Shuddering at a world without American values

Daniel Hannan
The Washington Examiner

…I love America’s obsession with immediacy and convenience: not just drive-thru Dunkin Donuts, but drive-thru wedding chapels. I love the fact that every city stages a Shakespeare festival, yet Americans persist in thinking of their national culture as low-brow. I love “The Simpsons” and “The Wire” and “America’s Dumbest Criminals.” I love the unembarrassed way that tips are sought and given. I love the sincere way in which people ask how you are. (Hint: if a Brit asks you, he really, really doesn’t want to know.) I love the courtliness, coupled with the false yet ineradicable belief that Americans are less formal than Europeans. I love Emily Dickinson’s verses. I have even made the horrible discovery that, at some point in your forties, you start liking country music. I especially love the guileless enthusiasm. At the last Republican National Convention in Tampa, the official who showed me to my seat said: “Just in case the camera is on you, try to behave like an American: no eye-rolling!”

Most people, as I say, could come up with a list along these lines. But I don’t think this is what Obama’s critics have in mind. America isn’t just a place; its also an idea. That is why there is such a thing as anti-Americanism, but not anti-Armenianism or anti-Algerianism or anti-Arubanism.

So let’s make a second, more important, list. A list, not of incidental attributes and cultural peculiarities, but of fundamental values. It’s this second list that defines America — and, by extension, defines anti-Americanism…

…Many Leftists see listing these things as arrogant, self-congratulatory, even racist. These are the American attributes they want to “fundamentally transform”. Me? I try to imagine what the world would be like without them, and I shudder.



The entire op-ed may be read at The Washington Examiner.




Comments are closed.