What Makes America Different

April 28, 2008

During his introductory remarks, AEI president Christopher DeMuth said that no effort to understand the meaning of American exceptionalism had been “more ambitious and far-reaching” than this book. Not only does it describe the ways—both good and bad—in which Americans differ from people in other nations, DeMuth said, it also considers whether American exceptionalism is likely to continue, and how it matters to the world. DeMuth noted that Americans are more individualistic, self-reliant, anti-state, and pro-immigration than people in many other countries. They work harder, are more philanthropic, and participate more in civic activities. On the negative side, America also has a higher murder rate than some other countries.

That is from the summary of a new book out, Understanding America: The Anatomy of an Exceptional Nation.

I think it is easy to forget how different we are. Our cultural attitudes mean that what works for us will not necessarily work for others (see failed nation building), and what works for us is likely to continue working for us (see continued growth and innovation).

Schools and Creativity

April 7, 2008

Here are a post a day about TED Videos. I’d seen this one elsewhere and it’s worth passing along. A very entertaining speaker.