Two views of American exceptionalism

The two best pieces I read today were this column by George Will (“Why America Leans Right”) and this one by Arnold Beichman (“Big Why of anti-Americanism”). Both pieces discuss the contrast between the American and European political traditions, Beichman as his major theme and Will in passing. Beichman quotes German economist Werner Sombart who stated, “On the reefs of roast beef and apple-pie, socialistic Utopias of every sort are sent to their doom.” Will enlists a pair of Brits, John Mickethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, to show that this explanation is too materialistic. Religiosity, they say, “predisposes Americans to see the world in terms of individual virtue rather than in terms of the vast social forces that so preoccupy Europeans.”

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