World

Americans Are Oddballs

Children carry American flags in New York City, U.S. September 24, 2017 (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)
Don’t try to make us like the rest of the world.

Politicians in America increasingly push the lazy logic that because a majority of the world does something, we should too. Here’s a typical example from Senator Bernie Sanders:

I beg you, don’t try to make America “just like” anywhere else in the world. You’ve got 195 other countries you can visit anytime, each of which already has one or all of the attributes you wish America had. We’ve got one place on earth that does things differently. One out of 196 that breaks the mold.

We have an unspoken tradition that when the government doesn’t do something, we step in and do it 100 times better than the government ever could. If there’s a vacuum in the marketplace or in civil society, expect American entrepreneurs and philanthropists to fill it. We take care of each other. To suggest otherwise ignores the facts. Just because the government isn’t doing the caring doesn’t mean the caring isn’t being done. If for no other reason than to provide a contrast to the rest of the world’s governments for the sake of scientific experiment, we should resist calls for us to join the masses.

We didn’t get to where we are today by being like any other country. We did it by being oddballs from infancy. Can we keep it that way?

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