The Corner

Greatest, Ever?

I was surprised when looking at the commentary on Huck Finn yesterday to find this blog post saying that excising the N-word from the novel would be a little like . . . my column on American greatness.

Jamelle Bouie says making the edit in Huck Finn would whitewash American history (which I agree with) just as I did in my “greatest, ever” column. According to Bouie, “Jim Crow and neo-slavery makes [sic] Lowry uncomfortable, so he glosses over it as he spells out America’s unadulterated raditude.”

Put aside the strange psychoanalysis, my column spent only two paragraphs talking about America (the rest considered other countries) and contained this line, “It took centuries of mistreatment of blacks before we finally heeded our own ideals.” I could have spent all 650 words talking about Jim Crow, but it would have been an entirely different column.

The basic challenge I was making was this: If the Left is so offended by the assertion that we are the greatest country ever, it should offer its alternative candidates for the designation. You can make a very good case for Britian, but no one else comes close (thanks, by the way, to Anglosphere maven James Bennett for thinking this through with me).

Also at The Atlantic, the nation’s foremost forensic obstetrician argues with his usual care that I’m engaged in “intellectual bullying — wielding the collective club of nationalism against genuine worries about America’s fiscal bankruptcy, academic decline, and economic stagnation.” Yes, because Marco Rubio, whose statement about our greatness I was defending, would never talk about any of those things.


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