Thursday, February 05, 2004

Hoover Institution's Prof. Russel A. Berman recently wrote in Reason (March, 2004): "Asked to evaluate the statement 'Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,' 32 percent of Americans agreed in contrast to 48 percent in England, 54 percent in France, 66 percent in Italy, and 68 percent of Germany. Less than a third of Americans view their lives as defined by external forces, implying that the majority see the world in terms of individual responsibility. Meanwhile Europeans minimize individual responsibility and attribute much greater importance to outside forces. Whereas Europeans tend to a deterministic worldview, Americans focus on individual freedom." Berman goes on to speculate that these differences help to explain differences in foreign policies.

In a better world, some political candidate would grasp the significance of these differences, celebrate them, and fashion a platform that buttresses the American advantage. Nevertheless, we keep succeeding in spite of our leaders