Although the first person killed in the American Revolution was a black man with Native American blood – Crispus Attucks – the reality is every man who signed the Declaration of Independence and was involved with the crafting of the Constitution was white. Simply put, there would be no United States without white men.
After almost 250 years, however, the life of the average American is not directly impacted by what those white men did in Philadelphia. Indirectly, however, we experience the world building upon their foundations every day… and most of that world was the result of the inventions and innovations of other white men.
If you woke up this morning and did anything other than work on a farm, you can thank Cyrus McCormick. When he invented the mechanical reaper in 1831 farming hadn’t changed in a thousand years, where one man with a scythe and two helpers could harvest two acres of grain a day. McCormick’s early reaper allowed a man to double that and his later reapers multiplied that many times. His introduction of payment plans made his machines the workhorses of a dramatic increase in efficiencies in farming. At the time of his invention 80% of America’s population was either directly or indirectly involved in farming. Today that number is closer to 2%. So in essence Cyrus McCormick freed up almost 80% of the population to go out and do pretty much anything… from becoming entrepreneurs, to florists to baseball players to scientists, to plumbers to Instagram models, and, yes, sadly, professional race grifters and activists.
Another white guy who had an extraordinary impact on America today was Henry Ford. Many people think Ford invented the automobile. He didn’t. But his auto manufacturing production line brought the car from a luxury item only the rich could afford to a product tens of millions and eventually, billions of people around the world could afford. With that unprecedented access to cars, the universe opened up for Americans. Transportation limits on where they could work, live or go to school evaporated. Suddenly they could drive anywhere they wanted, not limited to where public transport went or how far their horse could travel in a day or how far they could walk. Today 250 million Americans drive three trillion miles a year, six times the distance the earth travels around the sun!
There’s also Willis Carrier, the man who invented modern air conditioning. Every summer as temperatures soar across the country, scorching everything in their path, most Americans can retreat to their homes and relax in air-conditioned comfort or enjoy a movie theater or restaurant that would otherwise feel like a sweatshop. The degree to which the air office spaces changed the face of America is hard to exaggerate. While manufacturing steel or working on a farm might not be impacted greatly by the invention of air conditioning, many of the things Americans do for work would be much more difficult if not impossible without it. things like medical research and high-tech manufacturing or more mundane things like computer programming or working in a superstore or busy restaurant.
Then there is Elisha Otis, inventor of the safety elevator. Take a look at the skyline of any American city and you’ll see buildings that stack 30 or 50 or even 100 floors high. Of the tallest, skyscrapers of 40 or more floors, New York City alone has 250, and there are almost a thousand across the country. None of those, or even the tens of thousands of buildings of just 10 or 20 stories high wouldn’t be possible without Otis’s safety elevator. His presentation at the 1853 New York World’s Fair helped usher in the advent of skyscrapers by giving much of the public the confidence to ride in elevators.
And there are countless more including George Eastman, the personal camera innovator, Charles Goodyear who put tires on our cars, the Wright Brothers and their airplane, Samuel Colt and his guns, Isaac Singer the sewing machine magnate, Levi Strauss, and his jeans, Leo Baekeland who brought us plastic, and thousands of others. To those historical figures, you can add (for better or worse) contemporary white men Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Andreessen, and in reality, millions of others.
The fact of the matter is that these white men built much of the world we live in today. There’s no group of people in human history who have had a greater impact on mankind than white males in general and American white males in particular. The world they created may not be perfect, but measured against virtually every culture that came before them the level of freedom and prosperity isn’t even close.
As such, we should celebrate White Male Pride! Yay!
But here’s the thing, although these white men may have accomplished much, white men have also done extraordinarily bad things… from Jack the Ripper to Hitler to Stalin to Teds Kaczynski and Bundy.
We can’t celebrate white male pride because white men are not monolithic. Some white men are great and others despicable human beings. The thing that made America great wasn’t the fact that her Founding Fathers were white, but rather it was the ideas they had and the framework they put in place.
The notion of white pride is simply absurd. But the truth is, so to are black pride and gay pride. George Washington was no more of a representative of all white males than was Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter. Equally, MLK was no more a representative of all black males than was Samuel Little, the nation’s deadliest serial killer.
And while celebrating white males is absurd, we should nonetheless be grateful for the things that some of them bequeathed to us that have allowed Americans to live lives that kings couldn’t have imagined just a century ago.
And that legacy isn’t due to skin color, it’s due to a culture that developed individual rights, freedom, and representative government over more than two millennia, and happened nowhere else on earth. Those basic elements, when combined with free markets and limited government, found their apex in the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution. Today the nation built on those foundations is the most robust and prosperous in history.
But that prosperity can only survive if the fundamental tenets of its culture remain strong. Sadly they’re not, and that’s why America is fraying. The Democrats’ balkanization of Americans by race and sex has taken Americans’ focus off of creating more prosperity and instead put the focus on tribalization and redistributing wealth, with the full weight of the government, media, and academia driving the transition.
No nation in history has prospered by redistributing wealth. It’s against human nature and a recipe for tyranny. The key to prosperity is creating more wealth and the Democrats have undermined that as they vilify whites, both past and present, for the crime of being white. The truth is, we don’t need black or gay or white pride. What we do need however is pride in the successes America has achieved and the building blocks of freedom that made that success possible.
Just as comparison and envy are the roots of evil, gratitude, and conscientiousness are the fount of prosperity. Although it’s verboten to mention in Woke 2023, the reality is that white men built much of the world we live in today. We can be grateful for their efforts without making them gods or denigrating anyone else. The beauty of America, particularly in the 21st century is that anyone can succeed. We should look to history with curiosity seeking to find inspiration in what those men (most of whom happened to be white) accomplished, not with scorn and disdain for their sin of being men of their times.
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