We are the only site on the web devoted exclusively to intellectual conservatism. We find the most intriguing information and bring it together on one page for you.

Links we recommend
Link to us
Free email update
About us
What's New & Interesting
Mailing Lists
Intellectual Icons


Setting the Record Straight
by Christopher Westland
24 March 2003

In a 2001 BBC interview Martin Sheen insisted the only original things of importance that the U.S. has ever exported to the rest of the world were Alcoholics Anonymous and Jazz.  In order to set the record straight, let's look at a few of the Oscar-quality inventions Americans have exported to the rest of the world.

Those on the left insist they have the A.N.S.W.E.R. for all of us. But the veneer of their thought process has worn extremely thin, along with the patience of most rational minds.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that anti-Americanism has been the main marching tune of the post-modern left for decades. Almost uniformly, they insist that America, her competitive private corporations, and the capital system are evil.

But the left has conveniently exempted the nationalized corporations of socialist states and third world dictators -- the true monopolies of the world. Pretending to honor the cause, even vicious men with million-man armies and obscene secret bank accounts are excusable, no matter how many hundreds of millions they’ve murdered in the name of the ‘progressive’ ideology. You know, "the only good monopoly is a state monopoly," even if their offspring are gulags, laogais, human meat hooks, and slow acid bath executions, to change the hearts and minds of the non-believer.

In the waning memory of 9-11, the egalitarian fantasies of the communo-cultists have soared beyond the realm of mere neurosis, to sheer, irrational psychosis. Their attachment to the repeatedly failed Stalinist utopian pipedream has become the political equivalent of the garage physicist’s myopic obsession with a perpetual motion machine.

And at the recent forefront, for the entire world to view, are the Hollywood media elites. Today they’re mostly mouthy, ultra-vain individuals that often get paid by the day five times or more than the average American family earns in an entire year. They’ve convinced themselves that if they can play a Ph.D., they can think like a Ph.D.

Gone are yesterday’s patriotic celebrities. Men like Clarke Gable, who walked from the wealth and safety of stardom to earn the pay of an Army Air Corps photographer during WWII, or Jimmy Stewart, who put his career on hold to fly combat bomber missions where the risk of death was among the highest of the war. And they did this in order that Hollywood’s unpleasant children of today can actually have the undisputed right to speak as they please. And speak they do.

Consider Harry Belafonte, whose main claim to fame was being one of the first black persons to sing Calypso on white American radio. He seems to think that makes him superior not only to the rest of us, but to the highly educated National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, two individuals who have achieved some of the highest and most demanding positions in black history. Belafonte would rather hobnob with Fidel Castro than be associated with the America that gave him his break. When he visits Cuba, Castro welcomes his rant against America. But does Belafonte seriously expect us to believe that Castro would allow him down there to speak openly against corruption in the Cuban government? Should we laugh at this guy or weep?

Then there’s Hollywood hunk, George Clooney, who claims "we can’t beat anybody anymore." May we suggest he speak for himself on that one? Especially the next time he visits a public bar without his bodyguards. Fat chance, of course.

And there’s West-Wing Martin. You know, Ramon-Estavez Sheen? He’s that icon of liberal activism, and the ‘real’ American President -- since George W. Bush is considered an illegitimate heir who’s usurped the throne. And he’s become the self-appointed spokesperson for the anti-American peace movement of the 21st Century. From the Mid East to Europe, from South America to Singapore, the world is choosing up sides against American inspired liberty and democracy in a way not seen since the late 1930’s. And Sheen wants us to become sitting "Duck Soup" pacifists. May we be forgiven if this seems as astonishingly irrational as a woman offering to turn the other ‘cheek’ (as it were) after the attack of a violent rapist?

Now Sheen’s activism is clearly genuine, if not perhaps misguided, so we can charitably assume he sincerely means well. And he did have the chutzpah to publicly call George W. Bush "a moron." But in his own words, Sheen allowed that he personally doesn’t "have the kind of intelligence or the makeup to be a president." Which brings us to our point.

Incredibly, in a 2001 BBC interview, Martin Sheen insisted that the only original things of importance that the U.S. has ever exported to the rest of the world were "Alcoholics Anonymous and Jazz Music."

Oh, really.

Well, just to set the record straight, let’s examine that last anti-American statement in at least a little depth before we follow this guy and his fellow glitterati all the way to the "Virtual White House," and possibly into a complete new global dark age of neo-feudal totalitarianism. Let’s take a look at just a few of the things officially recognized as America invention exported to the rest of mankind.

Besides the modern constitutional representative form of government given to the world by the Founding Fathers, the one the entire world now calls ‘democracy,’ here’s a selected few of the ‘Oscar’ quality achievements bequeathed to the world by Americans.

