Most people agree that the United States are the greatest country on earth. For years, I wondered why the US is so extraordinary and I came to the following conclusion: There are at least 5 core values or key principles the American spirit bases on which are not present or only partially present in other, ordinary societies. If you would remove just one of these five the USA would no longer be the same. I identified the following:
Capitalism, Liberty, Freedom, Self-Responsibility, Achievement
Judeo-Christian Dominant Culture and Mentality
Materialism, Consumerism, Wealth, The American Way/Dream
Ad 1) Capitalism, Liberty, Freedom, Self-Responsibility, Achievement
The first and probably most important principle of the United States is the capitalistic economic system. But it’s not only about the economic system, moreover it’s about the mindset and mentality of American people. The genuine US-American mind values a life of freedom, liberty and self-responsibility and appreciates the opportunity of individual achievement and success.
Ad 2) Independence, Individualism
I’m not sure if this second point “Independence, Individualism” is just a subset of the fist “Capitalism”. Anyway the striving for freedom isn’t restricted to the occupational or business-life but also expands the private life dimensions.
Ad 3) Judeo-Christian Dominant Culture and Mentality
By my understanding a third key principles of the United States is the Judeo-Christian Dominant Culture. Some reject this idea because there are many religions in the US but I think the country would no longer be the same if for example Muslims would make up the majority. Not only did the founding fathers come from Jewish-Christian societies, there is also something within Christianity and Jewishness itself that facilitates the development of a nation like the USA.
I think Jewish-Christian traditions and mentalities are a necessary fundament of modern western society. And there is even scientific evidence that the Protestant mindset led to a capitalist economic system.
Ad 4) Diversity
Although I believe that the genuine spirit of the USA couldn’t exist without a Judeo-Christian majority the United States would also loose their character if they had no cultural diversity. But even if diversity is part of the US I believe the benefit of diversity can only unfold if the number of minorities is not too high - a too large number of immigrants would dilute the nation’s character.
I don’t know which ratio of cultures would be the best, but I know the mixture I would prefer is somewhat like it existed in the 1990s: A black and white Christian majority beside a few larger minorities (Jews, Asian, Hispanic).
Ad 5) Materialism, Consumerism, Wealth, The American Way/Dream
I think one very essential part of the American spirit is the appreciation of and aspiration for material things. Americans want to buy things! Private property is a value by itself.
Some might disagree but I see the aspiration for commodities (under certain preconditions) as character strength. If a person is able to value a product, he or she is able to appreciate man-made beauty. Consumer society probably has reached its highest level in the USA.
I ‘m curious if you – from an inside perspective – would come to the same conclusion.
Do you think there are further points I’ve missed? Or is this it?
I’m especially interested in attributes that America(ns) have but other societies don’t.