Why America is exceptional, a graphic example

Posted by: Phineas on November 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

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 Public Secrets)

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5 Responses to “Why America is exceptional, a graphic example”


  1. Carlos says:

    So how come so many idiots voted for Mr. Hopey-Changy? Isn’t that what 50% of his message was, that he would be handing out all the goodies?

    The other half of his message, of course, consisted of “I,” “me” and “my.” Nothing else, just those three words, and all the victims (being as self-centered as they are) identified with that and thought he was saying something that amounted to more than a dunghill of lies.

    I suspect a fairly large section of the respondents in our “58%” can’t read and didn’t understand the question at all.

  2. Drew the Infidel says:

    Ask yourself this: Where would you rather live?

  3. Wayne says:

    @Drew: I live in America, so I guess it is pretty clear where I’d rather live.

  4. Carlos says:

    One of the primary reasons to live here is that we can vote out a mistake, and do so in a somewhat orderly fashion (as opposed to having an “Arab spring”). Hopefully that will happen in 2012.