Thanks for the Last Best Hope on Earth
It’s no coincidence that those who exhibit humility and give thanks for America are more likely to achieve the American Dream.
Bernie Sanders’ assertion that America was founded on racist principles is demagoguery, something socialists revert to often since many of their precepts are rotting atop the scrapheap of history. Unfortunately, some of his malcontented constituency have more hubris than humility, choosing to seek solace in the victimization syndrome that entraps them in the sticky tentacles of government largesse.
Freedom was not universal at our founding, but it was more prevalent in America than most places. Our founders crafted mechanisms of government that inevitably undermined the predicate for slavery that theretofore existed all over. Envisioning “the last best hope of earth,” they infused classical liberal constructs of natural law into the confines of organized, civil society.
The American Revolution was like no other, emphasizing individual liberty rather than obedience to the General Will of the state. Most of our brave founders believed slavery violated natural law. Between Independence and the Constitutional convention, eight states had begun emancipation and ten had abolished slave trade. Indeed, part of the argument for constitutional ratification was that it would quicken the demise of slavery.
As Charles Cooke put it in National Review, “As one would not examine an incident of marital infidelity and presume that the wedding vows must necessarily have been defective, one should not infer from the Founders’ betrayals that their essential precepts were in some way unsound. They weren’t. Man, as ever, is imperfect.”
Imperfect, sure, nevertheless America formed a more perfect union from which civil liberties would inevitably sprout. Rather than succumb to a tyrannical “dictatorship of the proletariat” like many post-revolutionary societies, we bolstered our national treasure with the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. While corruption and nepotism prevail in many of our ancestral homelands, America adopted landmark Civil Rights laws that provide protection for, and empower, people of all races, religions and genders. Indeed, minorities exercised their ultimate power by voting at higher rates than whites in recent elections.
We really could be more thankful because America is likely better whence we, or our ancestors, came. Just imagine, somehow, if our founders were from Africa. Based on their pre- and post-colonial history, do you think they would have laid the groundwork for freedom, private property protections, and prosperity?
Probably not. Across that vast continent you’ll find nothing akin to the promissory note that Martin Luther King so eloquently demanded cashing on behalf of African Americans. Their vaults of opportunity have been plundered by despots and warlords who perpetrate a form of tribalism as rotten as racism. Minority rights are trodden into muddy oblivion like a herd of wildebeest trampling the savannah.
But the American Dream is alive and well for those who spurn the invidious, self-imposed victimization wrought by spurious notions about our founding principles. As Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said when discussing the American Dream: you will not succeed if you believe “that the U.S. is a rotten, awful country… you should not walk around with a sense of entitlement or portray yourself as a victim of historical injustices.”
Ben Carson refused to be a victim. Instead of worrying about “acting white,” he discarded the knife he once used in an attempted stabbing and picked up a library card.
Carson grew up in poverty in inner city Detroit that rivals what any minority faces today. Instead of hiding from opportunity and shirking personal responsibility, he pursued his American dream, transforming from a knife-wielding miscreant to a scalpel-wielding wizard in the O.R.
While his friends were embracing mischief in the streets, Carson was tasked by his strict mother to produce two book reports per week, though she could barely read them. He excelled academically and was primed to cash his American promissory note delivered by the oft-derided establishment -- he won a scholarship to Yale. One wonders if Carson, or anyone, would’ve been so motivated under Mr. Sanders’ mind-numbing socialist ambit which elicits equality in mediocrity rather than inequality in meritocracy.
Now a retired, world-renowned neurosurgeon and formidable presidential candidate, he remains humble and gives thanks. At the Heritage Action presidential forum in South Carolina in September he said “American is the greatest country the world has ever known,” and that America is “An exceptional nation. We are by far the most exceptional nation.”
Carson is exceptional, but he’s hardly the exception. There are many other minorities who, free of the monotonous mantra of self-righteous socialism, are thankful. More importantly, our black middle class is poised to burgeon when pro-growth polices usurp pandering politicians perpetuating government dependence in exchange for votes.
Through American imagination, invention, illumination, and industry, we’ve wrestled comfort and plenty from an unforgiving world. By efficiently leveraging our natural resources even those who have setbacks, less skills or otherwise struggle to compete can still lead lives of relative comfort that royalty couldn’t imagine not so long ago. America’s ruling majority, naturally, help themselves, but they should be thanked for their philanthropy as well as their beneficence in promoting minority interests -- often to the detriment of the majority (reverse discrimination).
Thank you, America, for forming a more perfect union that ameliorates human imperfections. Thank you for largely eviscerating institutional racism. Most of all, thank you for being “the last best hope of earth.”