Canadian intellectual and noted sociologist Erving Goffman once said: “Society is organized on the principle that any individual who possesses certain social characteristics has a moral right to expect that others will value and treat him in an appropriate way.”
Is this why Canadians are so polite, and was he not just re-wording “The Golden Rule” which speaks to reciprocity?
“Treat others as one would like to be treated.”
Don’t worry; this is not going to be a solemn post. It’s not about analyzing how polite Canadians are, how rude Americans are, or how boring the Brits are.
I’ve met rude Canadians, polite Americans, engaging Brits, and the stereotypes quickly fade. I find sweeping comments about politeness to be ridiculous, but I did have a big laugh when a news item tied it in with a car chase that happened recently in Toronto.
In a nutshell, a thief had stolen a flatbed truck, and a police chase ensued on a major highway, well … sort of. It was more of a “police-escorted following.”
The stolen truck was equipped with a governed engine, which restricted it from going over the limit of 105 km/hr. Given that, the flow of regular traffic was actually surpassing this “chase” by about 10-20 kilometers!
To boot, (sorry for the car pun), the thief signaled his lane changes and braked for slowing traffic. Aside from the fact he stole the truck, he was probably a better driver than most you would meet on the highway during rush hour. He even signaled before he pulled onto the shoulder to finally walk into police handcuffs. Come on, you gotta love a man who signals!
Even without a celebrity ex-football player in the truck, thousands of viewers sat glued to their screens for an anti-climatic ending to a five-hour police chase.
Was the thief hoping he’d be given leniency because he was a considerate driver? Hard to say, but on the world stage, not only does Canada now have the most polite citizens, we have the most well-mannered criminals too.