Original American Sin

We wake up in the morning, and our evil deeds begin before we have time to curse the alarm. As we slept, our refrigerators were hard at work giving Chileans skin cancer. We turn on the air conditioner, and amphibians grow extra limbs. We breathe and contribute to global warming and killer hurricanes. We put on our clothes and cover the world with sweatshops. We put on our shoes and tie children to workbenches with the laces. We poison the soil by eating breakfast. We drive to work and drown Pacific Islanders. We go to the doctor and kill cuddly, little animals. We devastate countries we have never heard of. We are Ugly Americans, crude, boorish, and brutal, as ashamed of our tastes as we are of our genocide.

How did we become so evil? According to the doctrine of Original Sin, human nature is stained with the sin of our remotest ancestors. According to the doctrine of Original American Sin, we are stained with the sins of our remote ancestors, whether or not they were actually our ancestors. The politically correct instill in us guilt and shame and then offer to cure us of them in exchange for our becoming politically correct ourselves.

We exterminated the Edenic Native Americans; the sin of slavery and segregation belongs to us alone. We are guilty of unconscious racism, forever injuring Blacks without realizing it. We don't know how, but we are starving poor people in the Third World.

But in the midst of Babylon a miracle. Some people do not have the stain! Their opinions have washed them clean. They live on land stolen from the Indians and owe no debts. They have no more intention than we do of giving the land back, but we are the problem, and they are the solution. If their ancestors held slaves, it is not their fault. They wear the same clothes we do, but their clothes cause no sweatshops. They wear the same shoes but do not exploit children. They can eat what we eat, drive as much as they'd like, spend a month in the hospital, and, lo, the soil is fertile, the ocean does not rise, and animals frolic in the sun.

They can slander the police and not suffer from crime. They can enjoy peace and belittle the sacrifices necessary to obtain it. They can be against war and share in its spoils. They can condemn Corporate America while they build up their portfolios.

They do not want their daughters to be raped, but refuse to dirty their hands by putting them on the rapists. They do not want their homes invaded by marauding armies, but will not sully their consciences defending them. Their protectors have dirty hands, guilty consciences, and danger; they have clean hands, clear consciences, and safety. They hate war and are shocked when people die in it.

To wash away our stain, we must do the impossible; all they have to do is to believe the unbelievable. We have to rid ourselves of evil; they have to think that we are uniquely evil. We have to sin no more; they have to act surprised that we continue to sin. We have to defeat the evil within; they have to defeat us. We have to have faith in God; they have to have faith in faithlessness. We have to believe that God is watching us and watching over us; they have to believe that God will look away. We have to beg God for forgiveness; they have to call us hypocrites.

They call us racist, sexist, homophobes and say that we do not respect people we disagree with. They call us the Taliban and say that we ignore the feelings of others. They say that we are full of hate and that we should follow their example and love everyone. Their shepherds call us a generation of vipers and plead for unity. They say that we fail to understand people different from us.

They say that what they do is nobody's business, and they are perpetually offended by what others do. They make our personal political and our political personal. We impose our beliefs on others; they want to make the world a better place. They say that life is up to a woman and her doctor, and they try to take over the health care system.

We think that truth is one thing and falsity quite another, and they think us unsophisticated. We think that truth is discovered; they think it is invented. They cite Machiavelli and marvel that we do not trust them, cite Nietsche and say that our God is dead, cite Heidigger and accuse us of fascist sympathies, cite Foucault and say that we are hung up on sex. They call us uncultured and call Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe Dead White European Men. They say that we have no appreciation of the arts, and they watch pornography and call it art.

They say that we are a threat to free speech and try to shut us up. They give voice to the voiceless, and no one else can be heard. They call us dictatorial and say that we resent our fall from power. They call America racist and call us un-American. They blame America first and say that we are out of the mainstream.

They say that we are arrogant because we believe that God made man in his own image; they are humble because they believe that man made God in his own image. We are willful because we attempt to conform to God's will, while they remake God at will.

Their doctrines are discredited and their foreign sponsors gone, but they dominate much of our lives. We carry around in our heads a miniaturized Index of Forbidden Thoughts and Sayings so that we can escape their giant Index of Political Correction and Great American Character-Assassination Machine. They say that Negroes should be called Blacks, and we call them Blacks. They say that Blacks should be called African-Americans, and all at once university presidents, network executives, and politicians of both parties call them African-Americans. They tell us (correctly) not to judge others by the color of their skin, and then they tell us to judge others by the color of their skin. We can't say that men and women are different, and then we can't say that they are the same, which we never believed anyway. They tell us to worry about global cooling, and then they tell us to worry about global warming. They cut off their hair and tell us that they are the reincarnation of the '60s. The postmodernists tell us that there is nothing outside the text and that the whole world is a text.

In short, they run a sort of moral protection racket. They make people feel guilty, and then they offer them absolution. They are our only protection against hellish shame and humiliation. Join them, and your sins are washed away. Refuse, and bear on top of your own sins, which were already too heavy to carry, the burden of the sins of the whole world.

Man is a religious animal. Only in modern secular society, which is in fact not all that secular, could one doubt that we have an overpowering religious impulse. We can either cooperate with this impulse or try in vain to suppress it. Thus, the ostensibly secular realm is propelled by transmuted religious energy and filled with parodies of Judaism and Christianity, one of which is political correctness. Their high priests have their Ten Trillion Commandments, their anathemas, and their grace. We have our five tithes and Lives of Obligation.

Religion has been blamed for most of the ills of the world and deserves much of the blame, but any good thing can be misused, and the best thing most of all. If religion is dangerous, however, it is most dangerous, not when it thrives, but when it dies. The rotten carcass of a religion is far more pestilential than the religion was when it was alive. Putrid hunks of doctrine infect the minds of those who have forgotten the doctrine when it was still vital. Political correctness is one result of the decay of Judaism and Christianity in the United States. Without their renewal, we will have to continue to endure the godless religion of political correctness.

Jonathan David Carson, Ph.D.

This essay appeared in the September 12, 2005, edition of The American Thinker.