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Opinion

Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and The Disuniting of America 

Jeff Davidson

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Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was a noted historian, educator, and social critic who served as Special Assistant to President Kennedy. A Harvard graduate, after serving in World War II, he returned to Harvard as a history professor, from 1946 until 1961. His book, The Age of Jackson was a critical success and earned him a Pulitzer Prize. He then wrote a three-volume set titled, The Age of Roosevelt.

In Touch at the Top

Schlesinger, forever active in liberal politics, became an adviser to Adlai Stevenson, before serving in the Kennedy administration. He had assisted both men during their presidential campaigns. Schlesinger’s 1965 book on the Kennedy administration, titled A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (1965), earned him a second Pulitzer Prize. 

He continued to teach and to write, and to rack up more awards. His subsequent books include The Bitter Heritage (1967), The Imperial Presidency (1973), Robert Kennedy and His Times (1978), and War and the American Presidency (2004). His slimmest of books, The Disuniting of America, first published in 1991, with an updated version in 1998, speaks to our current political and socio-economic landscape.

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Schlesinger keenly observed the American condition. He noted the advantage to everyone if whites were more sensitive about the situations that blacks encounter, and if blacks would be less sensitive about the situations they encounter. He argued that when either group sees everything through a racial lens, contorted views result. Not every slight is based on race and not all acquiescence is benevolent.

Historical Realities vs Distortions of the Truth

Presumed historical realities, Schlesinger observed, are often subtle if not outright distortions of the truth. Predictably, the volume of contradictory information and the associated historical discrepancies it spawns is rising. Of late, consider “The 1619 Project” concocted by the New York Times.

In the ‘politically correct’ era in which Schlesinger wrote The Disuniting of America, and much more so today, pseudo-historians dispense misinformation in the form of “feel-good history.” Feel-good history actually is the antithesis of history. It is a narrative designed to accent or embellish the nature or accomplishments of select groups, Schlesinger noted, for purposes other than conveying what historical records objectively reveal.

To Schlesinger’s chagrin, American history, in particular, has become one of the most maligned of the historical disciplines. Do misinformed or overzealous teachers and professors have the right to overturn decades of research and analysis in the quest to present their version of “the untold, untaught side of American history?” 

Multi-religious vs. Multicultural Societies

At length, Schlesinger discussed the important distinction between multi-religious and multicultural societies. Multi-religious societies have existed throughout history and have succeeded for long stretches. People who share common goals and national objectives might have different religious views, but still feel and be united.

Multicultural societies, however, are problematic. A society that consists of complete and distinct cultures risks disintegration. 

In America today, 30 years after the first edition of The Disuniting of America, often immigrants arrive who do not assimilate, learn English, or know American history, and otherwise stay apart from the rest of the populace. Does society benefit in the long run? Generally, it does not.

The waves of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1890s, then again in the 1910s, had a common objective: to become American citizens. Yes, they would still be Romanian, or Lithuanian, or Greek, etc., but they sought to be Americans, and that is crucial. They didn’t leave their homelands to recreate in America the conditions of their homelands. They arrived here to be part of the American mainstream. 

Groups Who Succeed

Today, legal immigrants from Nigeria, Ghana, Haiti, and the West Indies, all black Americans, have successfully assimilated. Within a generation, or less, these groups often out-earn the average American and out-earn African Americans who have long resided here.

Why are recent black immigrants able to succeed? Many sociologists and scholars maintain that these recent arrivals are free from self-imposed limitations which those residing here for eons have cast upon themselves. Dr. Thomas Sowell, the late Professor Walter Williams, General Colin Powell, and author Shelby Steele, among many others, have noted this in their speeches and books.

The America of today is more disunited than it has been in at least a century, but Arthur Schlesinger’s book was prescient and contains countless bits of wisdom: Independent of skin color, ethnicity, or other so-called dividing factors, America is the land of opportunity.

News

Lee Greenwood Booted from Arts Council by Biden Administration

What?!

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If there is one thing that the Biden administration is superb at, it’s putting its foot right in its mouth.

Maybe this was to be expected.  Biden is, after all, the most gaffe-prone President that our nation has ever seen.  But the sheer ignorance the team maintains for PR issues is still astounding, and this week was no exception.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday removed country music singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Greenwood was first appointed by President George W Bush in 2008. Greenwood was reappointed to six-year terms by both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald J Trump.

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“You know, it’s a six-year appointment and I was appointed by George W. Bush 43,” Greenwood told Fox and Friends. “So I served under his term. Also, President Obama’s term. Of course, President Trump’s term.”

Greenwood was shocked by the move.

The singer’s most renowned hit was “God Bless The USA”, and was a feature of a great many of Donald Trump’s political rallies, making this move by the Biden administration appear terribly petty.

But, for a White House that appears to be completely unaware of their own image, why would we expect anything different?

If there is one thing that the Biden administration is superb at, it’s putting its foot right in its mouth. Maybe this was to be expected.  Biden is, after all, the most gaffe-prone President that our nation has ever seen.  But the sheer ignorance the team maintains for PR issues is still astounding, and this week was no exception. President Joe Biden on Wednesday removed country music singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood from the National Endowment for the Arts. Greenwood was first appointed by President George W Bush in 2008. Greenwood was reappointed to six-year terms by both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald J Trump. “You know, it’s a six-year appointment and I was appointed by George W. Bush 43,” Greenwood told Fox and Friends. “So I served under his term. Also, President Obama’s term. Of course, President Trump’s term.” Greenwood was shocked by the move. The singer’s most renowned hit was “God Bless The USA”, and was a feature of a great many of Donald Trump’s political rallies, making this move by the Biden administration appear terribly petty. But, for a White House that appears to be completely unaware of their own image, why would we expect anything different?

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Opinion

Taliban Will Bring Back Amputations and Executions as Punishment

This is the Biden legacy in Afghanistan at work. 

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In a lame attempt to soften the blow of bungling the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Biden White House began peddling a downright offensive storyline in which this new Taliban would operate in a much more benevolent way than they did during their first reign in the 1990’s.

This appeared to be some sort of consolation prize in the eyes of the administration.  Hey, we really screwed the pooch on this one…at least they said they’ll be nicer.

Of course, it only took a few weeks for this charade to go belly-up, and now the Taliban appears to be back to their old tricks.

One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public.

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In an interview with The Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and he warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers.

There was no mistaking the intent.

“Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.”

The Taliban had previously suggested that women refrain from leaving their homes, as their own soldiers weren’t well enough trained to keep from assaulting them.

 

In a lame attempt to soften the blow of bungling the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Biden White House began peddling a downright offensive storyline in which this new Taliban would operate in a much more benevolent way than they did during their first reign in the 1990’s. This appeared to be some sort of consolation prize in the eyes of the administration.  Hey, we really screwed the pooch on this one…at least they said they’ll be nicer. Of course, it only took a few weeks for this charade to go belly-up, and now the Taliban appears to be back to their old tricks. One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public. In an interview with The Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and he warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers. There was no mistaking the intent. “Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.” The Taliban had previously suggested that women refrain from leaving their homes, as their own soldiers weren’t well enough trained to keep from assaulting them.  

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