Canadian Confusion

Sunday, September 18, 2005
I never knew much about Canada growing up. I loved "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and knew William Shatner was from Canada, and later I bought Raffi tapes for my kids to listen to, but that was about it.

As an adult I once drove across the lower part of Ontario from Detroit to Niagara Falls and I watched Canadian television one evening. Which I found passing strange. The news was naturally in both English and French but the worlds being portrayed on these two channels might as well have been in different countries. The French Canadian news was all about what was happening in Paris. Ok....? The English news was a panel discussion led by a fellow who seemed to be of Indian descent. The panel was all in agreement that things had been much better when Canada was a direct part of the British Empire. In both cases, the longing for a lost Europe hit me like a 2 by 4. No American longs for Europe. America is about standing up for yourself and "having the courage to get up and do what needs to be done". What's Canada about? One clue came from the radio: there were several programs which seemed to be dedicated to complaining about "our neighbor to the South", inevitably enunciated with that fearful but superior sneer with which members of Old Families will discuss parvenus.

More evidence has come in the last couple of years. My company bought a Canadian company and I took my first overnight trip to Ottawa, which I liked a lot. It looked very much like a nice Midwestern city. I enjoyed listening to the French radio--what a treat!, I thought. But when I talked to the English-speaking employees I discovered that, although they had been required to take French for twelve years, not a one of them had the least interest in speaking or learning more French. And these are people who live in a city which is one third French-speaking. They didn't sneer when I asked about French, but they did express the closest thing to a sneer which that peculiar social restraint I associate with well-bred British people, but which I now know to be a trait of the English-speaking Canadians, will allow.

My final experience came a few weeks ago when we drove to Vancouver on the family vacation. Coming to the border we picked up a French-speaking station and a Cantonese-speaking station on the car radio. I couldn't understand the Cantonese station. The French-speaking station had five or so people in a panel discussion who were complaining about Walmart. Their comment was that "Canada is different". Vancouver itself, however, seems to have little or no French-speaking part (other than official government business). Rather, it has a huge part which is Cantonese-speaking, Hong Kong II. Yet when I found myself that night in a hospital emergency ward, all the signs were in both English and Bengali. What gives? Will Cantonese become the official second language in fifty years?

Canada is very confused about its identity. Mainly, its identity consists of being multi-culti-er than thou, and we all know who "thou" is. Will the real Canada please stand up? Or perhaps I should say, Can it?


flenser said...

truepeers is Canadian, so his take on this will be interesting.

Having never been to Canada there is not a lot I can say about it. But it strikes me as odd that a country which I would expect to be quite similar to America in cultural outlook is instead a copy of the European style multi-cultural welfare state.

Does anyone know if that was always the case, and if not, when and how it changed?

truepeers said...

Sorry for the very long post. I found this topic so interesting, I just started writing and didn’t want to stop. I won’t do this often.

Anyway, my name is truepeers (hah! You can call me john), and I am a confused(!) Canadian, or at least I once was.

But I think I am quite familiar with the U.S. Like most Canadians - and this is a defining quality in a non-trivial sense - I have always had access to American television, movies, and books. I have studied American history and travelled to several cities on the west and east coasts. Unfortunately, my experience in the big middle is limited to eastern Pennsylvania and St. Louis, a lack of experience I hope to remedy some day. I love and greatly admire Americans, and while I know there is a lot of stupid anti-Americanism in Canada, I would remind you that it is not ubiquitous, but is rather more of a crutch for those needing a reason to justify their voices being heard in Canadian state-subsidized environments. But a true Canadian is an American too; one can’t deny that part of oneself and not live one’s North American culture fully.

I have American friends and relatives. My Texan brother-in-law says he feels right at home in Calgary - same kind of people, similar landscape. I would tend to share his conclusion that the differences between Canada and the U.S. can be overblown. The reason is that people often contrast the official, Canadian, state-subsidized (somewhat) high culture with the American popular and commercial culture, as I think MHA has just done. Per capital, I think America has much less of a nationally centralized and federal government-supported culture than Canada, and this is one of the fundamental differences, a difference that need not mean much to many Canadians who are as familiar with the Americans who live just across the border, with whom they trade, etc. (we almost all live closer to more Americans than to our fellow Canadians) as they are with those social classes that construct the official Canadian culture.

