Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thank You America

“Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente.”
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, circa 1620.

Yesterday I wrote about a group of people for whom Bradford’s prayer of thanks would make no sense. Yet I want to thank God for all my friends, including those who cannot thank God themselves. If they are intollerant of my prayer, then they are not my friends. I do not thank God for the gift of Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, whose intollerance of Christianity is akin to the intollerance of Islamic radicals, though more feeble.

To my friends of all religions, or no religion, I say Happy Thanksgiving and thank you, America. I think that is a thanksgiving wish in keeping with the Pilgrims gratitude. Any citizen who does not give thanks for being American is no American. Any European, South Korean, Japanese, Afghani, Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Indonesian, … who does not give thanks to America is an ingrate.

The remarkable Mark Steyn has just written a book America Alone that explores once again the American exceptionalism that has been noted since the times of deTocqueville. Steyn’s principle thesis is that American birth rates, our non-socialist government and our self reliance separate us more and more from the rest of the developed world. Europe, Japan and Russia are on a trajectory to go out of business in a couple of generations.

The book publisher writes: “The future, as Steyn notes, belongs to the fecund and the confident. The Islamists are both, while the West -- wedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivion -- is looking more like the ruins of a civilization.”

Here the West refers to Europe and Canada, while the conclusions apply as well to Japan and Russia. As Steyn writes, demographics is a game of last man standing. During the last generation, “Muslims had babies (those self-detonating Islamists are a literal baby boom) while Westerners took all those silly doomsday tomes about overpopulation seriously.”

Note that the UN recently issued the global fertility rate measurement, 1.85 babies per woman that is below the 2.1 replacement rate. World population will begin falling by 2050 if not before. I urge anyone who wants to peek at the likely doomsday future to read Steyn’s book.

I’ll focus here on a few of the points that Steyn makes about the huge debt the world owes America. The biggest American gift turned out to be a mixed blessing. Because America massively funded rebuilding and provided for the defense of Europe and Japan, those countries were able to recover from the war – good – but then they got used to depending on us and put all their eggs into their welfare states. The problem now is that their people have become addicted to government handouts while their falling populations cannot support them. They are defenseless and heading toward bankruptcy, lacking the self reliance to do anything about it.

America supplies much of the world’s critical infrastructure. When the tsunamis hit Sri Lanka and Indonesia it was US carrier groups that galloped to the rescue and saved so many lives. When SARS leapt from China and infected a Toronto hospital, the medical scientists at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta saved the day. When millions of Africans are infected with HIV, America donates $15 billion to fight the disease. When a genocidal war breaks out in Bosnia, America steps up to stop it, while embarrassing the Europeans into helping out. The list is endless.

Millions of Iraqi lives depend on the bravery of one hundred and fifty thousand US troops who willingly risk their lives and limbs to protect them and us. My grandson Johnny wrote today from Talafar, Iraq to say Happy Thanksgiving. He wanted to thank the Las Candalistas for the 20 pounds of cookies they baked for him and his unit. The cookies arrived last Monday and were gone by Tuesday night.

When I think of my debt to America, I remember first all the military men and women who have sacrificed to give us freedom and keep us safe. They are the heroes who embody what it means to be American. God bless them all.


Blogger fetching jen said...

Lovely thoughts Bill... things worth remembering and thinking about...

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill! Those liberals who hate America should buy a one-way ticket to Iraq!


3:38 PM  

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