November 22, 2007

Over at late last night, Michael Medved slipped in some Thanksgiving Eve—well, “thoughts” would be too strong a word:

“The Thanksgiving holiday provides an opportunity to refocus on the motivations of early New England settlers, who crossed the ocean not to escape the Old World, but to change it by the force of their example.”

Really?  I’m not a particular admirer of the theology of those settlers, and it’s certainly true that, after a few centuries of further distortion, it evolved into the secular messianism of Woodrow Wilson and, later, the neoconservatives, but it’s simply ridiculous to claim that the purpose of their migration to the New World was to conquer the Old World, by force of example (or any other force).  Medved continues:

“For Pilgrims in Plymouth, or their Puritan neighbors in Massachusetts Bay, the idea of a ‘city on a hill’ was to create an ideal society that the corrupt world would be forced to admire and, ultimately, emulate it.”

Again, pure nonsense.  Having failed to create their ideal society in England, they wanted to create it in New England—for themselves.  The language of the “shining city on a hill” described the ideal of the perfection of their society, not some messianic desire to impose it on others.  That would be left to their descendants.  Lest anyone think that this distinction is unimportant, let’s look at where Medved’s distortion of history takes him:

“In the fine new book ‘Dangerous Nation,’ Robert Kagan makes clear that the drive to bring justice and democracy to the rest of the world didn”€™t begin with ‘neo-cons,’ or even with Woodrow Wilson. It began with our New England forefathers, and it’s always been a motivating force in America’s international role.”

In other words, the chickenhawk Medved, who not only didn’t fight in Vietnam but (I have it on good authority) wrote an article for the school newspaper at Palisades High School in Los Angeles, claiming that football was militaristic and fascistic, that the team should be disbanded, and that the football field should be flooded and turned into a rice paddy to feed the Third World, now wants to baptize the current neocon crusade that he doesn’t have to fight.  What better way than to find its roots in the earliest days of America.  That way, he kills two birds with one stone: He justifies his own warmongering, and he undercuts the claims of those who argue that traditional American foreign policy is characterized by George Washington’s Farewell Address.  No!  Traditional American foreign policy is much older!  And more imperialistic!  And even “sacred”!

“Among many reasons to feel grateful to New England’s founders on this Thanksgiving, we can appreciate them as originators of the idea of our nation’s special, even sacred, mission in the world.”

Yes, that’s the ticket—let’s make Thanksgiving a day, not to give thanks to God as a nation, but to express our gratitude to a bastardized neoconized version of American history, that justifies perpetual war and the continual loss of American blood (just not Medved’s blood) and treasure (except for that of Medved and his pals, who make money off of their celebrity endorsement of the death of other people’s children).  And calls it all “sacred,” to boot.

There’s nothing “sacred” about Michael Medved’s view of American history.  And anyone who espouses it is beyond contempt.


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