ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


Go abroad, America by mattsteinglass
February 20, 2009, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Daniel Larison suggests: “I think this may help explain why “Come Home, America” grates on so many ears, instead of sounding like a clarion call. To call for America to come home suggests that she has gone astray, and so it means that we as a nation have gone astray, which is to do the worst thing possible in a political campaign: tell your audience the truth about them.”

The reason why “Come Home, America” grates on my ears is that it sounds nativist. It seems to embody exactly the kind of self-congratulatory exceptionalism Larison hates. I’m not exactly a representative sample — I’m an American abroad, but, look, I love being an American and I love being abroad. I would urge more Americans to go abroad. I don’t think we should imagine ourselves to be innocents abroad, because we’re not innocent and we shouldn’t want to be. Most important, I don’t think we should be assholes abroad, imagining that we can tell everyone else how to run their affairs. If, for example, we find that the Dutch or French systems of publicly regulated private health insurance with national mandates work cheaply and well, then we should consider adopting them, rather than think that the answer to all of our problems always lies in “coming home” to the Oerwoud of America’s origins. I think we should be normal people, in the world, going abroad sometimes, coming home sometimes, at Christmas in particular, and, while abroad, seeing what we like, striking up relationships, and networking. Is this so hard to do?

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