environics research group - news
The NPR program To the Best of Our Knowledge recently ran a show describing Canadian life. One of the books mentioned was Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values by Michael Adams a sociometrician who has discovered some interesting differences between Canadians and Americans (at least red ones.) He suggests much of it has to do with our relationship to authority. People in the US are becoming much more deferential despite our professed admiration for the individual who goes it alone.
"I believe the tussle over "family values" rhetoric gestures toward the core values that underlie the debate around same-sex marriage. One crucial cluster of values lies beneath Canadians and Americans divergent approaches to both same-sex marriage and religion: the values that constitute our orientations to authority. Whereas Professor Bibby positions religion as the force which drives homophobia, I believe orientation to authority is the "X factor" which drives both phenomena religion and attitudes toward homosexuality. One of the most surprising research findings in Canada and the United States is that Americans, with their traditions of individualism, distrust of government, and personal freedom, are now actually more deferential to authority than Canadians, with our traditions of group rights, institutional accommodation, and larger, more socialist government. Research indicates that Americans particularly Republicans are more likely to favour hierarchical organization of businesses, traditional father-led families, and the belief that younger people should automatically defer to older people."
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