The Country You Deserve

I was a huge Love Line fan back in the day and that radio show, carried late at night, is how I came to know Adam Carolla. Carolla did that show for years with Dr. Drew, and then he did morning radio, and finally, he created a podcast where he could publish his musings for hours on end.

Carolla is self-described as self-educated, and he often makes remarks on the fly that capture the essence of many things. That is his genius. On one of his many podcasts, Carolla was riffing on what a monster Saddam Hussein was, and he blurted out, “Hey, what part of Canada was Saddam Hussein from?”

Hussein wasn’t from Canada, of course; he was native-born to Iraq in the city of Tikrit. Even I know this, only because it was repeated on the news from time to time, but also because Saddam often surrounded himself with people whose names had Tikrit baked right in. There was, for example, Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, the half-brother to Saddam (he had three half-brothers) who was the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Services. In Saddam’s day, Barzon was responsible for executing government opponents, but he was caught by American forces and handed over to the provisional government for trial, where he was tried for crimes against humanity. Barzon was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. However, the calculations on how to carry out the hanging were botched and, instead of hanging by the neck until dead, his head was violently ripped off. His life, and Saddam’s, was consumed in violence from beginning to end.

Hussein wasn’t the product of a foreign culture; he was the product of the native culture of Iraq in the same way that Mao was the product of China. Stalin was the product of the Russian Imperial possession of Georgia and he was transposed on to Russia. Pol Pot was a product of the Cambodia where he operated the killing fields that resulted in the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians. Hitler was a native-born Austrian who venerated German culture and he made it synonymous with Nazis. Churchill was a product of the British system. George Washington was native to Virginia and the colonies he led to freedom. Martin Luther King was the product of the post-Civil War south and the black Baptist Church. And, so on: leaders emerge from the cultures in which they are born and they, for good or ill, inhabit the values of those cultures. Asking what part of Canada Saddam Hussein was from was a comic way to point out that the nice culture of Canada was different than the culture of Tikrit that produced several Iraqi monsters.   

In short, cultures produce the leaders that produce the governments. This confirms a maxim forwarded by Mark Steyn many times; politics is downstream from culture. Carolla was commenting as much on Canadian culture as he was on Iraqi culture.

But, cultures change and the cultural expression of a government changes with it.

In Canada today, we are seeing cultural change in action. Protests are being broken up by force and that force is justified by the Prime Minister declaring a national emergency. Police in riot gear, tear gas, riders on horseback, and many other violent practices are being brought to bear. The protest involves mass illegal parking by truckers who are resisting vaccine mandates which, in itself, is an issue of bodily freedom. The Canadian government will not relent on using coercion to gain 100% compliance with the vaccine mandates and the protest that was built around trucks parked illegally is being ended with massive state force. Rather than just enforce the existing laws on blocking traffic, the government has declared an emergency and attacked both the truckers and anyone who supports them.

Canada today is taking yet another step along the change slope of the West. As in virtually all of what was once called the Anglosphere, Covid has accelerated the existing changes which have, as a dominant feature, vastly expanded state powers which are unequally brought to bear. For example, laws against rioting and arson where largely suspended all over the United States, Canada, and in Europe during the summer of 2020 and mask mandates were ignored since the culture as interpreted by government leaders deemed those riots as justified after the death of George Floyd. Non-enforcement of existing laws is a cultural choice. Aggressive enforcement of existing laws and stretching the meaning of the word ‘emergency’ is also a cultural force and that is what we see in Canada today.

And so Adam Carolla might now ask “What part of Iraq is Canadian Prime Minister and black face aficionado Justin Trudeau from?” In fact, he isn’t from Iraq; he’s from the French-speaking part of Canada and is the child of extreme privilege. His dad was a previous Prime Minster, and he was elected fair and square even though his many photos in culturally inappropriate black-face were widely available. He has not been a man of particular accomplishment in any field and, while physically attractive, isn’t a great orator or statesman. And now, in a moment of crisis, he’s triggered a provision of Canadian law previously reserved for wartime. Canadians have gotten the government they deserve because they voted for it and because Trudeau represents what many Canadians want. He inhabits their values. Joe Biden reflects what millions of Americans want. Saddam was a product of Sunni Iraq and he gave them what many wanted; a strong man that would stand up for their narrow interests.

Regardless of what the law says, governments are made of people, and they are made of ideas, and ideas form culture. In the end, you get the government you want and deserve.

Adam Carolla
Captured in Tikrit
Saddam with his countrymen
PM Black Face
Trudeau takes a knee
Canada today