I'm beginning to think like the term Liberal you americans have a weird sense of what socialism is
That's the thing with politics - you have the theory and reality. In reality, Canada does have both market and non-market socialist policies. Even though the two countries share a language and many other things, having lived most of my adult life in the US (grew up in Canada and I'm back here) I can def say there are huge differences and that my anecdotal experience is that many Americans think Canada is a socialist country, and they're not wrong. In practice anyway. I would have probably denied this prior to living in the US, but I can totally see that POV now that I've lived both places and seen the way Capitalist ideals are truly embedded in the American psyche.
It's really hard to define or quantify, I'm not a political scientist and I'm still learning my own countries political system as I only returned here in 2007.
I can only give examples - like when I was a kid and played hoops seriously, we played a lot of one-on-one. In Canada, at least when I grew up, the rule was alternation. You scored, other guy got the ball. No way in the US this egalitarian approach would fly - It was possession all the way. You score, you keep the ball and run the table if you can.
Perhaps a trivial example, but it came to mind first and the same sort of principle I saw in operation again and again. It was one of the things I admired and still do about Americans. They are without a doubt generally the most generous people on the planet, but that idea that you earn what you get, is hard-wired.
BC, where I'm from, is SO frickin' liberal that our de facto "conservative" party, is the Liberal party. The NDP is left of the liberals, and conservatives don't even have a chance.
I think that Americans are misunderstood a lot - people make the mistake of conflating American government and policy with the people, and that's a huge mistake. Americans are not passive (like Canadians are generally, especially when it comes to political will) and not only are free to criticize their government, but they are much more apt as a people to take action to see the change through. One of the greatest environmentalists of our generation here in Northern BC, who educated the current generation of stars just passed away - he was an old hippy who came up here, saw the passivity of the people and made it his calling to help canucks organize, with awesome results like saving the Kitelope, the last pristine temperate rain forest in the world.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a proud Canadian as far as that goes, but I gained tremendous respect for our American cousins by living there and experiencing first hand some of the differences between our cultures - and those differences are rooted in strongly held ideals about Capitalism and democracy. We could and do learn a lot by acknowledging and celebrating those things that make our respective countries unique.
This really is probably the weirdest thread I've ever seen on DW, but I wanted to pipe up and make these points because I found the discussion very interesting and wanted to add my perspective - subjective & rambling though it may be.
This whole mixing of religion & politics is a happy hunting ground and if we can keep the discourse civil, is actually one of the more interesting exchanges I've read recently. Carry on, and sorry for the long post.