My mother, who was forced to flee her native Bohemia in diapers - the British customs officer checked her diapers for contraband and found a load of you know what - grew up in London and is still culturally rather English, cut with the remnants of that lost world of central European Jewish-German high culture. She still spends a lot of time in London. My Nova Scotian father was partly educated in London and in any case is as much familiar with British as American culture. For a youth from humble origins, it was the high culture of the metropolis that was always the model assiduously to learn. The folk culture of his Nova Scotian relatives (some of whom came to the country after the first American civil war in which we were the losers) was something to run away from.

The fact that high culture has never been something taken too seriously by the business elites in both Canada and the U.S. - and often by their offspring who were too lazy for business and made their way instead in the universities, etc. - an elite who can afford a snobbish disdain for those with an overly-studious interest in the high culture with which up and comer hopes to get ahead, marks the ambitious petit-bourgeois in funny ways that are quite common in Canada, but I dare say also in many parts of the U.S. - my Texan brother-in-law suffers in just this way. What MHA considers the snobbish disdain for the parvenu was, if he were listening to the CBC, surely and ironically, snobbery coming form a parvenu. The just-retiring Governor General (representative in Canada of the Queen) is a perfect example: child of Cantonese immigrants who made a career at the CBC and comes off as a rather snooty, Anglican matron and patron of the arts.

The kind of radio and tv that MHA seems to be referring to - the CBC in its French and especially English versions - caters to these kinds of people who have put their eggs in the education and getting ahead basket, only to discover that being a nerd with many degrees is not necessarily the ticket to the higher echelons of a largely commercial society (though there is more respect for high culture in Montreal than Toronto). The predictable resentments thus suffuse this would-be highbrow class and its media. And the resentments usually corrupt them so that they don’t actually become very great agents of culture. Canada is not a greatly cultured place. The state gives the resentful jobs to keep the peace and lets business get along with minimal opposition from the tenured radicals.

Anyway, the point of all this is to tell you that for someone with my family background - a little too British and oriented around metropolitan high culture - growing up in Canada, one did not feel right at home; rather one felt like a bit of an outsider. But it is the outsiders who often find themselves in university jobs and in state-supported media to promote an official or high culture.

On the ethnic level, there is a predominant Canadian culture, one with noticeable Celtic tones; it has always existed along side the official high culture, with the two never interweaving to any significant extent. This is a very complicated thing to describe, in part because the dominant ethnicity has never been well represented by the official cultural and educational institutions, not least since the turn to official multiculturalism. But also because this ethnic culture probably came to Canada in large part already a cultural hybrid forged in Ireland in the settler society that took root there in the centuries before the great out-migration to Canada in the mid-19thC. Ireland was in many respects the model for the British settler societies that later took root around the world. This legacy is found in both our folk culture and in certain institutions like the public schools and police force.

While the Irish were the dominant immigrant group in nineteenth-century Canada, they were largely protestant and not long identified as Irish as opposed to simply British or later Canadian. This, I think, created a funny situation in which a fiercely loyal British people were the dominant ethnic group and yet were not always well-connected to the families that ran the state at the highest levels, or that would form the bread and butter of the bureaucratic classes as these grew in the twentieth century.

For example, the frankly sectarian Loyal Orange Association was the most popular and common fraternal lodge in Canada at the start of the twentieth century, even as it faced various attempts to make it un-PC by the 19thC elites who feared it was an offense to the Catholics (both French and Irish); the (officially) non-sectarian (though generically protestant) Freemasons were number two in Canada, unlike in America where the Masons were much more important in contributing to an American civic identity, all the more so for being organized, at least for the first three degrees, at the state, not national, level. Similarly in Canada, the fraternal and associational culture that was such a dominant part of civil society in the nineteenth and twentieth century was largely organized at the civic or provincial, not national, level. National culture has always been at odds with the dominant forms of our bourgeois culture.

Anyway, the Irish were in a situation like that of other large immigrant groups to Canada in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. What happened, was that the folk cultures that became dominant or prevalent arrived, in good part, after the official or high culture, and the deals made between the British and French-Canadian elites. But the people who had set up the Canadian state(s) in the aftermath of the first American civil war – these American Tory and English elites were given a lot of land, in the hopes they would form a new landed aristocracy - were a small elite who were never able to create a founding myth, constitution, or civic culture for Canada that is comparable to the vision of the American founding fathers, or American Freemasonry.

