The American Idea

In June of 2007 The Atlantic Monthly ran a feature, “The Future of the American Idea” in celebration of 150 years of the The Atlantic Monthly publication. The introduction was lofty citing famous intellectual and literary names of the past. The writers of this intro hail the Atlantic’s deep understanding of change as a prime reason for its longevity and endurance!
John Updike kicks off the ego trip with a salute to the rise of the individual. That only in this vast open, untainted land mass could the human bring forth and develop those traits, talents and creative attributes and allow for a the tolerance of a critical mass to create a culture free from “terrorism from above rather than consent by of the governed”. He extols the creation of this new entity as populated by people who “know their own minds and act in their own enlighten self interest, with necessary respect for others”. Now let’s stop right there!!!
First of all I find it very hard to go on and on about the virtues Mr. Updike lauds when really, it was out of extreme disrespect for the indigenous people of the North and South American continents that allowed the white foreign (European) invaders to exploit and run over these native people out of a well defined sense of superiority and greed, traits which we hold true to this very moment. So the truth is that no, there was no intellectual prowess at play among the early invaders or those born thereafter. Self interest? Oh yeah, in spades and more. Enlightenment? Hardly!!!
In conclusion, Mr.U cautions against the world’s poor, saying they have nothing to loose (does that mean they will invade us?), a ruinous depletion of of the worlds’ natural assets, global warming with world geopolitical change as a result. (Never mind that we’ll all be toasting!)
So here are my comments to Mr. U: you act as if these are problems of the “other” when in fact we (Americans)have depleted more of the world’s natural resources/assets than the rest of the world ( all countries combined). And global warming! Oh, Mr. U don’t get me started!!!!! If ever there was an effort to stoke the fires of hell then Americans have surely led the charge with un-wanton expulsion of greenhouse gasses. Its all junk science anyway. And what’s this scat “promulgated in a land of plenty”??? The American idea is grounded in the unscripted notion that we can do what ever we like, good or bad, as long as we do it off the backs of others!!! Such rubbish!!!! More later!


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