Thursday 29 May 2008

I like America but...

... here are just a few examples of why there has been a lot fundamentally wrong in the 250-year history of the USA and why a lot of peoples still harbour a strong and unfortunate animus against America.

1. Jefferson enslaved his own illegitimate children by a slave

Thomas Jefferson fathered children by his black slave, Sally Hemings, keeping his offspring enslaved.

Regarding marriage between blacks and whites, Jefferson wrote that:

"[t]he amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent."

In complete contradistinction to the Spanish Catholic monarchy, church and missionaries who supported and protected the rights of men of all races, and whom, let it be said to his eternal shame, Jefferson so detested and abused, Jefferson considered blacks, hispanics and native Americans inferior. Many modern US Liberals will hotly deny this fact but it is clear and evident from his writings.

In addition, Hemings was likely the half-sister of Jefferson’s deceased wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson (John Wayles had a reputation for having sexual relations with his own slaves).

The allegation that Jefferson fathered children with Hemings first gained widespread public attention in 1802, when journalist James T. Callender, wrote in a Richmond newspaper:

“...[Jefferson] keeps and for many years has kept, as his concubine, one of his slaves. Her name is Sally.”

A 1998 DNA study concluded that there was a DNA link between some of Hemings descendants and the Jefferson family. Three studies were released in the early 2000s, following the publication of the DNA evidence. In 2000, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which runs Monticello, appointed a multi-disciplinary, nine-member in-house research committee of Ph.D.s and an M.D. to study the matter of the paternity of Hemings’s children. The committee concluded:

“it is very unlikely that any Jefferson other than Thomas Jefferson was the father of [Hemings's six] children.”

Some have attempted to suggest that Randolph Jefferson, Thomas's younger brother, was the father of at least one of the slave children, Eston, but the National Genealogical Society Quarterly then published articles reviewing the evidence from a genealogical perspective and concluded that the link between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings was clearly credible.

In short, the alleged lover of liberty enslaved his own children.

Let us not forget that this was also the man who wrote of the brutal murder of the French Catholic king and queen and of the very young royal princes and princesses, that "the tree liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants" all the while that he was enslaving his own half-black children.

It was, among others, this man, the drafter of the American Declaration of Independence, whom Dr Samuel Johnson had in mind when he wrote:

“Why is it that the yelps for liberty come loudest from the drivers of slaves?”

And yet this is the man who is held up as the exemplar of American liberty and politics.

2. Harry S Truman lied about Hiroshima

Here is how Truman announced the Hiroshima bombing:

"The British, Chinese, and United States Governments have given the Japanese people adequate warning of what is in store for them. We have laid down the general terms on which they can surrender. Our warning went unheeded; our terms were rejected. Since then the Japanese have seen what our atomic bomb can do. They can foresee what it will do in the future. The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction. I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb. Its production and its use were not lightly undertaken by this Government. But we knew that our enemies were on the search for it. We know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster which would come to this Nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first. That is why we felt compelled to undertake the long and uncertain and costly labour of discovery and production. We won the race of discovery against the Germans. Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbour, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretence of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us."

Used against those who attacked Pearl Harbour? Who is he kidding? How many Japanese women and children civilians attacked Pearl Harbour?

But, in any case, he is knowingly lying.

He knew - as did his generals - that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both cities and not military bases.

It was, regrettably, a base lie.

Moreover, Nagasaki was the city of the Nagasaki Catholic martyrs and the centre of Japanese Catholicism - the one place in Japan that was most likely to be the most sympathetic to the West.

Indeed, they dropped the Bomb only a short distance away from the principal Roman Catholic Cathedral of Japan - St Mary's in Urakami, Nagasaki. Moreover, they got Irish-American boys to do it and that with a dirty, high-radiation, A-Bomb that went on killing by radiation sickness for decades after; and this on the sacred site of the Nagasaki Catholic martyrs of 1597.

What astonishing stupidity and moral depravity!

