In these confusing and contentious times, we should not let our country down. The title of this video initially provoked in me a sense of fear and indignation.
But almost every sentence in this video is too easy to refute—either containing a logical fallacy or an opinion stated like it is a fact. It’s the kind of raw polemic that might get cheers at a Trump rally, but since this is presented to us as an educational piece, we have to evaluate it as such.
Let’s first acknowledge some fair points made:
- Yes, a more nuanced, complicated view of the US has spread in recent decades.
- Yes, it’s true that perfection can never exist.
- Certainly, if all of history were erased (like in Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”), a society’s identity would also change.
- Indeed no, the attention-seeking statement of Michael Moore (the most radical celebrity in the US) does not provide a balanced picture of who Americans are.
That said, let us slog through a few of Mr. Robbins’ statements.
This is opinion stated as fact. Though critical history books obviously exist, there are no high school or college history textbooks like this. But wouldn’t it be scary if what he said were true?
Some history textbooks may mention some of the above issues. (So, probably, did 1950s textbooks.) But they do not obsess on them, as Mr. Robbins implies.
The presupposition of this awful cause-effect claim is that the current generation of Americans is holding their past in contempt. Robbins has hardly made a case for this; not even “from what I’ve seen…”, let alone from polling or other rigorous method.
Furthermore, the consequent does not follow. Why, hypothetically, couldn’t a citizen feel bad about America’s past behaviors and yet still respect America’s institutions (e.g. rule of law, democracy, free markets)?
I am not of course denying that, if enough citizens think that change is needed, they will vote for parties and candidates who are proposing reforms and solutions to problems. They might even promote a Constitutional amendment. Is that disrespecting America’s institutions?
Robbins aims to evoke an evil bogeyman character here. Sought to “demean, degrade, and divide”? For Pete’s sake.
Again, opinion posing as fact. Trying to put the mysterious perpetrators of this alleged narrative on the defensive.
This is nonsense. Straw man. What moron thinks lack of perfection automatically means failure?
Instances of mocking by insensitive jerks do occur. But when have any of these three things been banned?
I sense that by this point I am taking Robbins too seriously. He is just trying to paint the worst possible picture of liberals/progressives. Facts aren’t too important.
Well, aren’t both true? American wealth in the early days was partly built on slavery. And then we outlawed slavery.
Robbins’ perspective is that of a parent, or a shepherd. He might concede that a few citizens can simultaneously accept these two statements about America. However, (like little kids, or sheep,) most people are incapable of that, so we have to feed them a simple, dumbed-down version so that they won’t be unpatriotic.
Maybe he’s right about people, maybe he isn’t.