We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
... there has never been any nation even remotely similar to America. Here's why. Most revolutions seek to destroy the existing class order and use all-powerful government to mandate an equality of result rather than of opportunity -- in the manner of the French Revolution's slogan of "liberty, equality and fraternity" or the Russian Revolution's "peace, land and bread."
In contrast, our revolutionaries shouted "Don't tread on me!" and "Give me liberty or give me death!" The Founders were convinced that constitutionally protected freedom would allow the individual to create wealth apart from government. Such enlightened self-interest would then enrich society at large far more effectively that could an all-powerful state.
Such constitutionally protected private property, free enterprise and market capitalism explain why the United States -- with only about 4.5 percent of the world's population -- even today, in an intensely competitive global economy, still produces a quarter of the world's goods and services.
All true, but I resist the notion that wealth and productivity are the goals of freedom. I believe that they just happen to be a side effect of what happens when people are (relatively) free from the control and the infantilization of the state, and are free or forced by reality to pursue whatever the heck in this brief life they decide to pursue, whatever is important to them.
"I believe that they just happen to be a side effect of what happens when people are (relatively) free from the control and the infantilization of the state"
I'd disagree still again. It's not "wealth" that people want; just the opposite. They just don't want to be poor. They want to have $100K in the bank as back-up. Then you go about your daily business knowing that if/when something bad does happen, you're well covered. Put another way, it's not a matter of wanting to be a plus, just a matter of not wanting to be a negative.
As far as 'productivity' goes, I fail to see any connection with 'wealth'. It can equal wealth, certainly, but that's only if it's steered in that direction. I just posted the links to a bunch of sites that represent a thousand hours of attention, and they don't make me a dime. 'Productivity' in my world is all about education and entertainment, not something as base as money. Money isn't a legacy, just an inheritance.
Wealth is related to freedom and property rights. Economist Joel Mokyr has written several books on why the Industrial Revolution did not occur earlier in man's history. There was a working steam engine in Rome. In fact, the Romans were excellent civil engineers. The absence of property rights, especially the right to patent an invention, delayed the Industrial Revolution until that right existed.
Wealth and freedom and property rights go together. Without all three, the other two do not last.
I agree with Hanson (who am I to disagree), but for me the unique aspect of the USA is that our Constitution spells out the law the government must follow rather than the other way around (which after you read it, you realize how far off course we are).
"Most revolutions seek to destroy the existing class order and use all-powerful government to mandate an equality of result rather than of opportunity -- in the manner of the French Revolution's slogan of "liberty, equality and fraternity" or the Russian Revolution's "peace, land and bread.""
Who says they didn't? The Loyalists were expelled, their property confiscated, and debts to Britain were repudiated. Slavery was allowed to continue. Interesting start for a nation supposedly dedicated to human liberty and the protection of property rights.