I would like to introduce my new blog series: My American Values. In public diplomacy we often discuss ‘American values’ as a national strength and among our nation’s greatest exports. However, I have occasioned surprisingly little ink spilled on the topic. If such a concept is so important, is it not worth critical investigation, or at least description?
So, for each post I will identify a value of mine from my American perspective. The point of the title and series is not to suggest that these values are exclusive. On the contrary, I think these values are transcendental, and as such deserve to be espoused upon. I use the term ‘American’ to simply denote from where it is that I have received such values. Could these blogs be considered an act of public diplomacy? Probably not, but the explanation and understanding of the American point of view is essential to U.S. public diplomacy.
America is said to be a nation of laws, not men. So, I will generally base such claims of values in legal doctrine and the aspirational language of the founding documents. I generally won’t be arguing history, past practice, foreign influences, pragmatism, culture or partisan stances. While all of these topics are very important to the formation of the values of a people, such topics will merely complicate and the analysis beyond my modest abilities.
For example, while explicit legal American values currently reject racism, American history (and present reality) is marred with and, at times, driven by, racism. But just because this is our reality and our past does not mean that such things are our values. The relationship between an individual’s values and actions are complicated, not to mention that same relationship regarding of a whole nation. Lastly, I don’t propose to identify every American value, just ones which I personally identify and the ones I can tackle in such a format.
I hope you all enjoy reading, and feel free to suggest topics and critiques in the comments below. Keep an eye out for the first post of the series!
List of Series Posts: