Eric Hobsbawm - Only In America



“In spite of the massive impact of cultural and economic Americanization, the rest of the world, even the capitalist world, has so far been strikingly resistant to following the model of U.S. politics and society. That is probably because America is less of a coherent and therefore exportable social and political model of a capitalist liberal democracy, based on the universal principles of individual freedom, than its patriotic ideology and Constitution suggest. So, far from being a clear example that the rest of the world can imitate, the U.S.A., however powerful and influential, remains an unending process, distorted by big money and public emotion, a system tinkering with institutions, public and private, to make them fit realities unforeseen in the unalterable text of a 1787 Constitution. It simply does not lend itself to copying. Most of us would not want to copy it. Since puberty I have spent more of my time in the U.S.A. than in any country other than Britain. All the same, I am glad that my children did not grow up there, and that I belong to another culture. Still, it is mine also.” (text)