On Being American, Part II

Let’s just say that I haven’t been in the posting mood, but I’ve owed Savrx a reply on his comment on On Being American for the last week. On your first point, you are, in reality, correct but not correct in terms of justice. Yes we have created a great many laws that have endowed our citizens with privileges (a right cannot be granted, only prevented) that are not granted to those without citizenship. However, with the exception of some public official requirements and definitions of responsibilities of the courts, the Constitution makes no mention of the term “Citizen” including the original Bill of Rights. I do not think that this was an accident on the part of the Founding Fathers but a sign of their wisdom. This is why the recent Enemy Combatant rulings are such an atrocious miscarriage of justice. If you want my honest opinion, each time we pass a law that grants special privileges to citizens we lose a part of that identity which has made us so special and great.

Secondly, yes I agree that we, for all intensive purposes, share a language. But as you state, we share a language for purely pragmatic purposes, to communicate. We don’t do this in an attempt to form a nationalistic identity. Truly nationalistic countries, such as Fascist Germany and ironically France, have used language to enforce a rigid culture and usually to assert an artificial superiority. We will lose pare of our righteousness the moment we give in to these base tendencies.

Finally, our culture is not a defining quality precisely because it is “ever changing, vastly irregular, and utterly confusing”. Our seemingly chaotic culture is only held together only by our individual adherence to the principle of man as an independent entity. The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 did not attack us because they saw our culture as evil. They saw our principle as evil. They can not exist in a world where an individual man is of supreme value and the group is of secondary importance. They were responding to the best that this country represents not its worst.

I think that your response is in disagreement to the worst that America has done. Throughout our history we have acted often in pursuit of those same values that lead to the mentality of “border, language and culture”. That will in time be our undoing in our path back to the “rest of the world”. However, so long as we keep that glimmer of original greatness alive, we shall retain our uniqueness.

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