Western European cruise thoughts–
I know that briefly touring part of a country for part of a day does not qualify one to give any definitive analysis of the country visited, particularly, vis-à-vis, one's home country. But having spent two weeks touring nine European countries (The UK, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, western Russia, Estonia, Poland, and Norway) and having studied a degree of history, I do feel qualified to make some broad comparisons. 
Of course, there are things about each country that I can appreciate and admire, and there are aspects of the way many of the people of these countries live their lives and arrange their personal affairs that I admire and deeply respect. Noting some of these positive attributes, there is a sustained call from some quarters in my country and in much of the rest of the world for the U.S. to fully embrace the attitudes and governing philosophies of Europe, given the similarities that appear on the surface, the trends towards, and apparent benefits of, one-world governance (i.e. the United Nations, the European Union etc.). However, on balance, it seems clear to me that America can and must remain -- American. 
Any clear-headed analysis reveals that there has always been, and indeed remains, a basic and foundational difference in the way Europeans view life (and more specifically political life) compared to the way we Americans see things. After reflecting on what might be the basic difference between how Europeans see life, and how we Americans see life, I have come to the conclusion that the difference is, at its most basic, a difference in the belief and understanding of where the source of authority for life, personally and collectively, lies. 
Europeans have been taught, by their history and experience, as well as their current written and oral political declarations, that "the collective", i.e. the state, in whatever form it might take (whether monarchy, oligarchy, or some variant of democratic socialism), is the primary source of authority in society. Americans view the source of authority profoundly differently. We Americans are currently unique in our belief that the individual rather than the collective is the focus of society -- and is the primary source of authority and sovereignty. 
We Americans designed a political system based on a firm belief in an individual sovereignty that is based on one's being created individually in the image of a sovereign God and endowed with delegated authority from that God, and that only by voluntarily lending a portion of that God-given authority to the collective for commonly agreed-upon purposes (i.e. forming by this “the state" or "government”) does society collectively have authority to do anything. This belief in the supremacy of individual sovereignty over collective sovereignty is reflected in our founding documents (in our Declaration of Independence -- our rationale for being -- and in our foundational written agreement for societal functioning and structure -- the U.S. Constitution), as well as in the way our laws generally have been written, the way our courts rationalize decisions, and how the majority of citizens have actually viewed themselves in relation to the state (and to the degree that the ideals of these founding principles were not universally applied due to historical prejudices, the foundational instruments provided a mechanism for correction without having to "overthrow" anything!). This foundational American philosophy of individual sovereignty has been, unfortunately and unwisely, challenged and diluted to a serious degree by a minority of Americans (primarily politicians, academics, unionists, and media -- but not a majority of voting Americans!). And yet, despite this assault, there steadfastly remains, in the deepest parts of the American psyche, the foundational belief in the sovereignty of the individual! Europeans may be forgiven their default of looking to the state to tell them "what to do, how to do it, and when to do or not do it" etc, given their long history of being dominated by a succession of autocratic forces (political, religious, or some combination of the two) but we in the U.S. have no such excuse! 
We Americans were blessed to have been born as a nation out of the core belief in individual liberty, a sacred liberty tempered by a common moral understanding of the need to behave, individually, as children of a moral God who will hold each of us individually accountable for our moral choices -- choices that affect us personally as well those around us. Statistics claim to show (and it seems true to me) that Europe has lost much of its faith in God. Many Europeans (and leaders of essentially all totalitarian systems) seem, to me at least, to view the state as their de facto god. These two things are likely connected. But even in times past, when Europeans honored God more generally, there was a difference in how that played out in political (and indirectly, personal) terms as compared to how faith affected and still influences things in America. 
In Europe, religion (usually a specific form of Christian religion) has almost always been tied to the state -- with religion being state enforced or sponsored or allowed. This would seem, at least subconsciously, to have the effect of giving the state the final say in every aspect of life -- even in the most basic and personal areas such as religious belief and faith. In America, there is absolute freedom of religion, with the only authority connected to religion and faith being that which the individual chooses freely to be bound by. 
Once again, we find here the profound difference in the way Europeans vs. Americans view the authority and sovereignty of the individual vs. that of the collective. 
Europe is a beautiful place to visit, full of kind and friendly people (paid excursions are not necessarily a good way to get a sense of how locals really feel about Americans, but the locals we encountered seemed generally to be genuinely kind and helpful). But there remains, for all the political reformations and progress in Europe (as real and genuine as it is, i.e., the effects of the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Solidarity movement, etc.), the sense in Europe that life is, to a large degree, controlled, and limited by an external force that the individual cannot and indeed should not resist and possibly overcome. Things are done, are decreed, are enforced by an "other", by an entity outside of themselves called "The Government". "We The People" deciding things, based on individuals lending a part of their God-given sovereignty to the group in order to do only what individuals collectively decide government should do (and that, only within the bounds they collectively put into written form) would seem quite foreign to most of my new European friends. 
Europeans have fought innumerable wars for the limited freedom they have, and I pray no more are needed or provoked. We Americans fought a great war at our founding, and one a few decades later to right historic limitations in the application of our core beliefs. We helped the world battle massive threats to liberty and sovereignty in two world wars, applied political, military, financial, and rhetorical pressure to speed the collapse of the Soviet empire, and more recently we spent more precious American lives and treasure fighting worldwide terrorism. 
Despite the deep foundational differences between us and our European friends and cousins (my family and my wife's family have forebears from many European countries), we say "Thank you, Europe", for so much of what is best and rich in our heritage as Americans -- for the struggles, the wars fought to advance freedom and civility amongst peoples and nations, for the spread of the Christian religion to all parts of the earth with its message of the dignity of all persons as children of one supreme and moral God. We have much in common, which we all cherish. But our differences are real as well, worth noting and keeping in mind amidst all the talk of one-world "whatevers".
My prayer for America remains that she will remain the beacon of Liberty for all peoples, based on her belief in the reality of sacred individual sovereignty -- that the blood shed in defending liberty will not have been shed in vain. I pray that no foreign military aggression or faulty understanding of history, or of worldview on our part as Americans, will triumph over our "call" to lead the world further on the path towards true Liberty.
Ricky Lee Jackson is a Doctor by day and a Nashville recorded country music artist/conservative patriot by night. He has appeared nationally on 'Fox & Friends', been interviewed as an expert on national radio programs, performed at countless rallies and conventions, and held the #1 single on the national CDBaby country music charts. 

