I am an Australian, but I am a great admirer of America. More importantly, I believe in American exceptionalism. As should you. And I’ll tell you why in a minute.
But first some background.
This week the incompetence of the Obama administration transformed Vladimir Putin from a former KGB thug to “world statesman”, allowing him to strut the world stage, playing dealmaker.
Intoxicated by his warm welcome by America as a constructive partner, President Putin penned a piece in the New York Times, lecturing the world’s greatest country ever on human rights, international law, equality and protecting women and children.
Coming from him, it’s more than rich.
But there’s more.
He concluded by asserting that Americans are not exceptional. Say what?
The irony is that Putin was responding to the President’s speech, in which he made an unconvincing reference to American exceptionalism. The Russian leader must have missed it when President Obama famously declared in 2009 there to be no difference between American exceptionalism and British and Greek exceptionalism.
The truth is that both men do not believe in American exceptionalism.
And yet your exceptionalism can’t be disputed. And if it is, the person is smoking something. Or chugging vodka.
Social science dictates that there are generally four areas in which a nation can be exceptional- militarily, economically, scientifically and culturally. With only five percent of the world’s population, in each of these categories, and on a level never seen in all recorded human history, you are without peer.
American exceptionalism took on institutional and legal form with the Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. It was and remains the world’s only idea.
Across each of the basic waves of human innovation that we know of- the agricultural, industrial and information ages- you have not only lead the world, but been indispensable to each.
From Norman Berlaug’s green revolution to life-saving drugs used to treat patients around the world to your inventive genius that has seen the transformation of our lives in the last century, the exceptionalism of America is for all to see. Everything everyone around the world uses, wears or does has an American basis or influence. Have you ever looked at a list of American inventions? Do it. It’s a lot of fun.
Consider scientific citations, awarded for groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Between 1996 and 2008, England had the second highest number of citations in the world- a total of 18 million. America topped the list- with almost 76 million. In fact, you guys produced more scientific citations than the following six countries combined. And, again, with less than five percent of the world’s population.
For all the talk about China, remember this: five percent of world’s population produces 25 percent of the world’s economic output (GDP). With 307 million people, America produces 14 trillion in GDP. With 1.3 billion people, China produces 5 trillion dollars of GDP. Put another way: America produces 3 times more GDP than China but with less than a quarter of their population.
And I haven’t even mentioned the moon landing or Hollywood or American universities or the Armed Forces or mapping the human genome.
By the way, you have never sat on the sidelines of liberty, and displayed an uncommon valor in facing the sword of tyranny, and preserved civilization through military interventions.
None of your unheralded dominance, none of this exceptionalism- is by accident or by chance.
Historically, you- the people of America- have been the most enterprising, market-oriented, individualistic, and averse to taxation and regulation. You have shown yourselves to be the least likely people in the world to look on the state as either the provider of benefits or the guarantor of equal outcomes.
Why is this? It’s simple. You fostered a state that allowed its citizens the widest latitude for creativity and innovation, where success gets rewarded without government approvals and bureaucratic interference. And where religious faith, aspiration and risk are embraced. You have your founders to thank.
When it is understood what America stands for, and the moral dimension to a smaller government is appreciated, it becomes not an economic question, but a moral question. For example, it’s why, per capita, you are the most charitable or philanthropic people on earth. The bigger the government, the worse the citizen.
You have a moral superiority. America is great because America is good.
See, you believe in equality of birth, but not equality of result. All humans are equal but all not nations and cultures are not. It’s why poor Mr. Putin is confused.
In sum, the American model has offered a greater chance for dignity, hope and happiness for more people than any other system of government has offered its own. But even its promise can be threatened by those that do not share these ideals, whether domestic or foreign sources. That’s why you have to be vigilant.
Mr. Putin is a foreign enemy. Relativism is what he wants you to embrace because he understands why that makes America weaker. I say you tell him to shove it.
And if you’d prefer this message to come from a fellow American, I encourage you to watch a free online YouTube video series presented by my good friend and inspiration, Bill Whittle, called “What We Believe”- where he covers all this and much more.
I am committed to making sure every American understands the roots of its exceptionalism, and what is required for it to continue. Once it is reinforced, the American renaissance can begin.
For American exceptionalism and the American experiment are indispensable to the world. What’s good for America is good for the world.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the same forum Mr. Putin had for his message. But let’s see how many friends, neighbors, family members and legislators together we can get this letter to. American history has shown you only need a small number of good men to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Yours in Liberty,