Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Tower of London

The hero of the Dicken's novel Martin Chuzzlewit crosses the ocean to America to seek his fortune. Unwittingly on the rough pioneer frontier he finds himself fenagled into buying a desolate, festering swamp, not the rich pioneer land he was lead to believe would make his fortune. Just prior to his depressing discovery he encounters on the train a certain General Choke who estolls the virtues of the New World and capitalism as practiced by land agents. After insisting (wrongly of course) that Queen Victoria was living in the Tower of London, the General addresses his British acquaintance thus; "Well, you come from an old country: from a country, sir, which has piled up golden calves as high as Babel, and worshipped 'em for ages. We are a new country, sir; man is in a more primeval state here, sir; we have not the excuse of having lapsed in the slow course of time into degenerate practices; we have no false gods; man, sir, here, is man in all his dignity. We fought for that or nothing."
The General was in fact part of the fraud, ignorant of the world, proud of America having fought Britain and not about to admit any national flaws. Was this 1840s novel precient of the U S of A government in 2006 or what?