When I was in college, I read the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It stands today as one of the few assigned novels I actually liked, but that's neither here nor there. No, what stuck in my mind was how different the style of prose was from the American and British literature I'd read to that point. I think, and my memory may be faulty, that Things Fall Apart was my first experience with literature written from an African perspective about issues facing Africans.
All of the writing that exposed me to Africa prior to reading Achebe's novel was written from the perspective of the European "civilizing" the "Dark Continent" of Africa. It got really old, really fast, especially when I realized how darn boring all of that writing was (except for Egyptian history). And then I read Achebe's novel, and Africa came alive for me again.
Achebe's novel was powerful because of a strong connection to the issues at hand, and because he wrote it the way only an African can -- with respect for the issues faced by his protagonist, and acknowledgment that the issues are greater than fighting against the forces of "civilization."
Because see here's the big thing: We are all products of the culture we are raised in.
The resident of a particular country will always view their own nation different than a foreigner. Stories written by the member of a dominant culture in any country will almost always have elements of that culture inherent in it. I say "almost" because there are exceptions to every rule, and this one is no different. Regardless of that though, I'm certain that you can find shared themes across the mainstream fiction that comes out of each society, all the way back to the first stories told around the campfire.
For example: the Western republics have been trained that communism is bad. We're told it squashes freedoms, creates corruption, and is generally a bad deal to live under. However, someone living under a communist government might only see the safety of the streets and the jobs given to everyone, especially if they subscribe to the so-called "party line."
A secondary example is the Colonial period in world history. The Spanish monks who traveled to Latin America during the Age of Exploration saw themselves as bringing culture and light to the natives of the Spanish colonies. They ruthlessly stamped out the native practices that they saw as "barbaric" and "heathen," and thought nothing of it because they were absolutely convinced that their culture was better.
So what's the final theory I have to put out there? It's two-fold, really. Be mindful of your perspective when you're writing; are you advocating a particular type of culture over another? Or are you simply telling a story with the most objective stance you can possibly take?
It depends on you and what you want to write to be quite honest. As with other writing, there are no hard-and-fast rules -- except to tell a good story.
I do have a question for you though: can you think of a novel that made an argument so well you didn't even realize it was being made? Or have message-laden novels gone the proverbial way of the Dodo bird and moved out of the public consciousness?
Discuss in the comments please. I'd love to hear what you think.