The Unique Unexceptional Nation

By | March 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

I read liberal newspapers regularly, not for enjoyment or information, but for subject matter for my columns. The op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times for Sunday, March 15, was no exception.

● The first item that caught my eye was a letter to the editor, agreeing with the paper’s approval of removing the U.S. flag from the student lounge of the University of California, Irvine. The students had been taught to see our flag as a symbol of imperialism and oppression. But why would they want to attend a university subsidized by an oppressive regime? And why would we want our tax dollars to fund the teaching of such ungrateful, anti-American notions? Good questions.

● The second item was an opinion piece by a professor of history at Columbia University. He disparaged the idea of American exceptionalism, relying on the usual litany of slavery, denying the vote to women and blacks, and “expropriating” the lands of Native Americans and Mexicans. The professor failed to mention what ended slavery – a terrible Civil War in which one-third of a million white men and boys died fighting for the Union, not to mention untold numbers of limbs amputated.

The professor also failed to mention that Mexico controlled Texas for only 15 years before Texans achieved independence, or that Mexico controlled California for only 25 years until Californians did the same. If Americans “expropriated” the land from Mexico, Mexico “expropriated” the land from Spain, which had “expropriated” it from Indian tribes, which in many cases had “expropriated” it from other tribes.

But was living in the New Stone Age really better for Indians than modern communication, transportation, and health care? Or, to be more accurate, was the New Stone Age good enough for Indians, but we “white people” were entitled to better? So who really are the racists? More good questions.

Of course, the professor also failed to mention that slavery and excluding women and minorities from voting were universal, and not exclusively American sins. He did mention, however, that an Englishman invented the steam engine, but he failed to mention any American inventions. What we achieve is denigrated or ignored entirely, while what others achieve is emphasized and praised. Objectivity? We don’t need no stinkin’ objectivity. We’re progressives!

● The third item that caught my eye was an article by actor and producer Michael Douglas, relating what befell his son Dylan on a recent trip to Southern Europe. Dylan went to the hotel pool but returned distraught. A man noticed his Star-of-David necklace and hurled insults at him.

What Michael Douglas does not mention, and what the letter writer and the professor were ignorant of, is that Dylan lived in America for most of his 14 years and never experienced anti-Semitism even once, yet he got a full dose of it after only a few days in Europe. Wouldn’t you call that exceptional?

It’s not that President Obama and his friends on the Left don’t really think America is exceptional. They believe it is exceptional, but that it shouldn’t be. So they do everything they can to end its exceptional nature, and to make it resemble other nations. They are Europeanizing America.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Europe. That is, I love to visit it, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Europe gave us two world wars, socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, and perfected racism and anti-Semitism. So why do “progressives” think America should be more like Europe?

And now, Europe is plagued by increasing attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions. The murder of four at a kosher market in Paris is only one example. The chief rabbi of France went so far as to warn Jews to wear baseball caps rather than skullcaps in public. Clearly, among such unwearable items is a small Star of David around a young person’s neck. So again I ask: Why do “progressives” think America should be more like Europe? Dylan Douglas would find this idea absurd, even dangerous, and he’s only 14 years old. Sometimes gray hair is associated with wisdom; sometimes it isn’t.

Europeans lived for centuries under kings and emperors. They came to believe that power flowed from the top down. So they felt comfortable when their new rulers called themselves der Führer, the Central Committee, the Council of the European Union, or whatever. The idea was familiar:

● The “elite” decide what is best for the “common people,” and then cram it down their throats.

● The “elite” dream up notions of the “ideal” state, and leave the “common people” to deal with the inevitable mess that results.

● The “elite” are cared for in the best hospitals and clinics, and relegate the “common people” to the tender mercies of “gatekeepers” who may − or may not − allow you to see imported doctors from East Crapistan. But they expect the “common people” to be grateful for “universal coverage.” The problem is that “universal coverage” may turn out to be with six feet of dirt.

● The “elite” send their children to the best schools and universities, and relegate the children of the “common people” to lousy schools, where they get lousy educations, which prepare them for lousy jobs, which pay lousy salaries, which leave them dependent on the government for a lifetime of “assistance.” But they expect the “common people” to be grateful for the “universal education” − and for the “assistance.”

● The “elite” view schools and universities as a source of indoctrination, not education. They require students to regurgitate the “correct” doctrine, whether it is Nazi, communist, socialist, or environmentalist. Original thought is punished with lower grades.

● The “elite” view children as wards of the state, for whom parents have only limited responsibility. They view home-schooling with alarm, and they want to imprison parents who home-school their children, as is already done in (surprise!) Germany.

● The “elite” view the government as the source of help for those in need. So they vote the “correct” way, but like Europeans, they give little to charity, and they actually discourage giving to charity.

● The “elite” care little for foreigners who suffer and die, so like Europeans, they want to shrink the military until it is too weak to intervene to stop tyranny or mass murder. They run up huge debts and push new social programs, leaving less money for defense. They even want to cut medical benefits for troops and veterans, giving new meaning to the word “ingratitude.” Europeans could let their defenses atrophy, because America defended them. But if we weaken ourselves, who will defend us? Luxembourg? Who will fight global terrorism? Liechtenstein?

Americans, on the contrary, believe that power flows from the bottom up. They believe in trying something, and if it doesn’t work, trying something else. They don’t believe in allowing the “elite” to impose their unworkable notions of the “ideal” state. They view their children as divine gifts, for whom they have ultimate responsibility to bring up to be self-reliant, moral citizens.

In fact, Americans don’t believe in the “elite” in the first place. So obviously, the self-anointed “elite” don’t like American ideas, and they do their best to dismantle the American system.

The American idea of God-given rights is utterly foreign to the “elite,” who are much more comfortable with the European idea of privileges granted − or withdrawn − at the whim of the government.

The American idea of individuals responsible to a just God for themselves and their loved ones is also utterly foreign to the “elite,” who are much more comfortable with the European idea of infantilized subjects dependent on a parentified government to protect them, care for them, dole out money to them, and in general control their lives. If people can’t even choose their own light bulbs, toilets, dishwasher detergent, or shower heads, in what sense are they free?

Yes, America is still exceptional, as the Douglas family discovered in a posh European hotel. But it is becoming less exceptional day by day. The “elite” want to Europeanize America. But in view of what happened in Europe in the last century, and what is happening there now, this seems like a really abysmal idea. I love to visit Europe, but I refuse to live there. And I’ll keep that in mind on Election Day.

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