 

I am not running for President. But just as Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney returned from his European excursion, so I too was returning from my own. 

I know that briefly touring part of a country for part of a day does not qualify one to give any definitive analysis of the country visited, particularly, vis-à-vis, one's home country. But having spent two weeks touring nine European countries (The UK, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, western Russia, Estonia, Poland, and Norway) and having studied a degree of history, I do feel qualified to make some broad comparisons. 

Of course, there are things about each country that I can appreciate and admire, and there are aspects of the way many of the people of these countries live their lives and arrange their personal affairs that I admire and deeply respect. Noting some of these positive attributes, there is a sustained call from some quarters in my country and in much of the rest of the world for the U.S. to fully embrace the attitudes and governing philosophies of Europe, given the similarities that appear on the surface, the trends towards, and apparent benefits of, one-world governance (i.e. the United Nations, the European Union etc.). However, on balance, it seems clear to me that America can and must remain -- American. 

Any clear-headed analysis reveals that there has always been, and indeed remains, a basic and foundational difference in the way Europeans view life (and more specifically political life) compared to the way we Americans see things. After reflecting on what might be the basic difference between how Europeans see life, and how we Americans see life, I have come to the conclusion that the difference is, at its most basic, a difference in the belief and understanding of where the source of authority for life, personally and collectively, lies. 
Europeans have been taught, by their history and experience, as well as their current written and oral political declarations, that "the collective", i.e. the state, in whatever form it might take (whether monarchy, oligarchy, or some variant of democratic socialism), is the primary source of authority in society. Americans view the source of authority profoundly differently. We Americans are currently unique in our belief that the individual rather than the collective is the focus of society -- and is the primary source of authority and sovereignty. 

We Americans designed a political system based on a firm belief in an individual sovereignty that is based on one's being created individually in the image of a sovereign God and endowed with delegated authority from that God, and that only by voluntarily lending a portion of that God-given authority to the collective for commonly agreed-upon purposes (i.e. forming by this “the state" or "government”) does society collectively have authority to do anything. This belief in the supremacy of individual sovereignty over collective sovereignty is reflected in our founding documents (in our Declaration of Independence -- our rationale for being -- and in our foundational written agreement for societal functioning and structure -- the U.S. Constitution), as well as in the way our laws generally have been written, the way our courts rationalize decisions, and how the majority of citizens have actually viewed themselves in relation to the state (and to the degree that the ideals of these founding principles were not universally applied due to historical prejudices, the foundational instruments provided a mechanism for correction without having to "overthrow" anything!). This foundational American philosophy of individual sovereignty has been, unfortunately and unwisely, challenged and diluted to a serious degree by a minority of Americans (primarily politicians, academics, unionists, and media -- but not a majority of voting Americans!). And yet, despite this assault, there steadfastly remains, in the deepest parts of the American psyche, the foundational belief in the sovereignty of the individual! Europeans may be forgiven their default of looking to the state to tell them "what to do, how to do it, and when to do or not do it" etc, given their long history of being dominated by a succession of autocratic forces (political, religious, or some combination of the two) but we in the U.S. have no such excuse! 

