The Council has Spoken 031910

Congratulations to Wolf Howling on this week’s winning submission, AP Goes APE Over Texas School Book Changes. Left unsaid in the AP report, Wolf Howling masterfully dissected, is the degree to which American successes are understated or ignored. Prof. Barry Rubin has been living in the United States this year and following the progress of his son at a Montgomery County Maryland, pubic school. In his latest post on the topic, Prof. Rubin writes:

Or, let’s cut through all the double-talk, the teacher is conveying to these kids that America is both evil and a failure.

Anyone who says such a thing–in either the more polite or nastier versions–does not understand three points of the greatest possible importance. Indeed, comprehending these things marks the difference between, on the one hand, loving America, appreciating its greatness, and being able to make it better or, on the other hand, reviling and destroying it, ruining what may well be the greatest society in human history and a beacon for others to succeed in building their own nations in their own way.

The first point is about the nature of American history. There is a huge difference between saying that the promise hasn’t or wasn’t kept, and, on the contrary, saying that it took a while to fulfill that promise. In the end and along the way, though, the promise was kept.

Therefore, American history is not a series of shames and disgraces but one of heroic fulfillment. Everything bad is matched by more that has been good. Or, to put it another way, it is not that wrong things weren’t done but that they were corrected. Now here’s the key: That was possible because of the nature of the promise, the foundation it created, and the system it set up.

And that is the difference between celebrating America and its history—with no need to conceal its (almost always remedied) flaws and failures—or in contrast teaching self-hatred and anti-Americanism. That also means the people of today cannot claim to be great geniuses of morality and wisdom but merely the lucky inheritors of what has been achieved by those who lived before them.

That’s one of Prof. Rubin’s three central points, it’s worth reading the whole thing though. Obviously, though, these aren’t the sorts of things that bothered the AP.

The winning non-council submission was Walter Russell Mead’s Is this Lobby Different from all others?. In short Russell’s answer is “no.” He writes:

But the second problem with this approach is that the Jewish conspiracy theory is as wrong in this case as it is in all the others.  I wrote about this in yesterday’s post; the power of the Israel lobby in American politics stems from its relationship to gentile public opinion.  The lobby facilitates a foreign policy that public opinion broadly supports; it has no special powers of its own and if gentile opinion about Israel were to change, policy would change whatever the lobby did.

In other words, the pro-Israel lobby is strong because Americans support Israel; Americans don’t support Israel because the lobby is strong.

Others, like the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson, continue to raise the specter of undue Jewish influence:

But Oren’s warning suggests rising Israeli anxiety over the state of relations and the Obama administration shows no sign of cooling off, despite the sense that only masochistic U.S. politicians pick fights with Israel because the powerful Jewish lobby punishes anyone who does so at the polls. Days after Clinton’s call, David Axelrod, a senior Obama adviser, called the announcement an “insult.”

(emphasis mine)

It would seem, then, that much of the media is out of touch with the American public regarding the Middle East.

Winning Council Submissions

Winning Non-Council Submissions

Congratulations to all the Winners!