A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"If not America, then who? No-one, that's who."

Yesterday, 4 July, the Scotsman featured an excellent article entitled "Revolutionary principles stand the test of time." In essence, the writer of the article, Alex Massie, reminds us that the revolutionary principles that drove our Founding Fathers are still a force today.

Massie notes that the United States has sometimes fallen short of the Founder's ideals, in rather big ways, but that doesn't mean the United States is not worthy, or not a country to emulate.

Here is an exerpt:

The mission cannot be accused of selling itself short. It is, as the 2002 US National Security Strategy put it, "to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets and free trade to every corner of the world". Heady stuff, indeed. Will it work? It's impossible to say. But you either believe in these values or you don't. And if you do, it seems incumbent upon you to do what you can to promote them. To do otherwise is to deny the less fortunate citizens of the world the luxuries of freedom we take for granted.
But it is also important to say, this 4 July , that one need not have ever visited the US to feel in tune with what it means to be an American. It is an empire of the mind (and the imagination) as much as it is a military and economic superpower. The principles of the American Revolution remain sound. The World Trade Centre no longer stands, but the language of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights does.

No other country has embedded the "pursuit of happiness" - the great goal of mankind - in the foundations of the state; nowhere else is the idea of liberty so revered. There is such a thing as an American sensibility and it can be felt from the Baltic to the Pacific.
Massie concludes:
Could the United States be doing better? Wrong question. If not America, then who? No-one, that's who. At its best, America and American ideals remain, in Lincoln's famous words, "the last, best hope of mankind". The United States still believes in a place called hope. As it celebrates its 229th birthday today, we should too.