Sunday, July 04, 2010
The USA: A country for the little guy
An Independence Day reflection
I was born and bred in the Australian working class and, despite my success in academe and business, I still feel most at home among working class people. They seem to me to have a realism that the bourgeoisie lack. And I notice the same good-humoured realism among small-town Americans too. Big cities and grand theorizing seem to undermine common sense.
And there is no doubt that people from humble beginnings can rise to the top in both Australia and the USA -- from a B grade actor like Ronald Reagan to a parasite like Barack Obama.
But I think that a major factor in making America great is an extraordinarily simple one and one that is often overlooked: America has Congressional elections every two years. That puts the politicians in mortal fear of the little guy -- of ordinary Americans.
The politicians have got very little room to maneuver. If they run off the rails they will very rapidly be out on their ear. And that fear does mostly restrain them from grand follies. So America is in a very real sense the country where the little guy rules -- and that has made it great. And there is no doubt that the grand folly of Obamacare will deliver many a well-deserved boot up the backside to Democrat politicians this November.
And one of the wonderful things about ordinary Americans and Australians is that they are benevolent. They are kindly people who are ready to help others if they can. And that has made the USA into an incredibly generous nation.
What leaves me in awe is that America has repeatedly shown its readiness to risk the lives of its finest young men in order to rescue people in other countries from tyranny and brutality. America itself has not been seriously threatened for around 200 years so most of America's many wars have simply been efforts to help others.
And I think therefore that it is very right to remind ourselves of that awesome sacrifice on this day. I think the video below does that: