Is America a civilization?

March 6, 2011

Since watching Ken Clark fabulous TV series ‘Civilization’ I have been interested in what civilization means. Clark has his prejudices. But overall the series asks some terrific questions. And offers some wonderful insights. The idea of civilization might appear to be an intellectual parlor game to some. Unless you were living in an oppressive society. A civilized society seems to need 1. stability 2. openess 3. some degree of comfort/leisure time. Of course there are oppressive societies that are stable. And there are societies that are wealthy (usually involved with some form of slavery). Clark argues that a society can be measured by its deeds, words, and art. Is western civilization a civilization? At times, I think. Is America a civilization? I’m not sure. There is a lot of fear in American society which undermines the traditional ‘American confidence’. (Do you hear it? I’m already starting to sound like Clark. He’s infectious.)

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