American Recipe for Success

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American Recipe for Success

A speech delivered by Расс Дирборн at MECC on March 12, 2007

If you have heard me speak before, you know that I frequently criticize American public policy and foolish political points of view. It is easy to find examples of bad government policy and laws that waste the country’s assets. There is also plenty of crime and corruption. The question is how does this country with all of it’s faults continue to be one of the safest, most prosperous and freest places on Earth? If it is so bad, why does the United States rank so high on many international comparisons?
Most politicians like to point to democracy as the reason for American success. Believing that democracy has made us rich and free, it has also become the central principle of US foreign policy. Democracy is assumed to be the solution for the rest of the world’s problems.

The current optimism that democracy by itself will somehow usher in prosperity and peace elsewhere on the planet displays an abysmal unfamiliarity with American history and a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons for America’s own good fortune. Democracy has little to do with American achievements.

John Adams, our second President accurately summarized the conditions necessary for America’s long-term success. President Adams felt that American peace and prosperity was primarily dependent on the kind of citizens who lived in the country. He said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other." In other words, our form of government would only work if a majority of the population were honest and basically law-abiding.
The naïve idea of exporting “our Constitution” or form of government to other countries under the label of “democracy” and expecting similar results is just as unlikely to succeed now as it was when John Adams originally pronounced that it would not work.
The historic success of the United States is not due to vague concepts of democracy as our present foreign policy preaches to the world at large. The American success story can largely be credited to three factors.

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