In a series of posts over on Arcturus — most substantially here and here (though I must also point to this, where I quote our own Sylvain Galineau) — I sought to define how it is that America is a good place. My actual starting point, approriately entitled Keep ’em Guessing and Make ’em Squirm, even pointed to a famous fake Tocqueville quote beloved of a certain subculture. And my answer was, of course, maddeningly conceptual.
Well, enough of the abstractions. It’s Independence Day; how about some concrete examples? Herewith a list of some of the blessings of liberty:
- Responsible Male Homosexuals
The entirely unanticipated combination of A) generally greater inclusiveness in American society and B) an epidemic which was initially largely vectored by homosexual contact — has produced a demographic of notoriously creative, productive people whose more impulsive, destructive members have been killed off. The remainder often depart from the neurotic-fag stereotype, have good jobs and stable work histories, tend to form long-term monogamous relationships, and occasionally (with considerable assistance from modern technology, to be sure) start families. They usually understand economics well enough to support markets, and are renowned for raising property values by moving into a neighborhood. The next step is for them to figure out just how badly they’re getting screwed by redistributionist politics in the Blue States, and move away from the coasts and into the heartland.
- A Kindler, Gentler Pornography Industry
At least five performers tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in April. The outbreak virtually shut down the multibillion-dollar adult film industry when actors were put on a voluntary quarantine preventing them from doing sex scenes until they had passed two monthly HIV tests.
The outbreak also led to an investigation by California’s workplace safety agency and calls for state regulation of the largely self-regulating industry.
The most dehumanizing business most of us can think of, put on hold by five HIV infections.
- An Evangelical Army
Atlantic Monthly correspondent Robert Kaplan “became keenly aware of the pervasiveness of Christian religious sentiment among the troops. ‘The spirit of the U.S. military is fiercely evangelical,’ he writes, ‘even as it is fiercely ecumenical.'” He “describe[d] the Marines as having a strong religious streak, which gives them ‘a stark belief in their own righteousness and in the iniquity of the enemy,’ but which also inspires them to show ‘compassion for innocent civilians.'”
For those of us of a certain age, who can recall hearing hair-raising tales in youth group meetings from veterans a decade older than ourselves — of being the only Christian believer in a platoon, or even a company, and surrounded by some very rough characters — this is the best possible evidence of the wisdom of an all-volunteer force.
- Bellicose Libertarians
Like Jacob Levy, for example; and I’ve had a word or two (or three) to say on the subject myself. Ultimately, I can do no better than to quote Francis W Hirst’s Liberty and Tyranny: “… it would be a betrayal of liberty not to defend it with all the power that free men possess.”
The real-world alternative to the list above is not some Edenic society where everybody’s straight or nobody thinks about sex, nor is it a ’68er paradise where the military commits atrocities until there’s a revolution in the ranks, or a secularized army that never sets foot outside the US. And it is certainly not a mass movement of pure libertarians sweeping interventionism into the dustbin of history.
It is instead, respectively: a furtive subculture of promiscuity, blackmail, and suicide; hundreds of dead, mostly from AIDS, or rampant prostitution on a scale unknown today; an expensive, ineffectual conscript army made up largely of criminals and semiliterates; and a polity divided between inane pacifists and dead-hand statists.
So let us be thankful, on this 228th anniversary, for the results of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. God bless America.