Sunday, July 4, 2010

A European and Chinese Perspective on America

For this 4th of July, two quotes about America from outside. First, from, a quote from the 2001 publication of Ronald Reagan's radio addresses:

All of Reagan’s scripts are worth reading.  But this 4th of July, one is particularly appropriate.  In a broadcast on September 21, 1976, “The Hope of Mankind,” Reagan returned to one of his favorite themes.  As the editors put it, “Reagan believed . . . that America is unique among nations – ‘the hope of mankind.’  He felt we had a duty to protect what we had inherited. . . .   In these essays, . . . the guiding star is always individual liberty, how lucky we are to have it, and how to preserve and protect it.”
To that end, Reagan quoted Ferdinand Mount.  Mount later ran the Policy Unit in Number 10 Downing Street for Margaret Thatcher in 1982-83, and wrote the tremendously successful Conservative manifesto for the 1983 general election, when Lady Thatcher won her most smashing victory.  On July 5, 1976, Mount wrote a memorable column for the Daily Mail.  Here, as quoted by Reagan, is what Mount thought it important to say, that day after the 200th 4th of July:
What the world needs now is more Americans.  The U.S. is the first nation on earth deliberately dedicated to letting people choose what they want and giving them a chance to get it.  For all its terrible faults, in one sense America is still the last, best hope of mankind, because it spells out so vividly the kind of happiness which most people actually want, regardless of what they are told they ought to want.  We criticize, copy, patronize, idolize insult but we never doubt that the U.S. has a unique position in the history of human hopes.  For it is the only nation founded solely on a moral dream.  A part of our own future is tied up in it and the greatest of all the gifts the Americans have given us is hope.
Reagan closed with three sentences of his own: “Thank you Mr. Mount – we needed that.  This is Ronald Reagan.  Thanks for listening.”
 Fast forward to 2002 and Zhao Xiao, a Chinese economist. according to Zhao, America's foundations, especially Christianity, are what keeps the US economy the strongest in the world and the hope for others to follow:

We know that America is a country founded by Puritans. And Puritans, their dream of coming to America was the need to establish a city on a hill, to let the entire world see the glory of Jesus Christ, whom they believed in. So their purpose for doing business was for the glory of God. If my motivation for doing business is the glory of God, there is a motivation that transcends profits. I cannot go and use evil methods. If I used some evil methods to enlarge the company, to earn money, then this is not bringing glory to God. Therefore, this is to say that it [ bringing glory to God] can provide a transcendent motivation for business. And this kind of transcendental motivation not only benefits an entrepreneur by making his business conduct proper but it can also benefit the entrepreneur’s continued innovation.
Pray this Fourth of July that American can continue to be that City on a Hill representing Hope and Faith to the world.

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