In his latest column, Thomas Sowell points out that learning from other countries does not simply mean imitating them, as many who call for America to be “more European” imply, but often means learning from their mistakes:
People who say that we should learn from other countries seem to have in mind that we should imitate those countries. But some of the most valuable lessons from other countries can be had from seeing the disasters their policies have produced– especially when our own intelligentsia are pushing ideas that have already been tried and failed elsewhere.
Here’s one example:
A British homeowner who held two burglars at gunpoint until the police arrived was arrested– even though the gun he used turned out to be just a realistic-looking toy gun. The British intelligentsia take guns much more seriously than they take burglary, even when it is only a toy gun that is used to “intimidate” a burglar, as they put it.