We Need a Global Declaration of Interdependence

| July 19, 2002 Issue

"W hy do they hate us?" was the question that resounded most loudly across America after September 11. A definite answer is yet to be found, but Wade Davis in The Toronto Globe and Mail says that Americans will not find any real clues until they start looking for them outside of the American experience.

"The United States has always looked inward," writes Davis. "A nation born in isolation cannot be expected to be troubled by the election of a President who has rarely been abroad, or a Congress in which 25 per cent of members do not hold passports."

This tendency mirrors America's lauded culture of individualism, where personal goals and beliefs have subdued awareness of community and humanity as a whole. Davis terms America's "new and original culture" the "sociological equivalent of the splitting of the atom," and it has set the U.S. apart from the rest of the world both in our resulting self-interest and our inability to relate to most other cultures, who have retained their understanding of the link of an individual's fate to that of the rest of the human race. America's wealth has increased our isolation by weakening our empathy toward poor nations.

Davis says it's time to take the blinders off and integrate America with the rest of the world. To do this, he writes, "What we desperately need is a global acknowledgment of the fact that no people and no nation can truly prosper unless the bounty of our collective ingenuity and opportunities are available and accessible to all."
--Julie Madsen
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