Sunday, July 06, 2008

The American Argument

An excerpt from the latest at American Digest:

"As is often the case in the envious world today, we encounter -- in the commenter's plaint and elsewhere at home and abroad -- a mindset in which "the perfect is the enemy of the good." This is a mindset that views anything less than some imagined perfect state as somehow failing and worthy of excoriation. It is a mindset in which, if the real world falls short of the imagined perfection, it is the real world that is ill rather than the mind of the imaginer. It is a mindset which finds nothing is impossible as long as others do the work and pay the price. It is a mindset forever doomed to disappointment; a doom in which it takes a strange, almost masochistic, pleasure."

"The reality is that the American experiment continues its pursuit of the good and its flirtation with perfection. And through this ceaseless pursuit of happiness the American experiment continues to demonstrate to the world what a real egalitarian and free society actually looks like. America does not deal in what such a society could be, but what one actually is here, now, today. Here the concept of freedom is proved and renewed daily. And we prove it by our constant political argument about "the perfect" vs. "the good;" a utopia now via government intervention in all aspects of life vs. individual liberty and the best "possible" world now. It is an argument that seeks balance rather than predominance."

"There are many ways of stating the America's argument with itself -- indeed, it is many arguments -- but one of the most straightforward is

"How shall men be free and how shall a society of free men then be structured?"

From time to time the passions that animate the American Argument run to blood, such as the era that led to the Civil War and, to a much lesser extent, our current era. At other times, the American Argument is pitched at a much lower level of intensity. But the Argument is ever present, never resolved, and any number can play. If you can get here and become a citizen you can participate as well. Hell, we'll let you participate even if you are here and not a citizen. We might even allow millions of you to become citizens overnight in order to join the Argument. You don't even have to learn English any longer. Just press 2 to continue in Spanish."

We just had a big argument over that last concept and, even though it's over for now, it's not over yet. Indeed, the great thing about the American Argument is that it is never over. The Argument will go on and on prompting every generation to add to it and shape it as that generation wills -- for good or ill -- and that it will self-correct over time as the Argument endures."

"At the same time I would not deny that we are by default an example to the world -- if not the perfect example so many would prefer. Instead we are simply, warts and all, the best society in all its multifoliate aspects that currently exists -- or has ever existed -- upon the Earth. In this it is well that "The eyes of all people are upon us."

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