We Americans were blessed to have been born as a nation out of the core belief in individual liberty, a sacred liberty tempered by a common moral understanding of the need to behave, individually, as children of a moral God who will hold each of us individually accountable for our moral choices -- choices that affect us personally as well those around us. Statistics claim to show (and it seems true to me) that Europe has lost much of its faith in God. Many Europeans (and leaders of essentially all totalitarian systems) seem, to me at least, to view the state as their de facto god. These two things are likely connected. But even in times past, when Europeans honored God more generally, there was a difference in how that played out in political (and indirectly, personal) terms as compared to how faith affected and still influences things in America. 

In Europe, religion (usually a specific form of Christian religion) has almost always been tied to the state -- with religion being state enforced or sponsored or allowed. This would seem, at least subconsciously, to have the effect of giving the state the final say in every aspect of life -- even in the most basic and personal areas such as religious belief and faith. In America, there is absolute freedom of religion, with the only authority connected to religion and faith being that which the individual chooses freely to be bound by. 
Once again, we find here the profound difference in the way Europeans vs. Americans view the authority and sovereignty of the individual vs. that of the collective. 

Europe is a beautiful place to visit, full of kind and friendly people (paid excursions are not necessarily a good way to get a sense of how locals really feel about Americans, but the locals we encountered seemed generally to be genuinely kind and helpful). But there remains, for all the political reformations and progress in Europe (as real and genuine as it is, i.e., the effects of the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Solidarity movement, etc.), the sense in Europe that life is, to a large degree, controlled, and limited by an external force that the individual cannot and indeed should not resist and possibly overcome. Things are done, are decreed, are enforced by an "other", by an entity outside of themselves called "The Government". "We The People" deciding things, based on individuals lending a part of their God-given sovereignty to the group in order to do only what individuals collectively decide government should do (and that, only within the bounds they collectively put into written form) would seem quite foreign to most of my new European friends. 
Europeans have fought innumerable wars for the limited freedom they have, and I pray no more are needed or provoked. We Americans fought a great war at our founding, and one a few decades later to right historic limitations in the application of our core beliefs. We helped the world battle massive threats to liberty and sovereignty in two world wars, applied political, military, financial, and rhetorical pressure to speed the collapse of the Soviet empire, and more recently we spent more precious American lives and treasure fighting worldwide terrorism. 

Despite the deep foundational differences between us and our European friends and cousins (my family and my wife's family have forebears from many European countries), we say "Thank you, Europe", for so much of what is best and rich in our heritage as Americans -- for the struggles, the wars fought to advance freedom and civility amongst peoples and nations, for the spread of the Christian religion to all parts of the earth with its message of the dignity of all persons as children of one supreme and moral God. We have much in common, which we all cherish. But our differences are real as well, worth noting and keeping in mind amidst all the talk of one-world "whatevers".

My prayer for America remains that she will remain the beacon of Liberty for all peoples, based on her belief in the reality of sacred individual sovereignty -- that the blood shed in defending liberty will not have been shed in vain. I pray that no foreign military aggression or faulty understanding of history, or of worldview on our part as Americans, will triumph over our "call" to lead the world further on the path towards true Liberty.

Ricky Lee Jackson is a Doctor by day and a Nashville recorded country music artist and conservative patriot by night. He has appeared nationally on 'Fox & Friends', been interviewed as an expert on several national radio programs, performed at countless rallies and conventions, and held the #1 single on the national CDBaby country music charts. You can also follow him on Twitter @DoctorRickyLee.

 

What Fox News Says About Ricky Lee Jackson:

"He’s the new Joe the Plumber; now there's Rick the Doctor...
Some have joined Tea Parties, stormed town halls, others like family practice physician and country recording artist Ricky Lee Jackson have taken to the microphone... 
he wants his country back." 
~ Fox and Friends / Fox News
 

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