Jesus wept.

I saw a version of what you will see in the link on Facebook this morning. Crying and outrage don’t make good mornings. But that’s ok because people seem to have fifteen-minute memories and this is vitally important.

Our resident historians will have much to add, I suspect, and I look forward to their reactions to the article and pictures in the link. I watched the FB version four times. The first reaction was shock and horror. The second reaction was crying. The third reaction was outrage. The fourth reaction is this article I’m writing.

[There’s quite a bit more of this anti-Semitic death porn at the link above and below. Neo]

I tried really hard to keep an open mind about the tourist pictures, tried to find excuses – they’re young; they’re on vacation; this is the selfie generation to which I have no connection and no understanding; young people are thoughtless at this age. None of it worked. I can find no excuse that makes their selfies youthful exuberance or plain thoughtlessness. There is a distinct and pointed deliberateness about them that is unforgivable.

Again I have to refer to the documentary by Ken Burns, The War. The staff interviews with some of the men who were actually there, who actually helped to liberate the death camps, are indelibly printed on my brain and my heart. The documentary was filmed in 2006 if I remember correctly, and the men well deep in age, and even then, all those years after, their eyes and their faces register the horror of what they saw – the inconceivable brutality of true evil.

I am so grateful to the young Israeli, Shahak Shapira, (who lives in Germany) for creating the translation of what those ‘tourists’ were actually doing. If a picture speaks a thousand words, imagine what his images speak. Ignorance, disrespect, callousness, self before anything or anyone. I think he did a brilliant piece of work and should be commended.

Indeed. Jesus wept.

[Audre saw the TV series (as did I) but I also knew men who liberated Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. The first camp liberated by the US Army. They were armored infantrymen in the 4th Armored Division who came into France at Utah Beach on 11 July 1944 and became the spearhead of Patton’s 3d US Army. Amongst other things, they were the men who relieved Bastogne. They ended the war at Strakonice,  Czechoslovakia. They saw all the horror that the European Theater had to offer. When I knew them twenty years later, they tried to explain KZ Ordruf to me, knowing my interest in the military. All three of them failed, just sitting there at lunch with tears streaming down their faces, and the most haunted look I have ever seen. That’s what the very foolish kids are making light of here. I can think of nothing more despicable. Jesus indeed wept, and I thank God my friends and co-workers died without seeing this new horror. Neo]

Telling America’s Story, and Why It Matters

There is actually one more chap[ter in our trilogy on how the western myth has shaped America. It cams quite a few years later when I was reflecting on various things that go with it. I think it sums up the series fairly well.

We have often talked about the role of the western in how America sees itself, and indeed in how the world sees America. In fact in one her very first posts here, Jessica started the topic, saying…

My father was fifty when I was born, and his tastes in movies became mine. When other teenage girls were swooning about Kevin Costner (really???), I was dismissive. John Wayne was my hero – and remains so. He summed up America for me. Strong, but never boastful about it. I remember crying when I saw ‘The Man who shot Liberty Vallance’ – it was so unfair – it was Tom Donovan, not Ransom Stoddard who shot Liberty Vallance, so why did the latter end up with the girl? Huh, I remember thinking, if I had been ‘the girl’ there was no way I’d have chosen Jimmy Stewart over John Wayne – what was she thinking?  But, as Tom Donovan might have said: “Whoa, take ‘er easy there, Pilgrim”.

The film’s message, which passed me by in my indignation, was about the passing of the old West, and the place of myth in the making of a nation. America is a nation build around myths and legends. That is not to say they are wrong, it is to say that those movies told a bigger story about the making of a great nation and what made it that. All nations need myths, and the point about the American one seemed to be encapsulated in my second favourite John Wayne film – ‘She wore a Yellow ribbon.’ Captain Nathan Brittles was the quintessential quiet American. A man who, having lost his family, was married to army, and who did his duty, no matter what. My teenage heart went out to him, and I was very sniffy about the heroine going off with those ‘boys’ rather than a ‘real man’.

I really can’t see how ‘the girl’ was going to lose, having to choose between John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, but Jess’ later reflection is dead on point, I think. Very good insight for a young British err Welsh lass, I think. Building a civilization is one time (and not the only one) when the only thing that will stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.

I also think it a very good analogy for what we are now seeing in our cities. To me, many of the leftist politicians closely resemble Liberty Valance. 

