Friday, June 30, 2006

Considering America

The point is that the United States is a country where the ordinary guy has a good life. This is what distinguishes America from so many other countries. Everywhere in the world, the rich person lives well. Indeed, a good case can be made that if you are rich, you live better in countries other than America, because you enjoy the pleasures of aristocracy. In India, where I grew up, the wealthy have innumerable servants and toadies groveling before them and attending to their every need.

In the United States, on the other hand, the social ethic is egalitarian, regardless of wealth. For all his riches, Bill Gates could not approach a homeless person and say, “Here’s a $100 bill. I’ll give it to you if you kiss my feet.” Most likely the homeless guy would tell Gates to go to hell. The American view is that the rich guy may have more money, but he isn’t in any fundamental sense better than you are. The American janitor or waiter sees himself as performing a service, but he doesn’t see himself as inferior to those he serves. And neither do the customers see him that way: They are generally happy to show him respect and appreciation on a plane of equality. America is the only country in the world where we call the waiter “Sir,” as if he were a knight.

From a 2002 article by Dinesh D’Souza on what’s so great about America. Read it all here.

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