Monday, June 28, 2004

The Knights Exemplar

Just been going through the Observer's comment, and read Will Hutton's piece on Bush and the US, mostly because I assumed it was going to be another a rant about how superior the European social democratic model is. I happen to share that view, but feel that Hutton has again misunderstood the American experience. I have always felt that the conservatives here, when railing at the innovations introduced by the New Deal, did have a point. These were innovations, and I'm never sure they properly bedded down. It is worth noting that the most positive American interventions abroad conincided with the high point of credibility for New Deal economics. Its decline dovetailed neatly with the decline in the credibility of the US overseas. This faith in individualism and disdain for the state predates the neocons, is evident in Thomas Paine, and explains the thinking behind the Monroe Doctrine.

By the same token, Eastern Europeans in the 1980s adored the American example, and Kuwaiti teenagers called George do exist, so the model is rarely universal.


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