Bridge Over the River Kwai book cover art

Bill Whittle, in his latest PJTV video offering, titled “The Kudzu Curse,” demonstrates the West’s unique way of thinking not with a political treatise, academic pontification or other intellectual presentation of facts. Instead, he referenced a work of fiction.

In 1952, the French novelist Pierre Boulle wrote Bridge Over the River Kwai. In that novel Boulle talked about the Japanese, who at that time were a third world country, in their minds, “Asian mentality” is what he said. The Japanese troups would go out into the jungle to build a bridge, and they would simply march out there with machetes, they would hack some bamboo down, lash it together and build a makeshift bridge. A few trains would go over it and the bridge would collapse. Then they’d go back out into the jungle and hack down some bamboo and do all over again.

Boulle said, in that novel, that the prisoners in that camp had a Western way of thinking. The Western way of thinking is you build the bridge in your head first. You build the bridge in your mind. In your spare time before you sleep at night you’re consumed with this idea of a bridge. Entrepreneurs understand this in their bones. You anticipate how many planks am I going to need, what load is going to be on these pillars, how many people is it going to take, how many resources, how long will it take, what do I do if I get behind schedule. The bridge in our heads is manufactured with love and dedication for hours and weeks and months and years before the physical bridge in the world is built. And in The Bridge Over the River Kwai, when those British soldiers went out and used Western methods to build a bridge, that bridge stayed until it was dynamited. That bridge would have been there forever. That is how we think. That is the freakish way that we think.

That freakish way of thinking has generated all of the prosperity in this world and we simply cannot allow it go away.

While driving home from picking up boxes for a move I have to do come the end of the month, I turned on Andrew Wilkow (“Capitalism is boss!”) and heard references to Forrest Gump during Andrew’s pontificating on the “bubblehead” Marxist ideologues occupying seats of power in Washington D.C.

Whittle, Wilkow and others must know that great ideas inform the mind, but the souls are moved by moral imagination that springs the heart. Works like Bridge Over the River Kwai, and Forrest Gump affect people on an emotional level.

The early Christians were not convinced to become martyrs for their faith by logical arguments. Stories led them to a change of heart, which inspired them to incredibly courageous acts in the face of horrendous torture and death. The more we fill our public spaces with strong stories with an emotional impact, the more we will move people to stand up for the values that made America great.