The quickest check on the solvency of the American intellect is a look at the big idea you have not heard discussed during the past sixty years- the creation of a number of large, pluralistic, federalistic nations resembling the US in size as the next step towards a world community of nations.
Individually, the blind men can describe the elephant. Economists can tell you how important internal markets are, and the importance of size when bargaining in world markets. Sociologists can describe how ethnic minorities can be assimilated in secular states. Political scientists can explain how different units of government are appropriate for the local, state, or national tasks of government. Jurists can explain checks and balances, and, on a fair day with a favoring breeze, religious leaders can believe in religious tolerance.
But when have you been asked to envision a United States of Southeast Asia, governed by a Congress and President, with contiguous borders, within which there are no internal tariffs, dealing with the external world as one united entity? That's right- never. Until now.
The reason for this is obvious and simple- American elites would consider the creation of nations similar to our own to be the gravest threat their hegemony could imagine.
Could there be any clearer or more compelling statement of intellectual bankruptcy?