A nation of radical ideals

By Tom Quiner


What a country we have.

Did you know that most Americans believe we are exceptional? The Gallup Poll asked us this question:

“Because of the United States’ history and its Constitution, do you think the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world, or don’t you think so?”

Eighty percent of Americans said yes! In their eyes, America is exeptional. Here’s how the survey broke down:

• 91% or Republicans said we’re exceptional.

• 77% of Independents said we’re exceptional.

• 73% of Democrats said we’re exceptional.

One can’t help but notice the bi-partisan acknowledgement of the idea that this nation is historically better than others, although President Obama qualifies his views on the subject:

“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

I’m not so sure the president is correct.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 91,000 citizens in 50 different nations a few years ago. It dramatically reveals how differently Americans think about their nation than citizens of other countries think about theirs’.

For example, 71% of Americans are very proud to live in America. But for the French, it’s only thirty-eight percent.

For the Germans, and the Japanese, its only twenty-one percent.

Only one-third of Americans think their success is determined by forces outside of their control. But for Germans and Italians, two-thirds think their success is determined by forces outside of their control.

Did you know that three out four Americans would like to see our views spread throughout the world, but only one out of three Brits feel the same about their country?

President Obama either underestimates Americans or overestimates Europe when he talks about exceptionalism.

American exceptionalism is characterized by limited government; fundamental rights that flow from God; self-sufficiency and self-sacrifice.

Newt Gingrich identifies why this concept is so important to us:

“If America is a unique nation founded upon self-evident truths about the rights of man, then that belief imposes inherent limits on the size and scope of government.

If, however, America is a normal country, no different than our European cousins, then big government socialism that takes power from citizens and gives it to bureaucrats is acceptable.”

Mr. Gingrich accurately identifies the key flashpoint in American politics. The power structure in the Democratic Party thinks that power resides in government; Republicans believe it resides in the people.

No where was this demonstrated more dramatically than in last year’s debate on Obamacare. Although Americans opposed a government takeover of the healthcare industry, Democrats believed they knew best and passed their draconian legislation anyway. In other words, in their view, that power should be vested in the State, just as Europe does it, not the individual.

According to Mr. Gingrich, America’s radical ideals set us apart from the world:

“At the time of our founding, no other nation had adopted such radical ideals. No other nation had declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” — rights that no king or government could take away.”

Mr. Gingrich suggests it is this notion of God-given rights, this Creed, that unleashed the potential of a nation:

“During his travels in the 1830s, French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, observed that America was an exceptional nation with a special role to play in history.  Tocqueville wrote that, unlike Europe, where social standing defined a citizen, America was a new republic where liberty, equality, individualism, and free markets defined the “American Creed.”

To this day, Americans are more likely to believe they control their own destiny compared to Europeans who believe it is the state and the social order that controls their destiny.

God is at the heart of American exceptionalism. During World War II, President Roosevelt compared the war as a battle between our “Christian civilization and paganism.”

As America commemorates the 150th anniversary of our Civil War, it is accurate to suggest we are in the midst of a new civil war, one that pits our Judeo-Christian values against the religion of the left, secular humanism.

Secular humanism rejects a right to life.

Secular humanism is less concerned with liberty than it is equality.

Secular humanism views the idea of “pursuit of happiness” as a lifestyle issue, not a property issue as did our Founding Fathers.

And secular humanists don’t view America as being any more exceptional than anyone else.

Are we exceptional? Of course we are, as long as we stick with the radical ideals of our heritage. Newt Gingrich has produced a new movie that premiers tomorrow called “The City on a Hill:  the Spirit of American Exceptionalism.” I’ve posted the trailer for the movie above.

I’ve seen one his previous productions, “9 Days That Changed the World.” If his new movie is as good as his previous effort, it will be worth seeing and sharing with our children. After all, our radical ideals set America apart from the world.

Let us honor them.

Let us preserve them.