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Friday, June 5. 2020
One of the issues I've been grappling with during all the recent nonsense is the idea, somehow, the U.S. is 'flawed'. In this article, Dr. Benedict Beckeld discusses what is best described as 'self-hatred' or fear of the familiar, oikophobia, as it relates to the U.S.
Sure, of course our nation is flawed. Those flaws are, in a way, our best feature, because they require constant discussion. Our Constitution memorialized free speech to ensure that discussion takes place. A friend asked if we're racist. Answering 'Yes' would imply everyone is racist and all our institutions are racist. So the only answer is 'No'. What IS true is we're more open about the racism which still exists. We show it, we talk about it on the news, we deplore it even as we work our way through it. Our dirty laundry is regularly on display for the world. Other nations either suppress their discussions, or are heterogeneous enough that racism isn't an issue they need to deal with too much. That allows them to judge us, and their judgments reach people in the U.S. and resonates. There is a strange self-loathing which sometimes accompanies wealth and success.
If we, as a nation, have a detrimental flaw, it's the hatred of what we are and what we've accomplished, and engaging that self-loathing. To that end, I can never be a leftist, let alone a Democrat. I hear too much about hate from them. They hate Trump, they hate what the U.S. represents, they hate our history, they ignore our accomplishments, somehow assuming these accomplishments rationalize the errors of our past. Accomplishments don't rationalize anything, they're just accomplishments.
Some of our citizens just need to learn to stop hating themselves. They need to learn to love our history with all its mistakes, and by default, our nation again. We have fixed so many mistakes. Why focus only on errors? We build on our successes, we don't build by focusing on failures. We can use the failures to improve, if we approach them constructively.
P.S. - I was sharing thoughts with a friend about what binds us as a nation. It is the Constitution, from my perspective. I know most of the people I referred to in this post, if they hate the U.S. and what it stands for, then they hate the Constitution. But the Constitution is, still today, an astounding and outstanding achievement. It does not grant rights, it protects them. Its amendments attempts to enumerate some of these rights, but makes it clear those listed are not all there are. This is very different than almost every other nation's basis. From this point of view, we are very much a nation, since the right to oppose, or hate, the Constitution is enshrined in the Constitution itself.
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There is no "we." The US is an empire of warring tribes that hate each other. The tribes do not have a common history, not even Blacks and Whites, nor a common culture, nor a common destiny. Eighty years ago, the US was 85% white of various European nationalities. Blacks were about 13%, and there was a smattering of other ethnes. Then you could try to overlook the differences among the White nations, and pretend the others didn't exist. If you did that, the US looked like it might be a nation. WW II propaganda war films worked hard to pretend there was on one nation. I guess it worked then, during the war, and later during the Cold War. But it rings false now. Even then, the US wasn't a nation by any European standard. And there can be no pretense that we are now.
a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory
That ship sailed a long time ago.
Exactly correct. Bulldog has been on run of posts worthy of an "okay, Boomer" response, and this is another one of them. He's coming across as being just hopelessly out of touch, as if it's still 1985.
This wasn't meant as something worthy of an "OK Boomer" response. But it if it is worthy of one, so be it - sometimes "OK Boomer" says more about the person saying it than what is being responded to.
It's written as a response to the crap I see in the news, more and more frequently (especially now), from people talking about how awful our nation is. I think (I hope) we can all agree this kind of thought process is what makes things worse, not better. These first three responses lead me to believe discussion is already not an option.
The idea that we're not a nation implies the only 'solution' to our current issues are to dissolve the union or engage in some kind of warfare to eliminate whoever is 'causing' problems. I'm not on board with either of those.
If any of you have a 3rd option, outside of reasonable discourse (which is what I proposed), I'd be happy to hear it.
In my experience, moments like our current one come and go. I suspect this will, too. Unless, perhaps, Biden is elected, in which case it will undoubtedly get much, much worse.
We've never been a nation of common descent or culture. However, the definition includes the word 'or' - indicating that history, language or inhabiting territory all play a role. So we are a nation, because at the very least we all inhabit the same territory. There is a "we" in the sense that we share things.
We just don't always share the same things.
But I'm open to ideas. What's the outcome?
France suffered its own spasms of self-loathing several times from 1789-1870. To some degree, it still has them (though they hide it with their haughtiness).
Some of you are content with the idea we're not really a nation that can solve problems? I'm not. So what's the solution if it isn't identifying issues and discussing them?
Have to run, but I read the Quillette post and will be back.
It's a good post post Bulldog.
Pay no attention to the "OK Boomer" set. A timely article and spot on.