From the beginning, in other words, Canada has always had an official class that is rather out of touch with society as a whole. The more people who get educated in the universities, however, the more people with pretenses to play a role in the Canadian state. Thus there is today a large middlebrow-with unfulfilled ambitions to be high-culture that identifies with the Canadian state and the CBC. Still, I think it is not yet as large as the less visible bourgeois culture that is associated with commerce, industry and the provincial politicians (especially in the west), and is, in good part, if not in any pure sense, a North American, not European or even British, middlebrow culture. (Keeping in mind that the guys at the Rotary Club in, say, Liverpool, probably have as much contempt for the BBC as I have for many, not all, at the CBC.)

So, to sum up, I think a lot of Canadians are not unlike Americans, both sharing in what Americans call the Scots-Irish tradition and in the civic culture that initially grew largely at the city and state/province level. But an overly-rich (too much taxing power) government in Ottawa has subsidized, in the twentieth century, a large number of university educated and bureaucratic-minded people who need ways to justify their investment in education and so have created their own statist and PC myths. Anti-Americanism is only the worst of their many mental diseases. A disrespect for the cultural and historical reality of Canada, a country that should not have ambitions to a highly centralized or unifying high culture, is another. So, unfortunately, there are now lots of people with loyalties to the centre, of a type that were not very common in Canada until after WWII; such loyalties have little historical basis and I see little reason to encourage them.

It is true that few Anglophone Canadians master French. But this is a sign of the limits of the Trudeau-Liberal Party-official Ottawa vision of a bilingual Canada, and a reflection that at its root our culture is decentralized and focused on local power networks, as is life in most of the U.S. MHA notes the official tv news and culture broadcasts that are snobbish and metropolitan, and also the lack of interest in French at his firm. This is a sign that the ideas promoted by the official media have not caught on, at least in the case of bilingualism, though perhaps in others – hence the snobbery. But I think this is fine. We, the majority, are still not children of Ottawa, but rather more of the provinces and regions and should remain so. If we want to live in Ottawa or Quebec, we should be open to French, but I remain dubious about my friends and family in British Columbia who want their kids to learn French. I think it is perhaps a bit of misconceived snobbery and the wrong kind of nationalism. Not that I see great harm in it.

Finally, as for my town, Vancouver. I doubt the hospital signs were in Bengali. Most of the Indians here are from the Punjab. And Cantonese is slowly giving way to Mandarin as the immigration patterns change. Depends of course what neighborhood you are in. Most of the Chinese restaurants serve Cantonese-dominated cuisine. But most of the waiters speak also Mandarin, and that language is increasingly considered essential in certain fields. The influence of the Chinese state and its common language is felt even here. When I was learning Mandarin, the neighboring classrooms were full of Cantonese kids being taught Mandarin. Thanks to both Taiwan and Beijing, there is more Mandarin than Cantonese tv available here.

Canada is a confused place. But that reflects its true origins. And the more you understand those confused origins, the more you feel in place, and less confused. Clarity comes with giving up on the idea of a centralized national culture and instead just going about your business and family life, open to different possibilities and new necessities. There was once a time when there was the appearance of a dominant British culture. But Britishness has never been a very deep identity, unlike English or Scottishness. Canada has always had an official veneer; and just because it today talks up multiculturalism doesn’t mean it actually is multicultural. The official pc culture is actually a rather boring and homogeneous culture that has more to do with providing jobs for people of all stripes than it has to do with promoting any deep diversity. The children of immigrants lose much of their parents’ culture and get assimilated by the education system into the official pc culture, unless and until they give it up and find their way into a less well defined North American middlebrow culture, the culture of business. Not that they will always forego the snobbish sense of being different from Americans.

