Steyn is thankful for the “evil” American hegemon, and points out that a lot of other people around the world have reason to be too.
Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but over the years I’ve suggested the foreign chappies ought to raise a cheer or three, too. This is from 2007:
On this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens – a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan – the US can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply. Aside from Britain and France, the Europeans cannot project power in any meaningful way anywhere… If America were to follow the Europeans and maintain only a shriveled attenuated residual military capacity, the world would very quickly be nastier and bloodier, and far more unstable. It’s not just Americans and Iraqis and Afghans who owe a debt of thanks to the US soldier but all the Europeans grown plump and prosperous in a globalized economy guaranteed by the most benign hegemon in history.
On the radio Hugh Hewitt asked me about that:
HH: I was struck, has any other empire ever done so much for, with so little expectation in return?
MS: No, and that’s because America isn’t an empire. And one can have arguments about that. And some of us draw the conclusion from the last six years – Max Boot, and to a certain extent, Don Rumsfeld, and fellows like Niall Ferguson – that America, in a sense, needs to develop more of the conventional attributes of empire. But Americans don’t have an imperialist bone in their body. And they just give to the world. They give to the world. Who is it, when the tsunami strikes, who is it who comes in and restores the water supply? It’s an American task force. The U.N. will accept your checks. People in Ireland, people in Norway, wrote plenty of checks when the tsunami struck. But the people who get there on the ground and save lives, and provide shelter, and restore the water supply, are the Americans and a few other countries. It’s a very select group… You know, when you drive around seeing those cars saying “it’ll be a great day when the school district has all the money it needs, and the Pentagon has to start to hold bake sales”, well, if the Pentagon has to hold bake sales, all those people are going to die when the tsunami strikes, when the earthquake strikes Pakistan. It’s that infrastructure that enables America to help the world.
All of which makes the never-ending Progressivist denunciation of America as the sole source of all the world’s ills—a greedy, rapacious monster out to impoverish and oppress all the world’s downtrodden—just that much more puzzling, and annoying. But then, there’s a reason for their myopic hostility, and it’s…kind of sad.
Why is it so hard for the left to be thankful? The answer is as easy as pumpkin pie. The left is a movement built on resentment. And resentment and gratitude are opposing emotions.
That is why the left really hates Thanksgiving.
The revisionist autopsies of American history and the guides to sensitively calling your uncle a racist are about substituting resentment for thankfulness. Whether it’s a family getting together once a year, the Pilgrims and the Indian tribesmen breaking bread or the White House press corps being asked to talk about the good things in their lives, a moment of thankfulness has to be ruined with resentment.
Resentment is the force that gives the left meaning.
What animates the left is the conviction that everything (except their own tastes, preferences and opinions) is terrible and must be reformed until it too is like them. America is racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, arachnophobic and claustrophobic. Every second the prison-industrial complex is gunning down drug dealers for no other reason than the color of their skin (and the guns in their hands), the military-industrial complex is bombing countries full of terrorists just because of the color of their skin, and the turkey-industrial complex is destroying the environment.
The militant lefty is an overgrown brat who never made the emotional transition from the funk of total unfairness that teenagers inhabit to the appreciation for life of the mature adult. Picking a fight at the Thanksgiving table is exactly the sort of thing a teenage brat would do. That’s why there are a dozen guides telling lefties exactly how to pick an unwinnable fight whose only purpose is to ruin a meal.
The family argument isn’t an unfortunate side effect of leftist politics. It’s the whole point.
That is why the best antidote to leftist resentment is conservative thankfulness.
There are plenty of problems in our country and the world. But if we can’t stop to be thankful for the good things, we will sink into the same swamp of resentment as the left.
To be thankful is to be reminded of what we are fighting for. The resentful left doesn’t really fight for anything. Its resentful causes have no end point. There will never be a time when race relations, the environment, social mobility and caloric intakes are good enough for them to hang up their hats. The left maintains a perpetual state of crisis because it justifies a perpetual state of resentment.
The left isn’t actually fighting for anything. It’s fighting against things. Big things and little things. It’s fighting against America. And it’s fighting against families sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.
Conservatives fight for the things in our lives that we value. And these are the very things that we are thankful for. Our gratitude reminds us of what we want to conserve. These include the tangible things, our families, our homes and our lives, and the intangible things, our freedoms and our traditions.
The left can’t be thankful because it can’t admit that there’s anything worth appreciating. Revolutionary movements don’t create, they destroy. But we can and should be thankful for what we conserve.
Thankfulness is not just a passive act. It’s a moving and transformative experience that changes us.
Choosing between gratitude and resentment is a fundamental personal and political choice. It defines how we respond to the challenges and blessings of life. And it shapes how we view our country.
Thanksgiving is the tradition of an optimistic and humble people. That is who Americans are.
The War on Thanksgiving is the campaign of a hostile leftist movement that is pessimistic and arrogant. Ruining Thanksgiving is its mission. And it isn’t out to win an argument, but to ruin an America tradition.
And that’s why I always say I can’t help but feel sorry for them, at least a little. Their obstinacy in the belief that human beings and the world are “perfectible” via enforced infliction of Leftist tyranny on all means that they can never be anything but frustrated and miserable. Even if they somehow achieved their most tenaciously-held desire, it wouldn’t work. It never has; it’s failed every time it’s been tried. It’s an inescapable consequence of embracing a worldview so completely at odds with observable reality.
So my sympathy is sharply attenuated, of course, by the knowledge that their misery is by their own misguided choice. That being the case, one can only admit that they deserve it.
I excerpted a goodish bit of Daniel’s piece here, but there’s still a lot more left, it’s all up to his usual impeccable standard, and you should definitely go read all it.
Update! WRSA gives thanks: “It could have been the first Thanksgiving of the Hillary Regime.“
For me, I am grateful for my health and for not being in the woods for the last six months dodging Hillarybots.