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Three Books from the Book Sale

During my home town's autumn festival, Museum Days, I bought myself three books: one from a rummage sale, the other two from my library friends group's book sale.

1900 Sears Catalog

This is a paperback replica of the Fall 1900 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog, back when the Sears catalog was the most important book a farmer or rural villager could have.

Back then, Indiana was mostly rural villages: Even towns like Marion and Muncie, at the crest of the Gas Boom, were relatively small compared to today. Each village had a post office, often a franchise run from a farm; and some had general stores selling all sorts of goods, with narrow selection and often poor quality. That was why the Sears catalog was a hit, even among general stores, which bought goods from Sears as if it were a wholesaler.

The catalog had everything on sale: Clothes for men, women and children; furniture, kitchen appliances and tableware; toys and games; horse-drawn carriages with implementia; tools for farming, carpentry, cobbling, even veterinary work; medicines, or what passed for medicine; books by the latest authors (including Mark Twain) and about current events (the Spanish-American War); even weapons like guns and rifles. The catalog had it all.

appliance in a general sense

Appliances in 1900 America included a cast-iron oven that burned wood or coal, or an insulated cabinet that held a block of ice in the top to cool the food underneath it, or a hand-cranked washing machine with a separate hand-cranked wringer, or squeeze roller. Electricity was only for major cities — and even then of dubious quality due to a dispute between Thomas Edison and Nikolai Tesla over DC vs. AC generation. Electricity never reached the rural farms and villages until the Rural Electrification Administration in the late 1930's.

Scout Field Book

Here is a Boy Scout Field Book from the 1950's, or more accurately, a 1959 issue of a 1948 edition. The book was issued back when the Manual and Fieldbook were not yet separate, as they were when I was a Scout. The book has instructions on how to hike, draw maps and use a compass, tie various knots, communicate with Morse code and semaphores, set up a camp, cook and clean in the outdoors, and a whole lot more. All these are mixed with the Scouting principia (oath, law, motto and slogan), requirements to advance up its six ranks and to earn badges of merit, and lessons in American patriotism.

The Boy Scouts were trying to adapt to a United States newly emergent from the death of the original after World War II; and the book reflects Scouting of that day functioning as if the original were still with them. By the time I was a Scout in the early 1970's, this was more or less given up. But even today, the Scouting movement works to maintain the core set of values laid out in its principia. To do so, Scouting has even had to abandon the heavy urban, leftist-bourgeois areas of the country, esp. the Boswash region, from where it had to move its headquarters from New Jersey to a suburb of Dallas.

10 Big Lies About America

Michael Medved started out as a film critic: He hosted the PBS show Sneak Previews from 1984 to its cancellation in 1996, and co-wrote a series of golden turkey books (reviewing really bad films) with his brother Harry. Along the way his exposure to Hollywood and its irrational follies turned him into a rightist. (And then Hollywood finds itself befuddled by the idea that it creates its own enemies.)

I have not read his book I bought yet, but the table of contents says it all. Here is the list of lies from it:

  1. The U.S. was built on the murder of Amerinds.
  2. Slavery in the U.S. is unique, and American wealth is based on it.
  3. The Founders of the U.S. planned a non-religious state, not a Christian one.
  4. The U.S. has always been multicultural.
  5. Big Business hurts the U.S. and oppresses its citizens.
  6. U.S. government largess is the only cure for poverty and economic recession.
  7. The U.S. is an empire that threatens world peace.
  8. The U.S. political party system needs a viable third party.
  9. Hostility against the U.S. bourgeoisie makes life less comfortable and affluent for everyone.
  10. The U.S. is in irreversible moral decline.

Well, Lie #2 is two lies, actually.

These ten academic and political myths, most of which come from the universities and from political activists, about the history and culture of the United States of America I have met with before, finding them in such diverse books as Paul Johnson's A History of the American People and in Russ Kick's Disinformation Co. books. And myths are what these are, false beliefs pulled fresh out of the rear orifice of some professor or entertainer.

And yet, the biggest myth — a part of the general Marxist mythology and also covers truth by consensus and wikiality — is not even mentioned, so I will refute it myself: Winners do not write the history. They are too busy being winners. The writing and teaching of history are the jobs of their sycophants.

Written by Andy West on 25 September 2011.