No nation in human history has been more successful or done more to help other nations than the United States. We were the decisive nation in WW1, WW2, and the Cold War. We have been the primary supporter of democracy on the planet, we have the most powerful military in human history, and other than Great Britain, no nation did more to end slavery. Americans built the largest economy in human history, put a man on the moon, and invented everything from the Model-T to the Internet. If you want to compare the United States to other nations that have accomplished a lot historically like Britain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, France, Russia, and China, none of them comes close. In the real world, despite our country’s flaws, America is still the pinnacle of human accomplishment. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve or that there isn’t any nation that can’t do things better than us, but we already are what other nations aspire to be.
Yet, that’s not good enough for so many people on the Left. So many liberals not only refuse to acknowledge our success, they put this country down at every opportunity. They’re the sort of people the late, great Machiavelli described just so:
“And many writers have imagined for themselves republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for there is such a gap between how one lives and how one ought to live that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation: for a man who wishes to profess goodness at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good.”
In other words, they hate the real country because they are in love with a theoretical utopia in their minds that has never existed in the real world and never will. It’s all fine and good to talk about critical race theory, fourth-wave feminism, intersectionality, or other ridiculous academic theories that have been taken far too seriously, but where have these theories brought success, happiness, and prosperity in the real world? What successful nation owes its accomplishments to those principles? When liberals look at American history, they tend to obsessively focus on our flaws despite the fact that they were common across the world. Yes, we took land from the Indians. However, there’s not a square foot of land on planet earth that wasn’t violently taken from one group of people by another at some point in time. We also had slavery at one time, just like almost every nation on the planet at one time or another. If prostitution is the oldest profession, then slave master was probably the second. There are racists in America, but if this country was really racist, non-white immigrants wouldn’t be flocking here by the millions.
What liberals always seem to miss is where we differ from so many other nations. Certainly, some of it was luck. This is a large, resource-rich nation that was just far away enough from Europe to keep any of those nations from controlling us long-term. However, beyond that, this nation had a devout Christian foundation and a Protestant work ethic. We had a well written, successful Constitution that created a Republic, embraced free speech, and jealously guarded the rights of the people from the government. We embraced capitalism, small government, personal responsibility, law and order, and a powerful culture that encouraged people that immigrated here to be part of a melting pot, not a salad bowl.
The problem with those ideas is not that they don’t work anymore — they certainly do — it’s that they are so obviously commonsensical that they have no appeal to liberals. As Thomas Sowell wrote:
“The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?”
We certainly don’t have the answer to every cultural and economic question, but most of them are no great mystery if you have even a passing knowledge of history. Capitalism works better than socialism. A strongly Christian society will be more law-abiding than an atheist one. A woman that gets married before having a baby is likely to be financially better off than a single mother. The economy will be stronger with a smaller government than a larger one.
However, so many of those obvious, commonsense solutions don’t sound good to a lot of people. There are winners and losers in a capitalistic system, so why shouldn’t we just take the money from the winners and give it to the losers? In a Christian society, people are condemned for doing “immoral” things and nobody likes being judged, so why not forget about that? Why should people have to drop the culture from their old country to move here or be allowed to say things people don’t want to hear when we could censor them instead? Why should a woman be “punished” for having a child out of wedlock, an illegal be “punished” for coming here illegally, or a man be “punished” for deciding he wants to be a woman? Why should anyone have to take responsibility for their life at all when they can demand that the government fix their problems?
So many liberals take for granted that the country will hold together, be free, and stay prosperous. Those are not safe assumptions. As Jonah Goldberg noted:
The Miracle of (our system) is not self-sustaining. Turn your back on its maintenance and it will fall apart. Take it for granted and people will start reverting to their natural impulses of tribalism. The best will lack all conviction and the worst will be full of passionate intensity. Things will fall apart.
Historically, the United States is the exception, not the rule. The rule has been that most humans live in poverty, live in fear of a violent end, and are dictatorially ruled by small numbers of people. Even today, a large minority of people on earth live under those conditions. If you don’t think that can happen to us or our children, you are a fool who has been kept safe so far by people wiser than yourself. We move away from the things that made this a great country at our own peril because in conclusion, as Ronald Reagan once said:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
John Hawkins is the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know.