Is America a Great Country, or What?

What makes a country great? The neo-conservatives insist that it’s big projects carried out by big government. You know, pyramids, national service, war, that sort of thing. I disagree, although I’m not sure that I can give a clear competing definition of national greatness. But I can think of examples.

I recently discovered one such example of true national greatness when reading Jim Holt’s interesting assessment of the life and work of Jean-Paul Sartre on Slate. I got quite a belly laugh when I got to the bottom and found an advertisement for The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre. It’s available from