In recent years there has been a plethora of negative articles about America. The tenor of these articles is that America is not what it once was; that America is on a downward trend in global influence and prosperity; that economic disaster lies ahead for America. Among the most negative appraisals of America to appear recently is “State-Wrecked: The Corruption of Capitalism in America,” by David Stockman, Op-Ed, The New York Times, March 31, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/opinion/sunday/sundown-in-america.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Mr. Stockman’s article was an honest and impassioned, if not overwrought appraisal of things that should concern all Americans who have hopes for their own future as well as the future of their country.
Virtually everyone in America is dissatisfied or unhappy about some aspect of the way things are going, either in their own life, or in society in general. In politics everybody is a member of the minority, and therefore displeased, on one or more political issues.
The website of which this blog is a part is dedicated to disseminating the teaching of Andrew J. Galambos and Jay Stuart Snelson that politics is not a solution to the problems of society, but rather is the chief cause of the problems of society—in America and everywhere else. The tenor of Mr. Stockman’s editorial is similar.
However, there is also good cause for much more optimism about America than one hears from the purveyors of gloom and doom.
What other country has many, many people ready at almost instant notice to travel to disaster-stricken areas in other countries to bring relief? These are individuals who participate in voluntary organizations using charitable contributions given generously by Americans. Aid from such people and organizations reaches disaster-stricken people abroad far more quickly than any aid organized by the United States of America.
For people living outside America who have the desire to leave their home country, and the ability to go anywhere they choose, what country would be the first choice? Surely, most would choose America, with other contenders vying for a distant second place.
Some years ago there appeared in the Reader’s Digest an appreciation of America voiced by a lady from Greece. She said that she had lived in several countries besides her native Greece. In every other country but America she felt she would be regarded as a foreigner no matter how long she lived there. But in America she felt welcome almost immediately, and was accepted as one of us.
America is truly a world country, with people here, literally, from every other country on earth, from the largest to the smallest. No matter how recently they arrived in America very few immigrants would choose to return to their native countries.
In some cases they fled their native land because it was a dangerous place to live. In some cases they left for greater opportunity in America, opportunity to enjoy, in the words of The American Declaration of Independence, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
For the extremely poor of this world, life is a struggle just for survival. Nearly one in seven people around the world live on incomes of less than $1.50 per day. Any American who has lived in countries afflicted by widespread poverty would bear witness to the fact that homeless people in America have a better standard of living than such poor people living in foreign countries. One might ask how anyone could survive on less than $1.50 per day. They can because both the standard of living and the expenses of food, clothing and shelter, however wretched, are far less than in America.
Americans of all national origins built the world’s most productive and prosperous country in a little over a century, from the end of British control in 1781 until the first decade of the 20th century. The edifice of productivity built in America’s first 130 years as an independent country still sustains a virtually unparalleled prosperity.
American culture has permeated the culture of the world. Just one example in popular culture: blue jeans, invented in California in the days of the gold rush of 1849, are near universal attire, worn on the streets of the cities of almost all countries in every continent, from Beijing to Moscow to Paris to Buenos Aires as well as in Cairo and other Arab cities.
The leading symphony orchestras of America are equal to the best that Europe has to offer. American motion pictures are popular all over the world. Computers are transforming human life in many ways, from the way people obtain information to the way they communicate. Innovations fundamental and essential to the age of computers were “made in America,” such as transistors, the integrated circuit, and the computer software industry.
Because of the relative freedom and openness of American society, it seems likely that Americans will continue to lead in scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and progress in human economic and social interaction.
What other country has welcomed and assimilated such a diversity of people from every corner of the globe? Canada, to some extent, but America is still in the forefront of assimilating newcomers into its vibrant and dynamic society.
Where else could a bright young person from a totally different society and culture and a race different from those whose ancestors founded America some 230 years ago aspire to and succeed in any occupation ranging from academia to the professions and the arts and sciences? In nowhere but America would the possibility of such an outcome be considered unsurprising.
America is the country where the idea of monarchy was replaced by a permanent quest for self-sovereignty, individual rights and freedoms. America is the country that is the most tolerant of differences among people and where there is the least bias, prejudice and bigotry against strangers and foreigners of other races and cultures.
If there is a country where intellectual leaders will discover and show the way to permanent peace and abolition of war, that country is America. Advancing the human quest for peace, freedom and prosperity was the raison d’être of the work of Andrew J. Galambos and Jay Stuart Snelson, and is the purpose of the website of which this blog is a part.