The ruins of St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Urakami, Nagasaki, after the "Fat Man" dirty Atom Bomb exploded near it, having been dropped by Irish-American air crew

Pope John Paul II visited some of the many Catholic victims of the dirty "Fat Man" bomb many years later in a Nagasaki hospital.

Hang your head in shame, Harry Truman and the American leaders of that time for this atrocious crime against humanity!

America - do not make excuses for this crime. Just admit it, repent and make reparation to God and man for it.

3. JFK, LBJ and the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, Catholic President of Vietnam

Here is a clip of President Lyndon Johnson admitting to Sen Eugene McCarthy that the USA orchestrated the assassination of President Diem.

In fact, it was during JFK's Presidency that the decision was made and - as documents now clearly show - with the full knowledge and approval of Catholic President John F Kennedy.

Shocking but true!

Catholic Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem at prayer, later assassinated with US connivance

I anticipate the usual weak and disgraceful apologies for this act of barbarism:

1. Diem was himself corrupt.

Where's the proof that he was any more corrupt than every other South-East Asian leader? None? Ok - then why kill him?

But even if he were corrupt, by what conceivable moral rule could the USA claim the right to aid and assist those who sought his life? By what conceivable moral rule does anyone, government or individual, have the right to kill another human person save justly in a just war or after just due process of law? NONE AT ALL. OTHERWISE IT IS CALLED, AND RIGHTLY SO, BY THE ODIOUS NAME OF MURDER. AND THE COMMANDMENT SAYS "THOU SHALT DO NO MURDER". IT COULD NOT BE CLEARER!

2. Diem was not going to unite South Vietnam against the Communist North.

So what? How does that give anyone the right to murder him?

3. Diem probably had some of his opponents murdered.


Says who? Where's the proof? Diem was a devout, traditional Catholic who came from a long line of Catholic aristocrats who had been Mandarins under the Emperor since the 17th century and earlier. Where is the evidence that he was a man who would turn to murder?

Even if it were true, how does that give anyone the right to murder him in return? The US could have called him before an International Criminal Tribunal if they had had the proof. But connive at his murder? How can that be right?

After Diem came President Nguyen Van Thieu - also a Catholic and a convert from Buddhism.

The US government soon enough dumped Thieu, too, and he had to escape his own country for fear of murder by the victorious Communists after the Fall of Saigon in 1975.

And who can forget the harrowing stories, told by US soldiers themselves at various tribunals and enquiries, of their carelessly massacring Vietnamese women and children under orders from equally careless and seemingly amoral officers.

Officers of a great nation like the USA allowing such disgusting behaviour?

How shocking is that? And yet it happened!

4. ...and have things got noticeably better under William Jefferson Clinton or since?

I have just returned from New York and these thoughts crowded into my mind along with many other examples of the insularity and false ideology that is, even today, all too dominant in the USA despite its enormous wealth and power.

There is a lot that is good in the USA but a lot that is still inexcusably not good.

Come on America. You can do better!



Anonymous said...

It's the little things that are most disturbing, such as the fact that Diem had sought sanctuary in a Catholic church but was hauled out and murdered by his own men. JFK in all probability didn't expect them actually to kill Diem - but then he probably thought his own trip to Dallas only a few weeks later would be just a nice holiday in the sun.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot that is good in the USA but a lot that is still inexcusably not good.

Come on America. You can do better!

Gee, and I would've thought you'd have the troubled beam of your own country's virulently violent anti-Catholic past, it's militantly secularist and dangerous-and-immoral-science-legislating (not to mention, anti-Catholic) present, and its coming cailiphate (not to mention, anti-Catholic) future to worry about before you'd indignantly point to the mote in the eyes of people halfway around the world from you.

I happen to agree with much of what you write, but find your indignant tone a little jarring (and a bit self-righteous) considering what has happened and is happening right in your own scepter'd isle.

Tribunus said...

I love it when Americans start with "Gee"!

It can often means "stand by for some naive nonsense".

Sorry, "American Anglophile" but you have got to be kidding, haven't you?

You really think that evil can be excused because somebody else is also doing it?


No, I didn't think so.

