Take a look at this amazing opinion piece that just popped up at Salon. Presumably the writer, Patrick Lawrence, isn’t a native speaker of English. But still: do they really not have editors? And is the teaching of history in American schools really so bad that a person can so misunderstand the reception of One-World ideas among post-war voters?
I tried to comment on the thing at Salon, but they want you to sign in to their site. At 23 single-spaced pages of user IDs and passwords in my secret printout, I’ve had quite enough of that, thank you. So I’ll share my thoughts on the article — not just its style but its thinking — with you. Lawrence writes about the recent Brexit vote and reflects, wisely enough once you get past the awful writing, on the reasons for it and on the failed promise of the European Union. He reflects on the brilliance of Wendell Wilke’s vision of a utopian post-war “One World.”
Did anyone even try to edit this thing? “Willkie was not alone in his aspirations. Very far from it. But he did well expressing those of very many. And it is these that have just died a death on the English Channel’s northern shores.”
Those of very many what? Brits? Americans? Europeans? citizens of the world? Cats? It is these that…: these what? Aspirations? the “very many”? And how did a vague, verbose structure like that get past the copy desk, anyway? ...died a death on the English Channel’s northern shores. What else would they die? Come to think of it, is “die” a transitive verb at all?
This kind of thinking, believe it or not, was much favored among Americans at the time.
I’m old enough to remember one-worldism. Trust me, it was NOT “much favored among Americans.” Most people regarded it as a radical, seditious scheme. Few Americans were open-minded multiculturalists who wished to merge their cultural, economic, and (yes) racial identities with everyone else’s. And the people I knew believed that if and when the idea became reality, Americans’ wages would dwindle, the country would be overrun with foreigners, and American sovereignty would be threatened. The then new middle class would see its hard-won comfortable standard of living go away. Were they still living today, they would not be surprised at the present outcomes in Europe and England. Watching the bureaucratization of the EU, they would be saying “there but for the grace of God go we.”
Did Britons make a mistake in voting to leave the EU? That remains to be seen. Common sense was overruled many years ago; it’s no doubt too late to go back. But one never knows.