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It is impossible to sum up the last 300 years (and why stop there?) in a sentence that would make sense to anyone. What I might be able to do is say in a few words what I don't believe anymore.
I do not believe that the United States of America is now or ever was a force for good: "America is NOT the last best hope of Mankind." I don't believe anything said by the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the Department of Homeland Security, Congress (either House), the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or the White House. I make an exception for Rep. Ron Paul (R) Texas. The United States Coast Guard is generally reliable when talking about the weather.
I do not believe we are, or ever were, the "good guys".
I do not believe what I see on TV, newspapers, or magazines. I may sometimes watch the news on TV with the sound off while I work. That allows me to monitor what everyone else is looking at. This is something like listening to the police dispatcher. I listen to CBC Radio One FM in the car. When they start to talk, or play Country & Western music, I turn it off. The French CBC channel is fine because I don't understand French and I don't know what they are saying, or care. I read journalists on the Internet. They are unemployed, unrecognized, unrewarded, and unknown. What they say is generally true as everybody else discovers months or years later.
Modern universities are a waste of time and money. They train robots. They do not train thinkers. Thinking is discouraged. Robots get jobs. Graduates might get the Order of Canada some day for free thinking, as long as they fit in and follow orders.
I do not believe that Canada is a wholesome version of the United States. (Canada is not what America would be without all those nasty minorities — which is what many Americans believe.) Canadians, generally speaking, are even dumber than Americans. Their main fault is that they are so smug. Regina is the worst place in Canada for smugness.
Americans, the British, and maybe the Australians and New Zealanders, have a capacity to indulge self-criticism. If you want to find out what is wrong with the United States, an American will be able to tell you. He will be able to give you all the facts, in detail. He will know what he is talking about. When H.L. Mencken was asked why he didn't leave the United States if he found so much wrong with it, he answered, "I stay here for the same reason that people visit zoos."
Canadians have NO capacity for self criticism. Pat Fiacco is a perfect mayor for Regina because he always looks on the bright side. For Pat, there are no dark sides in his kingdom. He is following in the tradition of every Regina mayor.
The ostrich, not the beaver, would be a good national symbol for Canada. The only good political party Canada ever produced was the Rhinoceros Party, named after another African animal never seen in Canada. The Bloc Québécois gets my vote these days. Of course, they don't have a candidate in Regina.
I am not cynical though, as a follower of Diogenes, I am a cynic. I am hopeful for the future because I believe we are in the hands of a God who cares what happens to us. Otherwise we would have exterminated ourselves long ago. He must be a forgiving and loving God. He doesn't care how dumb we are. That is the best evidence that there is a God that you will ever hear.
"But it is the tireless work of hardworking and unrewarded reformers that keeps us from being destroyed," you might counter. That is true. How do you think God works his miracles?