In the category of Health and Medicine:

1842 Crawford Long: ether anesthetized surgery
1905 Albert Einhorn: Novocain
1913 William D. Coolidge (for GE): the X-ray tube
1933 John Lundy: intravenous anesthesia, using sodium pentathol
1935 Robert R. Williams: isolated and synthesized vitamins
1940 Vladimir Zworykin & James Hillier: the electron microscope
1943 Selmen A. Waksman: streptomycin (curing tuberculosis)
1945 (circa) Alfred Free: glucose detection for diabetes
1954 Jonas Salk: polio vaccine
1960 Frank B. Colton: for (G.D. Searle and Company): the oral contraceptive
1978 Raymond V. Damadian: the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) device

In the category of Food and Agriculture
1794 Eli Whitney: the cotton gin
1794 Thomas Jefferson: the American "moldboard" wooden plow (he refused to patent it and encouraged free public use)
1834 Cyrus Hall McCormick: the mechanical combine reaper
1838 John Deere: the American cast steel plow
1842 Joseph Dart: the modern grain elevator
1856 Gail Borden: condensed milk
1886 Clarence Birdseye: frozen food
1927 Otto Frederick Rohwedder: sliced bread
1954 Gerry Thomas: the frozen dinner
1972 Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen: genetic engineering

In the category of Labor and Industry
1797 Eli Whitney: parts standardization, credited with inventing mass production
1805 Oliver Evans: the refrigeration machine
1847 Richard M. Hoe: the rotary printing press
1851 Richard Dudgeon: the Hydraulic Jack
1855 William Kelly: pneumatically refined ("Bessemer," or mass produced) steel
1868 Alvin J. Fellows: the tape measure
1868 George Westinghouse: air brakes
1871 Simon Ingersol: the pneumatic drill
1873 Christopher Sholes: the typewriter
1886 Frederick E. Ives: the halftone printing process
1952 Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver: the bar code

In the category of Lifestyles and Fashion
1787 Levi Hutchins: the alarm clock
1838 Chauncey Jerome: an affordable clock (thereby giving rise to the expression, "Yankee Ingenuity")
1849 Walter Hunt: the safety pin
1850 Levi Strauss: the blue jean
1874 William Blackstone: the home washing machine
1878 Thomas Alva Edison: the first practical electric light bulb
1882 Henry W. Seely: the electric clothes iron
1886 Josephine Cochran: the dishwasher
1893 Whitcomb Judson: the zipper
1911 Willis Haviland Carrier: the air conditioner
1927 Warren Marrison: the quartz clock
1930 Richard G. Drew (for 3M): Scotch Tape
1945 Percy Lebaron Spencer (for Raytheon): the HEM (Microwave Oven)
1955 George de Mestral: VELCRO®

In the category of Science and Technology
1839 Charles Goodyear: vulcanized rubber
1844 Samuel F. B. Morse: the telegraph
1876 Alexander Graham Bell: the telephone
1877 Thomas Alva Edison: the phonograph
1885 William Seward Burroughs: the calculating machine
1895 Nikola Tesla: the wireless radio
1896 Elmer Ambrose Sperry: the gyroscopic compass
1903 Wilbur and Orville Wright: the airplane
1906 Lee De Forest: the vacuum tube
1907 Leo Hendrik Baekeland: plastic
1918 Edwin Howard Armstrong: the super-heterodyne radio receiver
1930 Ernest Orlando Lawrence: the cyclotron
1931 Igor I. Sikorsky: the helicopter
1932 Julius Nieuwland (for Du Pont): synthetic rubber (neoprene)
1933 Edwin Howard Armstrong: frequency modulated (FM) radio
1935 Wallace Hume Caruthers (for Du Pont): nylon
1938 Roy J. Plunkett (for Du Pont): teflon
1938 Chester F. Carlson: the xerographic photocopier
1939 George R. Stibitz: the digital computer
1940 (circa) Jay W. Forrester: RAM memory
1942 Donald Fletcher Holmes (for Du Pont): polyurethane (foam rubber)
1948 William B. Shockley (for Bell Laboratories): the transistor
1950 John Backus (for IBM): FORTRAN, the first high-level computer programming language
1959 Gordon Gould: the laser
1959 Jack S. Kilby: the integrated circuit
1961 David Paul Gregg: the laser disc
1964 J. C. R. Licklider (for the Pentagon): the Internet (sorry Al!)
1970 Donald B. Keck (for Corning): the telecommunications optical fiber
1970 James Fergason (for Westinghouse): the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
1971 Marcian E. Hoff (for Intel): the microprocessor
1972 William Hewlett and David Packard: the HP-3 pocket calculator, replacing the slide rule
1973 Dr Martin Cooper: (for Motorola) the cell phone
1977 Steve Wozniak: the personal computer

And finally, In the Category of Hollywood’s Special Elite
1870 John W. Hyatt: celluloid
1876 Alexander Graham Bell: the microphone
1881 Frederick E. Ives: color photography
1884 George Eastman: flexible photographic film
1887 Thomas Alva Edison, the motion picture camera
1904 Ernst F. W. Alexanderson (for GE): the radio frequency oscillator (making modern radio and television transmission possible)
1906 Thomas Alva Edison: the "cameraphone" (sync motion picture sound)
1914 Max Faktor (Max Factor): grease paint for actors
1929 Vladimir Kosma Zworykin (for RCA): the cathode ray tube
1929 Philo T. Farnsworth: the television
1956 Charles P. Ginsburg (for Ampex): the video tape recorder
1958 Robert Gottschalk: the Panavision anamorphic camera lens

And the winner is … nearly the entire planet’s population.

