Over spring break last year I visited Chicago with my family on a combination business and pleasure excursion. In the course of our outings there, we visited the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. I enjoyed them all but became quickly tired of the continual carping of the Politically and Environmentally correct.
Its not even as if I don’t agree with it to some extent. With better management we could have saved the passenger pigeon or the American Bison. Its a real shame that coral reefs are in decline. Its lamentable (at the very least) that many cultures did not survive their contact with Western European Civilization. But you know what? None of that is my fault and I’m tired of hearing about it at every turn.
You’ve heard of compassion burnout, how people can be so overwhelmed by the needs of others that they become hardened to those they might otherwise help. That’s what I feel like when being accosted by people who want to make me feel bad about what people did long ago. Was slavery in America bad? Durn tootin’. Do I care? Yes. Did I have anything to do with slavery? No. Was it the most important aspect of American History prior to the Civil War and must it be mentioned every time that portion of our history is discussed? No.
But the curators of museums seem to be obsessed with what we’ve done wrong in the past. Again, don’t misconstrue me; those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it and we must be reminded of the mistakes of our forebearers. But they did a lot more stuff right than they did wrong and you can’t build a hopeful prosperous future if all you talk about is what went wrong previously. It is even more important to reinforce what is right than to dwell on what is wrong.
These people would better server the world and their constituents by relentlessly pushing a message of optimism and a can do American attitude. For all our wrongs, and they are many, there is and has been no greater force for good in the world than the United States of America. That’s what we’d do well to remember.