the U.S. no longer ranks ahead of Canada (though it’s a statistical dead heat, really) on the annual Index of Economic Freedom. And this is not, I’m afraid, because Canada has turned into a laissez-faire capitalist utopia. We are all Canadians now. Possibly even Europeans. Michael Moore should be delighted, but at least we should no longer have to hear compare and contrast stories that treat the U.S. as a model of laissez-faire and Canada or Europe as a sharply dichotomous opposite. That’s just not the case anymore.
Ideologically, of course, the U.S. retains a laissez-faire streak in its DNA, though it is not now dominant in the expression of policy, that may yet emerge and rescue the world. Unfortunately, there too, Canada may be working its mesmeric attraction. Is it mere coincidence that multiple figures whose ideological mushiness or moderation I’ve noted in the past — and whose very mushiness or moderation seems central to their thinking — are somehow tied to Canada: Jacob Levy himself, his fellow “liberaltarian” Will Wilkinson, Charles Taylor, chief national greatness (!) conservative/big government conservative/Obamacon/cancer David Brooks, and more?