The American Crisis of Legitimacy

A great discussion is taking place at Zenpundit, The Glittering Eye and American Future on “How does a Democracy effectively fight an enemy who can recruit our own citizens to commit atrocities and still remain a democracy?” and what happens if “we abandon ‘E Pluribus Unum'” and more.
America is facing a crisis of legitimacy in which the fundamental ideals of the American experiment are losing their currency. We are seeing this in the education system were students are increasingly ignorant of American history and the ideas that are at its core. Alongside that ignorance is what they do know which is all the bad stuff, propagated by people who, in the words of Mark at Zenpundit, “accept the revisionist critique that America is itself a bad idea.”
In an interview with Brian Lamb on Booknotes historian Gordon Wood addresses this issue: 
WOOD: “…the thing about the American Revolution is that it created the ideology that holds us together. I think without that revolution, we would be, I don’t know, like Argentina, a nation without any kind of adhesive. We have an intellectual, and ideological adhesive that makes us one people, insofar as anything can, because we’re so diverse…
“…this is our great achievement, that we are a nation based on — based on beliefs. To be an American is to believe in something, not to be someone. To be an Englishman is still to be someone. And they have a hard time absorbing all these immigrants, and they’ve got a lot of them now, and they don’t know how to deal with it.
“We have this — this marvelous country which is held together, I think, by ideology, by a set of beliefs that came out of the Revolution. It keeps us together. You don’t have to be someone. You don’t have to have a certain ancestor. You can learn to be an American by coming to believe in these things — liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and so on. You don’t have to come from a certain race or ethnicity. That’s not true of most of the world.
“LAMB: Why don’t we hear much from people who came from other countries that live here, became American citizens, about the very points that you’re making?
“WOOD: Well, I don’t know. Maybe our educational system ought to be emphasizing this. But I think most Americans — it can’t be enough to be an American to go to McDonald’s. I mean, that can’t be the only adhesive that holds us together. It has to be something else. And it’s our history, and particularly the Revolution, but our whole history is what really holds us together. And if people can — can come to believe in that history or in the ideals that come out of that history, then that’s enough of an adhesive, I think.”
I believe immigrants want to be Americans. By coming to America they have chosen to leave behind the kind of factional conflicts that have caused so much misery, but when they get here they are greeted by an anti-American multiculturalism that tells them that America is a horrible, racist, imperialist monster. I dated a woman a few years ago who taught English as a Second Language at the university level and she told me that in addition to teaching English she tells her foreign students the “truth” about America. Right from the beginning foreign students and immigrants are bombarded with anti-American propaganda.
The efforts of the left are dissolving that adhesive which has proven so successful at integrating so many different kinds of people into America, which is leaving us open to Islamist recruiters and creating a large population that sees no reason to defend America. We have to continue to find ways of articulating the ideals that came out of the Revolution in order ensure that they have sufficient currency within our culture. If we don’t they will disappear and we will really face some hard times ahead as the population breaks down into more particular identities and allegiances. In order to do this we have to join the battle of ideas and defeat the left’s post-modernist, transnationalist, multiculturalist ideology in addition to fighting the Islamist ideology.
Posted by Phil

One thought on “The American Crisis of Legitimacy”

  1. Very, very good point about the left's hijacking of immigrant “choke points” to spread their ideology.

    Minnesota – which is radically more Leftist than the rest of the Midwest — is a constant example of how NOT to integrate immigrants

    Conservatives need to embrace immigration and immigrant-services to deprive Leftists of their ideological conversation factories.

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