In fact, a few days later, in a music post that summed up the week, called True Grit, I said this.

My background is Scandinavian  our myths had to do with gods and goddesses. But, we have something else as well, we have our sagas from the time when we went out into the world, and settled Iceland and Greenland, many say we founded both Moscow and Dublin, and the Eastern Emperor’s Varangian Guard were Swedish as well, and a fair number of Anglo-Saxons found it a welcome refuge starting in 1067. A little boastful perhaps but, it’s well to remember that the Viking age ended in a resounding clash of arms as the Danish King of England defeated the King of Norway and two weeks later lost to the Duke of Normandy.

That’s what these films are: The Saga of America.

Jess asked her Mummy a very valid question back when she was 10 when she asked “What is America for, Mummy?” But she got it a little wrong, the real question is, “Who is America for, Mummy?”

Because it’s the Saga of ordinary men and women, who dreamed of living free, and were willing to do the hard, dangerous, and often dirty work of making that dream happen. Even if they were a one-eyed fat man or a Texian whore. America has never been about class or social standing. That’s what I think America is, the new start of western civilization and of the people with True Grit.

And you know, we’re not the only ones. Last week in The Federalist,  Inez Feltscher Stepman, told us about her favorite top ten westerns (and ten extras). Her ranking are somewhat different than mine, but not all that different. I think she might have seen more of them than I have, which is a low bar. One thing stood out for me. Did you know that one of the most effective posters made and used by Solidarity, in the eighties featured Gary Cooper, in his role in High Noon? I didn’t, but the character shown by one man standing alone against evil is a central part of most of the westerns, and of the American character. It’s also why the collectivists all over the world hate us. Here’s a bit from Inez…

No film genre is more quintessential to the American soul than the Western. The virtues Westerns champion—courage, moral clarity, self-reliance, individualism—are American virtues; their vices—excessive or hokey moral simplicity, caricatures of the enemy—are American too. Westerns are so synonymous with the legend that is America that it’s little wonder that from their heyday in the 1950s until today, they’ve played a key role in shaping our perception of ourselves, as well as the world’s opinion of us.

The white-hatted cowboy standing firm against long odds is iconic, and not only within our borders. Western imagery has had such a powerful impact across the globe that Gary Cooper’s character in “High Noon” (No. 3) was used by the anti-Communist Polish party Solidarity in a poster campaign urging people to overcome their fear of tyrannical system and show their true colors at the polls.

She expanded on that in a podcast with Mary Katharine Ham this week. it’s good listening.

Only one hint, though. Her number one is in my top three, and the exact ranking depends on the day.

Inez also gives the outstanding advice that if you are not enthused with current movies, and who is, why not watch some of these twenty movies. I certainly am going to! 🙂

And that probably has something to do with why Archbishop Vigano wrote to President Trump telling him this amongst other things: (via Human Events).

For the first time, the United States has in you a President who courageously defends the right to life, who is not ashamed to denounce the persecution of Christians throughout the world, who speaks of Jesus Christ and the right of citizens to freedom of worship,” Vigano wrote, adding, “And I dare to believe that both of us are on the same side in this battle, albeit with different weapons.”

Vigano believes Americans “are mature and have now understood how much the mainstream media does not want to spread the truth but seeks to silence and distort it, spreading the lie that is useful for the purposes of their masters.

For as the Archbishop wrote this is indeed the battle between light and darkness, and it will be decided in the United States, And I think the forces of light will win, as light always does over the darkness. You should read that article, snd the Archbishop’s letter which is easily found on the internet.

It may also have something to do with why over 1 million people have asked for tickets for the President’s rally this Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at a venue that seats slightly less than 20,000.

 

 

 

Myths,legends and facts

lvalad

In his comment on Audre’s post yesterday Pontiac said this, ” I find a simple comfort about them. There’s no complexity about them and even the conflict and politics is elementary – you have it, I want it! For the most part, though, the characters are just hardworking, close to the land and want to build something, whether it be their farm or family”.

I suspect for many of us that’s true, but for the best of the westerns, well Pilgrim, they go a lot deeper. Jessica explained it this way:

“This is the West, sir, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” One of my favourite quotations from any film, and it is what the newpaper editor, Scott, says to Jimmy Stewart’s character, Ransom Stoddard at the end of The Man who shot Liberty Vallance. Even for the great John Ford, that’s some line. Stoddard, a Washington grandee, former Ambassador to the UK and likely Presidential nominee, has come back to the town of Shinbone for the funeral of a local rancher, a nobody called Tom Doniphon, and the local press want to know why: Jimmy Stewart’s character tells them a story which is not just about how the West was won, but how it became civilized.

