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Undermining Patriotism–and Gratitude

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On the importance of patriotism, the younger and older generations hold dramatically different views.

According to a Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, nearly 80 percent of those over 55 believe patriotism is “very important” but barely 40 percent of those under 38 agree with them.

This reflects a generation of propaganda meant to foster guilt over gratitude regarding America. Consider the New York Times’ much bally-hooed “1619 Project,” proclaiming that “nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery”—ignoring the fact that slavery itself was universal, not an exceptional institution, 400 years ago.

In a courageous column, Brett Stephens of the Times insisted that great reformers like Frederick Douglass and Dr. King moved multitudes by recalling America’s highest ideals, not by trashing its heritage as irredeemable. By depicting “the whole story of America as one of unremitting oppression” Stephens writes, “we would lose the mechanism of self-reproach by which past progress was made.”

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