- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2003

America the hated
"America is many things now, perhaps, more than ever. It is rural Alabama and urban San Francisco. It is Michael Moore and Jerry Falwell. It's Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld. It's MTV and the right to bear arms. It's a country that still won't accept a one-dollar coin but embraced the Internet with the enthusiasm of a teen-age crush. It's cowboy country in Wyoming and Little Havana in Miami. It's Rambo and the 'Sopranos.' It's Little Vietnam in the exurbs of Virginia and mega-churches in suburban Houston. Anyone who despises all this despises not America but humanity. And humanity in one of the most daring multicultural, multiracial experiments in human history.
"Of course, most anti-Americanism today doesn't deal with this complex reality. It deals with the fact of American hyper-power, and its impact on the broader world. In this sense, it's a new form of anti-Americanism. It's anti-Americanism without the counterbalance of fearing the Soviet Union. And it's anti-Americanism without the positive element of 20th-century faith in socialism or Marxism. This makes it in some ways a purer anti-Americanism, one that simply hates American power, rather than one that posits any credible alternative."
Andrew Sullivan, writing on "The fruits of anti-anti-Americanism," Jan. 19 in the Sunday Times of London
Racist witchcraft
"In the past two years, in which the phrase 'institutional racism' has almost become part of everyday speech, racism has been transformed into a kind of modern-day witchcraft. People ascribe to racism ferocious omnipotence. It has become a hidden force that permeates society, and like a demon, it is capable of possessing the cleanest of minds.
"The new 'anti-racist' witch-finders have no time for such outdated concepts as empiricism or evidence. There need be no proof of racist acts; the possessed don't even know they harbour racist thoughts, for they are being 'unwittingly racist.' The demon can infect entire organizations too, rendering them 'institutionally racist.'
"Even if there is no proof of it existing, like an elusive phantom, it can be 'perceived.' … To deny such thinking is only to indict oneself even further. There is only one avenue for redemption: self-denunciation. Surrender to the new 'anti-racist' priestcraft, for only they know what you think.
"True non-racists believe that racial discrimination is wrong. They subscribe to the tenets of the Enlightenment, with its belief in the universality of humanity. Today's 'anti-racists' represent the antithesis. They are the intellectual descendants of pseudo-Freudians, Maoist brainwashers and religious fundamentalists."
Patrick West, writing on "Witch-hunting the unwitting," Jan. 16 in Spiked at www.spiked-online.com
A people's epic
"The war of 1861-65 is still the pivotal event of American history, despite all that has passed since. …
"Ronald F. Maxwell's epic portrayal of the first two years of the conflict … is more than just another film or a good re-creation of history. It is an American cultural event of major significance. …
"That 'Gods and Generals' has Stonewall Jackson as its central character would have been considered, not too many years ago, as American as apple pie. Today it is a feat of insight and courage. What Maxwell has done in this stunningly crafted and epically expansive re-creation of the first two years of the war is nothing less than to restore American history to the Americans. …
"Maxwell has largely given us a dramatization of Americans, including African-Americans, as the real people in the real context in which they loved, perspired, wept, struggled, suffered, and died. …
"'Gods and Generals' is an arresting example of how a people's history should be told which ought to have a healthy effect on Americans' idea of themselves."
Clyde Wilson, writing on "Reclaiming the American Story," in the February issue of Chronicles

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