The story began quarter of a century before, when what is now the State was a Territory – with men who wanted it to stay that way. The young Stoddard is held up by a notorious outlaw, Liberty Valance, and pistol-whipped. Doniphon, a tough local rancher, takes him back to town and sets him up with the family who run the local canteen – his love interest, Hallie helps the wounded lawyer recover, and he helps out at the canteen – eventually falling foul of Vallance – played by Lee Marvin at his brilliant best. In a scene packed with tension, Doniphon tells Valance to pick up the food that’s been spilled by him tripping ‘Ranse’ Stoddard up: it looks like there will be a shoot out – but Vallance backs away – Doniphon’s that sort of a guy.

So, we have there the old West, men are men and all that. It;s rough and tough, and if you haven’t got a gun – or don’t know how to use it – you’re not going to get far – or even live long. But Stoddard is the new order’s forerunner. He believes in the law, sets up an office in Shinbone and works with the local editor as the Territory moves towards statehood.

Doniphon tries to help Stoddard adapt to the ways of the West, but an attempt to teach him how to use a gun is a failure. But Valance and his type are not to be stopped by the law. They beat up the editor and burn down the newspaper offices, and Valance challenges Stoddard to fight him. The first two shots see ‘Ranse’ injured, and he drops his gun – Valance, wanting to rub it in tells him to pick it up – sure the next shot will be right between the eyes – but to everyone’s surprise, the next shot kills Valance. Hallie runs to help the wounded Ranse. Doniphon, who actually fired the shot, sees that he has, in saving Stoddard, lost Hallie – he goes back home, drinks himself into a rage and burns his house down – being saved by his faithful retainer.

At the convention where the vote for who should represent the Territory in Washington is to be taken, Stoddard is challenged by a rival, who says that he should not be trusted because he shot a man. Soddard hesitates, wondering if that is actually the case – should a gun fighter be a politician. Doniphon removes his doubts by telling him the truth about the man who shot Liberty Valance. The rest is history, Stoddard becomes Governor, Senator and Ambassador, marries Hallie and has the career which opened up to men of his type as the United States moved towards its manifest destiny. Now Doniphon is dead, it is time to tell the truth – but the press don’t want the truth – the legend does them just fine.

So Doniphon, who had saved Stoddard’s life and made his career possible, dies alone and unheralded – but not quite, Hallie and Ranse have not forgotten him, or who he was, and who he was was more important than what he did. He did what he did because of who he was. He was the sort of man who did the right thing because it never occurred to him to do the other thing.

This is Ford’s world at its best – there’s no one does the old world making way for the new better. He admires the values of the old West, and he sees them re-embodied in a different form in the new. Doniphon and Stoddard are two sides of the same coin. Their integrity shines through – and Doniphon is all the more believable for not behaving like a plaster saint when he knows he has lost Hallie. Plaster saints neither won, nor will the hold, the West. And now, as then, the media prefer the legend to the facts!

Let’s think about that a little. How far is that from what we’re seeing these days in Minneapolis, in Seattle, in Chicago and New York, and yes, in London as well? Yes, Tom Stoddard was apocryphal but he existed all across this country, and it’s to him as much as to Jefferson and Madison that we owe the rule of law, the belief that might should be on the side of right.

When we talk about the western as the myth of America that is what we mean, the bringing of civilization out of the chaos. And don’t think for a minute that England never knew men lake Tom Stoddard. They did, William Marshal, First Earl of Pembroke is one of them, a warrior knight who made his fortune fighting in tournaments and wars, he is the man, acting with Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury who made Magna Charta the law for us all.

Jess was right here too when she said, “[…] and who he was was more important than what he did. He did what he did because of who he was. He was the sort of man who did the right thing because it never occurred to him to do the other thing.”

That is the legacy of the men that Antifa and BLM are so busy trying to make us forget. Why? Because they are the men that built our civilization, that their deepest desire is to destroy. Abraham Lincoln said that America is “the last best hope of mankind”. How right he was, if we in this generation go down, there will be nowhere left to run.

