"We" Ruthless Criticism

Two letters that contain a whole nation:


... have real concerns! About the Russians, e.g. whether “our friend” Putin aids Iran’s nuclear program. Elsewhere things look a little better. In Europe, possibly, and England in particular. There “we” have dependable friends; but even there “our Secretary of State” must always make sure they respect rights. In contrast, as we move to the East, “our relations” are quite problematic: the Arabs are a volatile people who will probably never be at peace. The Chinese are Asians, industrious as ants and still half communist, who always annoy “our economy” with their cheap little things, probably toxic.

Wherever one looks: friends, enemies, problems, obstacles, concerns, hopes, progress, setbacks, threats, disasters. For whom? For “us,” of course! But fear not: “we Americans are afraid of God and nobody else.”

All this is what an innocent personal pronoun can accomplish. The first person plural – used politically correctly – unites the classes into the people and with its two letters brings the national community of “Americans” together. No wonder politicians have this grammatical basic item in their mouth at all times. With this language monument to national non-discrimination, every outrageous demand – for the economy, for the climate – stands completely casually and self-evidently as “all our interest.”

Whether one earns wages by a job, makes profits or collects taxes – it’s all the same: “we” need more jobs, cost-effective ones, of course. “Profitable ones”: this is understood. There may be different ways to satisfy this interest, but “our interest” must be satisfied in any case.

The national budget almost weekly shows new “deficits.” Why? “We” have lived beyond our means! Clearly: “we” must tighten "our" belts and again “we” must kiss some “luxury” goodbye – for the good of “society.”

The brutally embraced subjects by no means feel insulted by such hypocrisy. On the contrary! They constantly use this official terminology themselves and allude to the compulsory state connection which they must submit to as a community that they want. With their morality, they unite idealistically with the rule that they are subjected to. Thus adults are taken in as members of the national “we” and trained to be private ambassadors of the nation – and are not even suspicious that they stoop for something that is in no sense their concern.