Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Gang of Four

It is easy to criticize a nation by setting up artificial standards and then claiming they fail them.

The left loves to run down America, which is one reason I am less and less enchanted with the Democratic party.   It is not that America doesn't have its faults - all countries do, just as all people do.  But the criticisms leveled against the USA sometimes border on the absurd, and are based on the expectation that anything below perfection is unacceptable, and unless everyone is entirely equal in every way, we have somehow failed.

There are two mantras often batted around by the moonbat left to run down our country.  The first is a quote - attributed to everyone from Gandhi, to Mandela, to the Pope (pick one) to Mark Twain (when in doubt, use Twain) that "A nation is to be judged by how it treats its least fortunate."   The second mantra is that the USA has "failed to live up to its promise of freedom" or something to that effect.   Both of these mantras are used to USA-bash, and both are ridiculous and artificial standards created by the left to show that the USA has somehow "failed" its citizens.

With regard to the first, I had written a blog entry about this, but never got around to finishing it (it was quite long).   So I'll give you the Reader's Digest version - it is wrong on two levels.  First, judging a nation based on how it treats its bums is stupid.   The greatest countries and empires in the world were not known for how they treated the poor but for much greater things.   And in fact, once they decided to stop doing great things and worry more about appeasing the citizens, they failed.

The Roman empire spanned most of Europe for centuries.   They were not known for being nice guys, either.  But they brought law, order, trade, civilization, education, and stability to much of the world under their command.   During the declining years, they decided instead to concentrate on a "Rome First!" policy and appease the unwashed masses with "bread and circuses" and of course, the rest is history - Rome fell.

The British Empire once spanned the globe - and again, they weren't known as being nice guys.   But they created stability, government, civilization, education, and brought British bureaucracy to many 3rd world countries (where it still thrives today).  British-based laws still abound in Asia, India, and Africa, which is one reason why gays are so persecuted there (the other reason being ignorant religious beliefs).

Of course, the British Empire had its heyday, and after World War II, the UK was largely bankrupt and gave up control of its former colonies and possessions.  They turned inwardly, electing a socialist government that built government housing, nationalized industries, and put millions "on the dole".  The great empire is no more, and with Brexit, it is finally cratering.

If the USA is to be known for anything, a thousand years from now, it will be our technological progress, the relative peace in the "Pax Americana", the moon landing, and so on and so forth.   We will not be remembered for how well the poor were treated.  No civilization is.  It is an absurd standard.

And by the way, anytime America does something truly great, the leftists will always posit that the money could have been better spent feeding the poor.  "How many poor people could have been fed with the money wasted on moon rockets?" was a common refrain in the 1970's.    Under that sort of standard, nothing would ever get done, as no matter what the goal was, the money could have been "better" utilized feeding a bum.

But, even if you assume it is some sort of standard, our poor are the fattest poor in history.   Maybe we don't coddle our prisoners in luxury prisons like in Europe, or provide "council flats" and fat checks for those who don't work.  But by world standards, our poor are wealthier than the rich in about half the countries out there.   Being poor in America is not like being poor in Africa, Asia, India, or Russia - often the sources of these criticisms of America, by the way.   Quite odd that.

So this whole mantra that we are to be judged by how we treat the poor is wrong on two counts - it is not some standard that is recognized by anyone in the world, and it is indeed, just stupid.   And our poor suffer from obesity-related illnesses at a record level, which negates this whole "starving masses" nonsense.

But what about the other mantra?   That we have failed to live up to our ideals?   There is some root in this phrase in Martin Luther King's speech on the national mall - "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."   Of course, he is quoting from the Declaration of Independence, not the US Constitution.   The former is not a legally binding document in the USA, the latter is the source of all of our laws.   And sadly, the Constitution not only doesn't say anything about all men being equal, but actually codifies inequality by allowing for slavery, counting blacks as 3/5ths of a human being, and not providing for enfranchisement for women or the poor.   It was a rich, white man's world in 1787, and it is only over time that it has changed.

