Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Diane Francis’ 21st Century Manhattan Project

New York City doesn’t blaze all night because of the millions of slices it takes off other people’s money. Its glory is the sky-high dreams of the people who do their thinking there. Unyielding, immodest New York still insists that we stretch our imaginations to keep up.

If you have any qualms, read only a couple of samples of Toronto expat Diane Francis’s latest book: “Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One country.”

I’ll say more after I’ve finished reading it, but for now, I can’t resist a few words — actually, an admission.

Francis’s book bugs me in a familiar Canadian way: she secured an important publisher and is making a splash with an idea I wrote about four years a — thousands of painstaking words that barely made a ripple.

In a feature article in Maisonneuve, a brave, young, Montreal literary magazine, my article “A More Perfect Union” graced the news stands with a cover every bit as boisterous as Francis’s “Merger of the Century.” Maisonneuve designed a cover depicting a snow-white bed sheet and four passionate feet; the stark black words “Screw the Border” punched the idea home.

Marketing is the publisher’s responsibility. Still, Maisonneuve made the right call: there was no point "low bridging" my disrespectful, unpatriotic claim that a sovereign Canada is in our way, and that to be effective citizens, we must be more effective North Americans — whatever price we put on our assets and our feelings.

Diane Francis calls her $17 trillion (US) purchase offer for Canada a modest “thought piece.”

Where I failed in disparaging the value of the Canadian idea, will Francis fail with a bribe too flattering for words?

Next week, I’ll tackle gently where we agree and where we don’t — and how to make room on our fragile raft for liberal as well as neo-con continentalists.  

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