I’m not impressed by the argument that America is good because it’s free, equal, democratic and prosperous, or because a lot of people from all over the world want to move here. There are good things to be said about America on those grounds, but they can also be said about other Western countries, and it seems obvious that it is destructive to identify such things with goodness as much as people do.
The specific virtue of America, it seems to me, is that it is less statist, more religious and civically-minded, and institutionally freer than other Western countries. Even with all our PC, “celebration of diversity,” and “zero tolerance” policies, there is less of the nanny state here than elsewhere. The schools may be bad, but if you think mainstream education stinks you can homeschool your children or start your own school. We’re not as locked into a deadend system as the Europeans seem to be.
On the other hand, I’m not particularly impressed by the Europa, du hast es besser view that the Europeans are better than we are because they’re ever so much more cultured or whatnot. They’ve decisively turned their back on the sources of their own culture for the sake of well-administered security, comfort and equality, and their way of life increasingly reflects the consequences of that decision. Their good points depend on their past, and they’re destroying them. For things that suggest hope for a better world, it seems to me that America—with its weaker commitment to the administrative state—truly does have it better.