For us to prevail we have to counter the narrative that conservatives are the haters. Clearly, the real haters are the Democrats and Progressives (BIRM) who hate us, the country, and themselves equally.
About that definition of "nation,"
Populations have always shifted throughout the world. There have always been migrations of people over continents. Whether by land or sea, people travel and settle in new lands, sometimes peaceful, sometimes conquering.
A family member tried to convince me last weekend that we live in a deeply racist country, and had some anecdotal evidence to support it. So do I, for that matter - but most of it is pretty old. I asked him to give me an example of a country that has a better record on racial issues than the USA. He couldn't, but then he's young and not very traveled and I hope it made him think a little.
I've lived in worked in most regions of the world - the nature of my work meant that most of these assignments stretched from months to years, in one case over a decade. Got to know cultures and people. One can say the USA has serious race issues. But every country I have lived / worked in has worse ones, most of them far grittier, institutionalized racism. One could say, accurately, that the USA's racism has an institutionalized component too - but not white-based.
The protest is mostly young people, mostly emotional. They are too young to recognize how their idealism is being harnessed as a screen for the benefit of cynical gain by looters and anarchists. With experience, maybe the more savvy ones will start to get it as more black people die, including black cops.
One distant family member at present is attacking another family member on social media, in the worst, most fascistic way possible, accusative of racism, privileged, class resentment etc etc. A lesbian uber-woke litany of sdcreaming buzzwords, all geared toward shaming and bullying because - Silence is Violence. The Struggle is Real. But there is another privilege at work, and that is also real: Real Tiresome, I mean; the privilege of presuming on our patient indulgence.
For your untraveled young relative, here are some anecdotes. I'm sure you have plenty of your own.
In Bolivia and Argentina, I was the guest in 2 households that displayed prominent pictures/portraits of Adolf Hitler. In one case, the 20-something guy who had invited me and others in said that the Hitler portrait was there because of crazy old grandpa. In the other case, the middle aged head of household who had invited me in fully owned up to the Hitler portrait. He called Jews "dirty."
In Trinidad, a 60-something black woman called me a "white mother-fu***** -cu***" for wearing Bermuda shorts. I wasn't breaking social customs, as there were plenty of Trinidadian males who were also wearing shorts. She (incorrectly) claimed that in the US, I wouldn't be wearing shorts. Which would be correct for 40 degrees, but not for 80+ degrees.
In northern Mexico, I learned that to call a woman an "India" (Indian) was equivalent to calling her a whore. This in a Mestizo country.
In Argentina, a professional whom I worked with told me that he was surprised from his attending a conference in the US that no one in the US made a big deal of his being Jewish. Which did occur in Argentina, fairly often.
Or there was the Argentina medical student on vacation in Ecuador who talked about the "dumb Indians" in Ecuador. (Which reminds me of an old Argentine saying that South America begins north of Córdoba.)
As you found out, anyone who believes the US is the poster child for horrible racism needs to get out of the US and see how other countries compare.
Your young relative might ponder why, if the South is still as racist as it was 50-100 years ago, that for the last several decades, blacks have been moving back to the South.
Take heart, Bulldog. We're better than that. The Professional Talkers don't cover folks like us, therefore we don't exist ... except that we do, and we'll be happy to shake your hand.
Oh, and remember what Ike said about the fury of an aroused democracy.
Every nation, without exception, has a seamy side to its history. Every nation is flawed because every nation is made up of flawed people.
We can start by rejecting the Stalinists who are out to destroy us. We can start by explicitly naming our enemies, identifying their animus, and going after them. We can start doing the above by rejecting the psychological and linguistic hobbles the Left has been affixing to the rest of us for at least two generations. I don't know if the Republic can survive intact, but we have an obligation to fight for it. J.R. Nyquist is not optimistic, and his piece referenced below is worth consideration.
"We are near the end of the Republic. A revolution has begun and no decisive counter-revolutionary actions have been ordered. Why has this happened? Because we have been psychologically and linguistically disarmed.
"For example: — The oath of allegiance of federal officials is to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic; but if we refuse to acknowledge the existence of enemies, if we cannot name our enemies, no defense will be possible. And this is the one thing, above all, that has been forbidden: We are not allowed to name our enemies."
The self-hatred comes out of Gramscian damage, a deliberate effort to undermine the country.
Americans have never really understood ideological warfare. Our gut-level assumption is that everybody in the world really wants the same comfortable material success we have. We use “extremist” as a negative epithet. Even the few fanatics and revolutionary idealists we have, whatever their political flavor, expect everybody else to behave like a bourgeois.
