Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm an American, Mate

Yesterday I became an American citizen.

I'm not one given to overt displays of patriotism, and I believe that chauvinistic nationalism has been a great force for evil in human history. In moral terms I believe strongly that national borders are arbitrary lines on a map. I vigorously oppose policies based on the assumption that a person's moral worth is somehow related to which side of those arbitrary lines they were born or reside on.

That's not to say I believe that all countries or all cultures are morally equal. The culture and values underpinning western liberal democracy are in my view morally superior because they lead to more productive behaviour that creates wealth and, dare I say it, more moral behaviour that creates liberty.

But culture is a funny thing. It's hard to create and maintain societies built on these values. In that endeavour institutions matter, and matter a lot. And that's where I believe that the United States excels, in the institutional structure established in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So I'm proud to become an heir to the vision of liberty and freedom the Founding Fathers had when they created this country.

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