Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Few Thoughts on ‘America’

First, there is no ‘America’.  There are a number of regional cultures - Scandinavian Midwest, Quaker Middle Atlantic, Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-African South, etc. - unnaturally pressed together by a central government that has always been a tyranny in waiting (as Patrick Henry and the other (poorly named) Anti-Federalists foresaw).  But there is not ‘one nation’ or 'one people' with a common cultural inheritance.

Second, Americans should not boast that their Union is the best nation in the history of the world.  To do so does not show Christian humility and does not correspond well to the truth.  To give but one example:  Hitler seems to have admired the extermination policy of Lincoln, his successors, and their generals towards the Native Americans (namely, forced marches and concentration camps):

One might also cite here the curses of industrialism and mega-cities and the scarcity of monasteries in America.

Third, to view material prosperity as the blessing of God is to misunderstand Christianity.  We are called to renounce the world, not embrace it.  Because of the fall, we must develop resources to protect ourselves from the elements, to feed ourselves, for defense against enemies, and such like.  But once we get much beyond these necessities, worldly wealth simply becomes a snare, a source for pride that separates us from God.

Fourth, to the extent that there is one nation called ‘America’, it exists by virtue of the destruction of long established local cultures by national and international corporations intent on making slaves of all (this has been our especial misfortune since the end of World War II).  That such a condition ought to be rejected would seem to be self-evident.  Yet this is what is hailed as progress by many so-called conservatives today, who worship at the altar of Economic Development.

As Dr Donald Livingston et al. wrote a few years back, it is far past time to rethink the American Union:

(Thanks to RH for inspiring this post.)

No comments:

Post a Comment