Some Kind Words from a Brit

Friday, August 11, 2006
Please read all of this .



We are inclined, in our snobbish way, to dismiss the Americans as a new and vulgar people, whose civilisation has hardly risen above the level of cowboys and Indians. Yet the United States of America is actually the oldest republic in the world, with a constitution that is one of the noblest works of man. When one strips away the distracting symbols of modernity - motor cars, skyscrapers, space rockets, microchips, junk food - one finds an essentially 18th-century country. While Europe has engaged in the headlong and frankly rather immature pursuit of novelty - how many constitutions have the nations of Europe been through in this time? - the Americans have held to the ideals enunciated more than 200 years ago by their founding fathers.

The sense of entering an older country, and one with a sterner sense of purpose than is found among the flippant and inconstant Europeans, can be enjoyed even before one gets off the plane. On the immigration forms that one has to fill in, one is asked: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offence or crime involving moral turpitude?" Who now would dare to pose such a question in Europe? The very word "turpitude" brings a smile, almost a sneer, to our lips.

The quiet solicitude that Americans show for the comfort of their visitors, and the tact with which they make one feel at home, can only be described as gentlemanly. These graceful manners, so often overlooked by brash European tourists, whisper the last enchantments of an earlier and more dignified age, when liberty was not confused with licence.

But lest these impressions of the United States seem unduly favourable, it should be added that the Americans have not remained in happy possession of their free constitution without cost. Thomas Jefferson warned that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. To the Americans, the idea that freedom and democracy exact a cost in blood is second nature.

18 comments:

MeaninglessHotAir said...

To the Americans, the idea that freedom and democracy exact a cost in blood is second nature.

I wish it were so.

Skookumchuk said...

Actually, for many of us, it is.

KG said...

That's a damn fine article. And Americans should remember--that admiration, those sentiments are held by very many people who are not American.
You have more friends than perhaps you realize.

terrye said...

MHA:

You spend too much time hanging out with ned Lamont's social class.

You want to deal with the folks in Gitmo? Drop them off in the hills and hollers in southern Indiana and they will cease to be a problem.

Seneca the Younger said...

You beat me to it, terrye.

Skookumchuk said...

terrye:

Drop them off in the hills and hollers in southern Indiana and they will cease to be a problem.

I have an elderly uncle from southernmost Illinois, near Carbondale. I know exactly what you mean.

Skookumchuk said...

terrye:

As a kid, he told me stories about his unit blowing Japanese snipers out of palm trees on various South Pacific islands.

No messin' around, in other words.

ex-democrat said...

i became a US citizen this week.

to all who came before me: thankyou.

Seneca the Younger said...

i became a US citizen this week.

Congratulations! And welcome.

"It is an honor which, when worthily worn, is greater than ... any which can be conferred upon you by any king, prince, or potentate."

terrye said...

exdemocrat:

Hey, that is great. Welcome and all that.

Now go out and buy and gun and be prepared to use it. This is America.

terrye said...

skook:

I could tell you stories my friend, that would curl your toes.

I might start a story telling theme. Just pick a relative or some local hill billy and tell a tale or two.

Gale would be a good start. There are small nations that are not as heavily defended as his place.

Skookumchuk said...

Ex-Democrat:

Welcome aboard!

Terrye:

You should do that. A story telling series of posts.

Also, I'm sure Gale would put me to shame. I'm trying to catch up, though.

Rick Ballard said...

Ex-dem,

Welcome aboard and congratulations.

A hug and a kiss for the little citizen who beat you by eight? months.

ex-democrat said...

thanks all. terrye: i already took care of that. rick: 5 1/2 in fact, but who's counting...zzzzzzz.... ;-)

ex-democrat said...

by the way, the comments to that post are also wortth the read. here's one that i didn't write, but could have:

"I have lived in the United States for ten years. Broadly speaking I have found America to be a dynamic mixture of idealism and pragmatism. If one individual here cannot open his mouth without mentioning God, there is another who firmly asserts his atheism; for every individual who aspires to muscular Jeffersonian ideals, there are others who will be fuzzy headed, scornful, or plain bored. However, whatever their feelings on the morality of the woefully inaccurately named "war on terror", almost every American I know is steadfast in his or her love for the country and veneration of its constitution. The ideal of liberty is woven into and inseparable from these.

I am not an American. I am of British stock, with an English grandfather, and a Scottish grandmother. My father, their son, was a pilot, and served with the RAF during the second world war.

These links make me a natural Anglophile, loving what Britain once stood for, including values such as courage and decency. I hate how years of socialism and effete leadership have degraded its sense of purpose, engendered self-loathing, promoted ignorance of its wonderful history, and fostered negative cynicism.

In the years since 1945 Britain’s ancient traditions of liberty and self-reliance have been steadily eroded. Her political independence is in bondage to that barren slattern, Europe. Having learned to hate so much of what Britain once stood for and which can still be found (with an American accent) in this country, some in Britain find it natural to scorn optimistic, brave, if often naive America. How else can they justify their negativity, their hollow impotence, their lack of morale? By hating and mocking and sneering, safe in their bigoted, intellectually idle, unjustifiable beliefs in their cultural and moral superiority.

There are, I know, still many British people today who understand this and rage at those who brought this situation about. Upon them rests a heavy responsibility.

America, as so many correspondents have noted, is firmly grounded on great British institutions - her laws, her 18th century Enlightenment philosophy, her democratic principles, her tolerance, her freedoms. They are not lost to Britain; we have them in trust for you when you wish to repatriate them.

It is true that Americans sometimes appear naive. That's better than cynical. Yes, they have a lamentable grasp of world history. But they learn fast. Yes, they are sentimental to the point of nausea at times, but they are also open-hearted. We see it in their great generosity. And yes, they can blunder. But they know it, fiercely debate it when it happens, and they will, perhaps clumsily at first, try to fix it.

As the world swirls, seeming inexorably, towards a new conflict with an ancient medieval barbarism, you had better pray that America stands fast. Should she fail, the world you like living in will certainly enter a new dark age of primitive religious fanaticism and all its accompanying misery. Imperfect as it is, an optimistic, brave, resolute America still is the best hope for European – and British - civilization.

Posted by David Allen on August 11, 2006 3:25 PM"

Luther McLeod said...

Add my welcome as well ex-dem. Congratulations.

This will be a long fight. The muzzies see the same. But, I venture, one attribute that the muzzies may have overlooked, is the downright stubbornness, cantankerous and f*** you attitude of a majority (even if slim now) of the citizens of this country, and our friends around the world. As intimated by Terrye. We will win out in the end. Though I may not be there to witness it.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Welcome to the team, ex-dem! Excellent to have you.

Syl said...

Welcome and congrats, ex-democrat!! And thank you for posting that comment.