Galloping Across the Plains

I grew up on the Lone Ranger; my brother, the eldest of us four kids, had control of the television on Saturday mornings because he was the oldest. I don’t know why, but he said so. Shrug. That’s big brothers for ya. Dad had two topics when it came to movies – World War ll, and the Wild West. John Wayne was Dad’s idea of an actor. Who’s going to argue with Dad?

I miss westerns. I never read the novels, like Dad did; Zane Grey (trivia fact – did you know Zane Grey’s first name was Pearl? He was Pearl Zane Grey). Dad also liked Horatio Hornblower (C. S. Forester) but sorry – not for me.

I have two favorites that I watch every time they show up on television – we are forced to watch old movies because, hey – who can watch the junk they produce now??? I love Tombstone (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108358/) (best quote from Tombstone, “I’m your huckleberry”) and Jeremiah Johnson (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068762/). “He says you fish poorly.” Favorite quote from JJ – makes me smile just typing it.

These two movies represent a lot of what I think is American. Tombstone is at the cusp of modernization; they would soon see the end of the old west and the beginning of industrialization in places it never was before – our ingenuity, innovation, foresight, and ambition – full speed ahead and let the devil take the hindmost. Jeremiah Johnson is the American guy – I don’t like what I’m seeing, I hate what I’m doing, and I’m going to go in a different direction. Went up into the mountains with nothing more than a good idea and became a Mountain Man. He learned the hard way; attempt and failure. Before too long, he was having more successes than failures and met some pretty interesting characters along the way. Do you remember Gran’pa on the television show The Waltons? Will Geer played the old mountain man that helped ‘larn’ Jeremiah a thing or three about life as a mountain man. Second best line from JJ. The old mountain man, Bearclaw, is teaching JJ the best way to shoot an elk; he tells him to get beside his horse, put the Hawkins rife (“but damn if it were a Hawkin!”) to rest on the saddle and shoot. JJ asks won’t the elk see my feet? (here it comes …) “Elk don’t know how many feet a horse have!” I laugh every time.

I’m a city girl, born and raised. The old west, the wild west, fascinates me. People lived in their time as we do now; they would no more know how to function today than we would going back in time. Each generation makes its own discoveries; each generation holds its own destiny. We are a country filled with people willing to take risks – opening a bar today has the same problems (more, considering regulatory statutes) as opening a bar then. It’s a craps shoot – you pay your money and you throw them dice.

It was dusty and dirty and you made your way the best way you could. You depended on yourself first, helped a neighbor when you had them, and kept that goal in sight. Not such a bad way to live. The women worked every bit as hard as the men and never asked anyone to pat ’em on the back for it. It’s just what you did to live and to thrive.

I guess I like most of the old westerns; Rio Bravo, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance just to name a few, heaven knows there were a lot of them. I guess I have reached the age where I can say with authority, they sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

A note from Neo: Audre now joins Jessica and me on the topic of American movies, specifically the western, as the myth of America, that we not only believe ourselves but the world does as well. I’m going to have quite a lot to say, including links soon, so let’s see what you guys think. So, “Saddle up, Marines, the war ain’t over!”

Freedom Beleaguered, On Three Fronts

American and UK flags flying together

Here we do our best to deal in the truth, sometimes gently but often unvarnished. I’ve skimmed the new Brexit deal, not thoroughly read it. I agree with the DUP and with Nigel Farage: It is unacceptable. What that really means that if Boris gets it through Parliament (and it will likely be close) it will be the end of his career and likely the Conservative party as well. Labour too, but that has several other causes as well as its muddled response to the referendum. anti-Semitism, pro-Islam, and identity politics play about as well in the shires as they do in the American heartland. The US Democratic Party also has a wake-up coming next year, I think. Insanity also doesn’t play well. In both countries, we are seeing a major realignment, from left-right to give us back our good old law, for lack of a proper term. It is what has always fueled English speaking revolutions, going back to King Stephen’s time, at least. Nothings changed, and not always have they been peaceful or even mostly peaceful. One could think of the Barons of England standing at Runnymede, in full armor fingering their swords. Regicide was in the air that afternoon.


Somebody else who tells the truth is Daniel Greenfield. Here in FrontPage Magazine, he tells us why our corporations are taking China’s part against the US and specifically against Hong Kong. There are no real surprises here if you’ve been paying attention, but he does an excellent job of pulling it together.

Think there’s a contradiction between ‘woke’ corporate titans like Apple and Disney silencing anyone opposed to China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong?