If you REALLY thought that then there would not be much point in my responding since no amount of sense would then persuade you of anything.

But I am sure that you don't really think that and are only "sounding off" because I told a few home truths about the real America.

Since you may need a lesson in the "virulently, violently anti-Catholic past" of your own country you need to know that your own country, the United States of America, began in virulent, violent anti-Catholicism, every bit as savage as that of Britain, and has continued so throughout most of its history.

You may call this a "mote" if you like but it is no more nor less a "mote" than the anti-Catholicism of Britain.

All the US Founding Fathers were anti-Catholic save Carroll and he was a heterodox Catholic.

They called the Quebec Act one of the "intolerable acts" of King George III because it recognised the right of French Canadians to have their own Catholic government.

And so it went on, with anti-Catholicism the primary leitmotiv of US Federal politics ever since.

The results have been that US policy has often led to disasters.

I name but a tiny few in my piece. I could name many more.

What about founding Democrat President Andrew Jackson's refusal to uphold the Constitution and the Supreme Court and his illegal, totally racist, totally disgusting decision to force-march the Cherokee nation to the west of the Mississippi where nearly half died?

What of the other semi-genocidal acts of successive US governments?

This you call a "mote" together, apparently, with the mass-murder by incineration of thousands of innocent Japanese women and children at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many of them Catholic.

Well, it's a point of view - just not a very rational or humane one!

Hey, fella, wake up a bit, will you!


BradEvans said...

To have collective repentence is ridiculous; half of the people in the US today weren't even alive at the time. It would be like asking the Japanese to repent of the rape of Nanjing or the Korean comfort women.
Who would get to determine the penance for this repentance?
There must be something very good in Protestant America if all those Latin Catholics keep coming over the border; evidently, conservative Latin Catholicism lacks something fairly basic if all the population movement is in one direction. The choice of Jefferson is particularly pointless; go to Catholic places like Brazil and see Jeffersons by the thousands.
The less said about the grossly disproportionate share of power held by Vietnamese Catholics compared with Buddhists, the better. They were collaborationists with the French and wanted to hang onto power with US help; the fact that the US ended up treating some of them like the tools they were is shameful but hardly surprising.

Anonymous said...

The Ngo family were one of the truly heroic Catholic families of Vietnam, going back in the Faith to the 1600s and numbering genuine martyrs in their ranks from at least the late XIXth century when many of their relatives were murdered by the incineration of the Catholic church in their city outside Hue.

As President of the Republic of Vietnam, Diem, assisted by Nhu, his brother, tried to improve the country by applying policies based on Personalism, a specifically Catholic philosophical/political concept with complex origins but coming most directly from the France of the 1930s, with some modifications to incorporate specifically Asian ideas. For more on this see the very fine book, "Diem's Final Failure" by Catton.

In the abominable episode recounted in the blog text, Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Nhu were both murdered by Duong van Minh's chief bodyguard. Shortly thereafter their brother Can was killed by the plotters. The oldest brother, Khoi, had been killed by the Viet Minh in the 1940s. Only Thuc, then Archbishop of Hue and attending the Second Vatican Council (later to go seriously awry), and Luyen, serving outside the country at the time, among the Ngo brothers survived.

Their cousin, Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen van Thuan, became coadjutor Archbishop of Saigon in 1975 and was imprisoned by the Communists for 13 years for his trouble, and, obviously, his family connection. He became the author of "Road to Hope" while in captivity and later other books, one of which being the spiritual exercises preached to Pope John Paul and the Curia in 2000.

I have seen it said that of all the sins Jack Kennedy committed, the worst, and also the one he himself knew as the worst, was the connivance in the murder of Ngo Dinh Diem and Ngo Dinh Nhu. That such a family could be so persecuted is an historical crime of the first order. A former National Defense University professor told me once that in retrospect it was clear that killing Diem was akin to an act of regicide, with the consequent unforeseen disruptions, and that the troubles in South Vietnam only accelerated after that, to the tragic end we all know about.

