Posts from February 15, 2004

What makes America exceptional?

What makes America exceptional?
: In the comments to my post below on change and fear and the campaign, someone calling himself Franky challenges us: “Name the exceptional things about America that make it great…”

OK, we’ll bite.

Go into the comments, dear readers, and name the exceptional things about America that make it great.

Sure, I could start another thread on what needs improvement — our health insurance, our education, our race relations, our tax structure, all the things I’d like our presidential candidates to be addressing instead of George Bush himself. But that’s not Franky’s challenge. And though I never was a flag-waver and a nationalist and a parade-day patriot, ina time when we are under attack, it is only right to answer back and recognize what it is we’re protecting. I don’t want to change all this. I want to improve on it. I want to protect it.

So I’ll step up and start the bidding. Here’s my starting list:

1. Freedom of speech. We protect that single freedom, our greatest freedom, more dearly than any nation you can name.

2. Freedom of religion. We don’t ban headscarves and yarmulkes, we fight to protect our citizens and immigrants’ right to worship as they please.

3. An economy that powers the world with courage and capital and ingenuity and imagination.

4. A creative class that is unparalleled — otherwise, why would the rest of the world pay so much to see our movies and hear our music and read our books and watch our TV?

5. An entrepreneurial class that has created, in just recent memory, Amazon, Google, eBay, Starbucks, Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, CNN…

6. A respect for technology that has given birth to the Internet and the transistor and cures of no end of diseases.

7. A standard of living that is the envy of the world and, no, I don’t feel guilty about that.

8. A work ethic that beats the pants off of, say, Germany’s and France’s and earns that standard of living.

9. A political process that, though flawed as any human enterprise, has stood up to every stress and strain and continued to uphold the principles of a free nation.

10. Your turn…

The male anti-defamation league

The male anti-defamation league
: I’m only a half-hour through watching Iron-Jawed Angels, the HBO movie on suffrage, and I’m already upset at how every man is portrayed as a 2-D pig. Hadn’t we gotten past that?

And we thought evolution was tough

And we thought evolution was tough
: British education authorities plan to require the teaching of atheism in religion class.

Esther Dyson on Dean

Esther Dyson on Dean
: Esther Dyson, leading light of the tech industry and occasional blogger, writes about the Dean campaign.

But I asked one group of campaign staffers at Bloggercon what they had changed in response to all the online feedback

they were getting, and the answer was how they changed their Websites. I

had meant: How did their candidate change his policy?

Second, the candidates who got the attention did not necessarily get the

votes. There’s an old saying in advertising: “Good advertising is the best

way to kill a bad product.” I’m not going to argue whether Dean would have

made a good or bad president, but clearly quite a few people, when asked,

decided he would not. His stridency, which attracted a core of active,

activist supporters, evidently alienated many other prospective



: Martin Roell puts up a blog with recommendations of people he knows looking for jobs. This is another element to add to my Technorati job idea below: references.