It seems that I’m trendy. At least, I’m part of a trend. The trend is foreigners coming to Canada, with their families, to study at university. To read the comments following the article about this disturbing trend, it appears that I am destroying the soul of the country. To be honest, I had no idea. I thought it would be a good idea to leave my country, a land that is currently trying to keep foreigners out (despite considerable protest and legal wrangling), and take up residence in a place with a bit more tolerance for pluralism and multi-culturalism. It’s an interesting experience to be an American in a foreign land and feel the contempt of those who believe that I’m taking advantage of their hospitality.
What interests me more, though, is the thought of what drives such contempt. I believe the answer always ties to shortages of resources. People are angry because they think foreigners are taking their jobs, their healthcare, their retirement, their land. But, this is a land of abundance. What will happen if (or when) things really start to run out? I think we’re seeing this in America now. Things (like jobs) are running out. When that happens, people want someone to blame and that someone has to be as unlike them as possible.
People have circles around them. At the center they have themselves. The next layer is usually family. Then friends. Then a layer of people they think share their beliefs. Next is a layer of people who look like them and then kind of a generic layer of people-in-general. After this comes a layer of disagreeable folks–those with some perceived defect–and, finally, the undesirables. When people are happy, they don’t think about their layers. When they are unhappy, they blame the others around them, starting with the outermost layers. The problem is, as long as you’re unhappy, you attack the outermost layers until, at last, it’s just you. And then you self-destruct. Unfortunately, by then, a lot of damage has been done.