I like, however, to subscribe also to the understanding that the night before he himself was murdered, Jack Kennedy made his confession to a Dominican priest in Fort Worth, and that, as Padre Pio is said to have said on that same day, he died in the state of grace. As had, one trusts, Diem and Nhu, who had made their confessions before going outside the Catholic church in Cholon (the Chinese part of Saigon) to be taken captive and killed.

Tribunus said...

Thank you very much for that.

Yes, let us hope that JFK (and Truman, for that matter!) truly repented before death.

Tribunus said...

Well, I think the above response is the best answer to "Brad".

Brad's of reply demonstrates precisely why so many people round the world who might be well-disposed to America just aren't.

"Collective repentance" is redundant since I nowhere mention it.

A consistently anti-Catholic philosophy permeates much of American history and still influences politics, policy, the media, commentary, academic thinking and the views of too many ordinary Americans, even today.

Too many Americans are ignorant of the state of Latin America, a nation on their very door-step, showing the extent of the failure to understand much beyond the confines of their own tribe and nation - precisely the very problem I was describing.

Latin America, far from being dominated by conservative Latin Catholics, is dominated by Free-thinking liberals who obtained their dominance by the continued interference of a thoroughly anti-Catholic Uncle Sam sedulously maintained once Jefferson and his ilk took over.

It is "pay-back" upon the flawed policies of successive US governments that they are now getting waves of Latinos trying to escape from the mess created by US-supported Latin liberals, atheists and anti-clericals.

Anyone thinking this is an advertisement for "Protestant" America really has got his head on back to front.

Brad effectively admits my point by at least having enough eyesight to see that Jeffersonian hypocrisy has been exported from America to Brazil.
However, it is a bizarre claim that it is alright for the US government to rat on its former allies in South East Asia, switch support to a gang of murdering Buddhists, and then connive at the murder of their former ally because he comes from a Catholic minority and I think the less said about that, the better.

But what of the US government decision to drop the bomb on cities full of innocent women and children, frying and vaporising them in 9 seconds?

The fact that they used the Catholic Cathedral as an aiming point and wiped out the entire community of Japanese Catholics - the very people most likely to be favourable to the West - makes this wicked deed odious almost beyond all belief.

It is indefensible by any standard.

As I said: "a lot... is still inexcusably not good. Come on America. You can do better".

The best response, "Brad", would be for you to get on your knees and petition heaven for forgiveness for what was done by the US government.


Anonymous said...

"Since you may need a lesson in the "virulently, violently anti-Catholic past" of your own country you need to know that your own country, the United States of America, began in virulent, violent anti-Catholicism, every bit as savage as that of Britain, and has continued so throughout most of its history."

Ah, well you have me there, since the U.S. history books obviously gloss over the American version of Tyburn and the American government's systematic efforts at hunting down Catholic priests and brutally torturing and murdering them. I am aware of the murder of saintly men of the cloth by a handful of know-nothing bigots, but wasn't aware of our government's efforts to round these holy men up and torture and execute them until now when you informed me that America's version of anti-Catholicism was "every bit as savage as that of Britain".

I also missed the part of our Constitution where Catholics are legally barred from being the head of state. So thank you for disabusing me of my obvious unfamiliarity with my own nation's history and form of government.

"And so it went on, with anti-Catholicism the primary leitmotiv of US Federal politics ever since."

Once again, you have me there. I'm obviously blinded to my nation's being primarily motivated by anti-Catholicism in its every action.

"Well, it's a point of view - just not a very rational or humane one!

"Hey, fella, wake up a bit, will you!"

As I mentioned before, I don't disagree with your assessment about the evil acts of which the U.S. has been guilty, so no need for the preachy tone. But, then, I suppose that's the whole heart of the matter: I don't see the point of your diatribe as anything other than an exercise in self-congratulation that at least you're not like THOSE people.

P.S. Just to show you that I am not primarily motivated by a desire to gloss over my nation's historical evils, if you want to really get your Catholic dander up over American injustice, research the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-48).

Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

I like Jefferson but...

