Grateful – and demonizing their past


The past two years have seen unprecedented escalation in the decades-long war on the American past. But there are a lot of logical flaws in American history attacking past generations.

Critics believe that their own judgment generation is morally superior to the past. Therefore, they use their own standards to condemn the silent dead who supposedly do not measure up to them.


Yet critics of the 21st century seldom acknowledge its current prosperity and the holiday owes much to past generations of history, whose labors helped create their present-day comforts.

And what can the future scolding say about the modern generation that has seen more than 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, while the viability of the fetus outside the womb continued to rise to earlier ages?


What would our grandchildren say about us, who threw more than $30 trillion in national debt at them – much of it in the form of borrowing for themselves to qualify?

What kind of society reminisces as to the record number of murders in its 12 major cities? What’s so civilized about giving money to the police, robbing and plundering, and robbing a car?

Was it really ethical to discard the “content of our character” and “equal opportunity” principles of the civil rights movement of 60 years ago? Are their replacement determinations on “the color of our skin” and “the similarity of results” better?


Would the US have won World War II with the current labor participation rate of only six in 10 Americans working? Will our generation for fear of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 bring home all American soldiers and leave World War I?

Are we proud that most standardized tests of student knowledge and achievement continue to decline despite record investments in education?

Do we ever stop to reflect on the way we enjoy our modern standard of living and security because we were once a competency who abandoned judging our workforce on the basis of tribal equality and ancient prejudices?


Our generation constantly talks about infrastructure. But when was the last time he built anything equivalent to the Hoover Dam, the Interstate Highway System, or the California Water Project — much less to send a man back to the Moon or beyond?

If previous generations were so toxic, why do we omit the moral and material worlds from the Constitution and our Bill of Rights for airports, freeways and power plants? Have we ever defeated the Axis powers or anything comparable to Soviet communism?

We know the symptoms of the present epidemic of hate from the past.

One is the renaming of Orwellian and the demolition of the statues. Historical amendments often respond to the frenzy of the purist crowd, rather than the democratic discussion and votes of relevant elected officials.

Where is the pantheon of waking heroes who will replace the fallen or mutilated Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt?

Whose morality and achievement should be immortalized instead? Were the public and private lives of Che Guevara, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Margaret Sanger and Franklin D. Roosevelt without sin?

If America is so flawed and so irreparable, why are some 2 million foreigners now breaching its borders in fiscal year 2021 – illegally, en masse, and intent on reaching a deeply racist nation that allegedly inferior to those they leave?

According to ancient brutal bargaining, assimilation and integration give the immigrant the same claim to America’s present and past as the native. But then shouldn’t the argument also be true?

Shouldn’t immigrants at least respect the people of the past who built the country they now so eagerly aspire to, and died in terrible places from Valley Forge to Bastogne?

Never in history has there been so much mediocrity, but the self-critical and ungrateful generation owed so much to their now-deceased ancestors, and yet expressed so little gratitude.

Victor Davis Hanson is a syndicated columnist. ©2011 Tribune Content Agency.