Thursday, July 31, 2014

America. What Would the World Be Like Without Her?

That is the question asked in D'Nesh D'Souza's latest film of that title. Lynda and I saw that in the theater a couple of weeks ago. He chose five items that are often criticisms for how the USA developed and carried itself in the world, and sought to answer those criticisms. The were such things as stealing the land from the native peoples, allowing slavery, having a capitalist system that steals wealth from people.

Recently, on Mike Huckabee's weekend program on the Fox News Channel, D'Souza was on opposite Richard Dreyfus to argue the merits of the film. It was an interesting segment. Dreyfus, who was on through a remote feed, had his arms crossed, showing body language that said he didn't want to be there. His two main points against the film were: 1) Americans aren't taught history and civics any more, and so there's no way to properly evaluation the merits of the film; and 2) D'Souza never answered the question about what the world would be like without America.

D'Souza, who was in-studio with Huckabee, had a generally more upbeat and open body language than Dreyfus. At first he ignored Dreyfus' charge that the movie didn't answer his own question. The second time Dreyfus said that, D'Souza said, "I'll answer it right now." He said that before the USA came into existence, nations advanced through what he calls the conquest epoch. They took territory by war, subjugated peoples, stole their land, enslaved them, and stole their wealth. America, however, established wealth building as the means for nations to advance. Slowly the nations of the world are coming around to this.

While enjoying the film, and being in general sympathy with it, I must agree with Dreyfus that the film didn't answer that quest, at least not directly and with a firm statement. It talked about the conquest epoch, and how the USA was the first nation to truly move away from it. The film did not, however, go on to state that this example was being copied by the world, or that if America had never formed the world would still be dominated by the conquest epoch.

I sort of sensed that was where D'Souza was going as I watched the movie. His concept of the conquest epoch had been on my mind lately. I thought of all the wars that were fought—are still being fought—in the world, for the gain of some nation at the loss of others. I thought back to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the devastating consequences that has perpetrated on the world. I look at the break up of the Soviet Union, beginning about the same time, and how fighting continues in places such as the Ukraine and Chechnya. Now you have the fighting going on between Gaza and Israel, right next to where they Syrians are in a civil war, right next to Lebanon, which was war-torn for decades. It's the conquest epoch. People want to be free of something or someone, someone else doesn't want that to happen, and war results. I'm tired of war.

Given how much war there is in the world right now, at a supposedly civilized time, I wonder how well the USA is doing in being an example for the world.

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