Brian Eno on America

…America was an act of faith -- the faith that “otherness” was not threatening but nourishing, the faith that there could be a country big enough in spirit to welcome and nurture all the diversity the world could throw at it. But since Sept. 11, that vision has been eclipsed by a suspicious, introverted America, a country-sized version of that peculiarly American form of ghetto: the gated community. A gated community is defensive. Designed to keep the “others” out, it dissolves the rich web of society into a random clustering of disconnected individuals. It turns paranoia and isolation into a lifestyle.

Surely this isn’t the America that anyone dreamed of; it’s a last resort, nobody’s choice…

President Bush recently declared that the U.S. was “the single surviving model of human progress.” Maybe some Americans think this self-evident, but the rest of us see it as a clumsy arrogance born of ignorance…

Too often, the U.S. presents the “American way” as the only way, insisting on its kind of free-market Darwinism as the only acceptable “model of human progress.” But isn’t civilization what happens when people stop behaving as if they’re trapped in a ruthless Darwinian struggle and start thinking about communities and shared futures? America as a gated community won’t work…

Perhaps it’s asking a lot to expect America to act differently from all the other empires in history, but wasn’t that the original idea?</em>

via time.com via TBd