Of course there are some that probably insist that most if not all of these things were actually invented in the former Soviet Union for the good of all mankind (in Solzhenitzyn’s "First Circle" perhaps?), and secretly suppressed by American corporate interests until they could make a profit from them.

But the fact is that they have all undeniably improved the standard of living for nearly every human being on this earth, and despite the revisionists, they’re still officially recognized as American in origin. And they’re just a few of the many.

Now it would seem that any additional comment on this list would be superfluous. But we can’t resist. Let’s take them by category.

In Health and Medicine, Is there anyone out there that would really like to trade surgical anesthetization or Novocain during dentistry for a little Jazz? Come on, Martin. Let’s trade.

And in Food and Agriculture, the poorest people on the planet often wear cotton. Prior to Eli Whitney, no one but the aristocracy of the world could afford cotton. Everyone else wore coarse, itchy, burlap clothing. Anyone want to trade in your rainbow tie-died protest tee-shirt, for a nasty medieval hair shirt? Aw, c’mon!

Let’s see. Labor and Industry? I suppose the global print media could trade the halftone process, the lines at consumer checkout stations could grow longer by trading the bar code, and planetary railroad and trucking could make the world a bit more unsafe by trading airbrakes….for the 12 step method of dealing with drunks?

What about Lifestyles and Fashion? It’s possible to imagine giving up

Velcro, the washing machine, and the electric light. But it’s very difficult to imagine Martin’s peace marching left getting by without their blue jeans. And what would "United for Peace & Justice" do without the easy-tap money of foundations like Levi Strause to support their anti-Americanism?

In Science and Technology we can envision the peaceniks of the world finding something besides foam rubber on which to park their posteriors. There could be a world without plastic, or the photocopier, or even the airplane. But give up their Steve Wozniak credited personal computer and the Internet? Now, that’s doubtful.

And finally, in the Category of Hollywood’s Special Elite, is there any sane person left in the world who can imagine Martin Sheen or any of his Hollywood, lock-step "free thinkers," failing to comprehend that America has given many of these ‘stars’ the ability to make a million dollars per week or more? From the celluloid for film, to the microphones that they use to project their opinions, to the motion picture camera, to the television and the video tape recorder, all these American inventions provides not only them, but the entire world, with the media we call "The Movies."

And all American ever gave the world was Alcoholics Anonymous and Jazz?

So was Sheen just being cynically abusive toward the country that gave not only the world all the things we’ve iterated, but gave him personally the very ability to become a wealthy Point Dume spokesperson for the rest of us? Or was he just kidding? Or is he just naturally that myopic?

And if Sheen is such an unreliable witness, if he can be that far off the mark, how can any of the sane among us believe he’s correct or fair about anything else he wants us to believe? Can his judgment be trusted? Is he really capable of determining foreign policy? Do we assume he has private encrypted contacts with the world’s heads of state, that he has access to top-secret National Security intelligence, or that he has any intelligence at all?

What if Sheen is wrong? What if America stands on a summit like a dominant stag in the woods surrounded by hungry, rabid wolves? What if Martin Sheen, and the rest of the like-minded Hollywood elite, and the entire anachronistic Stalinist cult of those Lenin called "useful idiots," are wrong?

And what about all the billions of hopeful individuals either already under, or rapidly falling under, the ugly spell of the totalitarian impulse? What will they do without the hope they owe to America? What will we all do if Hollywood and the repeatedly failed Stalinist left are as wrong as history suggests? What conditions would the poor, the hopeful, and the lost of the world really do without the continued American contribution and protection?

Now a defiant Hollywood is smugly warning us against the possibility of blacklisting. But if the spokespersons for the Hollywood Stalinists want the Box Office support of the American people, they would do well to listen a little more and talk a little less.

Did we, or didn’t we, innovate some of the most effective improvements to the standard of living of the entire human race by rewarding individuals for their efforts and ideas? Regardless of whether these innovators personally profited or not, didn’t every benefactor of those changes find themselves living just a bit better with, say, electric lighting, rather than kerosene lamps?

Did we, or didn’t we, sacrifice the lives of 500,000 men and women, 2,000,000 casualties, and several trillion in today’s dollars toward the Marshal Plan, to rebuild both our allies and our enemies alike after World War II? Does anyone really imagine a brutal Middle East dictator or Communist despot EVER doing the same for us?


Send this Article to a Friend