Friday, August 11, 2006

An old fashioned people

This piece in today's Telegraph actually gave me goose bumps. Americans will die for liberty.
We are inclined, in our snobbish way, to dismiss the Americans as a new and vulgar people, whose civilisation has hardly risen above the level of cowboys and Indians. Yet the United States of America is actually the oldest republic in the world, with a constitution that is one of the noblest works of man. When one strips away the distracting symbols of modernity - motor cars, skyscrapers, space rockets, microchips, junk food - one finds an essentially 18th-century country. While Europe has engaged in the headlong and frankly rather immature pursuit of novelty - how many constitutions have the nations of Europe been through in this time? - the Americans have held to the ideals enunciated more than 200 years ago by their founding fathers.
[snip]
But when the Americans speak of freedom, we should not imagine, in our cynical and worldly-wise way, that they are merely using that word as a cloak for realpolitik. They are not above realpolitik, but they also mean what they say.

These formidable people think freedom is so valuable that it is worth dying for.
After being in a sea of fashionable anti-Americanism these three months in India, this was a refreshing piece. Yes it's general, but it accurately identifies some broad characteristics of the American people as such, and of the ideals that undergird the Republic. I've always been struck by just how martial a society the US is. I'm proud of my adoptive homeland. And I'm especially privileged to know some fine people for whom these aren't just words: they are putting their lives on the line for their country, and for these ideals. [Cannon, this one's especially for you.]

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