The Angry Economist
America-Love It Or Leave It
By William P. McGowan, Ph. D.
Jul 2, 2006 - 7:18:00 PM

UNITED STATES— As a rule, I tire of news coverage that blames America for all of the worlds ills, and I dont think I am alone.  With this celebration of our country's 230th birthday, I'd like to take a moment and point out for the world what America does right, and why we are STILL the number one destination for anyone on the globe who wants to better themselves.

Home of the free and land of the brave is not some catchy slogan, but in fact the truth about the type of people who call this country home.  Free to do as we please, under a form of constitutional government that has outlasted any other country in modern times.

Brave to do what is right, even when it means taking an unpopular position.  In the last 230 years, the world has seen dozens of experiments with governance, and while some had merits, all ultimately failed.  

None of them have proved better.  Indeed, most have proved worse.  

 For those who use the opinions of the much-vaunted international community of nations to measure how well the United States is doing in the world, let me say this: being condemned by the international community is nothing new for the USA. Before we were portrayed as Uncle Sam, the British cartoonists portrayed the U.S. as John Bull, a big brute of a sailor who acted on his instincts and then thought about it.

 And lets not forget what that community of nations has done in the past in order to secure the peace of Europe in 1938, it served up Czechoslovakia to Hitler.  It defended and supported the Soviet Union from the 1950s on, and did nothing as a million Africans killed one another in the 1990s.  Ask yourself, what has the community of nations done for the victims of the on-going genocide in Darfur?

 To doubt the fundamental good the United States has done for the world in the last half century, we do not need to go to the beaches of Normandy.  I would argue that the most recently ended Cold War against the former Soviet Union is perhaps best proof of the positive good the United States has done (and continues to do) for mankind.   

Let us not forget that in the midst perpetrating many dark acts against its own population, the leaders of the USSR played a large and very influential role in the community of nations, a community that often found fault with the West in general and the United States in particular. 

That we use force unapologetically is perhaps our greatest fault in the eyes of the world, but you cannot argue with the results.  Western democracy as practiced by the United States is still not perfect, and as My Lai, Abu Garab, and Haditha demonstrate, it is still a work in progress.  Viewed out of context, these incidents could be portrayed as business-as-usual, but theyre not. As a nation, weve liberated entire continents and then went home twice. 

The only territory we asked for was ground to bury the soldiers killed in pursuit of our goals of liberating nations from oppression.  Weve maintained peace in parts of the world that would have otherwise blown up (Korea and Western Europe during the Cold War), and we are first nation any one calls when they need help in a disaster.

On the whole, the United States has done more for world peace and individual liberty than any other nation in the recorded history of time. For a country thats just 230 years old, thats not a bad track record at all. 

Happy Birthday America!

An unabashed patriot who flew an American flag on his house years before 9-11 made it fashionable, you reach William P. McGowan at


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