October 03, 2003

Reflections on American Power

Here's a thought-provoking essay on American power:

Ive been thinking about Power. Thinking about what real power entails, and more importantly, wondering if there is a way to defeat that ancient and highly reliable adage and perhaps find a way for a nation mine -- to wield power, enormous power, without being corrupted -- enormously.

The use of power is straightforward, and throughout history we see salvation or ruin as a direct result of the application of power. But the moral use of power: that is a Jackalope; its a Snark easy to talk about, but damned hard to catch. But chase it we must, because the United States is a moral country, filled with decent and generous people, and we can see that the few times in our history when we did not fight a moral cause produced stains on our honor and history, and wrote a page or two identical to the volumes of horrors inflicted by nations and empires with no such moral inhibitions and restraint.

It's long, but worth it — read the whole thing at Eject! Eject! Eject!: POWER.

Bill Whittle comes from the conservative side of the house, but he knows the difference between exceptionalism, which I believe is an important, and justified, part of a shared American identity, and triumphalism, the dangerous and self-congratulatory perspective towards which our hubris drives us.

Posted by richard at October 3, 2003 09:35 PM

You've got to love anyone with the gumption to start off a post with "I've been thinking about Power." It handicaps the whole subsequent adventure, because the reader immediately envisions some guy in a chair, with a creepy smile on his face, spending a free afternoon "thinking about Power." Whammo! (note the spelling crafted as not to offend a certain heavy-handed trademark litigant) You're instantly skeptical of anything else the guy has to say.

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