Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 10, 2009 18 Sivan 5769

The Character of Nations

By Thomas Sowell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In an age that values cleverness over wisdom, it is not surprising that many superficial but clever books get more attention than a wise book like "The Character of Nations" by Angelo Codevilla, even though the latter has far more serious implications for the changing character of our own nation.


The recently published second edition of Professor Codevilla's book is remarkable just for its subject, quite aside from the impressive breadth of its scope and the depth of its insights. But clever people among today's intelligentsia disdain the very idea that there is such a thing as "national character."


Everything from punctuality to alcohol consumption may vary greatly from one country to another, but the "one world" ideology and the "multicultural" dogma make it obligatory for many among the intelligentsia to act as if none of this has anything to do with the poverty, corruption and violence of much of the Third World or with the low standard of living in the Soviet Union, one of the most richly endowed nations on earth, when it came to natural resources.


"The Character of Nations" is about far more than the fact that there are different behavior patterns in different countries — that, for example, "it is unimaginable to do business in China without paying bribes" but "to offer one in Japan is the greatest of faux pas."


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

The real point is to show what kinds of behaviors produce what kinds of consequences — in the economy, in the family, in the government and in other aspects of human life. Nor do the repercussions stop there. Government policies are not only affected by the culture of the country but can in turn have a major impact on that culture, for good or ill.


Written in plain and sometimes blunt words, "The Character of Nations" is nevertheless the product of a man whose knowledge and experience span the globe, extending into economics, philosophy and other fields, as well as encompassing the wisdom of the ancients and the follies of the moderns.


The book is an education in itself, more of an education than many students are likely to get at an Ivy League college. However, its purpose is not academic but to clarify the issues facing us all today when "the character of the American way of life is up for grabs perhaps more than ever before," as the author puts it.


While nations differ, particular kinds of behavior produce particular kinds of results in country after country. Moreover, American society in recent years has been imitating behavior patterns that have produced negative — and sometimes catastrophic — consequences in many other countries around the world.


Among these patterns have been a concentration of decision-making power in government officials, an undermining of the role of the family, a "non-judgmental" attitude toward behavior and a dissolution of the common bonds that hold a society together, leading to atomistic self-indulgences and group-identity politics that increasingly pits different segments of society against each other.


Those among the intelligentsia who say that we should "learn from other countries" almost invariably mean that we should imitate what other countries have done. Angelo Codevilla argues that we should learn from other countries' mistakes, especially when those same mistakes have repeatedly produced bad results in many countries and among many very different peoples, living under very different political systems.


Putting ever more economic decisions in the hands of those with political power is just one of those mistakes with a track record of painful repercussions in many countries around the world. These repercussions have included not only serious economic losses but, even more important, a loss of personal freedom and self-respect, as ever wider segments of the population become supplicants and sycophants of those with the power to dispense largess or to make one's life miserable with legalistic or bureaucratic harassment.


We in America have taken large steps in that direction in recent years, and are accelerating our moves in that direction this year. Getting some clearer sense of what this risks is just one of many reasons to read "The Character of Nations".

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.

Up

Thomas Sowell Archives



© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles