Friday, February 15, 2013

What's So Great About America

[August 2009] This book was written after the September 11th attacks, but before the Iraq invasion. As such, I wasn't expecting much more than rah rah patriotism. I was presently surprised to find a good argument in favor of western civilization. He turns many of the objections to western (and American) culture into positives, pointing out that only a sufficiently open and advanced society would allow (and condone) such behavior. He similarly argues that the many different cultures add to the fabric of the country, but that most immigrants move because they prefer the western/American culture (not because they want to totally preserve their old culture.) The western position on slavery is also seen as a positive, as western society willingly gave up the institution (in spite of being encourage by Africans to maintain it.)

The author, though obviously quite conservative in outlook acknowledges that others don't share the views, and further argues that there ability to have differing views is a benefit to the culture.

Unfortunately, in his discussion of Islamic society and the "enemies" of America his knowledge and arguments come across as far less convincing. And I imagine, they would have even more problems if he had to defend the past few years debacle in Iraq.

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