Western culture dissonance

Jeane Kirkpatrick famously noted that “They always blame America first” describing the “San Francisco Democrats” in 1984. Michael Barone wonders about this phenomena in his The Blame-America-First Crowd column at TownHall.

Then Mark Steyn takes a look at A conscience that moved the world in the Washington Times. That takes a look at Wilberforce and how the English Navy were the stimulus to end slavery as an accepted social norm.

Barone blames the education establishment and notes:

What they have been denied in their higher education is an accurate view of history and America’s place in it. Many adults actively seek what they have been missing: witness the robust sales of books on the Founding Fathers. Witness, also, the robust sales of British historian Andrew Roberts’s splendid “History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900.”

Roberts points out almost all the advances of freedom in the 20th century have been made by the English-speaking peoples — Americans especially, but British, as well, and also (here his account will be unfamiliar to most American readers) Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders. And he recalls what held and holds them together by quoting a speech Winston Churchill gave in 1943 at Harvard: “Law, language, literature — these are considerable factors. Common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice and above all a love of personal freedom … these are the common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-speaking peoples.”

Steyn shows an example of the actual history from 200 years ago:

“Slavery was as accepted as birth and marriage and death, was so woven into the tapestry of human history that you could barely see its threads, much less pull them out. Everywhere on the globe, for 5,000 years, the idea of human civilization without slavery was unimaginable. … What Wilberforce vanquished was something even worse than slavery,” says Mr. Metaxas, “something that was much more fundamental and can hardly be seen from where we stand today: He vanquished the very mindset that made slavery acceptable and allowed it to survive and thrive for millennia. He destroyed an entire way of seeing the world, one that had held sway from the beginning of history, and he replaced it with another way of seeing the world.”

It seems very difficult for some to accept, especially some who have benefited greatly from the advances of Western Culture that it is that culture that is the best cure for the many ills that obsess them. Barone asks why and Stein shows just how serious the question is.

Update: American Digest has another take on the cause of the blame America first syndrome.

“You must have shame. Shame is what we have when we look around us. We are ashamed of what was given us. You must join us; share in our shame at being Americans, at being the last best hope of earth.

“Join us and join the rising despair of people who, believing in nothing, believe only in the self, the life of the senses, the mollifying of guilt, of ‘the expense of reason in a waste of shame.'”

That gets into fundamental emotions of guilt from perceived superiority.

Comments are closed.