Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Review

Exerpt from How To Ruin The United States of America by Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth

America The Beautiful: Forgotten

With the eradication of history and its replacement with America-bashing sloganeering, elementary truths once taken for granted throughout our society are perilously close to being forgotten. Consider: How long has it been since citizens began being the arbiters of their own government rather than used a schattel however rulers saw fit? How long has it been since men and women gained the ability to get rid of their leaders through ballots instead of revolution? Perhaps a few hundred years out of tens of thousands.

How long has man been able to have hot baths on demand? A century. How long has he been able to have a safe, delicious food at any time? Maybe 80 or 100 years. How long has he been able to have an air-conditioned room in the desert? Fifty years. How long have Jews had completely equal rights with Christians in America? Perhaps 40 years at most, out of 5,800 years of Jewish life. How long have black men been in high political office in large numbers? Just 10 or 20 years. How long have women had completely equal rights?

In other words, America offers us a golden age on a silver platter - a life that's the envy of the world, a life of comfort, safety, health, and opportunity almost unimaginable to earlier generations.

Most of us have never been prisoners in a concentration camp. We've never been led into a gas chamber and gassed with Zylkon B. We've never been rounded up in a town in Romania and beaten to death by fascist thugs with iron rods. We've never been used for unanesthetized experiments by Dr. Mengele. We've never been on a death march in the Phillipines. We've never gone hungry, never been forced to work outside in the Polish winter in cotton clothing while suffering from typhus. We haven't lived through an economic depression lasting 11 years, where our store of treasure turned to dust an able-bodied members of our family went hungry for lack of work. Yet these were the fates of millions, even in our lifetimes.

We never had to charge against a massed cannon and musket fire in a Fredericksburg, be a prisoner in a gulag, or be shot at the Lubyanka (intelligence headquarters) because some OGPU officer had to make his quota of "wreckers and saboteurs" in order to placate Stalin. We've never had to charge against German machine guns at Ypres or the Somme. We've never suffocated in the hold of a Japanese prison ship. We've never had to charge against Japanese Nambu machine guns at Taraw, Peleliu, or Okinawa. We have never been torpedoed while making the Murmansk run, then thrown overboard and drowned in the icy water while our friends died all around us, or eaten by sharks because our ship was torpedoed in the Pacific by Japanese submarines.

How blessed most of us have been.

But the point of our thanks is that there are millions - tens of millions- who suffered and died to bring us the sunny pleasure that is America today. What's missing from our whole chocolatey-sweet culture is this realization fo just how amazingly thankful we have to be to the men who died so we could bitch and moan about traffic or bad cell-phone service. How will we ever be able to pay these people back? What can we do for the child without a grandfather because that man died assaulting Shuri Castle on Okinawa or defending Corregidor or breaking through to Bastogne or holding off the Chinese Communists at Chosin?

It seems as if the whole country is on the road to forgetting how we got to where we are. If we lose sight of just how precious our nation and our way of life are, we'll lose our purpose and meaning, and we'll be easy prey for our enemies.

This has to be taught. We have everything we do because brave men bled and their wifes, mothers, fathers, and children sobbed and were along. This is what should be on TV- shows that bind the nation together in gratitude. But where do we start when women like Paris Hilton's mother are considered role models?

We aren't worried about America's financial capital. There's plenty of money and plenty of trinkets. We are worried about our moral capital. It's as if it has been loaded onto ships and is sailing out of sight. When it is gone, what will we do?

"Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?"

p. 79-82
New Beginnings Press, Carlsbad, CA, USA, 2008

No comments: