Why America is Great

14 April 2019 - In celebration of Patriots' Day, April 15th, and
                          April 19th, the first battles of the American Revolution

In the United States, the individual is dominant – individual survival (thus individually armed), individual decisions, individual choices, individual control, recognition of individual rights.

This basic premise began with the first arrivals of colonists, in 1607 at Jamestown, in Virginia, and in 1621 at Plymouth Rock, in Massachusetts, and circumstances and survival necessitated it then and at every subsequent step in the progression from that time to the present.

Those individuals determined what their government would be.   They defined it and created it to act in their stead and to protect their rights "from dangers both foreign and domestic".

In Europe, the government remains in total and unequivocal control, above the people who live under it.   Every person remains subjugated to that control.   Culturally, the philosophies, the idea of popular governance, the rule of law, and the scientific discoveries of Classical Greece (500 BC to 300 BC), with their respect for the individual, subsequently influenced Europe (along with the existence of the Senate in Rome, about the same time) and the U.S.   But (particularly after the fall of Rome) European tribal chiefs (such tribes mostly having immigrated from the Asian steppes) brought with them the notion of absolute rulers - kings and the lesser noble titles.   The commoners were peasants and serfs – legally tied to the land, illiterate, and so effectively slaves, controlled and thus owned by the nobles.

That government domination and control remains to the present day, relinquished grudgingly, on non-essential issues, placating the populace only when absolutely necessary.   Europe’s “culmination”, if it is such, the European Union (see What's wrong with the EU, and News about the European Union), remains tightly in control of the lives of every European - i.e., a state which thinks it knows better than each individual what is good for him.   That de facto dictatorship is the singular objection to the EU’s continuity in the current time.   The individual has no fundamental, inherent, constitutional protection from the government - and no recourse when it oversteps its bounds; something every American takes as his natural right.

Nevertheless, Europe’s advances in government, starting with the Magna Carta in England in 1215, the proliferation of parliaments and their power, the temporary ousting of nobility in England in the 1660s and in France in the 1790s, the end of serfdom and slavery, the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, the growth of the sciences and industrialization, and the pervasiveness of voting by the common folk are all far beyond the wildest dreams of the rest of the world.

Africa, Asia, and the American Indians were, and remain, in the primitiveness of ten millennia past, except where and to the extent they are influenced by the partial, limited importation of some of the ideas that have advanced Europe and America.

Yet with only 400 years of history behind it, the United States, with (presently) only 5% of the world’s population, stands out by orders of magnitude above the entire world, dominating it economically, and when necessary, bringing peace, responding to force with force, in the name of freedom – to Europe and to the rest – Europe, which began 2,000 years ago, and the rest of the world, as good as 10,000 years old, still as primitive in its agriculture, empires and tyrannies, and subsistence-level serf-like regard for individuals as since the dawn of time, and as Europe once was.

With thousands of years head start, the rest of the world cannot begin to match the economic achievement – and hence the height of each individual’s personal well-being – which is the norm in the United States.

In great sweeps of history, the great successes and achievments of the U.S., and in the details of day-to-day life, virtually every instance provides its proof in the reality of the results, of how well the United States works, beyond anywhere else in the world.

Boeing’s recent issues with its 737-MAX airplane are a case in point.   At the first revelation that the airplane’s autopilot had certain problems, and that airplanes in Ethiopia and in Indonesia crashed with all on board lost, a number of U.S. pilots agreed there was a problem, and that they had experienced it; but they merely turned off the autopilot and hand-flew the airplane.

Pilots in Ethiopia and Indonesia live in cultures where the individual - and individual expression - is suppressed; where tyranny is absolute, and where independent thought and the questioning of orders is unacceptable, treated with derision, and punished.   Indeed, it should be no surprise that they were taught to unquestioningly follow orders, to fly by-the-book; that was the sum of their training and experience.   And unlike flying in the U.S., the possibility of gaining independent flying experience as a private pilot in his own airplane could not occur; the private ownership of airplanes in most countries is illegal, and in any case the cost is prohibitive.   When the “book” failed, when the conditions exceeded the orders they had been given, those pilots were incapable of the thinking needed to continue safe flight.

To the rulers of those countries, iron control of their populations is far more important than a few hundred lives.

The U.S. pilots knew what to do; it was not even considered a problem worth bothering to report.

The connection is solid and certain: the differences in the pilots’ capabilities is due to the same fundamental reason as America’s 400-year achievement, so astoundingly far beyond that of a 2,000-year-old culture, and even further beyond that of 10,000-year-old cultures.

Here in the United States of America we call it freedom; we call it liberty.

See the celebrations of Patriots' Day, and
        the reenactments of the battles of Lexington and Concord, of April 19th, 1775

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