You Can Have It Too

"You Can Have It Too," Atlantic Magazine, November 2007.


The American idea is obscured today in smoke arising from combat between liberals and conservatives. If we go back to our Founders, however, we can still discern an experiment in self-government that held promise for  all mankind. Though intended  for the direct benefit only of Americans, the experiment gave us a universal task: not to impose republics everywhere, but to show that they can be chosen by other peoples with some chance of success. This was the source of  American “exceptionalism,” and far from being unique, the American republic would be only the first of many modern republics. American patriotism has always said to others not “We are inherently superior,” but  “You can have it too.” This is conservative pride and tradition mixed with liberal inclusiveness and innovation.

Atlantic Magazine