What’s So Great About America?

Above all else, what makes our nation great is that it was founded on the principle of individualism. The fundamental precept that every individual has the inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness ensures that each one of us has the freedom to live our own life however we see fit, with minimal government intervention except to prevent us from infringing on the rights of others. The natural corollary of individual freedom is individual responsibility.

A society that values individuality assumes that individuals are responsible for their own lives, their own actions, and the rewards or consequences of whatever choices they make. Nobody is guaranteed anything but the freedom to carve out their own life and succeed or fail on their own merits. A society that places a high value on individualism encourages entrepreneurship, invention, and advances in all fields of endeavor by allowing individuals who develop and enable valuable innovations to reap the natural benefits of their imagination, enterprise, insight, and skill.

In a collectivist society, the right of the collective supercedes any rights an individual may have. The purpose of government is to ensure that all resources are equally allocated, and that nobody gets a greater share than anybody else. (It never works out that way in reality, but that’s the principle.) Individuality is suppressed in the interest of levelling, and good citizens must always be willing to sacrifice their individuality for the greater good of the collective.

A society that values the collective over the individual assumes that people are not capable of taking responsibility for their own lives, and that the government must assume the responsibility of making sure everybody’s welfare is provided for. Individuals who create more value do not reap the natural rewards of their efforts, but their profits are redistributed to those who can’t or don’t contribute as much. Collectivist societies work best with homogenous populations where people are considered essentially interchangeable. Uniqueness and diversity are not valued, and independence of thought and action are considered a potential threat to the welfare of the masses and the stability of the government.

Most nations lie somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum. But our nation is the only nation that was explicitly founded on the principle of individual rights and dedicated to the preservation of individual freedoms. From my perspective, that’s what makes America the greatest nation on Earth.


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “what makes our nation great is that it was founded on the principle of individualism.”

    Re-write history much? You guys love to quote the Declaration of Independence…not so much for the U.S. Constitution. You know…that document that actually setup our democracy? The Declaration was an important historical document, but it was basically a glorified “kiss off” letter to Great Britian.

    Our choice is not just bewteen communism and “freedom”. I agree with you and Tony the Tiger…America is grrrreat! But, it’s great because it’s probably the strongest democracy that’s ever been conceived.

  2. I never said our choice was between communism and freedom. I pointed out that “most nations lie somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum.”

    The reason this is a great country is because of the principles on which it was founded. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers, was the primary author of the Declaration of Indendence. The Constitution came afterward, but it’s purpose was to codify into law the principles on which the nation was founded.

    It’s not a democracy. It’s a republic. Read the Constituion.

  3. Ah, so we’re not a representative democracy (or maybe this is a lesson in symantecs?)…I’ll try and remember that the next time I get together with my fellow citizens on vote…

  4. Here’s a good article that explains the difference between a republic and a democracy. It’s an interesting read. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/aspects/demrep.html

  5. Thanx for posting that link…it was one of the best piles of right-wing drivel that I’ve read in a long time. :)

    Our “republic” as you guys love to call it is actually what most people in the western world would call a representative democracy. Our rights do not come from God, govt., or whatever…we have them because we are all humans, period. The last time I read the U.S. Constitution, I missed the part where God was mentioned.

    The minority and individuals certainly have rights in our system of govt….look at how the U.S. Senate is designed…you can’t get much done there without 60 votes. Remember when the GOP wanted to get rid of that not too long ago…the “nuclear option”? Now they live (like most political minorities do) by the filibuster. I have no problem with that.

    I agree that the UK’s system of govt. is a mess. They seem to have no written constitution, and any comparison to our form of govt. is really meaningless.

    What was really refreshing to view on that website was the real, palpable fear of democracy and the “depravity in mankind” that a lot of “conservatives” have in this country. It’s sad to watch but very interesting to read.

    I love the mention of the “The Twelve Basic American Principles” too…I’ll be sure to delve into them more deeply as I’m thumping my Bible.


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