Thursday, August 16, 2018

Self-Hatred Isn't Virtuous

Maybe you remember from junior high or high school, the girl (maybe it was you) who believed all kinds of negative things about herself: her thighs were fat; her tummy bulged, her hair was stringy (or too curly or frizzy); she had a gap between her teeth that she thought everyone was aware of; she wasn’t smart enough; her clothes never fit right, or looked cool enough. The list goes on. But you looked at her and wondered where this was coming from, because what you saw was a girl who was pretty enough, maybe even very pretty. And she was friendly and sweet and thoughtful of others. And you had to wonder where all that anti-self negativity was coming from.

It's not uncommon among early teens, girls especially. There may be attached to it an erroneous belief that it’s not right to like yourself; that means you’re conceited and narcissistic. So putting yourself down is only proper. But you, looking from the outside, can see she’s not only wrong; she’s harming herself and limiting the good she could do in the world, if only she stopped worrying about her flaws and started growing herself and sharing her potential with the world.

Even this cute girl (our daughter, Social Sphere)
had a few brief moments of not realizing
how beautiful she was, but we got her over
that using some reality.
The cure seems to be growing up, gaining confidence, and getting a clearer picture of self. And maybe cutting out the comparisons of only her personal flaws with only the admirable qualities of her peers.

In other words, she’s wrong, and she needs to come to learn that. Because tearing herself down is just making herself miserable with no good purpose.

If you’re any kind of friend, or even a decent person, you do what you can to get her to see herself more accurately and to stop tearing herself down.

So, how does this relate to the Spherical Model and what we talk about here?

Take a look at this quote of yesterday from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: “We're not going to make America great again. It was never that great." 

And can we forget that former first lady Michelle Obama who, in 2008, said, “For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country”? That was, of course, related to her husband’s election to fundamentally transform the most free and prosperous country in human history into—something else. 

It’s symptomatic of a rather large segment of our society that looks at the United States and doesn’t see what Reagan metaphorically called the “shining city on a hill.” Instead they see a dung heap. A garbage dump. A deteriorating ghetto. We should be more like Sweden. Or Finland. Or Denmark. Or almost anywhere else.

Are they right? I believe they’re like that middle school girl, thinking it’s virtuous somehow to denigrate their own country—seeing only bad here, while seeing good everywhere else but missing their bad. So, no, they’re not accurate. And they’re not more virtuous for being “open-minded” enough to “see” their country as flawed.

Of course there are flaws. But they aren’t the flaws these people claim. And their blindness to the astounding good in "this greatest nation on God’s green earth,” as Michael Medved says on his show every day, is so dense as to be willful.

In the spirit of teenage girl magazines, maybe it’s time for a self-assessment quiz, to determine whether you (or a friend or frenemy you’re assessing while reading this) are suffering from this self-disparagement syndrome.

1.       T of F: The Founding Fathers were a bunch of racist old slaveholders, so that means the country they founded is fatally flawed to begin with.
2.       T or F: The phrase in the Constitution about slaves being counted as 3/5ths of a person was to institutionalize and endorse racist slavery.
3.       T or F: The imperialist United States stole most of the Southwest from Mexico.
4.       T or F: The rights in the Constitution are granted by government, and they can be taken away by government if a majority decides they’re not good to have—like freedom of religion if it’s offensive, or freedom of speech if it’s offensive.
5.       T or F: Racism is every bit as bad today as it was during slavery or the Jim Crow eras.
6.       Which Superman slogan do you prefer?
a.  The original classic, from comic books, television series, and older movies: “truth, justice, and the American way.”
b. The updated version (from the movie Superman Returns): “truth, justice, and all that stuff.”
7.       Agree or Disagree: A country that doesn’t provide free health care and free education through college is out of step with the rest of the world and should step up.
8.       Agree or Disagree: America should never have gotten involved in the war in Iraq—or, for that matter, Vietnam, or any other war since WWII.
9.       Agree or Disagree: America should intervene with food supplies and anything else to rescue people in failing economies such as Venezuela.
10.   Agree or Disagree: America is unfair because it doesn’t just open its borders and let anyone in who wants to come in.
11.   Agree or Disagree: Businesses should be forced to pay their people enough to live on (housing, food, clothing, transportation) for even an entry-level job.
12.   Agree or Disagree: Inequality is the worst thing about America; money should be taken from the rich and redistributed to the poor.
13.   Agree or Disagree: People who don’t do as well as others are being oppressed.

