The United States is still different [from European states]. In the wake of economic meltdown, the decadent youth of France rioted over the most modest of proposals to increase the retirement age. Elderly “students” in Britain attacked the heir to the throne’s car over footling attempts to constrain bloated, wasteful and pointless “university” costs. Everywhere from Iceland to Bulgaria angry mobs besieged their parliaments demanding the same thing: Why didn’t you the government do more for me? America was the only nation in the developed world where millions of people took to the streets to tell the state: I can do just fine if you control-freak statists would shove your non-stimulating stimulus, your jobless jobs bill and your multitrillion dollar porkathons and just stay the hell out of my life and my pocket.
That’s the America that has a fighting chance – a nation that stands for economic dynamism, not the stagnant “managed capitalism” of France, for the freest, widest, rudest bruiting of ideas, not Canadian-style government regulation of approved opinion: for self-relience and the Second Amendment, not the security state in which Britons are second only to North Koreans in the number of times they’re photographed by government cameras in the course of going about their daily business. But when you hit the expressway to Declinistan there are few exit ramps. That America’s animating principles should require a defense at all is a melancholy reflection on how far we’ve already gone. Live free – or die from a thousand soothing caresses of nanny-state sirens.
Like I said, if you want a happy ending, it’s up to you.
Your call, America.
from After America: Get Ready for Armageddon by Mark Steyn
[T[he American system, we learn again, is intolerant of only one thing: intolerance. Whether its hammer comes from left or right, it always wakes the spirit of revolution. Freedom of speech, to dissent, to oppose, to fight back, is not just the literal content of the First Amendment. It is the essence of who we are as a people.
Obama, of course, infamously discounted American Exceptionalism when he was asked about it, suggesting he does not view our national character as unique. His mistake. ~ Michael Goodwin/FoxNews
Hannan could be speaking to Obama and the Democrats in this very famous tirade:
Now, hear him last week at the Atlanta Heritage Foundation. Go to MyHeritage.org and sign in after clicking on his video on their home page. This man is such a phenomenal speaker and authority on American history. This video from last week in Atlanta is absolutely terrific. If you have time to listen, you won’t be disappointed.
“The worst impact of this growth of government is not – it’s chief ill is not that it makes the economy less competitive, it’s that it makes people less decent. It frays the bounds which used to tie society together.”
“My friends, you are not simply a random set of individuals born to another set of random individuals. You are the inheritors and the guardians of an exalted tradition.” Daniel Hannan
In 508 B.C., the citizens of Athens revolted against an evil tyrant and his allies, the Spartans. It took the Athenians only 3 days to run off their adversaries. When all was said and done, Cleisthenes became the leader of Athens.
At the time, Athens was a mere village with a 2000 year old Egyptian civilization to the south and the Persians to the west, just as old and rightly claiming an empire that stretched from India to the Saudi peninsula. To the east of Athens were the Romans and Etruscans. Athens was situated in the center and in a perfect location to benefit from trade, which also made it an attractive target for the Persians and the Spartans.
Cleisthenes was born into the ruling class, what the Greeks called aristocrats, with a privileged upbringing. But as he watched his village rise up against this oppression, he had an epiphany: the citizens had a right to govern themselves and a say in their own destiny.
For the first time in recorded history, in the year 508 B.C., the people turned on their rulers and took control of their own future. And after doing so, they called on Cleisthenes to govern them.
Cleisthenes carved out a platform on the Acropolis (which originally was a rocky outcropping above the city), where rich and poor alike could stand and make their case to the people. This site is the forerunner of today’s American Congress and the British Parliament.
Every 9 days the people came together to vote – a white stone for yes, black stone for no – on every thing from the price of olives to the levying of taxes for roads. Cleisthenes created the first democracy and the first “one man-one vote” belief that all citizens, rich and poor alike, had an equal say in their lives.
Because all men had an equal say and nothing separated the people from their government, there was no politics of envy, no poor versus rich, no “us against them” mentality.
It comes as no surprise that directly after Cleisthenes implemented democracy, the Greek culture flourished. The great dramas and tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles, the magnificent art and the expansion of thought from men like Socrates, all came out of the dark shadows of previous oppression and into the light of freedom and democracy.
When I read all this last night I was astounded and saddened that it took me over 40 years to learn this. These are great lessons not taught in school.