The 4th of July was splendid especially since I had the privilege to see the celebration of America's birthday through a foreigner's eye. When a new friend, a visiting scholar at Harvard said she had no plans for the 4th of July, I invited her to spend it with me and another friend.
After a lunch of hotdogs, beans, chips and beer, we visited Lexington Common and the Minuteman National Park . My foreign friend was much impressed with the natural beauty, the modesty of the monuments and the innocence in the best sense of word of the national park rangers who told the thrilling story of the first battle of the revolutionary war. This could never happen in Europe she said. The closest a European could come to the evident feeling of national pride she saw all around was winning a soccer match. Later at the Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade and the fabulous fireworks, she was amazed at the tenor of the crowd, some 500,000 strong, particularly its civility and self discipline. Living very near a soccer stadium in Europe, she's used to drunken louts who crash bottles on the streets, get into fights and vomit in the nearest space available. Of the crowd in Boston she said "This is so civilized."
Catching up on all the coverage of the 4th, the following caught my attention.
Thomas Sowell on Does Patriotism Matter?
When the intelligentsia in France launched a systematic purge of textbooks after the First World War in order to promote internationalism and pacifism, the epic defense of France seen during the First World War evolved into a "sudden and humiliating collapse" in six weeks to the Nazis despite superior French tanks and planes.
Roger Kimball's thoughtful essay on July 4, America and multiculturalism
I fear that for every schoolchild standing at attention for the National Anthem, there is a teacher or lawyer or judge or politician or ACLU employee militating against the hegemony of the dominant culture, the insupportable intrusion of white, Christian, “Eurocentric” values into the curriculum, the school pageant, the town green, etc., etc.
Those forces are not isolated phenomena; they are not even confined to America. They are part of a global crisis in national identity, coefficients of the sudden collapse of self-confidence in the West–a collapse that shows itself in everything from swiftly falling birthrates in “old Europe” to the attack on the whole idea of the sovereign nation state. It is hard to avoid thinking that a people that has lost the will to reproduce or govern itself is a people on the road to destruction.
The threat shows itself in many ways, from culpable complacency to the corrosive imperatives of “multiculturalism” and political correctness. ... In essence, as Huntington notes, multiculturalism is “anti-European civilization. . . . It is basically an anti-Western ideology.”
The multiculturalists claim to be fostering a progressive cultural cosmopolitanism distinguished by superior sensitivity to the downtrodden and dispossessed. In fact, they encourage an orgy of self-flagellating liberal guilt as impotent as it is insatiable. The “sensitivity” of the multiculturalist is an index not of moral refinement but of moral vacuousness.
For what we have witnessed with the triumph of multiculturalism is a kind of hypertrophy or perversion of liberalism, as its core doctrines are pursued to the point of caricature.
While in Bagdad, the wonderful sight of 1200 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in the largest re-enlistment in history, in Saddham's old palace.
The Mudville Gazette reports one command sergeant said
I'll always remember the message you've sent to the adversary: the same guys and girls who've been kicking your butt for the past five years signed up for some more.