2008 September 11

     I came to the United States of America around 1885. Okay, it was my great grandparents and not me personally, but they, their children, and my parents in between did their jobs well and they shared their values with me. If the liberals can identify today's racial problem with slavery in 1860, then I can identify myself with immigrant values in 1885.

     We came to this country mostly for the same reason, things stank at home. We wanted what this country had to offer. Those of us who came before 1776 actually had to build this country, to make the bed they slept in. They gave the rest of us a free ride for which I am grateful.

     We came from oppression and enforced poverty, where we were taxed, conscripted, and beaten. It was made clear to us coming here that there was no free ride to economic success. It said in the owners manual for our new country that there would be no income taxes to pay for social programs, no property taxes to pay for schools, no government cradle-to-grave programs. This is a nation of law over privilege, at least more than other places. The owners manual started off with big print, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Our country's owners manual runs four pages while the booklet for my car has almost 200 pages, so these guys knew how to write succinctly.

     I can't tell you how deeply offended I was when a recent, more-liberal immigrant said, "Why don't those right-wing conservatives go somewhere and form their own country?" We did, you liked it enough to come here, or at least you liked what those values produced for you.

     Most of us are immigrants from somewhere who came here voluntarily, deliberately, at significant expense to be here because of the values and opportunities offered. (I'll deal with the exceptions in another essay.) If you don't like those values and their consequent opportunities, then you have the option of going home. You can go back to England with its socialized health care or back to Sweden with its welfare state or back to Russia with its political correctness or back to India with its static social strata. You all have someplace to go, someplace you're trying to make America look like.

     There is no place in the world like the America of 1865-1915. Our technological growth outpaced our regulatory deterioration from 1915 through 1963 and we wallowed and staggered for a decade until 1973 October 17 came and our glory ended. Even in 2008, my country is the last frontier of the kind of freedom our "founding fathers" fought for in 1776 and codified for the world in 1789, our "more perfect union."

     So I have no place to go but here. Once you make my country look like your countries, the light of liberty will be dimmed, the flame of America will be extinguished. There are bits of it in other countries, Chinese industry comes to mind, but the whole it's-a-free-country theme has been uniquely ours. It's dying, but it's not gone yet.

     If your position is you don't like our values but you like our results, then you have a bigger problem. Our results came from those values, from the self-reliant vision of 1776 and 1789, and not from the social attitudes of intellectuals from late nineteenth century onward. If you like where we are, then you should embrace how we got here.




If you like what you read here (like logs on the fire), then here are my other American-issues essays.

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