What a Great Nation Would Do

A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow he himself casts.

-- Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching,
Stephen Mitchell, trans.

They say America was a great nation once.