How Do You Judge America? Left vs. Right #3

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Dec 14, 2015

Is the United States an exceptional country that has played a uniquely good role in history? Or is it a typical country, perhaps even a uniquely bad one considering the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow? On this, the Left and Right do not agree.

Dennis Prager's Left-Right Differences Series Part 3: How Do You Judge America?  How do Conservatives and Liberals differ?

The Left continues to condemn America for slavery, while ignoring the 360,000 Americans who gave their lives to end the evil institution.

  • Many on the Left, including influential historian Howard Zinn, claim that America has done more bad than good, often citing slavery as evidence that America was founded in inequality and suggesting that the country can never move beyond its past transgressions.View Source
  • The evil institution of slavery was not an American invention, but rather an almost universal institution which has appeared in most civilizations in history and, when it was installed in America, was still practiced by most countries. The contradiction of allowing slavery in a country committed to freedom and equality ultimately led to the dismantling of slavery in America.View Source
  • An estimated 360,000 Union soldiers (and 620,000 Americans total) lost their lives in the Civil War, a war waged by the Union to end slavery in America once and for all.View Source
  • As Dennis Prager notes, history shows it has largely been countries with Judeo-Christian roots which have outlawed slavery.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on the differences in how the Left and Right view America.View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

What ended slavery in America? America’s Judeo-Christian values and commitment to freedom and equality. 

  • Many on the Left, including influential historian Howard Zinn, claim that America has done more bad than good, often citing slavery as evidence that America was founded in inequality and suggesting that the country can never move beyond its past transgressions.View Source
  • The evil institution of slavery was not an American invention, but rather an almost universal institution which has appeared in most civilizations in history and, when it was installed in America, was still practiced by most countries. The contradiction of allowing slavery in a country committed to freedom and equality ultimately led to the dismantling of slavery in America.View Source
  • An estimated 360,000 Union soldiers (and 620,000 Americans total) lost their lives in the Civil War, a war waged by the Union to end slavery in America once and for all.View Source
  • As Dennis Prager notes, history shows it has largely been countries with Judeo-Christian roots which have outlawed slavery.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on the differences in how the Left and Right view America.View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

America didn’t invent slavery, like the Left seems to believe. But it was America’s Judeo-Christian values that helped end it.

  • Many on the Left, including influential historian Howard Zinn, claim that America has done more bad than good, often citing slavery as evidence that America was founded in inequality and suggesting that the country can never move beyond its past transgressions.View Source
  • The evil institution of slavery was not an American invention, but rather an almost universal institution which has appeared in most civilizations in history and, when it was installed in America, was still practiced by most countries. The contradiction of allowing slavery in a country committed to freedom and equality ultimately led to the dismantling of slavery in America.View Source
  • An estimated 360,000 Union soldiers (and 620,000 Americans total) lost their lives in the Civil War, a war waged by the Union to end slavery in America once and for all.View Source
  • As Dennis Prager notes, history shows it has largely been countries with Judeo-Christian roots which have outlawed slavery.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on the differences in how the Left and Right view America.View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

Is America still “the last best hope of earth”? Yes—and the reason is our promotion of freedom, moral society and equality under the law.  

  • In his 1862 annual letter to Congress in which he urged them to take a strong stance for freedom and against slavery, President Abraham Lincoln famously described America as “the last best hope of earth.”View Source
  • The 20th and 21st centuries demonstrate that America is still the world’s “best hope” for the promotion of freedom, moral society, and equality under the law. Conservative author Dennis Prager maintains that the essence of America’s goodness is founded in our commitment to liberty, faith-grounded morality, and unity. Our dedication to promoting liberty means “the individual must be as free as possible. And this is only possible when the state and government are as small as possible.” Our proclamation “In God We Trust” is founded in the idea that “a good society is only possible when the great majority of its citizens feel morally accountable to a God that is morally judging and a religion that is morally demanding.” Our mantra “E Pluribus Unum” is a commitment to regarding every citizen “first and foremost as a fellow American,” regardless of race or ethnicity, and embracing our American identity.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on the differences in how the Left and Right view America.View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

Though the Left continually smears America as “racist,” America’s core values have allowed it to become the most open nation in history. 

