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Sometimes I Wish They'd Shut Up

On the moral superiority of minorities and other countries.

by James Leroy Wilson
June 27, 2001

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Sometimes I Wish They'd Shut Up_James Leroy Wilson-On the moral superiority of minorities and other countries. David Frum, a leading conservative and Canadian, writes in his book What's Right that Canada is the only country capable of developing nuclear weapons that did not do so. For Frum, this is regrettable, because it is a free admission by Canada that it would forgo any semblance of an independent defense. A country with nuclear weapons and the means to deploy them has at least a little bit of deterrent - if the big bad Americans want to swallow us up, they should consider saying good-bye to New York, D.C., and L.A. (Actually, many Americans might call that a bargain) But Canada has no such deterrent, and voluntarily so, rendering its forces useful only as an addendum to U.S.-led NATO or UN engagements. Canada is a de facto protectorate of the United States.

The refusal to defend one's self, to not "take your guns to town" or even have the guns at all, is unbecoming a great nation. But it allows Canada, that is, Canadians, the advantage of wallowing in their national humiliation. A large part of the Canadian character is a conscious un-Americanism, which is often, inevitably, obviously, anti-Americanism. To be humiliated, to be the "lesser," is like being the "loser," like the American South, or the "victim," as were the South's black slaves and their descendents in America. People on the disadvantaged side of history believes their condition gives them moral authority.

Canada is a unique example, but so is every case of national or social inequality, each the result of unique historical causes. Europe, that fragmented continent which a Franco-German socialist alliance believes is an "idea,"self-destructed twice in the first half of the 20th century and now resents the one force, the United States, that helped save it twice and eventually liberated nearly all of it. But if there's one Euorpean "idea," it is that it is almost as dependent on the United States as Canada is. Actually, more so. Canada, though bitterly divided, is a civilized and tranquil nation, but "Europe" requires U.S. involvement not only in security affairs, but with internal order. Otherwise, we wouldn't have so many troops over there.

So it is not surprising that European leaders, resenting their own feebleness, mimic the Canadians in claiming superiority - morally and culturally - over the United States. Join the crowd, people. Americans - many of them - hate their own country. Members of any group that has suffered discrimination have a gripe, some with just cause, others not. America, to them, is a work of hypocrisy, of ideals betrayed.

All of these groups, of course, have a right to speak Furthermore, sound public policy-making requires that they ought to be listened to. But only because of the diverse perspectives offered, not because they are right, or because they have "moral authority." Just because most blacks may support affirmative action, doesn't mean it is sound policy; just because homosexuals might insist on gay civil marriages, doesn't mean we ought to have them. They should be listened to, but we should also understand that the oppressed are not by that condition smarter or better people than the oppressors (think of the KLA and Milosevic).

It's a fine line between shouting, "Wait, stop! Listen to us! You are on the wrong track and ignoring our concerns!" and shouting "You are evil and unjust and you owe us!" European leaders are entitled to share with President Bush their concerns on global warming and missile defense, but their condemnation of an entirely domestic matter - our country executing a treasonous terrorist who killed 168 and a government building - pretty much establishes that they have little moral credibility. Moral lecturing turns off the people being lectured to.

Often, tensions are raised unnecessarily because of trivial complaints, unfocused anger, or misinformation.. I'm normally for free immigration, but when I heard an Italian-American group complain about supposed stereotyping in the The Sopranos, I wanted to yell "Then go back to Italy!" When demonstators at the WTO get their clocks cleaned by riot police, I feel no sympathy for them, because they know not what they're protesting and offer no alternatives. When marchers at Vieques get arrested (after already winning the issue!) I shrug my shoulders because their arguments are based on lies and they fail to present alternatives that fit the interests of our national security. When Europeans condemn us for executing Timothy McVeigh, I kind of hope that one of their government buildings get blown up. Provoking animosity is not the best way to a policy victory.

Condemning the strong and the powerful can make one feel better about one's self, but it doesn't help anyone. Sit down, think about what your problems really are, and then think about solutions for them. You may find that weakening the powerful and impovershing the rich are not the solutions.

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Ugly American from Chicago writes:
June 27, 2001
Mr. Wilson should be very careful, lumping the grievances of European countries with those of the minorities in America. He speaks with the voice of one who has always been the oppressor, and not the oppressee.

It is too easy for those who have never been the lesser to say Hey, lighten up! Get over it already! Like it or not, America is still dominated by white-anglo-European culture, and a young white clean-looking male is still looked at more favorably than his African-American counterpart. And much of the equalizing of the plane has only happened in the past 30 years, as opposed to the hundreds of years European society has tried to dominate every culture it has come across.

America-bashing has become very popular in recent years, and I too get tired of other people telling me what's wrong with my country, but Mr. Wilson must remember that this comes from people who keep hearing, If it wasn't for the U.S., you'd all be speaking German! We bailed you out of TWO World Wars!

Being constantly told you are inferior to a person or nation will cause you to resent that person or nation, and then try to find ways to be superior to that person or nation. That's what the Nazi Germany was all about. Mr. Wilson may wish they would shut up, but I can assure you, sometimes they wish we would shut up, too.

James Leroy Wilson writes:
June 29, 2001
For the record, I believe the United States is the world's leading rogue state and bully. If I were from nearly any other country, I'd be angry with America too. But for the right reasons, Americans being too obese not one of them.

It is also true that America generally, and northern white America especially, never really paid a price or suffered humiliation. Ever. That has made us arrogant, and I'd resent that out of sheer envy. But to criticize executions of treasonous mass murderers? Please.

As far as America's minorities, it seems to me that, while personal humility and meekness are virtues, group victimization and group weakness should not be construed as moral superiority. Nevertheless, historically victimized groups vote overwhelmingly for the one party which, to them, says the right things, even though that party hasn't done one single constructive thing during the last 35 years, if ever. Better for demagogues to pretend they're sympathetic to minority concerns than to vote for candidates who will actually make them stronger, freer, and more prosperous. That's the cause of my frustration.

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