The title references CLR James American Civilization. James took “America” seriously, despite not being a US citizen and even after being deported for un-American activities, exactly because he thought that “America” could signify something more interesting than the dumbest form of US patriotism. Was he right? Who knows. But another nuance of the title would be Gandhi’s famous (and probably apocryphal) response to the question “What do you think of Western Civilization?” Like him, we respond that “It would be a good idea.”

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