US Exceptionalism is Real, But Not What Most People Think

The United States is a country like no other. It began as a tiny, indebted, isolated country. But over the 100 years from 1789 — when the US Constitution was first ratified — to 1889 when the US became the world’s largest economic power, the US demonstrated growth, innovation, opportunity, and charity to the rest of the world like no other nation before or since. And all of that packed around a catastrophic civil war (1861-1865) that almost destroyed the nation itself.

Why was America different? One reason was the wide open levels of opportunity to start new enterprises and to try out disruptive innovations. This required great energy, a “frontier spirit,” the judging of a person by his actions and achievements, and a strong adherence to property rights, rule of law, and the integrity of contract.

The people who came to America were different, so America itself was different.

America attracted outcasts, dreamers, inventors, rebels, and rapscallions of every type. Immigrants to the US were looking for escape from old, limited ways of thinking and for new opportunities to make a life for themselves. They sought land to farm, markets to which they could sell, and the ability to turn ideas into realities.

The US has been the world’s largest economic superpower for almost 120 years, and shows no sign of surrendering that particular piece of exceptionalism anytime soon.

But America could not have become nearly so exceptional in so many ways, if not for the advantageous geography that the US enjoys.

The bad news for America is that over the past 25 to 30 years it has been electing staggeringly bad leadership, instituting destructive policies, and building monumental levels of government debt. No matter how well the country did over its first 100 years, it cannot prosper for another 100 years if the US government continues going deeper into debt in order to be the fattest, greediest, and most obnoxious busy-body — both domestically and internationally. The US government is too intrusive inside and outside its borders, and is cropping up levels of corruption to compete with the old world that it had once left behind.

The US is still an amazing place of opportunity for those who can jump through hoops and step around the government-instituted landmines. But the US government is badly in need of downsizing and taking down several buttonholes. The best way for that to happen is via disruptive innovations that allow residents to build parallel infrastructures that will increasingly make government intrusion unnecessary. This will take planning, work, persistence, resilience, and great ambition — things that natural-born Americans and American immigrants have been known for in the past.


US oil reserves shoot upward to pass Saudi Arabia and Russia: US reserves and production are high and can grow even higher. US consumption is apt to decline as more efficient use of oil and other forms of energy are continuously innovated.

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