May 25, 2009

The Hyphen

There is a quote by Margaret Thatcher that I have always treasured: “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” In fact, as a European by birth and an “American by philosophy,” what I really think, along with Theodore Roosevelt, is that “Americanism is a matter of the spirit, and of the soul.” Another great quote to ponder, which is about—however strange it may seem—the hyphen… Teddy Roosevelt was speaking to the largely Irish Catholic Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on Columbus Day 1915:

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all... Americanism is a matter of the spirit, and of the soul… The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

I'm sure this quote can help many people understand what America is all about and, in a sense, also what Memorial Day is all about.

Then again, to conclude on “the hyphen issue,” I think the following audio recording by John Wayne is superbly effective (thanks: Duane Lester):


  1. Roosevelt has been proven true. The 'melting pot' is no more. People no longer come here to be part of the greatest successful political experiment in history, but just to consume some of the abundance and good will of the American people. Many of those come from failed countries, always socialist, and then vote here (often illegally) for the kind of people that destroyed their country. A local version of that is when I lived in Salt Lake City. California is going down, and it's citizens are fleeing. The ones that get to SLC then try to change the laws and culture to suit themselves, make it more like California, not caring about the natives. Why people wreck things, leave the wreckage behind, and then do the same thing in their new home is a mystery to me.

  2. This admirable soul and root spirit is what is sadly missing in Europe. Obviously it's not as though there's a lack of history, far from it, but it's this very history that seems to prevent Europe from concretising its badly needed unity.
    Only with this unity, the sharing of common interests and values, will Europe be able to have a real objective, a reason of being above its mercenary interests, and a common cause to defend.

    As in the USA, Europe shouldn't allow those from external countries to settle, unless they make an initial engagement that guaranties their real desire to adopt European values and adhere to a European constitution that should defend such values.

    Allowing others not only to settle but to abuse European hospitality and welfare systems; allowing them to impose their values, their laws, their religion and their way of life is not only senseless, it represents a real danger to European society and to security in general. It could ultimately be the quickest way of ending the 'European Dream' before such an aspiration has ever had the slightest opportunity to be realised.