Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Imperial and Momentary We

 Gettysburg Address
 Evil incarnate.

“O Fame, O Fame! Many a man ere this Of no account hast thou set up on high.”

“It is a kind of baby talk, a puerile and wind­blown gibberish. . . . In content it is a vacuum.”
—H.L. Mencken on Warren G. Harding’s speeches

Americans are a practical people. They don’t want to hear your theory; they want to know what “works.” This aversion to systematic thinking, “American pragmatism,” has been celebrated as a virtue in a world cursed by ideology. And, by golly, this approach has “worked,” and worked well, in some aspects of our national life.

Another, less flattering, way to put it may be that Americans are a people of the Moment. The past is a void never thought of, and the future is merely a dreamy land of wishful thinking for escapist leisure. The Now is omnipotent. That you might build a house or plant trees that will be enjoyed by your distant descendants and have real ancestors worthy of honorable memory are ideas long vanished from the American consciousness. An absence of systematic thinking might be a sign of immaturity.


  1. Evil in disguise. The Honorable Abe Lincoln ordered the
    largest mass hanging in United States history , 38 Santee Sioux Indian men Mankato, Minnesota, Dec. 16, 1862. 303 Indian males were set to be hanged because they were starving to death
    with no food on the glorious reservation so they stole a
    few eggs.
    “On December 6 (1862) President Lincoln notified Sibley that he should “cause to be executed” thirty-nine of the 303 convicted Santees, Execution date was the 26th of December. At the last minute, one Indian was given a reprieve. About ten o’clock the thirty-eight condemned men were marched from the prison to the scaffold. They sang the Sioux death song until soldiers pulled white caps over their heads and placed nooses around their necks. At a signal from an army officer, the control rope was cut and thirty-eight Santee Sioux dangled lifeless in the air.
    And the two, Lincoln & Sibley, ran the Sioux out of
    Minnesota. The Hell with the treaty. I just can't say
    enough good things about Lincoln.

    1. More blood on his hands than any president, that's for sure.

    2. I was being sarcastic about "enough good things"
      should you take it wrong.