  • As a result of its founding principles and widely shared core values, America has become the most open, tolerant country in history. America values and protects the liberty of all people, is committed to the idea that morality matters, and embraces “ethical nationalism,” which helps unify diverse groups in a national identity founded in shared values. Because of its commitment to these ideas, America has become the least xenophobic and least racist nation in the world.View Source
  • WATCH: Dennis Prager on the differences in how the Left and Right view America.View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

America is still the world’s greatest force for good, continually making huge sacrifices to end genocide and war in other countries.  

  • America has helped many counties around the world overcome genocide and war and achieve greater levels of freedom, equality, and prosperity. For example, the American military helped stabilize Germany, Japan, and South Korea, and all three have risen to worldwide prominence. In the Korean War, 37,000 Americans died to protect Koreans from the communist threat.View Source
  • South Korea, which is still protected by U.S. forces, has now become one of the most prosperous and free countries in the world.View Source
  • Meanwhile, as conservative author Dennis Prager points outs, “countries that America abandoned—such as Vietnam and Iraq—experienced mass murder and other horrors. The Left, however, views nearly all of America’s wars since 1945 as expressions of superpower imperialism.”View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

Is America a force for good? Just look at the Korean War, where 37,000 U.S. soldiers gave their lives to protect Koreans from oppression. 

  • America has helped many counties around the world overcome genocide and war and achieve greater levels of freedom, equality, and prosperity. For example, the American military helped stabilize Germany, Japan, and South Korea, and all three have risen to worldwide prominence. In the Korean War, 37,000 Americans died to protect Koreans from the communist threat.View Source
  • South Korea, which is still protected by U.S. forces, has now become one of the most prosperous and free countries in the world.View Source
  • Meanwhile, as conservative author Dennis Prager points outs, “countries that America abandoned—such as Vietnam and Iraq—experienced mass murder and other horrors. The Left, however, views nearly all of America’s wars since 1945 as expressions of superpower imperialism.”View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

The Left looks at America and sees intolerance, bigotry, xenophobia—and fails to see that it is the most fair and free society in history. 

  • As then-presidential candidate Barack Obama expressed in 2008, the Left wants to “fundamentally transform” America because they see it as fundamentally flawed.View Source
  • On the vast differences between how the Left and Right view America, conservative author Dennis Prager offers the following poignant comments: “Conservatives view America as President Abraham Lincoln viewed it—as the ‘Last Best Hope of Earth.’ While acknowledging America’s flaws, conservatives regard America as the best society ever created—giving more people of more backgrounds more freedom, more opportunity, and more affluence than any other society—and doing more good for more people in other countries than any society in history. The Left, on the other hand, sees America as having been, and continuing to be, a very flawed country, morally no better than many, and morally inferior to many. The Left’s view is that America was founded by rich white males who were intent on protecting their race, their wealth, and in many cases, their slaves. America was and remains sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and bigoted; a country of unacceptable material inequality, where the superrich and big corporations have far too much power and influence. The further left one goes, the more negative the assessment of America.”View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

For the Left, the moral flaws in American history are enormous, while all the unique good America has done is minimized or ignored.

  • On the vast differences between how the Left and Right view America, conservative author Dennis Prager offers the following poignant comments: “Conservatives view America as President Abraham Lincoln viewed it—as the ‘Last Best Hope of Earth.’ While acknowledging America’s flaws, conservatives regard America as the best society ever created—giving more people of more backgrounds more freedom, more opportunity, and more affluence than any other society—and doing more good for more people in other countries than any society in history. The Left, on the other hand, sees America as having been, and continuing to be, a very flawed country, morally no better than many, and morally inferior to many. The Left’s view is that America was founded by rich white males who were intent on protecting their race, their wealth, and in many cases, their slaves. America was and remains sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and bigoted; a country of unacceptable material inequality, where the superrich and big corporations have far too much power and influence. The further left one goes, the more negative the assessment of America.”View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

America isn’t perfect, but it gives more people of more background more freedom, more opportunity and more affluence than any other society.

