FILMMAKER DINESH D’SOUZA’S Eight things I LOVE about America!
“To make us love our country,” Edmund Burke once said, “our country ought to be lovely.” Burke’s point is that we should love our country not just because it is ours, but also because it is good. America is far from perfect, and there is lots of room for improvement. In spite of its flaws, however, American life as it is lived today is the best life that our world has to offer. Ultimately America is worthy of our love and sacrifice because, more than any other society, it makes possible the good life, and the life that is good.
•America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy•
Rich people live well everywhere. But what distinguishes America is that it provides an impressively high standard of living for the “common man.”
•America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country, including the countries of Europe•
America is the only country that has created a population of “self-made tycoons.” Only in America could Pierre Omidyar, whose parents are Iranian and who grew up in Paris, have started a company like eBay.
•Work and trade are respectable in America•
Historically most cultures have despised the merchant and the laborer, regarding the former as vile and corrupt and the latter as degraded and vulgar.
Examples: ancient Greece and medieval Islam
But the American founders altered this moral hierarchy.
•America has achieved greater social equality than any other society•
True, there are large inequalities of income and wealth in America. These gaps in material wealth exist on every inch of the globe.
But Americans are socially more equal than any other people, and this is unaffected by economic disparities. Alexis de Tocqueville noticed this egalitarianism a century and a half ago and it is, if anything, more prevalent today. For all his riches, Bill Gates could not approach the typical American and say, “Here’s a $100 bill. I’ll give it to you if you kiss my feet.” Most likely, the person would tell Gates where to go! The American view is that the rich guy may have more money, but he isn’t in any fundamental sense better than anyone else.
•In America the destiny of the young is not given to them, but created by them•
In most countries in the world, your fate and your identity are handed to you; in America, you determine them for yourself. America is a country where your life is like a blank sheet of paper, and you are the artist. This notion of being the architect of your own destiny is the incredibly powerful idea that is behind the worldwide appeal of America.
•America has gone further than any other society in establishing equality of rights•
Sadly, there is nothing distinctively American about slavery or bigotry. Slavery has existed in virtually every culture, and xenophobia, prejudice and discrimination are worldwide phenomena. Western civilization is the only civilization to mount a principled campaign against slavery; no country expended more treasure and blood to get rid of slavery than the United States. While racism remains a problem, this country has made strenuous efforts to eradicate discrimination, even to the extent of enacting policies that give legal preference in university admissions, jobs, and government contracts.
It is extremely unlikely that a racist society would have permitted such policies in the first place.
•America has found a solution to the problem of religious and ethnic conflict that continues to divide and terrorize much of the world•
Visitors to places like New York are amazed to see the way in which Serbs and Croatians, Sikhs and Hindus, Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, Jews and Palestinians, all seem to work and live together in harmony. How is this possible when these same groups are spearing each other and burning each other’s homes in so many places in the world?
The American answer is, do not extend rights to racial or ethnic groups but only to individuals; in this way, all are equal in the eyes of the law, opportunity is open to anyone who can take advantage of it, and everybody who embraces the American way of life can truly “become American.”
•America has the kindest, gentlest foreign policy of any great power in world history•
Critics of the United States are likely to react to this truth with sputtering outrage. Quoting a laundry list of American sins.
What the critics leave out is the other side of the story. Twice in the 20th century, the United States saved the world — first from the Nazi threat, then from Soviet totalitarianism. What would have been the world’s fate if America had not existed? After destroying Germany and Japan in World War II, the United States proceeded to rebuild both countries, and today they are American allies. Now we are doing the same thing in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the most part America is an abstaining superpower; it shows no real interest in conquering and subjugating the rest of the world. (Imagine how the Soviets would have acted if they had won the Cold War.) On occasion the United States intervenes to overthrow a tyrannical regime or to halt massive human rights abuses in another country, but it never stays to rule that country. In Grenada, Haiti and Bosnia, the United States got in and then it got out.
U.S. troops build hospitals, orphanages and schools across the globe. Almost everyday American planes dropped food and medical supplies to avert hardship and starvation. What other country does these things?
What other superpower in history has such moral restraint on its unequaled power?
-list by D. D’Souza