Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A column by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times includes this:
'In his history of 19th-century America, 'What Hath God Wrought', Daniel Walker Howe quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson as telling a meeting of the Mercantile Library Association in 1844 that 'America is the country of the future. It is a country of beginnings, of projects, of vast designs and expectations.'
'That's the America that got swallowed by the war on terrorism. And it's the America that many people want back.'
Er.... no. Go back eight years and the Emerson quote could have been the rallying cry of the neocons. The country of the future with its beginnings, projects, designs and expectations is precisely the country that thought it had attained the end of history, that democracy could be imposed by force and which felt obliged to convert the world to this view. Emerson was a great writer and, like all great writers, he is a little too casually deployed in inappropriate circumstances. Face it, Thomas, if you really want that country back, vote McCain.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:00 am