Manifest Destiny/Ishmael

November 11, 2019

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If you are of a certain age (OK, boomers! ha. I just became acquainted with *that* unfortunate meme this weekend), you are no doubt familiar with this *also unfortunate* phrase from history class: manifest destiny.

 

"A widely held belief in the 19th century United States that its settlers were destined to expand across North America," as Wikipedia so plainly puts it, it expressed a somewhat contested, admittedly, viewpoint that America had a moral mission of conquest: specifically, in this instance, conquest of its "wild, wild west." Of course, we can see the consequences of this attitude in the world around us and its extreme environmental degradation, as well as climate change.

 

 It is a unique human quality, this hubris: "a quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence." I am re-reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn -- who, I've just come to learn, is from my newly-adopted hometown, Omaha, NE, USA -- and it is reminding me of the urgency (as if it ever leaves my mind) of action in the face of humankind's hubris.

 

We've got to stop acting like we can go on this way, and not suffer the little children to be left to deal with our mess.

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