I've just finished Daniel J. Flynn's Why the Left Hates America. Aside from some interesting citation of facts, it didn't teach me much I hadn't already gotten from other sources. So, from a personal standpoint, I have mixed feelings about the book. It made its case, but broadly rather than deeply. Were it not backed up extensively with more than 30 pages of footnotes on sources, I'd consider it lightweight. But it is. Thus, while it scratches only the surfaces, it documents every scratch, nick and smudge on the way to marking out its thesis: the Left hates America because Anmerica flat contradicts in practice the theoretical utopias that the Left prefers to believe possible.
On reflection, this book can serve well as a remedy to those who don't even realize they're infected with leftist memes. Those memes are so everpresent in Western society now, that even those of us who try to be aware of them miss many. My personal experience of going back to college in middle life was a constant exercise of realizing and innoculating myself against those mostly hostile memes. I was only partially successful. Knowing what children are subjected to in grade school now, the indoctrination based on those leftist memes, it's amazing that some actually manage to fight them off in university. The density there is far higher. But some do. Perhaps it's due to the general rebelliousness of youth, the striving to make oneself individual and different from the norm that clashes with the desire to fit in.
This book can serve as a vaccination of sorts for those without the benefit of a worldview based on hard facts and careful reasoning. Both of those are rare in public schools now. That this book is broad does not mean it is not well-structured. It leads the reader through the leftist memes, but rather than delving deeply, presents the lie, offers documented examples and points out the conflict with observable facts. Always it asks the question of why, if America is so bad in the way the Left claims with the latest meme discussed, so many from elsewhere in the world are giving up everything to come to America. Voting with one's feet is the ultimate test. Immigrants come here is droves and very, very few of the complaining leftists leave for the greener pastures that they claim exist elsewhere.
So, I recommend this book to anyone who cares about Western Civilization and America as the greatest developments to date in human history. Included within those, though perhaps that is backwards, is the emergence of Christianity which, along with its Judaic roots, made both of those possible. Give it to your college kids. Let them filter what they are exposed to in the university through the coarse cloth of this book. What results won't be pure, but it will at least help them filter out the worst of the dirt and impurities of nonfact from the no-longer pure fountain of truth which is our present education system. While other books may do better at removing one particular poisonous meme, this one, with its broad-spectrum approach, will do a lot to lower the overall toxicity. And it offers, via its footnotes, a useful source of
citations to employ as examples, in those cases where the less-informed dispute the particulars.
I won't say I enjoyed the book. It's not that sort of book. I'd described my reaction more as angry. But that's not terribly different from reading the news. And it is interesting, in the sort of way that it is for a clinical pathologist to observe the behavior of a new strain of disease.
Flynn's Intellectual Morons awaits, though I think I'll sidetrack into fiction first.Posted by dan at October 7, 2004 06:04 PM