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Why conservatives need to stop saying "My country's not perfect."

By Selwyn Duke
web posted May 18, 2024

A "Persian flaw" was originally a flaw purposely included in a handmade carpet because, the thinking was, only God could aspire to perfection. 'Tis true, too, that perfection is not a thing of this world. Given this, you may wonder why I write in my title that conservatives must stop issuing disclaimers to the effect of, "We all know our country is not perfect." Well, consider a little analogy:

Imagine you were giving a speech in honor of your mother and opened with, "Now, we all know my mother's not perfect." Might there not be some stunned silence? Is it possible some listeners might view you as a bad child? Moreover, if your mother heard your disclaimer, mightn't she be hurt?

This reaction to it would not be registered because the impression prevailed that your mother was a Jesus-like figure who walks on water. Rather, because your mother is human, it's a given that she's not perfect. Thus, making a point of issuing such a disclaimer implies that your mother isn't just saddled with the "normal" human imperfections but is uniquely or profoundly flawed, so much so that you'd be embarrassed lauding an aspect of her life without first acknowledging her uniquely defective character.

In other words, such a disclaimer is gratuitous, just a bit like saying, "We all know my mother is not a man" or "We all know my mother is not an extraterrestrial." Unless she's got a beard and chest hair or looks like E.T., what's the point?

Now, the imperfection disclaimer would be appropriate if your mother had knocked over three banks and you were pleading her case before the parole board, but is the U.S. that kind of a country? To what are we comparing her?

America was not the first to practice slavery, our flagellantism obsession, but was one of the first nations to eliminate it (Vermont enacted anti-slavery laws in 1777 already). As for "racism," a 2020 study found the obvious: The U.S. is one of the least racist countries on Earth.

Consider, too, that China had its brutal wars of unification and, much later in history, a Maoist government that would kill 60 million people. Russia has a history including figures such as Ivan the Terrible, a Ukrainian genocide and Joseph Stalin's purges. And prior to Western Civilization's intervention, most parts of the world were ridden with barbarities such as cannibalism and human sacrifice. This, not to mention that slavery was once status quo the world over and that "racism" in many places still is. Yet citizens of other countries never feel compelled to issue an imperfection disclaimer.

So where is this standard of perfection, this utopia, that we're comparing America to when we do so? Heaven is Heaven; it's not on Earth.

Speaking of this flawed fold, and the sin making it so, vanity (and perhaps narcissism, too) also sometimes drives the imperfection disclaimer's issuance. Implicit in the statement may be the message, "I wouldn't want you to think I'm the kind of person who wouldn't recognize my country's flaws; I want you to know that I'm better than my nation — part of the enlightened set."

None of this, mind you, means our attitude should be, "My country, right or wrong," which, as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, "is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'" But this gets at part of the imperfection disclaimer's silliness: It's not even motivated by the right concerns.

We're in the throes of the Sexual Devolution and a cultural revolution, with ne'er-do-wells telling children they can change sexes and have any kind of sex and illegal aliens being advantaged over citizens. Yet too many of us are manipulated into issuing the imperfection disclaimer based on left-wing imperatives (e.g., slavery and racism), which range from being in the past to common to man to exaggerated to imaginary. It's a testimonial as to how the con-artist Left, with its control of culture-shaping entities such as the media, academia, entertainment and Big Tech, can mold thinking and manage the debates.

Lastly, know that just as an imperfection disclaimer relating to your quite normal mother would cause many to look dimly upon you, so does issuing one about our country lose us respect internationally. This world isn't exactly replete with desert mystics and "If they don't respect themselves," the thinking often is, "why should we respect them?" So as my mother would often say, "Don't wash your dirty laundry in public."

Perfection is not a prerequisite for praise. A father will proudly tout his son's accomplishments without mentioning the boy's occasional mischievousness. Likewise, talking about our country's successes doesn't necessitate disclaimers about her sins.

Stop saying, "We all know our country is not perfect." It's not a sign of virtue. It's a marker of leftist victory. ESR

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