On the day when everyone celebrates America and the glorious document that justifies its existence, I’d like to offer three cheers for the amazing Americans who make up this great country. After all, we revere the principles of the Declaration of Independence because they give rise, when applied, to a nation of self-reliant, generous, hard-working and courageous people—a people whose passion for liberty fuels a vibrant civil society that is a true wonder to behold. In this spirit, here are five great virtues that I, a foreigner living here for several years already, still marvel at on a daily basis:
Philanthropy: Americans give more and in greater proportion than anyone else in the world: no other country comes even close in the private production of public goods. Nothing is more indicative of a healthy civic mindset that recognizes that the duty to help others is not discharged by paying taxes.
Volunteerism: It’s not just money that Americans donate—it’s their precious time too. More than 60 million Americans volunteer each year to help their communities and sustain countless organizations that work to address every conceivable social ill under the sun.
Faith: Not only does America remain one of the last outposts of Western civilization where people believe in God and attend religious services, it also offers the amazing spectacle of people of all faiths harmoniously cooperating—not merely coexisting. Americans convert, intermarry, and vote for people of other faiths and no one seems to mind. The Supreme Court is made up of six Catholics and three Jews—only in America!
Tolerance: While certain voices would have you believe that America is a hotbed of racism seething with intolerance, no other nation in the history of the world has allowed minorities to go as far as in life as the US. What other country has a comparable black middle class—to say nothing of the countless African-Americans, from Barack Obama to Clarence Thomas, who have reached the highest echelons of society?
“The Sky is the Limit” Mindset: Americans ignore the apocalyptic naysaying voices of the egalitarian left and continue to believe in their heart of hearts that if they work hard and apply themselves, the sky’s limit. With 272 self-made billionaires—that’s “b” as in billions—can you blame them?
This list doesn’t claim to be exhaustive and it is most definitely idiosyncratic. I welcome your thoughts: what in your opinion makes Americans amazing?