The last time I went to the movies, I entered the cinema just as the new Government of Canada video on the war of 1812 was on. I thought, “Holey moley, is that a new movie? That looks awesome!” Anyone who has cringed through a low-budget, low quality film featuring a few reenactors who, like me, are too old and too fat, will be impressed by this GovCan video.
But what’s the point of the video, and how should we remember the War of 1812? Peter Jones in the Globe and Mail suggests that the story of Canada defending itself from rapacious Americans is not really true (thanks for defending us, Great Britain) and is not really what should be celebrated. Jones notes that if we celebrate anything about the war, it should be that it never happened again. What the War led to, Jones argues, is “The North American regional consensus”.
“Whatever the reasons, the North American regional consensus is now so deeply ingrained on both sides of the border that anyone who tried to promote the idea of fighting a war over anything would rightly be regarded in both countries as insane. Social scientists refer to such regions as “security communities” – places in the world where the idea of conflict is so remote that societies and individuals have developed, as Karl Deutsch put it many years ago, “dependable expectations of peaceful change.”
So there you have it. The real legacy of the War of 1812 is that it helped set the stage for a regional security community. Hardly stirring stuff, but, if you look around the world today, you will quickly realize just how rare a thing ours is. And it is a thing very much worth celebrating.”