Saturday, September 04, 2010

Orthograph #99 - Preaching to Choirs


Lazarus said...

How true it is...

James the Thickheaded said...

Nail hit on the head... or simply head hit with hammer. Ouch!

If the Washington Monument is all about making or getting a point, then I'm not sure what a monument to blogging would look like... but it wouldn't be pointy headed.

Anonymous said...

Strange, am I the only one persuaded?

Arsenios said...

So why do people get so bent out of shape when politics come up? When I raise the topic at work, everything gets awkward and silent. I'm an outsider, though, and don't fully understand American thinking. It seems that earlier in our history people would discuss and debate such things all of the time without hard feelings.

Ranger said...

Yes, we are all as stubborn as we are wordy.

Anonymous said...

Arsenios, I believe the reason is that we are taught in America that America isn't a place or a people, but an idea.

This has always created an intense debate about the national (pseudo-historical/cultural) narrative. In America when two people disagree rather extremely they are led to the brink of calling the other "not a true American".

This would never happen in a country where ethnic ties comprise the national identity.

Incidentally, this is why patriotism in America (I believe) can never become nationalism as in the dangerous expressions of fascists in Europe. Because America's patriotism is tied to ideals, not chauvinism.

Our idealism gets us into all manner of other troubles and creates a fertile ground for a military-industrial complex that has rivaled all history. The profiteers from that system can enjoy ideological cover.

Incidentally, much good and much bad has come from America wielding it's power, but I'm not sure that if one could go back in history to do it over we could have done much better. There is much that is pragmatic about the American character, but war isn't one of those things.

Back to my point. People are nervous because when ideological lines are drawn (particularly today, but this has always been part of the American experiment) so are "true American" lines. Everyone wants to, and needs to control the story so as to justify the "America" (the idea) they subscribe to.

No one likes to admit that the story has always been more complicated than they would like to say (for example, if you would have taken a poll, it would have been against our very own Revolutionary war).

Right now we see playing out on the right "Hamiltonian vs Jacksonian" Republicans and "Jeffersonians vs Paineans" on the left.