“Oh, it’s home again and home again, America for me! I want a ship that’s westward bound to plough the rolling sea, To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars, Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.”
— Henry Van Dyke
What’s better on a cold winter night than imbibing a room toasty glass of Malbec while reading a travel adventure by a part time barroom philosopher from down under in search of the “Idea of America”?
In my discussion with Joel Bowman this week, he had plenty to say about what is important about the idea of America. In Australia, because of the pandemic, they have the army on the streets…? At this point, I didn’t even try to verify that. Jennifer, my wife, tells me to shut up when I ask ‘why’? It does seem like an appropriate question in this case though, doesn’t it?
Joel, of his own accord:
Part of the reason I thought it might be novel or interesting to readers was because, as you know, and as you’ve pointed out on this episode, it’s become incredibly fashionable of late, particularly among the learned chattering class and those in the academies to sledge America. It’s often seen as some irredeemable stain on the pages of history.
I was fortunate enough to emigrate to the United States in early 2001. I come from Australia. Your listeners can probably hear my accent, but we might look a bit like Americans and talk a bit like Americans. We have the same TV and Western culture and are largely influenced by American music and television and movies and whatnot. I recognize pretty quickly what Freud called the narcissism of small differences.
That is to say that there is a huge gaping difference between the founding principles of the United States and those of Australia, which the population of which still rightly refers to themselves as subjects, since they haven’t had their own revolutionary war yet where Americans very proudly consider themselves citizens.
There’s a lot of very fundamental differences between the United States and countries abroad. I wanted to just bring an outsider’s perspective to that argument and to that debate and see if there was anything worth offering.
And yet, Australia doesn’t have the Declaration of Independence. Nor does it have a federal system. Should we take these things lightly?
Follow your bliss,
Founder, The Financial Reserve