But since we are more of an immigrant society (per capita basis) than the US (at least at the level of legal immigration) most institutions like hospitals and schools find it pragmatic to communicate in various languages that are locally prevalent. It is only the national government that hammers away at the official bilingualism. So you find the French radio station in Vancouver, but I doubt they have more than a few thousand regular listeners. There are a lot of middle-class parents choosing Ottawa-subidized French immersion programmes for their children, as a cheap alternative to the main public schools which are seen to be less than stellar educational environments. But knowing some adults who have already gone through French immersion, they don’t necessarily become life-long francophones. If their job requires it, they may keep up the French. But the majority are people like me (I was almost functional in French at the end of my sojourn in Montreal), who have little reason to use French in daily life, have to kick themselves to keep it up, not always successfully given all the other pulls on time. Mandarin interests me more today, though from time to time I like to try to understand the French intellectuals blathering on on Paris’ TV5, which is part of our mid-level cable package here. You still have to pay an additional fee to get Chinese tv, even in a city where probably between a quarter and a third are of Chinese backgrounds. Of course it is American tv that predominates. That’s who we are, I guess.

Flenser, Canada was less of a welfare state than the U.S. until the 1960s. Then we got medicare. But, overall, we are not particularly generous, re welfare, compared to many in Europe. And the work force enjoys holidays more like Americans than the French.

Knucklehead said...

I have to admit that I have precious little exposure to our northern neighbors. The standard day or two north of the border via Niagra falls, zip through the wine places, scurry back south.

Other than that just the odd notice of the evidence that the Canucks, few as they be, are all around us. The looney drivers from Quebec headed south or returning home at breakneck pace (clearly it isn't only we 'murricans who are always in a godawful hurry) and those infernal coins that keeping showing up in my pocket (an issue that all but disappeared for a long time but is recently resurfacing).

David Thomson said...

Another reason for Canada's inferiority complex is due to its unofficial decision to mooch of the United States regarding national defense matters. There was a time when this country pulled its own weight. Now it is tacitly accepted that the Americans will come to Canada's rescue. Deep in their guts, moochers always feel guilty. They invariably begin to blame the host for their justified feelings of inadequacy.

truepeers said...

The only territorial threat that concerns Canadian sovereignty at the moment is over the Arctic Northwest Passage, considered to become an important shipping route if global warming is for real. And in this matter, it is the US, first among other nations that is the assumed threat. Indeed, in any conventional sense, aside from ICBMs, the only possible military threat to Canada comes from the U.S. But we assume that with free trade, the Americans would have little desire to invade Canada, and if they did we would probably have to guerilla pretty quickly, no matter how possibly large our military.

What about contributing to global security in face of terrorism, failing states abroad, etc.? I don’t want to defend the Chretien government’s position on Iraq. It was wrong, though admittedly Canada could not have sent a large force had it wanted. We are still in Afghanistan and the P. gulf.

I don’t know how good our police are at keeping tabs on local Jihadis. We won’t know until something happens. As for participating in expeditions abroad, we should be preparing to do more than now. But in what capacity exactly? Here, it is understandable that Canadian governments are slow to move – even though the present government is expanding the military – because any such force will necessarily be led by the US and it is the US which presently has limited ways to integrate other countries into its highly networked forces, and that needs to show the ways others can reasonably contribute. It is reasonable for many countries to look at the present U.S. military performance in Iraq and wonder if the Pentagon has a clear tactical or strategic vision, notwithstanding the obviously moral rightness behind deposing Saddam. I often tend to think the American soldiers would do a lot better job if they had a yet more decentralized force structure. Americans on the ground are great improvisers and have no doubt a better grasp of reality than Washington. Armchair quarterbacking, of course; it’s not noble, but it’s realistic for people in our position.

I don’t need to remind you about the debates now going on in the US about transforming the military. These debates should assume that it will be much easier for countries like Canada to participate if there is a clear moral and practical vision about how to maintain global security in the coming years.

I imagine Canadians will follow an idealistic and pragmatic leadership and a self-organizing army as they followed the Victorian and Edwardian leaders and the middling self-organizing military men of the Briish empire, up to Churchill, but they are not themselves natural big men. They are simply capable of organizing in self-interested ways when this is required, though it is admittedly tough to imagine many young people in Canada today being good soldiers. Many, as no doubt in the U.S., seem weak, ungendered, overly resentful, etc., but I think a reaction to PC, victimary thinking, and the age of resentment is emerging.

Before the first world war, the Canadian military was largely limited to local amateur militias and the occasional contribution to British expeditionary forces. A small navy was constructed in the run up to WWI, but the massive mobilizations for the two world wars were more the exception than the rule.

