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America’s exceptionalism freedom-based

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There has been a lot of discussion lately about American exceptionalism. I think it is pretty obvious to most people that America is an unusually successful country. It does not take much travel abroad to confirm that this is true. Why is America exceptional? After a lifetime of experience and seeking the unvarnished truth, I believe the answer can be found in one word: freedom! When people are free and they know it and are willing to accept the consequences of freedom, then great things will happen. This has been the difference between America and pretty much the rest of the world. The problem with freedom is that it is scary because it also includes the freedom to fail. It is the unpleasant consequences of the bad decisions, that freedom permits, that occasionally lead us to consider surrendering some of our freedom for perceived security. Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as security. We all eventually die. That is the unvarnished part of the truth. But, you say, what about compassion and mercy for those who fail? Freedom itself has no compassion. People do, and freedom gives them the resources and power to carry out their compassionate desires. It is not charity to point a gun at your neighbors and demand that they be compassionate, even if you can get the government to hold the gun. If you think it is OK to take away the freedom of others for what you view as a worthy cause then it must also be OK to take away your freedom for what others view as a worthy cause. The problem with taking away freedom is that it eventually destroys the exceptionalism that generates the wealth which empowers charity. Not even the government can give things away when it runs out of money. History is full of examples of nations that have tried to turn charity over to the government. There is the illusion of success for a generation or two, but eventually there comes a generation that must pay the price. That generation has arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, etc., etc., etc. Personally, I choose freedom and the fear of failure because I love my children and grandchildren and do not want them to pay for my lack of courage. How about you? Grant Shaw, Auburn