Why America is exceptional, a graphic example

I wrote in the last post of how Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, captured the essence of American exceptionalism in the ideology of liberty that ties this nation together and makes it so different from almost any other place on Earth.

Well, coincidentally the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey examining the views of Americans and West Europeans on the role of the State and the individual. I think you’ll find the results interesting:

The difference is stark, wouldn’t you agree? Forget the Continent, where statism rather than liberty has been the rule and where the “Anglo-American system” (i.e., classical liberalism) is often held up as a bogeyman, but we’re almost polar opposites from our British cousins, from whom we inherited almost our whole political tradition.

And we’re seeing that play out in our national political drama, as time and again the majority of Americans have opposed the vast expansion of the federal government under Obama. When a truly large demonstrations took place here, it was against massive federal borrowing and the expansion of the state via ObamaCare. When people took to the streets in Europe, for example in France when the government proposed mild entitlement reforms, it was to demand an even bigger state and more “free stuff.”

The percentage preferring liberty to being coddled by the government is too low for my tastes, but it’s still a hopeful sign that we can largely avoid going down the same drain as the EU.

It also shows, in this case via social science rather than oratory, just how unusual we are.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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4 Responses to Why America is exceptional, a graphic example

  1. [...] Public Secrets tells us why America is exceptional [...]

  2. [...] Why America is exceptional, a graphic example. [...]

  3. bob sykes says:

    In his “The Crimean War,” Figes quotes a number of French soldiers who were surprised at the inability of British soldiers to fend for themselves. They depended entirely on their officers to supply them with food and shelter. They couldn’t even repair their own tents and spent significant amounts of time exposed to the Crimean winter.

    The point is that the dependency of the British is very long-standing and likely has nothing to do with socialism. I suspect it was established in the feudal era.

    It should also be noted that the hugh wave of European emigration was a selection process (in the evolutionary sense), and American was founded by anti-Europeans. Part of our differences may be genetic.

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