Probably all societies work better with a certain quantity of comfortable delusions, but America seems to operate with nothing but delusions.  Large policies have been and continue to be based on an imaginary view of the world which trumps common sense:

• You can have a First World economy and military with a Third World population.

• Special privileges and billions of dollars in welfare can eliminate the resentments of minorities.

• Billions of dollars of foreign aid can win the friendship of foreigners.

• Being “a nation of immigrants” is a wonderful thing.

• Government subsidy of medical care improves care and lowers costs.

• Calling it “collateral damage” excuses the murder of innocents.

• The war of 1861-1865 was motivated by an altruistic desire to give freedom and equality to black people.

• Guaranteeing the profits of bankers and stock speculators makes for general prosperity.

• Taking off your shoes and belt at the airport and the county courthouse helps in the fight against terrorism.

• Iraq had to be invaded because it was responsible for 9/11 and had weapons of mass destruction.  (That  the attack was made by Saudi Arabians, from a country with which George W. Bush has profitable connections, is never noted.)

• Wars can be won by vast expenditures on complicated weapons and a military that is mostly a bureaucracy and  social engineering agency.

• America has the world’s best military.  (Despite the fact that a few morons armed with plastic tableware successfully attacked a major city and the imperial military headquarters and that many overseas expeditions have been mismanaged failures.)

• Politicians care about our wellbeing.

• “Gun control” reduces violence.

• Islam is really “a religion of peace.”  (George W. Bush says so, and he is a wise and good man.)

• Presidents are wise and well-informed and know what’s best.  (Except Nixon.)

• Democracy will flourish among all peoples if only bad leaders are thrown out of power.

• A society can survive and remain healthy when the entertainment media are suffused with filthy language, depraved morals, narcissism, and nihilistic violence.

• World peace can be maintained by American hostility to Russia, China, and Iran.

Clyde Wilson

Clyde Wilson

Clyde N. Wilson is the Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and a Contributing Editor to Chronicles. Dr. Wilson is best known as the editor of the 28-volume documentary edition of The Papers of John C. Calhoun. He is the author or editor of a dozen other books—including Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew and Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture—and has published over 700 articles, essays, and reviews. He is also the co-owner of Shotwell Publishing.

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