~ John Wayne
Coming out of a self imposed post election exile as it relates to my blog, I can think of no better theme to write about than American Exceptionalism, hence the title of my post.
I found this quote by John Wayne in the most recent book I’m currently reading, “The American Spirit” authored by Brian Tracy and Edwin J. Feulner. The quote greatly exemplifies how and why I feel I feel about our country as I do.
First, this country accepted as self-evident truth that all men are created equal. No other nation had ever made this declaration. This nation’s founders aimed to create a place, a society, in which an individual’s fate would be determined not by of whom he was born, but by his own freely chosen pursuit based on his own ambitions. There still remained the two deplorable contradictions of slavery and the status of women but under the light of the declaration in time these conditions proved so intolerable that they ultimately had to be resolved.
Secondly, America was the manifestation of an idea that never before had been placed into practice. This was that citizenship was not just a matter of birth, of lineage or where one was born. To become an American citizen it was only necessary to pledge allegiance to the new Republic and the principles on which it stood.
And thirdly, prior to the United States, citizens rights in any other country were appointed by kings, princes, parliaments or other human operatives. As rights given as such they were actually privileges which could be revoked upon the will of the giver. In the United States however, these rights were declared to be immutable and inalienable, having been given by God. And it follows that no matter what your belief, in God or any other deity, these rights are nevertheless irrevocable.
Leftists decry and criticize, pointing out flaws, injustice and social inequality which they use to describe the American experience as a bad idea and unfair. They come to this conclusion based on some Utopian vantage point but the question never occurs to them, “compared to what is America so bad?” Where else has such progress been made in individual rights? Using the principles and ideas which the founders laid out previous generations have fashioned a country in which more liberty and prosperity are more widely shared among more people than of any nation previously or in present time. It is still so today despite recent political developments that are not faithful to, and go against the letter and spirit of the Constitution, the wonderful American system which our nations founding fathers established.
The American system has encouraged millions upon millions to better themselves and through the advantage of countless opportunities unmatched levels of prosperity have been created and shared.
Many decry income inequality and wage stagnation and we more recently hear about the “top 1%” or the “bottom 99%” as if we live in some kind of caste system where everyone is locked into their current status. The leftists or statists have been successful through class warfare rhetoric into persuading many to believe that whatever one’s present condition is, you’re locked in with no possibility of improving one’s self unless the government steps in. The reality is that people and households move up and down in earnings as they progress through life depending on various diverse circumstances. Many of today’s lower-income households will rise to become tomorrows middle and high income households with some rising into the “top 10%” and even the top “1%” income groups. Transversely, some in the “top 1%” will fall into lower income groups.
Leftism, Statism and current liberalism concentrate their attention on the little which is relatively wrong with America instead of the great good that is embodied within it. They seek to change or “fundamentally transform” America which would throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and metaphorically kill the goose which lays the golden eggs.
In sharp contrast I see the traditions and institutions founded upon the principles which ignited the American Revolution and brought into being far more freedom and prosperity enjoyed by more than in any other society in the history of the world.
It’s always time to improve upon what we have received as Americans but its not time to “fundamentally change” America!
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