Americans, we’ve been told by postmodern academe and a neutrally biased media, lost their innocence on September 11. Before that, we’d been told we’d lost our innocence during the Vietnam War; before that, after the Kennedy assassination; before that, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; before that, after World War I; and before that, during the Gilded Age.
One could probably dig into Civil War archives — even Revolutionary records, perhaps — and read in some cynical writer’s essay how we had lost our innocence then, too. Certainly we can read of man’s innate guilt in writings thousands of years old set down by superstitious savages who felt guilty for being alive.
Frankly, prior to 911, we’d been told we’d lost our innocence so many times that I have always marveled at our capacity to still feel guilty about anything, which, over the past few decades, we seemed to have honed to a science.
Perhaps that’s when we lost it, our innocence I mean: when we began to believe the superstitious savages and, more recently, the moral relativists and the sanctimonious cynics.
Perhaps, then, our only actual guilt lies in accepting any guilt:
- whenever they told us that newborn infants are stained with evil at birth.
- whenever they told us we practiced cultural genocide for having established a nation based on capitalism — on individual rights and liberty — amidst a continental swamp of tribal superstition, tribal warfare, tribal slavery, tribal primitivism and tribal tyranny.
- whenever they told us capitalism led to slavery, even though a capitalist England outlawed the slave trade; even though a Civil War was fought and won by a capitalist North, which then wiped out slavery in America; and even though slavery now thrives in a tribalist, racist Africa and Middle East.
- whenever they told us to denounce our capacity to produce, which far surpasses what we consume and without which the rest of the world would be that much poorer, hungrier or deader.
- whenever they to told us that our right to self-defense was a desire for vengeful conquest — we who could conquer the world but who, unique to history, have not only not tried, but have, many times stupidly, defended the freedom of other nations.
Perhaps, then, our only guilt is that we’ve allowed ourselves to accept an unearned guilt.
The fact is that Americans have never achieved a sense of their own innocence. That would require possessing moral certainty in the virtuousness of individualism, capitalism, the pursuit of happiness, freedom, pride and achievement. That would require the absolute certain realization that rational selfishness is a life achieving virtue and that self-sacrifice is a death worshiping vice.
We’re not wholly to blame, though. We’ve had plenty of help from those already mentioned who, incidentally, while damning us, have also demanded from us a selfless forgiveness for tribal butchers, religious killers, fascist dictators, serial murderers, environmental terrorists, communist tyrants — anyone, in short, who didn’t deserve to be forgiven.
Perhaps, then, in the twisted minds of such priests and intellectuals of self-abnegation, that is our guilt — that we neither need nor seek a selfless forgiveness; that all we have ever sought, asked for or deserved is: justice.
However, since 911 Americans appear to be wising up — and rather swiftly, it seems — to the two thousand year old fraud of unearned guilt. Indeed, not only are Americans beginning to discover their innocence, they are beginning to discover the nature of the knowledge that innocence brings: the moral certainty that we have earned our liberty and our happiness; that we have a right to defend them; and that we owe no one — neither superstitious savages from this or any other age nor their brain brothers in a relativist, fascist academe and in a sanctimonious, disingenuous media — any apology for that.