Douglas Wilson: “Deep Affection for America”

Douglas Wilson: “Deep Affection for America”:

The intellectual and historical dishonesty that undergirds our public self-understanding is breathtaking in its scope and ambition, and is hollow as a jug. Virtually everywhere I look, somebody is talking nonsense. Time to despair, right?

Actually, no. In the long run, stupidity never works. Social critics like me tend to think that everything is measured in terms of the problems they see, but they often miss — not surprisingly — the things they don’t see. God knows what He is doing, and God is in control of human history. A corollary of this is that we are not in control of human history; we are merely instruments in His hands. And if we are instruments in His hands, we need to learn to think of ourselves that way, and seek to cultivate the demeanor that is appropriate to that role.

Critics of all things American from the “left” are scolds. They are shrill, boney, humorless prudes. They are fussers, handwringers, and wowsers. They are pencil-necked, parsimonious, and poisonous. They like to call themselves liberals, but the only thing they are liberal with is criticism of what somebody else might be doing with his own time and money.

Critics of all things American from the “right” are paranoid and fearful. They are shifty and conspiratorial, and attribute that same sneakiness to their adversaries. They believe that the rampant sin in our nation is all imported from somewhere else. Their eyes are too close together, and they tend to be monomanaical cranks. Sin is not something Americans can do, but rather is the word they use to describe people becoming un-American.


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