Recently, I stumbled upon a quiz created by the controversial author of books such as The Bell Curve and Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead, Charles Murray.
In his book Coming Apart, Murray describes what he sees as the economic divide and moral split of white Americans that has occurred since 1960.
Murray focuses on white Americans to state that the decline he describes was not being experienced solely by minorities, whom he brings into his argument in the last few chapters of the book.
The book essentially argues that America as a society is “coming apart” at the seams. He argues that the super wealthy, well-educated members of the upper-echelon are essentially living an entirely different existence, and don’t experience American culture as a whole.
Murray argues that those people live in a bubble, and although this book specifically focused on American issues, our proximity and allegiance with one of the world’s superpowers means there’s going to be a major cultural crossover.
After reading several chapters of the book, it’s undeniable that despite its American focus, there are very similar concepts that apply to the Great White North, as well.
Accompanied with the book is the aforementioned quiz that assesses how thick one’s own bubble is. Murray’s quiz, made up of 25 questions, takes seemingly innocuous or unimportant details, and explains to you why these questions exist.
Examples of the questions in the quiz range from “Have you ever had a job that caused something to hurt at the end of the day?” to “During the last month, have you voluntarily hung out with people who were smoking cigarettes?” You can take the full quiz here, just replace “American” with “Canadian” and you should be set. (Though there will be one or two questions that are a bit awkward.)
I started to wonder how our elected leaders would fare on such a quiz. Specifically, I wondered just how thick Justin Trudeau’s bubble is. Surely, the circles he surrounds themselves in are those of academia, politics, and comfort rather than ones of blue-collar know-how and an honest day’s work. Phrases like “honest day’s work” probably don’t even cross Justin Trudeau’s mind. The Canadian un-elite are so out of sight, that they may as well be out of mind. And that’s a problem.
Has Justin Trudeau lived in a neighbourhood where most of his neighbours are uneducated? Was he ever raised in a family where the chief breadwinner worked a blue collar job? The answer to these questions and ones of similar sentiment are surely a resounding “no.”
Canada’s rural population is estimated to be at 18.9 percent, nearly a fifth of the population, and while it has been well documented that small town Canada is slowly withering away, it’s impossible to ignore that a sizable chunk of the population’s lives are completely different than those in cities.
This type of polarization inside of a country is unhealthy. How can one side sympathize with another side, if they don’t even understand their backgrounds? Anecdotally, I frequently hear those I surround myself with speaking very disparagingly of small-town Canadians as “dumb hicks” or “hosers,” essentially yokel-izing them, undermining their status and legitimacy, and dismissing their point of view as incorrect or ignorant.
All of this is accentuated when the political powers-that-be also display resentment towards the Canadian un-elite. Their flippancy and eagerness to label opposing views as either racist, bigoted, or uninformed, (as Trudeau has shown he’s not afraid to do) shows more than anything that they are deeply out of touch.
But how could they not be?
Is it reasonable to expect someone like Justin Trudeau, who was born into Canadian political royalty, who went to the best University in Canada and lived a life of self-discovery and leisure to be able to relate to someone from bucolic Provincia?
How many times in Justin Trudeau’s life did he eat at Applebee’s or a Boston Pizza? Do you think Justin Trudeau ever had to work until his hands hurt, besides some sort of “enriching” volunteer experience?
How is a gap like this bridged? It takes listening and understand, which the current Prime Minister is unwilling to do.
When Canadians show legitimate concern about immigration policy, Trudeau is quick to call them racist. This directly contradicts his message of Canada being a “free and open society” with many voices that “need to be heard,” a retort he frequently uses at town halls upon being heckled.
If Justin Trudeau isn’t willing to listen to all Canadians, then perhaps it’s time to vote for someone who will.