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s synergy.

The same forces that made the major brands scattered around your kitchen, living room and garage broadcast their support for gun control, gay marriage and illegal immigration are fueling their support for the People’s Republic of China pulling another Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong.

The lefties in Beijing and Berkeley used the same set of ideological tools to force companies to toe the party line. They roped off access to an appealing customer base, the population of mainland China, urban millennials with huge amounts of disposable income, in exchange for ideological compliance.

Communist China is one entangled oligarchy which mingles political party and company. Sound familiar?

The CEO of Nike sits on the board of Disney. The CEO of Disney until recently sat on the board of Apple. The CEO of Apple sits on the board of Nike. Good thing we have a “free market economy” isn’t it?

There’s a lot in that, interlocking boards have been a problem in American business for well over a hundred years.

And the Mouse didn’t eat the entire entertainment industry by being unable to see the endgame. Avengers Endgame brought in $612 million in China. That’s the real endgame that it cares about.

In America and China, a lefty political elite controls the culture. Chinese and American lefties interlock cultural, economic and political power. Disney, once seen as a square family friendly studio, can rule the box offices in America and China because it advances the cultural goals of their political elites. […]

If you’re going to sell thousand-dollar phones made by slave labor in some dusty factory town where the air is poison, you need the sanction of the Communist Party of China and the culture industry of California. And if you’re going to dump your cultural garbage in American and Chinese movie theaters, both owned by the same Chinese corporations, you’ll need to run the stuff by cultural censors.

The ‘enemies of the people’ in Hong Kong are free market Christians who don’t want a police state controlling their lives. Funny coincidence, those are also the ‘enemies of the people’ in America.

Giant multinational monopolies don’t like free markets. They encourage competition.

The last thing the NBA, Disney, Apple, Nike and the rest of the ‘megas’ want is competition. What they want is a walled garden tended by a kindly Zen-Communist tyrant who will give them a virgin territory in exchange for a huge slice of the pie to be shared with local political partners. And, of course, slavish devotion to the tyranny of whatever it is the locals believe in, dialectical materialism, the transcendence of gender, which is a small price to pay by people who don’t have any principles or believe in anything. […]

Identity politics manufactures identities and then convinces its dupes that their lives are hopeless and incomplete until they also implement open borders, gun control, and a ban on fossil fuels.

Sound familiar? Buy into the revolution now. Organizers are standing by to take your call.

That’s also why religious believers are the enemy. They don’t make ideal consumers.

People who have a form of meaning in their lives that isn’t for sale on Black Friday aren’t good consumers. Lefties with thirty genders and a hole the size of Cleveland where meaning should be, are.

OK, I don’t know if the Hong Kongers are actually Christians, although undoubtedly some are. His point is valid in any case. Some of our founders were pretty questionable Christians as well, even apart from some that were Jews. But his point is valid, their identity isn’t tied into their iPhone and such trash, let alone the movies and crap music. What they believe in, just like you and me, is freedom. Can you imagine if a quarter of Americans were in the streets demonstrating against the government? Some 87.5 million of us? That’s what is going on in Hong Kong.

The fact that they are waving three flags is no accident either. The flag of the Royal Colony of Hong Kong, the American flag, and the British Union Flag. Those are historically, and even now, the flags of freedom around the world. The fact that all of us are in this same battle is also significant. The EU as we’ve said before is nothing more than a corporatist empire, that will stifle everything to make a sale, especially freedom and Christianity.

That’s why Brexit is so important now. It was an excellent idea at the time of the referendum, but the last three years have demonstrated just how evil the EU is.

The same is true here, in America, as the Democrats, the Media, and the left-wing corporatists attempt a takeover.

I’ll give Mr. Greenfield the last word.

What matters is that more people, in China and America, are realizing that what they want isn’t a sale: it’s freedom.

 

American Nationalism, Continued

A  bit over a week ago I excerpted and commented on an article from Steven Hayward in Law and Liberty (it’s called The Minefield called Nationalism). I liked it then and I like it now. But it felt rather incomplete, not answering enough questions to properly answer the questions. Now yesterday comes Ted McAlister also writing in Law and Liberty, and I think he answers some of them.

Steve Hayward has usefully introduced two key problems with the word “nationalism,” one historical and the other conceptual. He is right, furthermore, to note in his Liberty Forum essay that without understanding these problems, we cannot properly assess any claims made about an “American nationalism.” Hayward is wrong, however, about the nature of American nationalism.

