Dubious ideas that are taken for granted as true in American public discourse:
Government and Big Business are enemies.
The U.S. practices a free-trade policy.
Wars are bad except those carried out by the U.S. because our intentions are always benevolent.
It is good that our daughters now have equality with our sons in the military. Next they should be allowed to participate equally in draft registration.
All children are equally intelligent but some have better schools than others, and we all know that spending more money makes better schools.
Detroit is in terrible shape because of insufficient federal aid.
A college education is always a good investment.
A majority of citizens are opposed to Obamacare, affirmative action, immigration, and gun control. However, freedom and democracy require that we obey these policies.
All cultures are equal, therefore immigrants should be allowed to preserve their cultures. However, when Westerners immigrate to Uganda, Pakistan, or Guatemala, they should respect the national cultures.
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.