Is Hard Work ‘Asian Values,’ No Longer American Values? Hardly!
By: J.J. Jackson
I always find it amazing when writers in the mainstream press seem to have so little knowledge of America and its history. Of course, I suppose that being blissfully ignorant of US history does help paper over their betrayal, substituting the feeling that they can maintain allegiance to American “ideals” as they attempt to advocate for the sort of socialist/communist vision that they want America to become, quite despite its true character and principles. Heck, if you don’t know you are betraying your own country, you can’t be ashamed of yourself for it, right? In any case, here we have another prime example of such a betrayal by The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman from his May 4 piece where he has decided that America is finished, done, kaput. And guess what? It’s all George W. Bush’s fault — shocking, I know.
Freidman imagines that he has found the pulse of the people and he has found that they are aching for nation building. Not nation building in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in the USA. He says we have little to show for our efforts in Iraq, that “weâ€™re just not that strong anymore.” He also claims that we have no “leverage” in Iran.
Heck, he should know. After all he and his paper have been attempting to foster these very situations for 8 years. If what Friedman is saying is true, then he and his anti-American paper deserve hearty congratulations for their success at nation destroying — ours.
To the Iran question, Friedman seems to lament that we can’t do anything about them. Friedman complains that, “our generals regularly tell us that Iran is subverting our efforts in Iraq, but they do nothing about it because we have no leverage.” But it is his paper that has done everything it can to take away any “leverage” the US has there by engineering our defeat in Iraq. In fact, “doing” anything about Iran is the last thing that the NYT seems to want.
Then he unleashes this foolishness:
Our presidentâ€™s latest energy initiative was to go to Saudi Arabia and beg King Abdullah to give us a little relief on gasoline prices.
And is it not his own paper that advocates against drilling in ANWR and building nuclear power plants to help us become a little more energy independent? Isn’t it the entire Democrat Party that has done its level best to emasculate America’s energy industries? What choice do we have but to go to the Saudis hat in hand? After all, the left leaves us no other avenue.
Then Friedman unleashes the empty moralizing of the environazis by whining that we must somehow “break our addiction to oil” even while offering not one scrap of a plan to do so. As if merely saying we have to do it is all one has to do to see it done.
Next he reveals his utter ignorance of American values, principles and history.
We are not as powerful as we used to be because over the past three decades, the Asian values of our parentsâ€™ generation — work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means…
“Asian values,” Mr. Friedman? Working hard is an “Asian value”? You, sir, are truly ignorant. Let me just remind everyone of a few time-tested American axioms, sayings we all grew up on — at least those of us that ever learned even the most common tales of American history.
- Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise
- Diligence is the mother of good luck
- God helps them that help themselves
Do these little sayings seem at all familiar, Mr. Friedman? They should. They were penned by a fellow named Benjamin Franklin. For those of us sitting in the offices of The New York Times who may be unfamiliar, Benjamin Franklin was one of those fellows we call the “Founding Fathers.” You see, Mr. Firedman, they were a bunch of guys who made a name for themsleves back in the mid 1700′s. You know, the days during which the USA was founded?
Since, for the most part, the Asian civilizations were people unfamiliar to the founding generation because of an Asian penchant for isolationism in those days, few Europeans had much detailed knowledge of them and their ideals and, therefore, the time tested ideals of hard work could hardly have been learned by Franklin from the courts of Asian Emperors. So, no Mr. Friedman, the values of hard work are NOT “Asian values.” They have been American values since a century before we even became the United States of America.
Then Friedman gives us this non sequitur:
A few weeks ago, my wife and I flew from New Yorkâ€™s Kennedy Airport to Singapore. In J.F.K.â€™s waiting lounge we could barely find a place to sit. Eighteen hours later, we landed at Singaporeâ€™s ultramodern airport, with free Internet portals and childrenâ€™s play zones throughout. We felt, as we have before, like we had just flown from the Flintstones to the Jetsons. If all Americans could compare Berlinâ€™s luxurious central train station today with the grimy, decrepit Penn Station in New York City, they would swear we were the ones who lost World War II.
Did you just posit, Mr. Friedman, that all there is to a great nation is a pretty airport? It seems that he did.
There is more. What else does Friedman think makes a great nation? Apparently, lavish government funding for “government research.”
Harvardâ€™s president, Drew Faust, just told a Senate hearing that cutbacks in government research funds were resulting in â€œdownsized labs, layoffs of post docs, slipping morale and more conservative science that shies away from the big research questions.â€ Today, she added, â€œChina, India, Singapore … have adopted biomedical research and the building of biotechnology clusters as national goals. Suddenly, those who train in America have significant options elsewhere.â€
But, since government wasn’t the one that made the USA the greatest nation on Earth in the past, why would we assume it would be government that would do it now? Are the American people themselves so useless to this great nation, Mr. Friedman?
Then Friedman goes on to say we are just about finished.
Who will tell the people? We are not who we think we are. We are living on borrowed time and borrowed dimes. We still have all the potential for greatness, but only if we get back to work on our country.
Ah, I see. We are finished unless we bow to his sort of socialist ideals… ideals that really are what is to blame for the dire straits that Friedman laments.
Ridiculously, Friedman imagines that Barack Obama might be the man who can lead us forward because he has “idealism.” Of course, any sober look at Obama’s claims will reveal that he has nothing behind his “idealism” but empty air. He has no record of fixing anything, thereâ€™s no evidence that he’s attempted to put partisanship behind him, no proof that he intends to work together with anyone. Obama must be entirely taken on faith and faith alone because he has done nothing whatever to prove his lofty rhetoric.
But, Friedman’s last paragraph is the most egregious pap of the entire piece.
It is especially not trivial now, because millions of Americans are dying to be enlisted — enlisted to fix education, enlisted to research renewable energy, enlisted to repair our infrastructure, enlisted to help others. Look at the kids lining up to join Teach for America. They want our country to matter again. They want it to be about building wealth and dignity — big profits and big purposes. When we just do one, we are less than the sum of our parts. When we do both, said Shriver, â€œno one can touch us.â€
Friedman floats his talking points entirely ignorant of why the things he sees broken need fixing in the first place. He wants to “to fix education,” obviously unaware that his pals on the left side of the aisle are the ones responsible for destroying it. He hopes to “research renewable energy” when the left is responsible for making it a crisis of need. He wishes we’d “repair our infrastructure” when it is his compatriots on the left responsible for the graft, corruption, and the obscene regulatory avalanche that has made our infrastructure a shambles in the beginning. And he imagines we need to “help others” when it is his fellows on the socialist left that have tried their best to exclude the help that has traditionally come from the private sector for our nation’s needy by passing laws to eliminate their ability to assist people and by imagining that government should assume those duties, an idea quite against our founding principles.
Of course, Friedman and his ilk imagine that only the government can bring American greatness back. But, since the government wasn’t responsible for building it in the first place and has been the chief obstacle in maintaining that greatness in the last 80 years, Friedman and his kind have the exact wrong prescription for what ails us.
So, I hope that Thomas Friedman’s vision for America is dashed and that the true America, the one his kind is responsible for trying to destroy, has a chance to grow again. America’s greatness in not in the past, itâ€™s not gone and finished. Americaâ€™s greatness is from its past as a legacy handed from generation to generation, strengthening and nurturing the sort of exceptionalism we are destined for and have had since birth. To ignore our true principles and to graft Friedman’s communist inspired branches onto our American stalk will produce a plant unable to survive.
Friedman and his kind lack the very green thumb we need to plant our liberties anew.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts The Right Things. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.