Today I want to ask the question, “why is America the greatest country on the planet?”
Let’s be crystal clear about this…
Yes, the United States is the greatest country on the planet. It’s still the beacon of individual freedom, the place with the greatest chance to create the life you want, and billions of people would come here if they could.
A couple weeks ago, Elon Musk, the most amazing businessperson of the past century and the creator of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX said this, “America is still the land of opportunity more than any other place, for sure…There is definitely no other country where I could have done this...”
For as much as we complain about our politics, America is wonderful.
But why? Why is America the greatest country? What makes America different?
Is it the American people?
We have great people, but there are great people everywhere. That’s not the reason.
Is it our natural resources?
Certainly not. There are plenty of countries that are resource-rich, but are poor, pathetic countries.
Is it our military might?
No. America is not great because of our military might.
Is it our culture?
No, but our culture is a reflection of the freedom we have.
Is it our wealth and prosperity?
No, but our wealth and prosperity are because of our freedoms.
Is it our government?
No, our government is terrible, but it’s probably the best one out there.
AMERICA IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD BECAUSE…
At our core, we value individual freedom and self-reliance,
Our Constitution limits the government’s ability to infringe upon our freedoms,
Our deep suspicion of people in power.
In short, America is the center of the free world because we value individual liberty as opposed to collectivism, and we've done a pretty good job so far of protecting these freedoms.
Individual Liberty vs. Collectivism…
The Center for Individualism describes the difference very well, “Individualism is captured in the idea of America: a nation of individuals, each endowed with economic freedom, self-reliant in applying their own energy and creativity to advance their own circumstances and, in collaboration with others, contributing to an expanding economy, a stronger society, and growing well-being for all.”
On the other hand…
“…collectivism says that each individual must be made to serve the interests of society as a whole, regardless of his or her own desires, values, or ambitions. According to collectivism, your life doesn’t belong to you. If the way that you want to live your life doesn’t conform with someone else’s idea of the “common good,” then you must be forced into submission.
America believes (and has proven) that when individuals are free to direct their own lives, they find that their own interests are best served by collaborating with and creating value for others. “Thus, the combined effects of individual pursuits elevate society as a whole towards greater wellbeing. This is why social, economic, and cultural progress can best be achieved by liberating and empowering individuals to pursue their own visions for their lives.”
The difference is in our bones…
I have traveled the world. I love seeing the people of the world, and I’m amazed at how similar we all are. The vast majority are good people who just want a better life for themselves and their family.
But for all of my travels, I’ve noticed that there is a key difference in many Americans that I rarely see in other countries (except maybe Australia); a fierce independence streak and a deep distrust of government.
Most people of the world are predisposed to trust the government and easily fall into the “collectivist” thought process. Collectivism is being pushed very hard on America, and a lot of people, especially young adults are embracing it. But it goes against America’s natural thought process and is facing significant resistance.
Our country was formed by throwing off government tyranny, so we could each live our lives in freedom. Our Founding Father’s were true geniuses who charted a unique and inspired course.
Our Constitution is unique in many regards, but at its core is this distrust of government. The Constitution and Bill of Rights protects our freedoms by restricting the power of people in government, because people in power ALWAYS want more power. The Bill of Rights is a reminder that officials have no legitimate power to restrict our freedoms.
But this distrust is not simply in a document, it’s in our hearts. It’s in our DNA.
WE. DO. NOT. TRUST. PEOPLE. IN. POWER.
History, both ancient and modern, shows us that this is a wise position to take. Most often, freedoms are stolen during times of crisis. These crises are usually a combination of real events, combined with manufactured fear-mongering, because when times get bad enough people can easily be sold on trading some freedom for “our own good”. But these freedoms are rarely returned (the “temporary” Patriot Act was just extended again, 20 years later).
This is why our Constitution and Bill of Rights do NOT contain an exception for emergency situations. In other words, just because there is a crisis, our government can’t suspend our rights.
Which brings us to 2020…
2020 has been a terrible year. First it was the corona virus, the unprecedented lock downs and then it was racial riots. Yet to come (in my opinion) is the economic repercussions of the lock down, which will be severe.
The biggest worry of all, however, is the fact that we the people have allowed governors and mayors to turn into tyrants and take away our freedoms like never before.
We the People are sovereign. Our political leaders are our servants, our employees, not our superiors. Their job is to carry out their constitutionally mandated responsibility to protect our rights.
Many governors turned into tyrants, locking people in their homes (which is not quarantine, but is actually illegal house arrest), shutting down and destroying some businesses while allowing others to stay open, closing down churches, and encouraging people to report on each other.
This lock down certainly caused much of the unrest, which later exploded into riots.
It is vital that we remember that…
Our Founding Father’s were clear that our rights are not gifted to us by the government, but rather our rights come from nature and God. The Constitution and Bill of Rights is a reminder to us and our political servants of the line in the sand that our god-given rights are not negotiable.
But the Constitution and the Bill of Rights only protects us if we, in turn, protect the Constitution and stand up individually for our rights.
America and the World Need Americans to Stand Strong Right Now.
I started this article by explaining why America is the greatest country in the world. But I want to take that statement further; many free countries around the world are only free because of America. Not because of wars that we fought 80 years ago, nor am I referring to the American military umbrella that protects much of the world.
The free countries of the world are free because America is still the example of freedom, the beacon of freedom, and the country that holds up freedom as its highest ideal. We are the Gold Standard for freedom.
I sincerely believe that we are freedom’s last stand. Without America, freedom would decline dramatically all over the world.
Without America being the demonstration of freedom, New Zealand would slip further and further into socialism and collectivism, because that is their natural thought process. Europe would also fall further into socialism because they wouldn't have to compete with America's example of freedom.
This is why there is a major attack on our freedoms right now, and it’s why we need to stand strong. The world needs Americans right now to question authority, to demand the full restoration of our individual liberties, and to always lead America in a way that honors and respects the Constitution.
Remember this, our path forward must be that of individual freedom. This is the choice we have right now, and it will determine the world's future.