May 17, 2004

He's laughing at my spoons!

Johnathan Pearce, at Samizdata, passes on to us this amazing (but also very witty) piece of pomposity by Libertarian writer Sean Gabb:

It is, I admit, inappropriate to ascribe one state of mind to a nation of more than 250 million people. But Americans remind me increasingly of someone from the lower classes who has come into money, and now is sat in the Ritz Hotel, terrified the other diners are laughing at him every time he looks down at his knives and forks. I suppose it is because so many of them are drawn from second and even third rate nationalities. The Americans of English and Scotch extraction took their values and their laws across the Atlantic and spread out over half an immense continent, creating a great nation as they went. They were then joined by millions of paupers from elsewhere who learnt a version of the English language and a few facts about their new country, but who never withheld from their offspring any sense of their own inferiority. The result is a combination of overwhelming power and the moral insight of a tree frog.
Charlene and I are descended from various people of those "second and even third rate nationalities," and we can assure the author that not only did their inferiority not weigh heavily on them, they had hardly gotten off the boat before they assumed a feeling of smug superiority because they were Americans!

And not only are we not gnawing our knuckles worrying if the "first-rate nationalities" (apparently England and Scotland) are laughing at our spoons, we are seriously debating whether there is any hope for Britain, or whether we should just cut our losses and place our bets on more promising countries...(How's that for pompous condescension in response?)

* Also: What I speak is English. Right here in California is where it's happening, baby! (Or possibly Texas.) What you speak is a charming regional dialect, a sort of oxbow lake left behind as the mighty Mississippi of English-speaking civilization shifted course.

Posted by John Weidner at May 17, 2004 12:24 PM
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