by Clyde Wilson
Recently by Clyde Wilson: Conservatism Without Alexander, Abraham, and Irving
Americans used to have a sense that their country was an epic achievement — the settlement of a continental wilderness and building of an unprecedentedly free and prosperous society. That sense has pretty well been deliberately destroyed, at least in the younger, by those who are successfully manipulating the American majority with guilt and shame. It is hard to grasp that America was until quite recently known as the realm of "rugged individualism" and the "Land of Opportunity," and not just in the minds of Americans.
An epic by its nature requires heroes — not for hero worship but as examples to inspire the young. Brion McClanahan, one of ablest rising historians of the day and a gift to libertarian literature, strives to recover what has been lost in the just-published Politically Incorrect Guide to REAL American Heroes. He provides chapter and verse about the real character and achievements of genuine American heroes. No career politicians, showbiz celebrities, sports stars, or sob-sister TV gurus here. Rather frontiersmen, inventors, entrepreneurs, aviators, moral exemplars, courageous and skillful soldiers in real wars. Individuals, from Captain John Smith to Andrew Carnegie to "Buzz" Aldrin, who have actually done something. And usually, what they have achieved, though of value to their fellow men, has been the result of a resolute individual overcoming the odds with vision and hard work. No whiners against an unfair society.
I admit that my favorite part of the book is the section on fraudulent heroes. McClanahan's succinct expose' of John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson, Betty Friedan, the Kennedy thugs, and other diabolical figures is worth the price of the book.
It is important to note here that McClanahan is not singing the praises of America as "A City Upon a Hill," divinely endowed to drop bombs on other peoples until they agree to be like us. He has not written in behalf of a smug national self-satisfaction. Indeed, such an attitude is curiously often found among the same people who are tearing down the traditional America. The account of real American heroes is not a cause for self-congratulation. Rather it is a call to imitation of old virtues.