Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Things We Love About America

If you check out Andrew Sullivan's blog today, he's been posting all sorts of things to love about America. He's up to Part XIX. Part V was that the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was holding its own Transformers premiere with a real-live fire-breathing, car-eating Dinobot:
I hope that embedding worked.

UPDATE: Oops! Sorry, Howard Zinn says America is bad. Put away your flags and let Zinn be the wet blanket on your fireworks. Sigh. If anyone ever wonders why I reject an association with leftists, it's because they write stuff like that. News flash: America has done some bad stuff, unlike Norway, Costa Rica, and Switzerland, which are apparently pure as the driven snow.


At Wednesday, July 4, 2007 at 7:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger Paul C. said...

Couldn't have waited a day, right Howard? Tack-y.

And why is it that as soon as he mentioned the greatness of Switzerland, all I could think of was Harry Lime talking about cuckoo clocks?

At Thursday, July 5, 2007 at 12:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

And with Norway, my first thought was where the term "Quisling" came from.

At Thursday, July 5, 2007 at 4:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Victor said...

Also, the monks at Lindisfarne might have had a few thoughts about the Norwegians of their day. But they were just Catholics, so they were asking for it.

At Saturday, July 7, 2007 at 1:27:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Zinn actually wrote was:

"National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more)."

He never said any country was "better" than ours.

His statement is otherwise entirely accurate. I beseech you to prove otherwise.

At Saturday, July 7, 2007 at 3:12:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

First off, I'd prefer you don't post anonymously. I put my real name and e-mail address on this blog, and in doing so, I think twice before posting, as it holds me accountable. I'd prefer the same courtesy from my commenters.

Second, yes, I know I simplified Zinn's argument, but Zinn's argument itself only holds water if one takes an extremely selective view of history. He picked through history to find only America's crimes and has cast other events in our history only in the light which makes America look bad.

How can I be accused of simplification when Zinn sums up our participation in WWII thusly:
The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He writes of American "self-deception" :
Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.

But Zinn looks at history through equally deceiving glasses, just polarized in the opposite direction. I'm not going to rehash four centuries of history here. What is inspiring about America to me is that it was a nation created out of ideals, "conceived in liberty." At first, of course, that liberty only really applied to landowning white men. Over time, though, the universality of those ideas have grown to encompass the rest of the population, and have proven to be an inspiration not only for millions of immigrants but for many other people who have wished to be free to live their lives as they please.

Obviously we've not always lived up to that ideal, but the point is that the ideal is there, and when something is wrong, we have a system in place that allows us to change things.

Part of our nationalism is that in the great conflicts of the past century--- against Nazism, against Communism, and against Islamic fundamentalism --- we've known that it is right for people to live free instead of under tyranny. For me, much of the problem I have with the President is that in fighting the right fight in the broadest sense (i.e., freedom vs. Islamic fundamentalist tyranny) he's done so (a) incompetently, and (b) while being willing to completely ignore American ideals in order to supposedly fight for them. Those of us who feel we can do better are themselves appealing to American nationalism --- a nation built on these ideals deserves better than to have this cretinous fool in charge.

Zinn, Chomsky, and the like, though, feel that America is rotten to the core and wouldn't care if it died out. They don't see anything beyond "America is powerful; therefore it is bad." I'm sure Switzerland is a lovely place, but will they stand up to al Qaeda?


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