There has been talk over the past few years about the idea that America does not have any culture of its own. This argument is often used when it comes to the idea that American culture is better than any other culture on the planet.
The idea is always brought up that America is a melting pot of cultures, and that’s what makes it so great; which is also what makes it have no culture of its own. While it is true that America is a melting pot of cultures, it is completely untrue that this is a factor that ensures that America will have no culture of its own.
The American Bill of Rights is neither the smallest nor the largest bill of rights to exist on the planet. The Bill of Rights is missing things that many people believe makes it inferior to the bill of rights of other countries, but the American Bill of Rights has one thing that no other country has: the right to free speech.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Very few understand just how important and powerful the right to free speech is, and why, on its own, it makes America so much better than any other culture on the planet.
A person’s ability to even say that America has no culture is predicated on the right to free speech, unique to this country. In China, certain TV shows, like Doctor Who, are not allowed, because they offer the possibility of alternate timelines. The Chinese government does not want it to people to think that there could be an alternate timeline, In which possibly communism does not exist, or in which there are many small governments for their country instead of one large one held by one person. In Canada, a country touted by many Socialists, anarchists, and communists, as the best country in the world, does not even have the right to free speech. In fact, you can be fined or jailed for what you say in Canada.
It could be said that the laws against certain speech in Canada are simply to protect specific citizens. Hate speech laws, while good in a very simple sense, are not so when seen from a broader perspective. The definition of hate speech and the definition of racism are nebulous terms that don’t have a definite value. Certain words can flow in and out of a state of verboten on a whim. With the goal posts constantly changing, and the laws in a constant state of flux, there is no freedom. A person knows that even the most innocuous thing today can land them in jail tomorrow. This one thing is a hallmark of countries that lack human rights.
The mere fact that thousands of Americans every day criticize the president, and the fact that celebrities can put on miniature shows in which they kill the president, knowing full well that they will not mysteriously disappear in the middle of the night is a uniquely American thing.
It is almost cliche at this point to reference Tank Man as a sign of individual freedoms in other countries. This is a man that stood in front of a line of tanks, stopping them in their tracks, the ultimate sign of defiance in the face of authority. What people don’t mention, is that Tank Man has been neither seen nor heard from him since that incident. It is unlikely that he managed to leave the general area in which he stood up to the tanks so famously.
Okay, but free speech is just one thing!
Absolutely true. It is just one thing. A very big one thing, but still just one thing. Just like being alive is just one thing. It’s interesting, in fact, how different things would likely be if this one thing didn’t exist and wasn’t enforced.
So what is another thing?
Capitalism. The one system guaranteed to pull a nation and an individual out of poverty. Capitalism, when introduced to a former socialist or communist country, has proven to lift both of the country and the individual out of poverty. Formerly capitalist countries like Venezuela that adopt socialism, almost immediately fall into poverty. Capitalism ensures that an individual, no matter his station at birth, has the ability to attain any station he wishes in life.
Is there anything else?
Plenty of things. Take, for instance, The Second Amendment.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
While some other countries do give rights to fire arms to their citizens, The Second Amendment is uniquely American. No other country has it stated so specifically that they want their populace armed well enough to fight off a potentially tyrannical government. This doesn’t mean the government of some other country, either. The Second Amendment is talking specifically about the American government becoming tyrannical, and the need for the American citizenry to be able to fight back and wrest control away from the tyrant.
It is often argued that the Second Amendment was from a time when automatic weapons or high capacity weapons didn’t exist. This is patently untrue.
No other country on the planet has a failsafe for its citizens like America has.
In short, your ability to criticize and fight your own government, as well as criticize the government entities, such as by saying “fuck the police”, without immediately being arrested and disappearing forever, is a big deal, and uniquely American. The fact that the founding fathers wanted you armed as well as possible so that the government can not encroach upon your freedoms is uniquely American.
Citizens in other countries displaying values akin to those espoused in American culture are often jailed immediately, if not outright killed, for being “too westernized”.
Maybe we should be inclined to thank our founding fathers for giving us such uniquely American rights.