July 04, 2007

4th July


To all Americans out there and all non-Americans- Happy American Independence Day! With all my criticisms of past or present US Foreign Policy- there is a line of American Presidents from Washington to Lincoln, from Roosevelt to Johnson, and a line of American intellectuals from Maddison and Hamilton right up to the present day and of course the cultural output of Hollywood- great films and great songs- that make me reflect that the United States is one of the great nations of the earth- so its Independence Day is something not merely for Americans to celebrate but for all to celebrate for the acheivements of Americans are the inheritance of us all- as part of the common stock of humanity.

6 comments:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well said. I'd like to have back the USA I grew up to admire, though.

edmund said...

a good post though

a) one can admirte the US well wihtout supporting the events and treason commenorated on july 4th (non americans should have distance to see this) in particular the notion that miimal taxes presage a revolt or that you have the right to expel aborrignes.

b) It seems odd to denocue Bush and praise Johnson-the previous president with the most similar policies (with the possible exception of Kennedy)

C) what about Reagan - now there's a president who did the most good for the rest of the world! (probably with Truman-though Truman did much more harm)

Lord Nazh© said...

welsh: sorry to hear that, although most Americans would love to see at least half the Europe we admired.

Edmund: since we won the war, it wasn't treason anymore ;)

Gracchi said...

Welshcakes I can understand that sentiment.

Edmund- point a I think is ridiculous lets not reopen 18th Century disputes- we have a hard enough time with ones from the 20th Century- see the Middle East. Point B well Johnson introduced the Great Society and attempted to tackle inequality within the United States- I can't imagine Bush doing that ever. I'm not going to comment further on Bush at all. Point C come on I drafted a very short list very quickly- Truman could have been on there both for the fair deal and the Cold War support. Reagen got somethings right- somethings dramatically wrong and his role in destroying the USSR has been vastly overrated- I think we need a bit more distance to get him right and I don't think he should be deified.

Lord N thanks for the comment.

edmund said...

obviously i'm not that upset about july 4th (though there's a intesing question how does the statute of limition on history work? can an unprovokied invasion ever become fine?) , though I stand by the substance of what i said- the us can be a great country wihtout supporting the evnets that created it( a point of wider relevence)

Which of Johnson's Great Society progasmmes has bush opposed, his created the first new big entitlment since then (and also for the elderly like Johnson's biggeest one), Bush has alos been a path breaker on race eg first black secreaty of state , first hispanic attonry general, and on race his been at leat as liberal as johnson-rather more sympathi to affirmative actioni indeed .

On equality Bush supported no child left behind, has made the tax code more progressive ( I think Johnson made it more regressive so that is a difference), wanted to give benfits to 12 millioin illegaly immigrtantss (mostly poor) which w ould have been the biggest expansion of the wlefare state since the 60's. He has also incresed education spendsing by over 60%

other areas are more obvioius, got ingvoled in war that went sour , supported high spending, from Texas , pro religon and religous grops funding ect

Point C obviously i dit thii the least was exhaustive. What Fair Deal measaure was a) good b) sucessfull Price contorls? He did desegreagte the army which was good. A key point on Truman is the diaster of the far east and his coursening of public discourse.

What did Reagan get dramaticalhy wrong?

on the cold war i think if anything the reverse is the case- the fact is he said they could win and was widley ridcued by many so called experts who now say it was obvvious and his actions were unnecessary-it was falling anyway! . Also people ingoe the US was not a vacumn- an ospoliticvk style polcy of funding your enemis could have strengted the Soviet Union. The soviet union was forced to peace agreemtns and the reforms (which due to Gorbachov's incompetnece destroyed it) in large part due to the pressure of economic and milatay- the huge arms buid up , the Saudis cutting oil prices, the massive aid to the Afghans (which really was a super Vietnam destroying both Soviet confidance interaly and presige internatilly), Reagan's administration was key waght if the nuclear freeze movmetn had won- a very plasubie counterfactual

I think the point about distance wih Reagan is still one that has a lot of relevnce ( like the French Revolution to some degree but even more so--}...)

edmund said...

Two posts worht reading on this subject

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/07/independence_da.html

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/07/taxes_independe.html