[i]We don’t expect ideas to matter — or, when they do, we expect them to matter only because people have been flipped into a vulnerable mode by repression or poverty. Thus all our divagation about the “root causes” of Islamic terrorism, as if the terrorists’ very clear and very ideological account of their own theory and motivations is somehow not to be believed.
[i]By contrast, ideological and memetic warfare has been a favored tactic for all of America’s three great adversaries of the last hundred years — Nazis, Communists, and Islamists. All three put substantial effort into cultivating American proxies to influence U.S. domestic policy and foreign policy in favorable directions. Yes, the Nazis did this, through organizations like the “German-American Bund” that was outlawed when World War II went hot. Today, the Islamists are having some success at manipulating our politics through fairly transparent front organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
[i]But it was the Soviet Union, in its day, that was the master of this game. They made dezinformatsiya (disinformation) a central weapon of their war against “the main adversary”, the U.S. They conducted memetic subversion against the U.S. on many levels at a scale that is only now becoming clear as historians burrow through their archives and ex-KGB officers sell their memoirs.....
What America needs is the cultural identity that makes other great nations, nations. That is, we need a population that believes in the American identity, and a constitution that insists on preserving it. If we fail to achieve these things, the true America will not only vanish from the earth, we will be memory-holed.
Agree — here's a start on that. (After all, the Left has had a century to bring us to this state.)
But it's going to require a complete takeover and reorientation of the schools from pre-kindergarten through university. And many firings of bureaucrats and teachers.
The enemies list is a good share of academia, high school and college, that self protects by using tenure. The administrative state, government bureaucrats, self protects itself by using the civil service system. Until these protections are ripped away from the Marxist/fascists there will be no way to strip them of their jobs regardless of how useless, extremist, and unaccountable they are for their actions. Every one of these enemies makes its living on the taxpayer teat and manage a good benefit package procured from their political brotherhood. Then they further protect themselves by unionizing even though government employees unionizing is a conflict of interest with those they "negotiate" with to secure their pay and project funding.
We have been convinced to hate ourselves because we have bought into the deception that we are a product of random chance, and not - as is the truth - that we are created in the image of almighty God. Everything. ... abortion, racism and class warfare, murder. .. all stems from this.
The greatest strength of the Constitution is that it blatantly acknowledges the creature and the Creator.
That is why the enemy of man is working so hard to destroy us.
excellent article on Quillette, including many of the comments. It may seem too long unless you turn off the TV....
I think there has always been a push pull between the exotic and the safe, the novel and the familiar. Nobody wants to think of themselves as mundane. Probably, for the most part, that's a good thing, and what keeps us moving forward. I don't know what has driven this condition to extremes.
As I was reading, I had two additional thoughts.
Unlike pre WWII, people, today, can get away with not ever growing up. I think a lot of people are stuck in adolescence. It's like they have Peter Pan syndrome and we're the Wendys. It's no wonder they can buy into fantastical utopianism.
I don't know if you have seen any of the weird, cultish videos of white people groveling and debasing themselves. It put me in mind of the medieval self flagellators, scourging themselves to expiate sin. Creepy.
I watch travel shows and sometimes get jealous of the people I'm watching. An American or Brit is in a country experiencing all of the little things that bind that body of people. Everyone knows the old songs, eats the same meals on holidays, wears the same costumes at festivals. They know the dances of their ancestors. They have the same religion, language, diet. Often, there history is a simple and linear story of us-against-them, and the people know it.
We don't have a shared physical culture like that. If we ever aquire something resembling that it will be centuries down the road.
The only shared culture we have is one of ideas. If we fail to pass those ideas on to the next generation we will lose any sense of a culture to unite behind.
If you want to save this country there are certain things that must be done. Study the enemies of our culture; study the reasons a self-loathing American is the way he is. The tactics used are successful. Imitate them.
Get involved in the decision making processes. I DON"T MEAN VOTING. I mean get on the school boards. Join the committees at work. Home school your children or teach them to recognize lies that their teachers tell them. Tell your children to speak up againt the lies. Encourage good children to enter fields that change the world: teaching, advertising, entertainment, HR departments. We are where we are because of a century of little decisions being made.
The only way to prevent a self-loathing American (the most disgusting thing in our nation) is to make sure that children grow up knowing who we are and what binds us together. They hear a narative everyday in school, music, television, advertising. Change that narative!
This is a bit crude but it goes to Aggie's comment above vs tourism.
Too many people visit a zoo and think they're living in the wild.
But we are NOT teaching our kids well, at least not most of them. We've abdicated to public schooling, and therefore leftist ideology.