First, he notes that the experiences with nationalism in the first half of the 20th century has given a bad odor to the word and any idea that attaches to it. He calls it “the German question,” and rightfully so. […]

See both my article and Steve’s for more on this, it’s important and a major part of why nationalism has a rather bad odor these days.

A Protean Term

Second, Hayward explores the protean quality of “nationalism,” observing that even leftist opponents of the idea are capable of discovering examples of a healthy or favorable sort. But the point is that the word does not have a clear meaning outside of context, such that nationalism for China is radically different from Canadian nationalism, even if the two share enough to bear the same label. We cannot ask whether nationalism is healthy or destructive without understanding the nation (its character, as it were), its context, and the forms or manifestations it takes. […]

We are left wondering about American nationalism—the nationalism of a self-governing people. Hayward does not go here—his essay is about what constitutes the American character, with the implication that this character determines what shape nationalism takes in America. His argument is not focused on our tradition of self-rule. For me, this is its primary flaw. Instead of rooting American nationalism clearly in its tradition of self-rule, Hayward claims that it flows out of American exceptionalism. Hayward connects this exceptionalism with the Declaration of Independence generally and with natural rights particularly.

This is one place where Steve left me unsatisfied, he’s not exactly wrong but it’s incomplete, there a lot more than the Declaration of Independence to making American nationalism. Ted covers at least some of them.

But that is a far cry from saying that our nation was founded on the idea of equality. Some attachment to equality, defined variously, has been and will continue to be a deep part of our story and therefore a part of us. Abraham Lincoln’s brilliant use of the Declaration’s emphasis on equality served the nation well because it was part of our heritage that, highlighted and even abstracted from its original context, served to address a political and moral pathology in ways that no other part could.

Do Not Forget Experiences, Attachments, Affections

The problem with defining American character this way—as grounded on a set of universal ideas—is that it conflates the fact that these ideas are part of our history (and most Americans tend to believe them in some form or another) with much deeper sources of our national character. When talking about something as elusive as a national character we are prone to abstract claims that help us escape the messy, often ironic, but always complex, empirical and historical evidence. If we can call upon sacred texts and well-stated expressions of principles, we effortlessly gain the conceptual clarity that often hovers above the tangled webs of beliefs, hopes, dreams, actions, of a living people who operate in a living tradition and also in changing circumstances that require them to adapt, change, and redefine.

And here we rejoin Edmund Burke because that is about as close as one can come to what he defined conservatism as, as one can without quoting him, for instance:

But a good patriot, and a true politician, always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition, to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution.

See what I mean?

First, the Founding should be understood not as a moment in 1776 but as a settlement of peoples, primarily from England, who established a hybrid cultural and political form (actually several hybrids) that stressed, among other things: inherited liberties, common law, and the fact that community is prior to government (that communities create government to serve the prior reality of the community). This beginning place stresses our most important characteristic, that we are a people who want to rule ourselves and that we do so typically through communities and associations.

Second, Americans were from the start more in love with opportunities, with chance-taking, with new starts (and start-ups), with the lure of making their fortune or finding a new opportunity out West, than they were with equality. In this context, Americans were less interested in equal opportunity (which is philosophically nonsense) than with an abundance of opportunities, and, as Wilfred McClay traces so well in his Land of Hope, the ever-fresh spring for new hope that opportunities supply.

Third, that the attraction among immigrants was not primarily our “idea” as expressed by Thomas Jefferson or anyone else, but the same sense that opportunities abounded and that America offered everything from a new profession to a new identity. The confining status and roles of traditional societies dissolved and each person (even if he or she faced all manner of other persecutions upon arrival) could chart his or her own course, craft his or her own identity, and live free from the cultural, social, economic, and political restrictions of Italy or Poland, or whatever the country of origin.

And that is a pretty good summing up: Americans are a people who want to rule themselves, are chance-taking opportunists, who formed a society where you became what you wanted to be if you could sustain it.

He illustrates this with the story from The Man  Who Shot Liberty Valance, and the points he makes are very valid. But I would think so, its a very valid reference around the parts, Pilgrim. To the point that Jessica wrote about it here, and I wrote about it here, as well.

Some more questions about the subject answered I think. Read the linked articles for a fuller picture.

 

 

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