  • On the vast differences between how the Left and Right view America, conservative author Dennis Prager offers the following poignant comments: “Conservatives view America as President Abraham Lincoln viewed it—as the ‘Last Best Hope of Earth.’ While acknowledging America’s flaws, conservatives regard America as the best society ever created—giving more people of more backgrounds more freedom, more opportunity, and more affluence than any other society—and doing more good for more people in other countries than any society in history. The Left, on the other hand, sees America as having been, and continuing to be, a very flawed country, morally no better than many, and morally inferior to many. The Left’s view is that America was founded by rich white males who were intent on protecting their race, their wealth, and in many cases, their slaves. America was and remains sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and bigoted; a country of unacceptable material inequality, where the superrich and big corporations have far too much power and influence. The further left one goes, the more negative the assessment of America.”View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

Without America, people around the world would suffer from far more tyranny, enslavement, and genocide.

  • America has helped many counties around the world overcome genocide and war and achieve greater levels of freedom, equality, and prosperity. For example, the American military helped stabilize Germany, Japan, and South Korea, and all three have risen to worldwide prominence.View Source
  • Meanwhile, as conservative author Dennis Prager points outs, “countries that America abandoned—such as Vietnam and Iraq—experienced mass murder and other horrors. The Left, however, views nearly all of America’s wars since 1945 as expressions of superpower imperialism.”View Source
  • Related reading: Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph – Dennis PragerView Source

The Left and the Right view America and its history very differently. Conservatives view America as President Abraham Lincoln viewed it -- as the “Last Best Hope of Earth.” While acknowledging America’s flaws, conservatives regard America as the best society ever created -- giving more people of more backgrounds more freedom, more opportunity, and more affluence than any other society -- and doing more good for more people in other countries than any society in history.

The Left, on the other hand, sees America as having been, and continuing to be, a very flawed country, morally no better than many, and morally inferior to many. The Left’s view is that America was founded by rich white males who were intent on protecting their race, their wealth, and in many cases, their slaves. America was and remains sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and bigoted; a country of unacceptable material inequality, where the superrich and big corporations have far too much power and influence. The further left one goes, the more negative the assessment of America.

Here’s a telling example.

On my radio show, I once dialogued with Howard Zinn, arguably the most influential American historian of the second half of the twentieth century. Here is one part of our dialogue: Professor Zinn said: “If people knew history, they would scoff at…the idea that the United States is a force for the betterment of humanity.” When I said that America has done more good for humanity than any other country, Professor Zinn responded: America has “probably [done] more bad than good.”

For the Left, the moral flaws in American history are enormous, but all the unique good America has done both in America and abroad is minimized or ignored. Take the example of slavery. This terrible institution is the most widely cited “proof” of American evil. The problem with that judgment, however, is that every civilization in world history, even including African societies, practiced slavery -- often on a far larger scale than America did.

But there are two other questions about slavery that must be asked in order to make a moral judgment about America: The first is: “Which societies were the first to abolish slavery?” Since all societies had slavery, that is a far more important question to ask than who had slaves. It turns out that all the societies that first abolished slavery were rooted in the Jewish and Christian Bibles and among them was the United States.

The second question that needs to be answered is this: Was America morally better than other societies in just about every other regard? And the answer is overwhelmingly yes.

America gradually became the least racist, least xenophobic country in the world. In no country do people of every race and ethnicity become accepted as full members of the society as do immigrants to America. And no country in history has fought for the liberty of others as much as America has. That is why, for example, 37,000 Americans died in Korea, a country that offered America no economic gain. The purpose was to protect Koreans from Communist tyranny. Today South Korea, where American troops are still stationed, is one of the wealthiest and freest countries in Asia. Meanwhile North Korea, the part of the Korean peninsula that America did not succeed in liberating, is the least free and poorest country on earth.

Without America, people around the world would suffer from far more tyranny, enslavement, and genocide. The countries where American troops have remained long after combat ceased -- Germany, Japan, and South Korea -- have prospered economically and morally. Countries that America abandoned -- such as Vietnam and Iraq -- experienced mass murder and other horrors. The Left, however, views nearly all of America’s wars since 1945 as expressions of superpower imperialism.

Days before the 2008 American presidential election, the Democratic candidate, then-Senator Barack Obama, announced: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Exactly so. The Left wants to fundamentally transform America; the Right doesn’t. Conservatives want to conserve America’s unique greatness and improve it where necessary, but not transform it. If America is fundamentally transformed, it will not become better than other nations. It will become like other nations.

I’m Dennis Prager.

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