Monday, November 14, 2011

Today's Echidne Thought: On What Made America Great

I got a book advertisement in my mailbag. It's about a right-wing book which tells us how it was the politically incorrect views of the Founding Fathers which made this country so great. I didn't ask for the book to be sent for review, which means that I cannot tell which politically incorrect ideas they like so much. It could be slavery or it could be women not having votes. But most likely it's Christianity as the real constitution of this country.

Anyway. This made me think about myth-making in general and how very blind we become when familiar myths are quickly shown on our interior computer screens. It's useful to stop when that happens and to ask what the facts might be.

And among those facts about what "made America great" are these: A giant landmass with many natural resources, great untouched farming land, natives who could be pushed aside, plentiful immigration of willing workers and the possibility of creating a gigantic market without national borders.

Political events mattered, too. But for some odd reason myths erase certain aspects of the past altogether, and even smart people may not notice that.

You can apply that pause-and-rewind-your-internal-video to other questions, too. Wars, for instance, and the very strong economic motives for most of them.