America: What Good Is It?

Column by Paul Bonneau.

Exclusive to STR

I was lying in bed last night, thinking how frustrating it can be to live in America today. So much potential, yet squandered for the basest purposes! I started thinking of reasons America is both great and lousy at the same time. Here is a rough list I came up with:
America - THE GOOD
Freedom: It’s still very popular here, and getting more popular.
The Land: It’s beautiful. I love those wild, empty spaces where I can go when people start getting to me.
The People: I have a soft spot for French and Germans and Austrians and Dutch, and others too, but I like Americans the best. Despite some warts, Americans generally don’t kowtow to our so-called “betters,” and we’re ornery and difficult when we need to be. We don’t like being pushed around, but we’re charitable to a fault, and usually pretty friendly.
Innovation and entrepreneurial drive: No one does it better. Americans will start a business at the drop of a hat. They do it almost as an accident sometimes.
Manufacturing: There’s still some left, in nooks and crannies--what hasn’t been driven out by anti-business policies--and it’s good.
Guns and gun culture: We’re tops; even better than the Swiss, who invented this culture. Battle rifles for everyone!
Music, and (when it is good) Hollywood.
Horses and cowboy culture.
Beautiful, productive small farms.
Ethnic Food: Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Middle East, Mexican, it’s all great!
High Tech: We’re still the best despite all the outsourcing. The Internet was our invention!
Homeschooling: Reviving the old American tradition of true literacy.
America - THE BAD
Empire: The Ugly American, magnified; makes us hated around the world. Quite a change from the admiration foreigners used to express, in the old days.
Endless, Murderous War: Always wrong, usually stupidly wrong.
The “normalization” of torture, and confinement without end.
Laws: Way, way, way too many laws, passed for the benefit of special interests, and applying only to the “mundanes,” not to the rulers or their enforcers.
2.3 Million Americans in jail, most of them political prisoners; per capita far more than any other country, a national disgrace.
The War on Civil Liberties, er, I mean, Drugs: One of the worst tragedies that can befall a country, making luckless people into feedstock for the prison industrial complex.
A Glorious Revolution betrayed: First by the 1787 Constitutional Convention, then by the dictator Lincoln, then by Wilson, then FDR. Like Stalin by the Russians and Mao by Chinese, our most evil leaders are the ones most praised (by “court historians,” but swallowed by many).
Government schools: Little more than indoctrination centers, that make our children the laughingstocks of the intellectual world. What we know, we know despite these “schools,” not because of them.
Thuggish cops: Always sticking their noses into everyone’s business. A proliferation of police agencies, trending toward a police state. The “Only Ones” think of themselves as special, and us as “mundanes.”
Poisonous factory farms.
Armies of life-sucking bureaucrats.
Wall Street banksters: Manipulating the world for their kicks. Enslaving all with debt.
A huge and growing class of parasites, living off a shrinking number of productive people.
A currency that is about to implode (due to government spending), bringing commerce to a screeching halt.
These are just my lists, off the top of my head. Everyone could make lists like these. Everyone should! What do you love and hate about America?
After thinking some more about this, last night, it struck me there was only one solution: dissolution. What this country really needs is a 50 state secession.
Think about it. If America went this route, and booted out the lizard people running the District of Criminals, and became separate states again, then virtually all on my bad list would disappear or be much reduced, and all on my good list would be enhanced. We’d be even more American than we are now, in other words; but we’d be the admirable America. We’d look in a way like Germany did, before Bismark ruined it: a collection of smaller states, each with its own variety of culture, each with its own experiments in government (or lack thereof), its own mistakes and successes. No more pointless and stupid homogenization, enforced from above.
Maybe we don’t need formal secession; we could just stop paying attention to the federal government. We could nullify ourselves out of this disastrous Union. There must be 50 ways to leave Big Brother, and we will probably be trying some of these after the dollar dies, when enough people just get fed up with the bastards.
It’s as if we are now living in occupied America. “Vichy America.” I’d like to see a real America again, wouldn’t you?


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Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 106


Glen Allport's picture

Terrific column! Very smooth and absolutely spot-on. I appreciated the reminder of the good that America still retains; as the bad grows ever-worse, its easy to forget that not everything is horrible.

B.R. Merrick's picture

"Music, and (when it is good) Hollywood."

This land mass has a slew of fine symphony orchestras (that must also include our neighbors to the north, with the Montreal Symphony). The Cleveland Orchestra is considered by many music reviewers and professional musicians to be the greatest orchestra in America, and perhaps the greatest (or certainly one of the greatest) in the world.

But even the ones you haven't heard can be amazingly good. I've had the pleasure of hearing the Syracuse Symphony (Upstate New York) and the Utah Symphony. Each of those orchestras, far lesser known, can knock it out with the best of them.

Thanks for cheering us all up, Paul.

...with the first part of your article, anyway. :)