And that is the point - we have changed.   The bloodiest war ever fought in this country was among ourselves, and it was over equality.   While we have failed in the past to live up to this "creed" we have tried, time and again, to improve ourselves.   People from the North, who never even met a black person in their lives, volunteered to fight to abolish slavery and gave their lives as a result.   This is hardly failing to live up to a creed - it is noble sacrifice of the greatest sort.   This is not to say the fight is over - it never is - and that was probably Dr. King's point.  Because at the time he gave that speech, things were hardly equal, but they have improved substantially since then.

But think for a moment about the countries that do live up to their creeds.   Iran, for example, is a theocracy, and lives quite well up to its creed.   There is no "struggle" in Iran to improve things, as they are quite happy with an Islamic theocracy and Sharia law.  Little boys are hung from the back of tow trucks if they are caught kissing one another.   And this is not considered an injustice there, but justice.   They have fully lived up to their creed.

Or consider Russia - their creed being, "whoever has the most power, wins" - and old Vlad Putin certainly has lived up to that creed.  China?   Well, they are struggling a bit with a Muslim minority, but never fear, they shall have licked that "problem" as they did in Tibet, and live up to their Communist creed quite well.  Go on down the line - North Korea, the Phillipines, and so on and so forth.   Not much hand-wringing going on about how they have failed to live up to their own lofty goals.   They've murdered them! - often quite literally.

What makes our country great is that we have these ideals - and they are lofty ideals - and we continue to strive to achieve them.   And they are the hardest ideals to achieve, as evidenced by the fact that so few countries have even tried to achieve them.   Maybe there are some countries in Europe where life is better than in the USA.   Perhaps equality in Scandinavian countries is better, in a country where everyone is blonde and blue-eyed, discrimination isn't an issue - until migrants come along and we see the ugly underside of human nature expose itself.   And maybe the welfare state in the UK is more cushy than our patchwork of support programs - but then again, is a country really "free" when they still have a non-elected monarchy?   How about those "free elections" for the new Prime Minister they are having - where only Conservative Party members are allowed to vote?  Um, doesn't sound much better than the Electoral College to me.

The point is, no country is perfect, and setting perfection as your standard means you can always run down a country, particularly if you are writing an Op-Ed piece in The Guardian.  And yes, it is absurd that someone can come here as a refugee from Somalia, and thrive and even be elected to Congress, and still claim the system is flawed and "prejudiced" against them.    If our country is so flawed and horrible, why come here in the first place?     Not many people are fleeing to the freedom in Somalia.  If the system is so prejudiced and racist, how did you ever get elected to office?

Trump recently got into hot water for saying "Why don't you go back where you came from?" which for the gang of four would mean Somalia, Detroit,  Chicago, and Westchester County.  This comment was quickly decried as racist and people are falling all over themselves to make a huge issue about it, because we as voters, care more about Tweets and Snapchat than actual policies and laws.  Sadly, this is actually true.  We care more about heat than light, and a good sound-bite is far easier to sell than boring policy papers.  And what is more important in the long run - the historical view - is what Trump is doing to the government and the economy than he is doing to the Twitterverse.

But his ineptly made point was sort of what I have said here.  If this country is so horrible and flawed, why are people literally dying to get here?  Why is no one dying to flee to Somolia or craving to live under the auspices of Hamas in the Gaza strip?   

It is trendy to run down the United States, particularly on the left.  But sadly, I think this sort of sport will only insure four more years of Trump, which may be exactly what the left is hoping for, as America hasn't quite developed a taste for socialism or communism just yet.   The left doesn't want to see solutions or compromise or any sort of progress (despite their naming themselves as "progressives") because what they really want is the system to completely fall apart so that people are actually starving, at which point, they will vote for anything for relief, much as people in Kabul welcomed the Taliban as relief from years of shelling, warlords, and civil war.

They want to destroy the village to save the village.   And it is a strategy that just won't work.