I want to pick up

I want to pick up on an observation that Deacon made yesterday, which I think was extremely perceptive. There has been lots of comment in the blogosphere about the “guilty white southern boys,” typified by Howell Raines and many others, that form much of the core of modern American leftism. Deacon noted the theory that GWSB’s are trying to show their northern counterparts in the elite media that they are not hicks, and pointed out that the same phenomenon exists with regard to Europe–liberal American journalists trying to demonstrate to their European counterparts that they are sophisticated like the Europeans, not yahoo Texans like, for example, our President. This is a very important observation–you can trace various threads through American intellectual history and slice the vast American pie in lots of different ways, but I think one of the most enduring divisions in American intellectual life is between those who think America is a crude, uncultured and often embarrassing place that needs to grow up and be more like Europe, and those who think that America is a different, freer, more vigorous and on the whole better place than Europe and should stay that way. This divide goes back to very early American history, and has never lost its relevance. Today the pro-Europe camp is exemplified by the New York Times, the State Department and most of the Democratic leadership; the pro-America camp is typified most gloriously by our President with able assistance from most of his inner circle, ranging from Dick Cheney to Condoleezza Rice. The current debates about how to approach the Iraq issue cannot be understood outside of this historic division.


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