Back to Index

The US and world public opinion

Tim Brown opines: "The opinions of others count, but they cannot substitute for deciding your own fate yourself. Public opinion outside the US is important, but should not be the sole factor taken into account when deciding how to act. Rudyard Kipling may have said it best in his poem "If".

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
Yet take into account their doubting too;

If you can wait, and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look to good, nor talk to wise,"

Or, as is stated in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence: "...A decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that [we] should declare the causes that impel [us]...". But we then acted in what we perceived as our own best interests and should do so now as well. I suspect that had we instead been solely persuaded by public opinion polls we might well still be a British colony After all, in 1776, polls in such places as England or Spain would probably have run 80-90% against our declaring our independence and quite probably would have show a strong majority against doing so even in the 13 colonies. But still, it was the right decision".

RH. The American Revolution , which was supported at first by at best a third of the American population, freed the US , shook up Britain and did good. However, we should not gloss over the fact that it was largely the work of a small group of individuals backed by the kind of people Tim would despise. As things worked out, Canada, Australia and New Zealand developed a democracy more authentic than that of the US. There are in the world today small groups of individuals backed by the "damned of the earth" who are plotting a revolution against capitalism, which they consider unjust. Heaven knows where this will lead us.

Ronald Hilton - 12/7/02