Let me put it this way. In my fraternity, we'd had only a few black members through the years. I had one in my pledge class, son of a Nigerian minister, he was schooled in London. Studying engineering. Great guy. He and I were close, we had a little group of 3-5 people within the fraternity that was tight. He later went on to have a very good career as a music critic in Britain, and I was amazed to see his name on many articles, as well as his inclusion on several documentaries about modern rock/rap music. He had substance abuse issues, and between that and distance, we'd drifted apart.
Fast forward, 30 years later, my son joins the same fraternity. There are now 5 members of color. I met them all, my son was very friendly with them. Great kids.
Now, I'm not sure that numbers say anything. Some people could say "only 5? You think that's progress?" Or "you only had one? You're racist!" There are all kinds of things you can comment on regarding numbers.
From my perspective, the acceptance of people of different cultures as time went on (my son had 10 different nations represented in the fraternity) shows a sea change in cultural acceptance.
I believe we are coming closer to sharing values and physical culture, but we're not learning about the MOST IMPORTANT cultural issues - as you said, IDEAS. The US brought reason to the forefront of management of society. Then abandoned reason for feelings, somewhere along the line.
We have to get back to teaching things like logic, reason, and stop the focus on feelings. I feel really pissed off now, but my feelings don't matter. That's how illogical this 'feelings culture' is. The only feelings that count are the ones that media says count.
So I've given up on feelings as a binding tool. They are useless in the broader sense of society. In a heterogeneous nation, maybe not. We're not that kind of nation, we never really were.
Something I meant to add:
Get on the committees in your church and control the decision making process. This was a very important step early in the Progressive movement. It helped changed the culture.
When I say imitate the enemy I mean it. Study Saul Alinsky. Read the speeches of Presidents Wilson and TR. There are reasons it's called Progressivism. There's nothing revolutionary that will work. The change will come through incrementalism. An old saying of the American commies is " Inch by Inch, Anything's a Cinch."
We don't have a shared physical culture like that.
YMMV. Courtesy of my crazy Uncle Sam, I was "nudged" into the Air Force and shipped South right out of college. And got the Culture Shock of my life. Fifty years later, I find that I have much more in common with rednecks of all colors* than Yanqui gringos in New York, Minneapolis, or Stanford (did 18 months there, what a$$holes).
*Ran into my first black biker club in Gonzales, Texas, back in '88.
Amen, Jack. And not just churches. In or out of church, get some folks organized around what you want improved in your community. Then attend municipal meetings--city council, advisory committes, whatever--and make some constructive contributions. It takes a while, but before long, folks pay attention; your ranks grow, and both city and citizens take you seriously. And you get stuff done. Maybe you get credit, maybe not. But you helped get it done.
If you are talking about Mainline American churches, that is a lost cause. They are corrupt from top to bottom. Satan is firmly in charge of virtually all of them--he uses the phony churches to fool and inoculate people from the Gospel and make sure they go to Hell. Bring up something like Scripture or what God says we need to be doing, and you will be given the heave-ho quickly.
Their weakness is they are like a virus, the people running them are parasitic and need host bodies to live off of. That is why they take over churches, drain them of their resources and chase out the Christians, and then they die and the properties are sold off for new condos or mosques or shopping plazas.
Yes, we are an idea country. Unique in that way.
It is difficult to pull off when many people are not on the same page. Subcultures, ethnicity, religion, economics, IQ, talents, etc etc all have divisive impacts.
That's why giant diverse empires like India have trouble. China decided it needed to have a police state to hold together.
It is difficult to pull off when many people are not on the same page. Subcultures, ethnicity, religion, economics, IQ, talents, etc etc all have divisive impacts.
And this is why immigrants to the US need to assimilate. And besides being selective, the rate of immigration has to be small enough that assimilation is easy for us.
Multiculturalism (with identity politics & political correctness as aspects of it) needs to be decisively ended. It's bad for those in the country from birth as noted above. And for immigrants, the only things that should survive from the Old Country are folk music and cuisine. Anything else needs to be left behind when people come here to settle.
I believe Dr. Benedict Beckeld is right, in that this self-loathing/self-hatred thing has a foundation in our DNA, and surfaces when there is plenty to eat and people have too much time on their hands.
As such, I am not sure what can be done about it. We can throw out platitudes and ideas about how to turn this around, but we are too few to effect any kind of meaningful change.
Sometimes all one can do is look on in horror/morbid fascination at the coming crash.
Public policy increasingly is based on fantasies and lies. and that just mirrors our culture.
I don't see how it can end well.