The T or F questions are all False. So count one point for each T you answered. (See discussion of answers below.)

If you answered B on 6, count one point. For question 7-13, count one point for each statement you Agree with.

If you got 0-3 points, pretty good (but if you don’t have 0, you need to do some soul searching).

If you got 4-7 points, you’re probably suffering from some bad information in schools and media, and you need to get some better sources. (See suggestions below.)

If you got 8+ points, you’re an America hater for no good reason. In fact, your reasons aren’t just random opinions; you have chosen to buy in to the America hating rhetoric of false history teachings, much of it based on the history/propaganda of Howard Zinn that has made its way into our education system. You need to do some de-programming to get yourself in touch with reality before you harm yourself and others—and your country.

Discussion of Answers

Question 1: While there were slaveholders among the Founders, they all agreed it was an evil that needed to be done away—something that was a new idea in world history, since slavery was the norm throughout history up until the Founders started this nation based on an idea, rather than on a geography or tribalism. The idea: that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, related to life, liberty, and property.

Question 2: The purpose of the 3/5 phrase in the Constitution was to prevent the perpetuation of slavery. The slaveholding states wanted to count their slaves in order to boost their population and give them more representation, thus ensuring the continuation of slavery. But the Founders, including those from southern states who were representing their states’ interests but were also looking for ways to end the practice, used this compromise to reduce the power of slaveholding states. PragerU has a good discussion: “Why the 3/5ths Compromise Was Anti-Slavery.” 

Historian Carol Swain,
screenshot from this PragerU video

Question 3: The Tejanos who fought with the Texians (that is, the Hispanic people living in current Texas along with the Americans who immigrated to what was then part of Mexico) fought long and hard for independence from the tyrannical dictator who had taken over Mexico and deprived them of their rights. And further, the later war that led to New Mexico, Arizona, and California becoming parts of the United States—Mexico was the aggressor, lost, and in fact lost most of what is current Mexico today, but that was given back, unfortunately for them, because they’d have been better off joining America. Dinesh D’Souza has a good discussion of this in America: Imagine a World without Her, pp. 107-119.

Question 4: “Being endowed by their Creator” means being given by God, and “unalienable,” or “inalienable,” depending on who’s spelling it today, means that it can’t be taken. Government doesn’t grant those rights; government is tasked with protecting those rights. The Bill of Rights, which consists of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, weren’t originally included, because they were considered so obvious and so well understood, that they went without saying. But then several states worried that later generations might not find them so obvious, so they spelled them out and included them in the Constitution before it was ratified.

Question 5: Another PragerU video is helpful here: “Is America Racist?” 

The remaining questions are opinions, but there’s good information on these as well. I’ll offer just a few.

About foreign wars, there are a number of helpful PragerU videos:

·         Why America Invaded Iraq” and “How Iraq Was Won and Lost   
·         Why Did America Fight the Korean War” 
·         What Was the Cold War?” 
There are PragerU videos on a great many other topics as well, including some economic ones. For other sources with a more America loving presentation of reality, you might finish Dinesh D’Souza’s book America: Imagine a World without Her, and also Mark Steyn’s America Alone, Glenn Beck’s The Real America, and W. Cleon Skousen’s The Five Thousand Year Leap.

For education, try the free online Hillsdale College courses. Start with Constitution 101 and 201.
For daily information doses, try podcasts of Ben Shapiro and Andrew Klavan, and maybe even Michael Knowles.

For some economic truth, you might try anything by Thomas Sowell. Start with Basic Economics. Or, if you need to battle some of that social justice dogma, you might try Discrimination and Disparities or Wealth, Poverty and Politics.

At the very least be skeptical of self-hatred. What’s behind it? Do you really think it’s virtuous to be desperately ashamed of a nation with so many positives that people around the world want to become Americans? Or is it a dysfunctional delusion? 

Just like the 13-year-old girl who responds to your compliment with, “Really? But my shoes are awful, don’t you think?” maybe someone needs to stand her in front of a full-length mirror and let her see how beautiful she is. Take a look at America; she’s beautiful!

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