Dr. Pangloss: Patron Saint of the United States
Recent statements that the United States has"turned the corner" and embarked on sustainable recovery strike one a tantamount to faith-healing. Somehow, politicians and opinion-makers are able to reassure the public that its belief in American exceptionalism remains well-founded and true. Apparently they believe it themselves.
And, indeed, they believe it in the same way Dr. Pangloss believed that this is the best of all possible worlds. Even getting his left buttock cut off did not suggest to Candide's companion that he modify his outlook. Americans and their economy, too, are being systematically dismembered, but the wonderful tautological perfection of our belief system keep us from recognizing the threat to our integrity. Dr. Pangloss would have surely approved
What is most interesting is that, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, Americans do not see the correlation between a growth-oriented economy and rising fuel prices. Notice the jump to $81/barrel on Friday? That was because of number of job losses was not as high as expected. Imagine what might happen if the number actually turned positive. Triple-digit oil prices would arrive again instantaneously.
On second thoght, Voltaire is probably too removed for most Americans."Spongebob," the cartoon characters, resonates better, and he projects the same unchallengeable optimism in the face of reality. So, let us make Spongebob the partron saint of America! I have no doubt that if I search the web diligently, I will find that he has already been made into an object of religious devotion.
Tim Sydney - 3/13/2010
- Is it a reminder of Nazis or a historical object worthy of saving?
- Supreme Court reveals that the docket books of many justices survive -- and are being made available
- Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Obama Is Mixed Race, Not Black
- New technology helps paleontologists see Ice-Age bee in intricate detail
- History textbooks in crosshairs of Australia's curriculum wars
- She Came All the Way from Melbourne to Attend the OAH
- The 7 Most Popular HNN Videos from the 2014 OAH
- Jesse Lemisch’s up-from-below history is still strikingly original
- U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War -- His second Pulitzer!
- UW Professor Stephanie Camp, 46, feminist historian, dies