The Plank

Risky Business


Ah, for the days when Michael Medved was merely a terrible movie critic. Now, he offers nuggets like this:

In today’s ruthlessly competitive international economy, the United
States may benefit from a potent but unheralded advantage: the
aggressive edge sustained by the inherited power of American DNA.... [T]wo respected professors of psychiatry have recently come out with
challenging books that contend that those who chose to settle this
country in every generation possessed crucial common traits that they
passed on to their descendents....

The idea of a distinctive, unifying, risk-taking American DNA might
also help to explain our most persistent and painful racial divide –
between the progeny of every immigrant nationality that chose to come
here, and the one significant group that exercised no choice in making
their journey to the U.S. Nothing in the horrific ordeal of African
slaves, seized from their homes against their will, reflected a genetic
predisposition to risk-taking, or any sort of self-selection based on
personality traits.....

If Whybrow, Gartner and other analysts are right about the role of
inherited traits and tendencies in shaping our national character then
the insight carries crucial political implications. Senators Obama,
Clinton and other leaders who seek to enlarge the scope of government
face more formidable obstacles than they realize. Their desire to
impose a European-style welfare state and a command-and-control economy
not only contradicts our proudest political and economic traditions,
but the new revelations about American DNA suggest that such
ill-starred schemes may go against our very nature.

The descendants of slaves are lazy, government programs are unAmerican--and it's all science! How convenient. Anyone interested in a more intelligent reading of the books Medved cites (yes, incredibly, it is possible) can find it here.

--Christopher Orr

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