hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Friday, November 12, 2004
comment on winds of change:

I don't really understand why anyone would say they're ashamed to be an American. Assuming that some of the people she's talking to are Indian-American (or Jewish), I can understand the desire to move to a country where you're part of the ethnic majority rather than a minority, but I cannot understand why someone would say "I'm ashamed to be an American".

I think for starters, that sentiment betrays an ignorance of the world and of history. I have an email which has been in an unfinished state for a few months(to you, AL, come to think of it). Here is an excerpt: " . . .At any given time in history, the most wealthy and powerful country becomes the model for other countries to emulate. First think about a world where a young Nigerian or Indian, or Brazilian, burning with ambition to make their country great, respected and esteemed in the eyes of the world, tries to make their country more like the USA. Now imagine a world where that model to emulate is instead- as it very possibly could have been- Nazi Germany; Stalin's, and even Kruschev's and Brezhnev's, Russia; Pre WWII Japan; in the future, an economically and militarily powerful Chinese autocracy which grants some economic, but very little social, political, intellectual or judicial freedom. . ."

On an absolute scale, of course you can come up with any number of legitimate reasons to be critical of your country. But if you're grading on a curve, as you should, I don't understand how someone can say "I'm ashamed to be an American".

I have absolutely no desire to dump on India, but it is perhaps appropriate to mention that after suffering a Muslim terrorist attack in Gujarat, there was a week of rioting and thuggery where hundreds of innocent Muslims were killed. That simply could not have happened in America, and that should be a source of considerable pride.

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