Amerika’s problem isnt so much stupidity—which, to be sure, she has raised to the status of national pastime, political street games played by faith-based culture bullies—as what always has been her number one problem: Puritanism. (I capitalize the word not out of respect but to indicate the degree to which it is Amerika’s god, or at least emissary of the vague yet destructive god Amerika worships.)
Not having been born or raised in this wonderful country I’ve adopted (and that I suppose has adopted me, having accepted me as a citizen), I may have a perspective on Puritanism that the natives dont. It’s subliminal with them, not with me. I must admit that as a dumb Canuck born and bred I’m more given to socialism and its libertine leanings, if not outright anarchism—with its satanic love of freedom amorally constituted. And yet I also gladly admit my debt to that New England transcendentalist triumvirate of the 19th century: Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman. In fact, I declare my love of the latter whom I’ve claimed as spiritual faither. No Canadian sage, bon vivant or poet created me as much as those three did. I am their offspring, especially Whitman’s. Nationality has nothing and everything to do with it.
It’s obvious Amerika didnt listen to her best sons, who were her wisest fathers and benefactors. Those three I mentioned won the war against Puritanism for all time, each tackling a different phalanx. But their victory, it seems, was only for themselves and an outsider-ish number of adherents, spiritual descendents whom they influenced, taught. Like me. Can we say Amerika has listened to her wisest, best sons? I’m afraid not. Not when you see the cult of stupidity that prevails.
Though this nation eschews monarchy, the Moloch god Ginsberg decried in warning tones (whom Amerika has harnessed, as man does his most useful gods, to Puritanism) has, since at least the days of Andrew Jackson, been enthroned with his cohort, the goddess Stupida, who leers at the lessons as well as pleasures of thinking for oneself. She brands all individuality elitist, apparently the worst thing you can be in this country. Elitism, if not intellectual integrity, smacks not just of ungodliness, but of the sin of investing freedom with a sense of responsibility. Such regulation of behavior, such liberal bullying, is anathema in this land, perhaps even unconstitutional. (It appears that stupidity is more constitutionally protected than intelligence, but perhaps that should be no surprise, governments and the governed being as they are.)
We in Amerika know what’s right without having to know ourselves. Without having to question what we call truth. In fact, without really having to know anything at all except what’s right—or considered right. And in our case right makes might, to rephrase the adage. Or so we believe. How unique we are . . . how puritan, for we are right and everyone else is wrong. To question that truism is unAmerikan. What’s intelligence got to do with it? What’s getting on the nerves of so many nations, so many of our own citizens, got to do with it? What’s being hated got to do with it? What’s equality or fair play got to do with it? And what, finally, has even culture (never mind goodness) got to do with it?
Amerika the beautiful . . . Amerika the great . . . Amerika the pure. Pure. It. An. Is. Tic. Tic toc tic toc tic toc . . . goes the eternal clock.
Ashes! Ashes!/ We all fall down.