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Bowing and Scraping


I quite agree that Americans shouldn’t bow and scrape to foreign leaders; we look them in the eye. But while I understand the annoyance of a lot of people when Obama bends too low to the Saudi monarch, this is only one case among scores, and the others are almost never noted. So here’s another one: Queen Elizabeth has apparently agreed to knight Ted Kennedy. Leave aside the question of whether she should. I don’t think any American should accept a knighthood. Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said “Mr.” is quite honorific enough for Americans?

But saying such things is to embrace American exceptionalism, and this is quite out of favor in high society. After all, didn’t we just turn over economic policy to the United Nations? And, for that matter, isn’t the very idea of American sovereignty so very eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century? Given current trends,  we’ll be just another country under the sway of “international law.” And then we’ll all bow to whoever gives us a prize.


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