In early October I was watching the Today Show as the hosts talked about a recent study that claimed Europeans were happier than Americans. Their examples of European superiority were cheese and vacation time. Then the hosts, who included Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie, struggled to think of something Americans did better than Europeans. Matt Lauer joked that it might be “binge TV watching.” Another sarcastically said “fast food”
Al Roker attempted to stick up for America and suggest that we’re making a lot of great cheeses now. Guthrie haughtily said, “Like Velveeta?”
It may be popular in the media to deride the concept of American exceptionalism, but they’re not fooling everyone. In the new book, Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World author Daniel Hannan makes the case for why English-speaking people have preserved liberty and why we are seeing these views be abandoned in Washington D.C.
Hannan is the former president of the Oxford University Conservatives and was elected to the European Parliament in 1999. He also writes for several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and London’s Daily Telegraph. In 2009, a three minute video of Hannan’s response to a speech by Prime Minister Gordon Brown went viral, garnering millions of views. Following the popular YouTube clip, Hannan did interviews on Fox News with Glenn Beck Neil Cavuto and Sean Hannity.
In Inventing Freedom, Hannan writes:
The European Union is based on the premise that its twenty-seven member states share a common civilization. While their cultures might diverge at the margins, the theory goes, all sign up to the shared liberal democratic values of the West.
The reality is different. The three precepts that define Western civilization – the rule of law, democratic government, and individual liberty – are not equally valued across Europe. When they act collectively, the member states of the EU are quite ready to subordinate all three to political imperatives.
While some deride the concept of American (or Western) exceptionalism, it’s nice to know that we have allies in Europe who know that America is more than TV and Velveeta and who are willing to fight for our shared ideals.
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