Lacking a vision of how to participate in global security from the U.S., with the end of the cold war, and with China being a concern in East Asia but not on western shores, it is understandable that Canadians have not been motivated to spend on the military. It would be throwing money about rather blindly, which we do enough of already. Internal threats are best dealt with by strong policing and preparation for natural disasters that perhaps best entail getting the citizenry to be much better prepared to take care of themselves. Probably, the only kind of disaster that would require a lot of outside assistance would be a catastrophic earthquake on the west coast. That is projected to happen every few hundred years. I’m not sure how much we should invest in military to anticipate this. We have local emergency authorities. And it seems to me that most Canadians are capable of self-organizing in response to such a disaster. Time will tell.

Yes moochers resent their position. Are Canadians moochers in defense? I’m not so sure. I am only ashamed that we can’t do more about intervening in places like Iraq, Rwanda and Darfur. Again, Canada doing this alone is unthinkable. We need all of us to get over the era of white guilt, forget the UN to a great extent, and construct a vision of a new world order, led by the moral and economic authority of the west, and then we will have the basis for Canaidan politicians to stand up and say we need to contribute again in a manner conducive to self respect.

truepeers said...

I should add, i think there is something of a moral and ethical deficit in Canadian culture at the moment (just as in blue-state America). It is not yet life-threatening, except possibly in our unwillingess to take sufficiently seriously the Islamist threat, or to have many children, but it is an obstactle to our achieving as much we could in productivity. I have personally suffered such a deficit and I would not look to matters of defense dependency for its primary cause, though if I had been sent to boot camp at eighteen, who knows?

I see the problem first of all as an intellectual disease, rooted in a resentment of certain hard realities, and in a turning away from certain anthropologial revelations of the Judeo-Christian tradition in favor of some kind of snobbish gnosticism. The most fundamental difference between Canada and the US is in the numbers of people who take the Judeo-Christian heritage seriously, in either religious or non-religious ways. We are more resentful and less serious in this respect (though this is a difficult question, and I may misword it, because it is precisely the role of the J-C tradition to provide a means productively to articulate and recycle resentments back into the system), sad to say. Hopefully we will find a way to turn this secular resentment to productive or innovative ends. That is the ideal role, after all, of those who find themselves on the margins.

Rick Ballard said...


If I were to put myself in Joe Canuck's shoes I don't think I would feel like a mooch. Canada participated as a NATO partner pretty well until the USSR gave up the ghost. There is a part of me that says that NATO should have been dissolved at that point. If I were Canadian, that part would be somewhat larger. Secondarily, why should a Canadian legitimately feel like a mooch having spent fifty years knowing that any nukes coming over the pole which fell a little short were going to cause difficulties for Canada? I'm not sure that I would feel grateful for the nuclear umbrella when it's held by a nuclear rainmaker.

Lastly, Canadians don't get much say on US policy decisions and the US isn't exactly playing fair and square wrt the softwoods situation. Our "free trade" stance probably smells a little stinky to our northern neighbors.

Of course, annexation would resolve these issues and provide every Canadian with a full voice in US decisions. I'm sure Truepeers was only joking about the guerilla thing. Who would'nt want to live in North Washington? Victoria as a state capital wouldn't be much different than Victoria as a provincial capital. Besides, I'd like to move to Victoria. The Olympic Peninsula is OK but Victoria has better weather.

truepeers said...

Well Rick, that one 's got me thinking. Despite all the horrors of living in a nation that consistently votes for the elitism, mysticism, and smugness of the Liberal party, I still think there remains some value in having two largely anglophone nations on the continent and in international bodies. Diversity and varied experimentation, within a shared global system, is a good thing, which is not in any way a nod to the anti-western "diversity" ideologies.

Decentralization is my touchstone and, as best I can tell, Washington, DC doesn't need to grow any bigger. Now if Canada were a major source of problems, I would have some sympathy. But, since it's more expensive not cheaper softwood you seem to want, well let's see you have a go at liberating Mexico from its corruption before we contemplate making more work for the bureaucrats.

The reason a Canadian would be tempted to become a guerilla if invaded is that otherwise you would have to admit that a life spent trying to make sense of being Canadian had been pointless. And we have a harder time than Americans with the idea of making ourselves anew. Perhaps Canada is something of a noble failure, a confusion, and yet it works reasonably well. Boring and pointless it may seem, but there is, I think I can truly say, no where in the country I am wary to go, with the possible exception of Mosques and one or two housing projects in Toronto. And on the whole, the immigrants assimilate reasonably well. This is a rare and precious thing.

