There were few comments negating the greatness of America by countering that America was built on top of crimes committed against the native American Indians and African American slaves, and claimed that some other Empires have been more moral and devoid of such brutalities.
I countered that despite ugly zigzags in American history, American experience has enriched humanity with one of the most amazing fast forwards history has ever seen, defeating European colonialism, skipping fast over feudalism, slavery, and going through industrial and information revolutions. Central to that rapid advancement was the revolutionary power of “We, The People” that Ali talks about.
As I said in my comment to his article, I do not attribute pride in any place of birth, rather to great ideas and ideals wherever its birthplace maybe. Today, I am proud of America for becoming color blind. Considering the intensity of anti-black racism in the US a mere few decades ago, one stands in awe of the rapidity with which an entire nation is electing an African American as president. Ironically, this very same election also reminds us that the ugly zigzags in America’s forward move still exists in the form of xenophobia and Islamophobia, reflected by questions raised about Obama’s ethnic and religious background. Yet, this election put a strong last nail in the coffin of anti-black racism in America. “WE, the People” is still alive and kicking.
Here was my comment to Ali’s article:
WE, The PEOPLE!
by Jaleho on Sun Nov 02, 2008 08:40 AM PST
It seems to me people of different origin put too much honor into a birth place, typically their own! I think one is better off look at history in a scientific manner and widen the lens more than “I,” and the centuries of racism and nationalism that has blinded clear judgment in all parts of the world. To that point,
1. Genome project once and for all showed that ALL people are pretty much identical in innate potential.
2. History has a tendency to go forward, although this forward arrow can have zigzags, but the forward direction overcomes the shorter lived zigzags.
3. Different time periods fell with different system of governance in different parts of the world. It was not really the “people” somewhere who were “better” or more advanced than others, it was different social orders that afforded better achievements. The better social order prevails until it becomes corrupt or bad and when there is a better one to substitute it, according to history’s mandate of going forward.
4. The progress is objective, although one can adorn it with a lot of subjective arguments, yet the progress can always be defined with some criteria of objectivity.
One can appreciate the past history and have hope for future if we look at history of the world in the above framework.
The past Empires all were created with the original hope given to large number of people, made great strides, became corrupt and that corruption gave revolutionary power to people to help disintegrate the scum of the past. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Persians, Indians, Greeks neither had anything unique in their great contribution to civilization nor any of them proved immune to the subsequent fall.
The next level of improvement brought the Islamic Empire which took the fruit of many ancient cultures in one universal language, gave hope to a large number of people trapped in their local tyranny, and reached Europe. By the time when Islamic Empire was getting corrupt and its stench was not being tolerated in many places it had reached earlier, the Europeans of Enlightenment had translated many of the great works of the dying Islamic Empire, and built the more advanced and wonderful centuries of progress based on those knowledge.
When the European Enlightenment matured to the stinky colonialism that reached Asia and Africa, the disfranchised Europeans , many of whom escaped the injustice and corruption of the dying colonial system of Europe, found a great new world in America.
Revolutionary Americans were the greatest hope for all humanity. Equipped with the wisdom of millennia before them, through knowledge accumulated from ancient times, past to them through Europeans who themselves got it from Islamic Empire, the Americans did not have to re-invent the wheel. They invented the greatest form of government that humanity has yet seen.
The American system enhanced the entire humanity, with the short zigzag of horrendous thing happening to a native aborigines. The prehistoric, the agricultural period, the slavery, the industrial revolution, capitalism and Information revolution all the way to the decadent Imperialism in the US took a mere few hundred years; what the rest of the world invented piece at a time during many centuries was squeezed and built upon speedily in the American experience. One of the greatest things America did was the defeat of European colonialism as this article nicely attends to.
Now some people, in particular Israelis who love to compare the great American experience which was in part built upon the back of getting the land of native Americans, to that of their own stealing of Arab land! They miss the central point of history: that of its going forward!
Israelis like to compare America’s monumental experience of pushing the history in its most amazing FAST FORWARD, with the land theft of bunch of European colonizers of a land which has been once cradle of civilization itself! They want to bring back European colonialism and apartheid which was almost dead in the 19-20 century, and perpetuate it in the 21 century.
They miss the point of history by their own make believe history and propaganda. Israeli experience would die soon just like the weak and irrational links always do, so will the most backward forms of the American order now, as more and more Americans demand the great liberty and prosperity that American revolution brought to them, defined America, and is is fast decaying.