Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good morning Americans...stand by for sadistic ideology!

Slight additions and edits made 23 June 2005 4:20pm
Although I live in Michigan, I imbibe various media from different markets. My newspaper comes from New York, my television from South Bend, and my radio from Chicago. I grew up listening to WGN radio from Chicago, and was delighted that we could pick it up here. (I was rather disappointed, though, that Chicago Public Radio is spotty on reception this side of the lake.)

I say all of this to explain why I was listening to Paul Harvey -- a conservative pundit -- this morning. He comes on and I am usually too tired to get up and change the radio station for 7 minutes to avoid hearing his "news and comment". Besides, it is a perspective that I am otherwise unlikely to expose myself to in daily life, so maybe it might help me to understand other people who subscribe to the same ideas but don't have a syndicated radio show. So I was sitting on my porch with a little breakfast, enjoying the gorgeous weather, reading Von Balthasar and listening to the radio with one ear.

So this morning he came on, and what he said made me do a spit-take with my morning coffee.

He ended his usual "news and comment" segment riffing on a quote of Churchill's, in which the former Prime Minister said about the American people, in reference to the Pearl Harbor attacks, they "are not made of sugar candy." Paul Harvey then took this comment to justify dropping atom bombs ("time bomb" was the odd phrase he used) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, saying that this saved many lives of our soldiers -- and showed the world we were not made of sugar candy. From there he moved to 9/11, and the subsequent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying that we have thousands of soldiers on the ground, while our real weapons sit "in their silos". He decried our seeming ineffectiveness and concern with our reputation and public image. Harkening back to the American conquest of the continent, he approvingly cited Americans' giving smallpox-infested blankets to Indians, saying that that was "biological warfare", and that we forcefully took this nation from its inhabitants, showing that we are not made of sugar candy. He then drew an analogy to other past nations who seized "greatness" through violence, and explained how they faded when they became "civilized". And he concluded by sounding a warning that there are more than enough other countries willing to see us shuffle off the worldwide stage and demonstrate that they are not made of sugar candy. (I have looked for a script of the show online and found nothing -- but you can listen to Thursday morning's show, for now at least, here. Thursday afternoon: check the comments for a transcript that Sachmet kindly shared.)

Has this guy gone off his meds or what? He seriously suggests that we use nuclear weapons in the Middle East? He thinks that being concerned about killing innocents is beneath us and might lead to our downfall? That killing Indians by violence or stealth was justified? That the ends -- no matter how self-centered or foolish -- always justify the means -- no matter how brutal or immoral? What kind of bizarre social Darwinism is this?

Please -- in the name of God, please -- somebody shut that man's microphone off.


Blogger sachmet said...


For what it's worth... After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill told the American people, we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy, and that reminder was taken seriously. We proceeded to develop and deliver the time bomb, the bomb. Even though roughly 150,000 men, women and children perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with a single blow, World War II was over.

Following New York's September 11th Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill was not here to remind us that we didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. So, we mustered our humanity, we gave old pals a pass, even though men and women from Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for the devastation of New York, and Pennsylvania, and our Pentagon. We called Saudi Arabians our partners against terrorism and we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and kept our best weapons in their silos. Even now we stand there, dying, daring to do nothing decisive, because we declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies - more moral, more civilized. Our image is at stake, we insist, but we didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy.

Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever, and we grew prosperous, and yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation states, which, feeling guilty about their savage pasts, eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded, and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up and coming who are not made of sugar candy.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 8:26:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Thanks for the transcript. Apparently, my memory of what he said was reasonably accurate -- which doesn't encourage me.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 9:13:00 PM  
Blogger Brown Wave said...

I disagree with your sentiment to turn off his microphone. Let everyone say what they want. The solution to offensive speech is never less speech but more speech. After the flag burning issue arose in the 80's, the DAV produced thought-provoking radio ads about respect for the flag. This is the better response to flag burning, not an abridgement of the 1st amendment.

Monday, June 27, 2005 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Moltmannian said...

Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. And I remember hearing a sermon a few months back where Harvey was touted as a model of Christian discipline for his work ethic (it was a random illustration!). Yes, what a wonderful model he is- of Christian compassion, thoughtfulness, nuance, justice, of recalling the distinction between our Christian identity and our residing in the U.S. AACK!! Funny, we could interpret his "time bombs" on Japan to refer metaphorically to the later occupation and total reworking of Japanese economy and culture, a time bomb from which Japan is still reeling.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 4:43:00 PM  

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