America The Weird

Here is a 1300-word history lesson for Americans about our “weird” country from Victor Davis Hanson:

On first glance, America does not seem that exceptional. Like China and Russia, it is a superpower. And, also like those countries, it is huge territorially. It shares many affinities with Europe. And, like China, Japan and Germany, the United States is an economic powerhouse. And yet, it is a nation unlike any in the world.

In general, outside the West, few of the seven billion people alive today enjoy human rights and the protection of property. The rule of law and freedom of expression are taken for granted in Europe and the United States, and residents there enjoy both economic prosperity and physical security. These exceptions to the global norms of repression, autocracy, tribalism, sectarian violence, and fundamentalism are found only either in the West proper, or in a few Westernized nations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

It may now be politically incorrect to suggest that, compared to countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda, different premises animate the social and political order of Europe, the United States, the English-speaking nations of the former British Commonwealth, and the West’s close allies such as Israel, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. But it is nonetheless true. The yearly migrations to these countries of millions of non-Westerners demonstrate that reality. Immigration is now nearly always a one-way pathway to the West or Westernized countries from the non-West. People vote with their feet in a more honest and concrete fashion than at the ballot box.

Yet the West is not monolithic. It never has been.

From the sixteenth to twentieth centuries, it was violently divided by religious schisms between Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Germany from 1871 to 1945 was never comfortable with its the territorial status quo. Long before the Nazis rose to power, it suffered periodic bouts of ethnic and cultural superciliousness —mythologizing that an ancient and tribal Germania had remained racially pure beyond the Rhine and Danube, and thus immune from Roman colonization and subsequent European assimilation.

Read more at the Hoover Institute: America The Weird

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