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History and Culture for the Discerning American

Spotlighting some of the holes in pop culture thought is one of the most important goals of this blog.  Fighting extremism, terror, and otherwise retarded ideologies can only be achieved if Americans are re-educated in the facts.  There are facts and they do not support what Americans are increasingly thinking.  This is an uphill battle at best.  At worst it is attempting to unbrainwash those who have been sucked into a high-powered cynicism vacuum.   While Europe Slept does a great job of doing away with some of those misconceptions that many in our nation’s leadership affirm as fact.  Just one of those misconceptions is the Europe rocks, America sucks! thought.

Bruce Bawer says we need to turn that idea around.  Much of the pop culture in Europe is distinctly American.  The idea that Americans only typically speak English has been something of a resume (how do you type on accent on XP!?!?!?) stain. The western European countries sit in a huddle, each resembling something that the typical American would call a state. It is as if New England was divided into diverse cultural centers, each with it’s own language (and speaking “central Jersey” is nearly speaking a different language). But making this whole language ‘thing’ an issue for Americans is like telling Warren Buffet he is not qualified for a job at McDonald’s. European culture is wonderful (according to most Ameripeans and the Travel and Food channel), but they can thank America for that. In fact they can thank America that they aren’t all speaking German or Russian for that matter.

Yes, many Europeans were book lovers–but which foreign country’s literature engaged them most? America’s. They revered education–but to which country’s universities would they most like to send their children if they had the means? Answer: the same country that performs the majority of the world’s scientific research, wins most of the Nobel Prizes, and has twice as many university graduates as Europe. Yes, mor Europeans were multilingual, but so what? If each of the fifty states had it’s own language, Americans would be multilingual too. And yes, America was responsible for plenty of mediocre popular culture; but Europeans, I was beginning to learn, consumed this stuff every bit as eagerly as Americans did–only to turn around and mock it as “typically American.” –Bruce Bawer from While Europe Slept

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This is one of the few areas that While Europe Slept covers and though it seems trivial, the new ‘enlightened’ American feels as if they have a right to dismiss every good this country has produced. If you try to discuss it, cynicism abounds. I had one of my own relatives tell me this country was founded on lies and evil — imagine my heartbreak. I would like to ask people like that this simple question: If an absolute cure for cancer was produced so that no one was to ever die from the disease, would it matter that the discoverer had a nasty habit of stealing candy from little children? As weird and mean a habit as this man has, he has benefited humanity far more than he has hurt it.  This is a terrible analogy because in America’s case, the doctor would have probably stolen the candy away from the children because they were using the candy to help the communists. heh.

We could argue the facts anyway we want to present them, but some facts are not true at all. When the framers of the constitution put their signatures on that historic and beautiful document, they put all of their wealth and their very lives on the line. Even at that moment there were problems. There were some, like former President James Madison, who felt as we do today, that a free nation cannot morally stand as long as it tolerates slavery (William Bennett, America: The Last Best Hope, Vol. 1). And there were those that disagreed. Members representing the southern states were needed to fight off the British. This group had formerly sought to create their own separate country with the help of the Spanish (where slavery was pretty darn popular at the time, and now another bad idea – Shari’a law- is too). America was just a hair away from not existing. The majority of northern states supported ridding the country of the slave trade, but decided that they must be united to fight off the British.  Alone, they didn’t have enough votes to raddify the constitution without the slave states and they needed them.  They cleverly drafted up paperwork that said that the slave states would not be able to count slaves equally in representation because that would give the slave states the majority of the power – which would mean that slavery could go on indefinitely! Their desires and hope for equality was finally taken up by our 16th president who famously said:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.*

Another interesting fact is that letters in Lincoln’s own hand have been found showing that he wanted to offer to buy all of the slaves’ freedom. He thought that if the south took the money, they could move on without the business of war, a war where nearly 700,000 lives were lost, the largest amount ever for Americans in war. This, however was not a very popular idea and didn’t make it to the business table.

Lincoln knew that his job was to continue the task that our forefathers had set forth. The decision was to be faced eventually. Did they choose to face it when they had everything to lose, or did they leave it for some other president to achieve?  Knowing our true history and the reasons behind our leader’s choices is important and as G.I. Joe (a real American hero) would say, and knowing is half the battle!



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