The phrase “not invented here” was recently invoked by a friend. He used the expression to criticize the reluctance of many Americans to accept a Western European solution to an American problem. In this case he cited health care. Is this reluctance rational? Yes it is.
I embrace this reluctance. It’s a grip on the strain of American DNA that distrusts authority. Yet this wariness alone does not to justify an aversion to European fixes. But a mountain of historical evidence does. And it is not limited to Western Europe.
Since the first camp fire mankind has dealt with cruel or benevolent dictators. Citizens under this rule bow to a power elite. If viewed from a rear perspective, their reality becomes more clear. Their access to food, clothing, shelter, energy, health care, is kept under the allocating dictates of the elite. They are faced with the following option, bow or die. That was the prevailing plight of mankind until our Founding Fathers refused to bend over.
Our Founder’s Declaration of Independence, and their sequel the Constitution, flipped eons of history on its head. They declared that Americans do not bow to government. The government is expected to bow and owe its allegiance to each citizen. This is an American invention that has delivered more light in a dark world than Edison. It created a home for free people to flourish. It is an exception to a history of bowing. It is American Exceptionalism.
In a recent New Times editorial, Vladimir Putin wrote, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” Dangerous to who? Well for one, a KGB thug as Putin should shiver in the winds of American Exceptionalism.
Putin words were a response to our President’s (Obama) speech on the current horrors in Syria. Sadly, even our President got it wrong. He said, “……when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, …… I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.” He didn’t act. But more to the point, that is not what makes America an exception. The British, French, Australians, Canadians, and free people everywhere have acted to save lives around the globe.
Does our President misunderstand American Exceptionalism? Did he simply misspeak? Or does he agree with Putin? I’m not quite sure. But many benevolent well intentioned educated American men and women from sea to shinning sea have misunderstood. Some even agree with Putin, and discourage Americans from viewing the United States of America as exceptional. That is why we should fear ‘old world’ solutions to our problems. If adopted many of these same folks, benevolent or not, will become the allocators of whatever resource is put under their rule. This, unwittingly or not, reopens our doors to the ‘old world’ of bowing.
American Exceptionalism does not grant immunity from big problems. We have imperfections. But why would any American be willing to cede their freedom to the whims of government bureaucrats to remove them. We should always ask, “Is there any other possible solution?” Walk into any American town. Our people will offer many good feasible alternatives to any ‘old world’ solution.
American Exceptionalism is the alternative to ‘old world’ indentured servitude, serfdom, and slavery. All of which were invented there. American Exceptionalism was invented here. It was not invented there. That is why Americans should always be reluctant to accept solutions from the ‘old world’.
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