Kim Holmes

Kim Holmes

Is America an exceptional nation?

Absolutely, Heritage Foundation vice president Kim Holmes said this week in a lecture to the Federalist Society’s Rhode Island chapters.

What sets America apart from the rest of the world–what makes her exceptional–is her dedication to three things, according to Holmes: classic liberal tradition, political democracy, and economic freedom.

America, he said, is a “city on a hill” and has “a special role to play in safeguarding freedom in the world.”

America’s classic liberal tradition holds liberty and the protection of individual rights as foundational. “Classic American liberalism rests on the idea that the ultimate end of government is to protect the rights of citizens, even when the federal government is strong and unified,” Holmes argued.

America’s political democracy is unique among other democracies, he continued. Alexis De Tocqueville realized this exceptionalism in 1831 when there were few democracies anywhere. The American democratic ideal is that every individual is equal in the sight of the law regardless of his status in society.

“The idea was not merely the process of democracy, but that equality was essentially political,” Holmes explained.

With such a combination of liberty and democracy, America became a trusted world power in the 20th century. Even after military victories, America used her power to spread democracy to other nations, not exploit them.

These values, Holmes said, “inspired and restrained our behavior and allowed friends, allies, and even neutrals to trust us with power more than they would most other countries.”

But at the turn of the 20th century, the progressive movement brought a new challenge to these ideals by pitting democracy against limited government. Instead of a political democracy, progressives proclaimed a social democracy. And in order to obtain social democracy, the government would step in to “rectify perceived social and economic inequality.”

Conservatives reject this progressive philosophy, however, and play a crucial role in preserving this element of American exceptionalism.

The third mark of American exceptionalism is economic freedom – the right of individuals to own, gain, and dispose of property as they see fit. While eight other countries rank higher in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, America still retains greater economic freedom than the European social democracies.

In fact, Holmes maintained, America’s economic model “is not only continuing the strain of what makes America different, but is also accounting for a better performance than Europe in income mobility, unemployment, and productivity.”

Today’s challenge is really a disagreement between conservatives and progressives about whether the European model or the American model is best, he said. President Obama’s health care bill was a large step in the direction of the European model. But despite continued questions about the growing role of our government, the American model is far from lost–if only we continue to uphold the principles that made our nation great.

Ultimately this is a battle over what America is. Will America remain exceptional? Or will she reject the ideas and values that have propelled her to this exceptionalism?

Comments (3)

Pastor Carl LoTurco - December 20, 2011

A terrific article! I am so proud of you and your godly
parents. Keep up the good fight for our once great nation..I am so pleased that you are connected to the Heritage Foundation. The your grandparents, John &
Margie Ollila raised a great generation of patriots and
godly,Christ-exalting, Bible-believers loyal to the Bible &
beliefs of our founding fathers and our magnificent
Constitution. God BlessYou!!!!

James Joseph Bergquist - August 10, 2018

Holy Hallelujah…
America, he said, is a “CITY ON A HILL” and has “a special role to play in safeguarding freedom in the world.” ✨🎂 🎶🙌..

But these Three Pillars are only the “FRUIT” of an Excellent Spirit continually united with One Accord in “Prayer & Supplication” as God commands “HIS PEACE” (Patriotic Spirit) upon a “EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE” set apart from all other Nations as it is Written in in:

Jeremiah 29:4-9…
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the “”Peace and Prosperity”” of the city ((City on a Hill)) to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.
((Doom & Gloom Prophets, even the Media)).

George Washington clarified the Foundation upon which this Nation is Built upon!
“”THE THING”” that sets the American Christian apart from ALL other people of the world is: (((John 7:17))).

The Patriotic outpouring of the Holy Spirit called “WE THE PEOPLE” choose to do the will of God!

John 7:16-18 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

Progressive ideals simply take God out of the equation as they Judge without Righteous Judgment… (9 district court of appeals)

And it all begun the moment Conservatives rolled over to their WILL that took GOD OUT OF THE CLASS ROOM!
and gave birth to a generation that hates everything we are as a PEOPLE!

Love James
Holy, Holy, Holy Hallelujah!

Clyde Cook - September 30, 2018

I certainly agree with these superb reasons! I add that the limitless opportunities that our country offers every citizen is a priceless quantity that in unique to our wonderfully great country!

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