Doug Smith: The Tyranny of Perfection

5 Apr

My country ’tis of thee…


Doug Smith:  Author and historical, social and political editor for Free State Patriot

April, 5, 2017



My wife is a perfectionist.

So, I live with this phenomenon and understand it. She was the sort of Straight A student who would be very upset at getting a 99, if someone else had ever gotten a 100, or getting a 100 if extra credit made a 103 possible.  This all made her a driven and excellent student, but not a very happy one.

Nothing she ever did was going to be good enough for her. Now, being a much more laid back sort, I find myself shaking my head at this attitude, because it is amazing that a straight A, Summa Cum Laude student so frequently growls “Stupid, stupid, stupid” at herself. You think you might get a little credit for those A s, and the long nights? No?

Now, she is not alone. The Utopians among us, clear back to Plato, and moving all the way to today’s progressives and socialists, build in their mind a perfect society; one which has never existed, but might, if only they were put in charge. Now not to pop their collective little bubbles, but if some 6,000 years of human civilization has never produced a Utopia, what in the world would make them think they are so much smarter, wiser, and better than a Solomon or Marcus Aurelius that they will finally get it done?

And there has not been a perfect society or civilization, ever. But the Utopians live lives of noisy misery, focused on every fault of the best civilization the world has seen. By their emphasis on the problems, they miss the joy of what they have, lack appreciation of the good, and buy into many Brooklyn Bridge fantasies of how good things could be if only. Moral relativism is a miserable frame of mind when it leads you to long for the gulags and empty shelves of Russia, and decry the missing 10 % in the 90 % society.

Western civilization, and American civilization, is the highest, best, and most desirable the world has yet seen. (Easy snowflakes, don’t have your stroke just yet. I’m not done assaulting your sensibilities.) It is not perfect, but then all nations, being peopled by, well, people, are imperfect. Still, the horse kissers, (as in gift), who decry the blessings they enjoy by being born into or permitted to live in the greatest nation in the history of the world, have a peculiar blindness and tunnel vision when it comes to the nation and culture which spawned and nurtured them.

Let s review the record.

Ok right up front. The United States had slavery. Yep. Sure, did. And in the 16th through 18th century, so did a large portion of the world. The countries from which many American slaves came had a long history of capturing and selling slaves. And in fact, many still do. Slavery is rampant today, in the 21st century, throughout the Muslim world, for which the critics and snowflakes of America love to act as apologists.

The United States also had a long growing moral objection to slavery, nearly derailing the formation of the nation’s Constitution. It took several decades, but then erupted into a war which raged for four years, left over half a million dead, and devastated the country. Aside from the revolt of Spartacus, which was fought BY the slaves, trained as gladiators, and ended in disaster, what nation has ever in history fought such a war to destroy an economy based on slavery, and free slaves?  Feel free to do your own research, but spoiler alert: none, ever.

It was a long an arduous process bringing former slaves closer to parity with the rest of the citizenry, and we are not without problems yet. But a quick look at Ben Carson and Barack Obama must tell anyone looking, that tremendous progress has been made.

Yet there are those who still focus on Thomas Jefferson holding slaves. As though nothing else has ever happened in our nation. We ought to be judged by who we were in the world as it stood then, and what we have done in the meantime. So many want to judge us based on some impossible perfection standard, or judge the United States of 1800 by the standards of 2000.

As though the United States, alone, has not fought more, bled more, spent more, to free more people from tyranny than any other nation in the history of mankind. No nation as powerful as the United States has ever, from the outskirts of Eden to now, spent its treasure, and blood, and young men to free other nations from tyranny, and taken possession of only the amount of ground necessary to bury our 10,000 dead in French soil. French soil. Not occupied France. Not the American zone. French. French soil holds the blood and bodies of the men of the 29th Infantry Division, just above the beach on which they died. It was named Omaha, for a city in America, but it was, and remained, a French beach.

The United States has given more to the world than any other nation, ever. The British Empire can make a claim for a near second, yet the United States has done more to lift more people, both our own citizens and others, out of poverty than any other nation in history. The United States has fed more of the world than any other nation, ever. The United States has given the world light bulbs, (thanks Tom Edison), electricity, education, literature, the Panama Canal, eradicated polio, nearly eradicated malaria (until one of the “aint it awful crowd” pulled DDT from the shelves and signed a death warrant for 100 million).  Absent the United States, totalitarian empires would have plunged the world into a dark age from which it might never emerge.

Who would give the world advances in food production, medicine, balance the power of despots and tyrants, raise the standard of living of the world to a higher level than it has ever seen, serve as the example and shining city on the hill to which millions aspire if not the United States? To which other country would so many risk life and limb and imprisonment to come? They know, unlike the horse kissers who refuse to appreciate what we have been blessed with, how truly superior in so many ways are the United States of America.

So many of the Occupy Antarctica Snowflake Brigade focus on every fault, and deny every virtue of this, the greatest nation in the history of mankind. They roll their eyes, and look down their sniffing little noses at “flag waving” and patriotism.

Well, I am a patriot, and I have a flag flying on the back of my home. I served in the uniform of my country, and saluted that flag every day for years. I learned the history and tradition of the Navy whose uniform I wore, and of the Sailors and Marines who fought and died for this country with that flag as their symbol and rallying point. I served in a difficult, demanding, dangerous job, which required us to be the deadliest force imaginable. If we were ordered to do so, we would have killed thousands. If caught, we would have been sunk and killed. We did the job because we believed in it, and the country. Value judgement: It is worth my life to protect this country; it is worth causing the deaths of thousands I would never see if so ordered to keep the country safe. We took an oath which said “I promise to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. “I did not see any expiration date when I took it.

I love this country, and while recognizing its faults, still believe it is the greatest country ever.  I am unashamedly a fan and supporter of the United States, and her friends and allies, and all others take a back seat.

If it comes to the interests of the United States or any other country, this country, which houses my children, and the ideas which let them live as they wish comes first.

Always. Forever. And without apology.



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