Being Canadian is all about just carrying on, puttering along, not valuing anything too highly. And perhaps no city exemplifies the spirit as well as Victoria. Nothing much ever happens there, I warn you - on my last trip, there was a furore in the newspaper, a neighborhood was up in arms, about the destruction of a Garry Oak sapling (before the white man, Victoria was site of a rare Garry Oak meadow) - and you have to be interested in gardening, outdoor sports, beer and/or fish and chips, to take it seriously as an ideal place. When I think of escaping back to nature, I have my heart a little further up Island in the Cowichan Valley.

flenser said...

Great comments, truepeers. I can't wait to see you start posting.

Knucklehead said...

Was there any country better situated to gladly accept any "peace dividend" from the collapse of the Soviet Union?

Were I Canadian I would almost certainly see no good reason for a large military. Canada is every bit as non-invadable, non-conquerable, as the US with, of course, the exception of the US as invader or conqueror. But any sensible Canadian, it would seem to me, would find that scenario about as likely as a hurricane reaching them.

Canada is in no danger from it's one and only neighbor. If we won't buy as much of their timber as they'd like we'll gladly buy all the oil they want to sell. They have enormous space and natural resources for a country of their population. They are secure in their borders, free to muddle through as they see fit.

Politically there are only two issues I have with Canada. One is the shrieking anti-American hissey fits their government officials are so prone to throwing.

The other is the holier than thou attitude re: acceptance of immigrants. It is quite possible that no place on earth is more welcoming to immigrants. Be rightfully proud of that. It does not mean, however, that everywhere else is hell on earth for immigrants. The US may be a somewhat distant second, or even third in this matter, but it is most definitely among the very top tier in this regard.

Oh, yeah, there is one other thing. If you don't like baseball and won't turn out to watch the games, then kwitcherbellyachin' when teams find other homes.

Economically, with no investigation (the equivalent of sight unseen) I have no doubt that Canada imposes restrictions on some imports that would come from the US just as the US does on imports of some things from Canada. The fact that the US market is enormous and the Canadian market of medium size is not something I have any sympathy for. Gaia saw fit to strew your ground with diamond, gold, petroleum and much else. Don't worry, be happy.

truepeers said...

Heh Knuck,

I felt a little nostalgiac when the Expos gave up the ghost, but no bellyaching I hope. It's always an art knowing where to draw the lines of proud patriot without coming off as unfairly antagonistic to the other. You're right, many Canadians are unskilled at this.

I never wanted to suggest that the US and Australia aren't great immigrant assimilation machines too. It is the rest of the world I worry about. Some immigrants in Canada consider it their second or third choice, after the other two, understandably enough. Sure we have a lot of space up here, but you wouldn't want to live in most of it. Rock and ice.

You are also right about trade subsidies. I belive it is agricultural products, like Dairy, that are the most protected from US competition, but this is legal and the issue with softwood is really the terms of the NAFTA being violated and arbitration rulings to this effect being ignored.

I don't think it is alright for Canada to leave the U.S. alone to police the world, something someone has to do. But if the US wants to bring the anglosphere more fully on board, it needs to redefine itself and its mission somewhat more than it has since the cold war. I don't have all the answers. Anti-Americanism is a global disease for which i have no tolerance, but it is looking to be as hard a nut to crack as antisemitism. It's going to take us several generations to get over it. Most Canadians, btw, who are anti-American distiguish between the American government they feel so superior to, and the ordinary American whom they generally like. There are, however, a lot who look down at the religious. Not I.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

US subsidies for agriculture are shameful. That the US doesn't want to abide by the very treaties it has signed is also shameful--not that other countries don't engage in the same behavior, but that's not a good excuse.

"Anti-Americanism is a global disease for which i have no tolerance, but it is looking to be as hard a nut to crack as antisemitism." Aren't they really two sides of the same coin?

truepeers said...

Two sides of the same coin? Probably. I suppose in both cases it is a resentment of living with the reality that we are not leaving behind the world of nations for some future utopia free of the kinds of conflicts and limits that nations are immersed in. The Jews are the first nation, the US is the apex of the national idea. Those who want to go beyond the first into some universal kingdom can't get by the latter and so hate the little and great Satans for reminding them of reality, if that makes any sense.