In fact, I revere Jefferson. Better said, I revere Jeffersonianism, but recognize that its architect was, like the rest of us, a flawed man. Tocqueville's thoughts on slaveholding bear light on the issue:

When I see the order of nature overthrown, and when I hear the cry of humanity in its vain struggle against the laws, my indignation does not light upon the men of our own time who are the instruments of these outrages; but I reserve my execration for those who, after a thousand years of freedom, brought back slavery into the world once more.


Worse than Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemming, which anyone of us (or at least I)might have fallen into, was his violation of the Constitution in the Louisiana Purchase, which, in Bill Kauffman's new book, is described in chapter entitled "'The Greatest Curse that Ever Befell Us': An Empire Is Born."

Truman? A war criminal who should have been hanged. JFK and LBJ? Lesser war criminals who should have suffered the same fate.

Tribunus said...

I can't share your enthusiasm for Jefferson, still less Jeffersonianism, I'm afraid. I think the guy was a stinker, a racist, a bigot and a self-serving proto-Capitalist slave-driver.

De Tocqueville was right in the extract you quote save that he forgets to mention that it was chiefly Protestants and Protestant nations that re-intruded slavery into the West, aided by numerous renegade and lapsed Catholics. The Catholic Church, popes and monarchs, resolutely set themselves against slavery. Witness the Laws of Burgos passed shortly after the discovery of the New World.

And I agree with rest of what you say.

Tribunus said...

Dear uncritical American Yankophile,

Your response further makes my point for me.

Anyone who thinks that excluding Catholics from the British throne is a wrong of similar magnitude to murdering innocent Catholics or frying innocent Japanese Christian children, really is in a moral dead end.

It is all the more absurd coming from a citizen of a nation that has had only one Catholic President and that only because he was a heterodox Catholic (as is evidenced by his address to the Houston ministers). Even then, this one and only Catholic President was soon enough murdered by his own countrymen in the "land of the free and the home of the brave".

Regrettably, you do not seem to know your own history as well as you think. Hunting down Catholic priests went on in America just as much as in Britain. However, by the time that America became independent, more subtle ways of eliminating Catholicism had been invented and successive US governments made full use of these means and that at a time when the British government was beginning to liberalise its attitude toward Catholicism.

This is yet another example of the retreat into bigotry which sadly marked too many of the ideas of the American Founding Fathers.

That anti-Catholicism remained a primary leitmotiv in US politics is a matter of historical record. That you are unwilling to admit it does not alter the facts.

But that's not all. Let's not forget the many other crimes of successive US governments. To name but a few, let's not forget Andrew Jackson's attempted genocide of the Creek, Seminole and Cherokee peoples whom he ILLEGALLY sent west of the Mississippi in the 1830s.

You mention the US Constitution but seem to forget that the Cherokee, most of whom were US Citizens, appealed to the US Supreme Court, were upheld by the first Chief Justice, John Marshall, but that Jackson, the founder of the Democrat Party, flatly ignored the US Supreme Court's judgement and sent them west anyway!

Let's not forget the US treatment of Indians and Hispanics, in other areas. The "West" was "won" as much by murder, cheating, lying and attempted genocide, as anything else.

And, yes, the motivation was primarily greed and racism but it was given a good, old Protestant gloss by being also anti-Catholic as a matter of policy.

The primary religion of America has been, as much as anything, anti-Catholic Freemasonry and virtually every US President has been a member of the Lodge.

It is thus not surprising that the policy of the country has been so anti-Catholic.

The details of the odious US-Mexican war are all too well-known to me and simply underscore my point about the anti-Catholicism of US politics, perhaps further underscored by the equally odious Monroe doctrine and the subsequent planned and deliberate destruction of Catholicism in Latin America by the policy of successive US governments.

Once again, you make my point for me. Thank you.

If you can't "see the point" of accurate and factual criticism of the record of your country's governments, don't blame the rest of us for your own myopia.

It is a poor patriot who believes that "my country right or wrong" is a good policy.

As I said "Wake up a bit, fella!".


Anonymous said...

I believe they even blasphemed the Lord when the named the Bomb that would vaporize innocent civilians.