ARE WE THE GREATEST?
There’s this constant boasting in the media and among Americans of all stripes (including US blacks) that the USA is “the leader of the free world.” That claim implies two things.
- Some parts of the world are “free” while others are “fettered” (or shall we use “costly” as the antonym in this context?).
- The “free” parts at some point held an election and voted the USA as its leader.
That is vainglory, reminiscent of Muhammad Ali’s famous boast “I am the greatest!” More to the point, it is exactly like white people claiming dominion over non-whites, or Anglo-Saxons thinking themselves superior to other whites, or the Nazis touting themselves as Aryan Übermenchen.
I singled out US blacks because they are long-suffering victims of racism, and they complain about it justifiably, constantly and stridently. But they seem blithely unaware that racism is merely one facet of supremacy, and it is folly to decry racism while proclaiming your family or your nation superior to mine! (As the British say, “You can’t run with the hare AND chase with the hounds.) Historically, supremacist bigotry (aka chauvinism or jingoism) is always the rationale for exploiting other peoples presumed to be “lesser.” So, US global dominionism in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” is as deplorable as the imperialism of Britain and France in past centuries.
It is time to stop crowing about being an “exceptional nation” self-assigned to be “leader” of the world. Let’s acknowledge the USA as “primus inter paria” (first among equals), and no more.