Klavan On The Culture

#AmericaWasNeverGreat?

I hesitated before deciding to respond to the Independence Day Twitter hashtag #AmericaWasNeverGreat. Normally, when I step in dog crap, I don’t start a debate with it — I just scrape it off my shoe and keep on walking.

And indeed, if this were just the slogan of spoiled university snowflakes taking mock heroic poses in their safe spaces, it wouldn’t be worth thinking about. But, in fact, #AmericaWasNeverGreat has been the secret sub-text of much of the leftist message since at least the sixties. It may have reached the high watermark of its legitimacy with Barack Obama’s threat to “fundamentally transform” the nation that had given him everything in return for precious little. But it might also gain a few extra months of credence by playing off the blustering nationalist sloganeering of a (let’s face it) lowlife like Donald Trump.

The problem is, whether you are black or white, male or female, gay or straight, blessed to be born here or willing to break every law and dare any danger to get here from somewhere else, #AmericaWasNeverGreat is simply historical nonsense.

When the U.S. became a republic, it was the only one on earth. Now, because of what America showed the world, even the darkest tyrannies have to call themselves republics simply to maintain a pretense of legitimacy. As for those nations that are, in fact, free, there is not one — not one — that does not owe a debt to the United States, the nation that led the successful fight against Nazism and then Communism. Even those Americans whining about how oppressed they are here are only free to talk such trash because of the system our founders created. Without that system, they would actually be oppressed instead of being able to say so.

What the left and other enemies of freedom have done is to convince people to judge us by our failings and our flaws, mostly our woeful participation in the universal sin of racism. This is a strategy (sometimes flattered by association with once-philosophical “critical theory“) put into place by those who wish to sell the slavery of socialism, but who can’t do it on that failed system’s merits. The idea is: you don’t have to pimp socialist slavery, you merely criticize everything else and people will follow the siren song of Soviet-loving jackasses like Bernie Sanders — and Barack Obama, who says he shares Sanders’s socialist goals.

But ask yourself this about the critical approach: How would it work if applied to you? What would your life look like judged solely by its mistakes and cruelties? What would anyone — or any nation — look like judged that way? Greatness is a question of accomplishments, not failings, and the accomplishments of the U.S.A. in making the world a freer, better, richer and safer place are unmatched by all but a few nations in history, and outstripped by none.

America was a great nation. It is a great nation. With God’s help — and at this point, nothing less will do — it will be greater still.

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(Artwork created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)