American Exceptionalism is founded on the fact that the United States of America was to have a government that recognized that:
- All individuals are equal before the law.
- Each individual has the right to life, liberty, property, self-ownership, and the pursuit of happiness and these rights are broad.
- Government is not the source of these individual rights.
- Legitimate government exists to protect these individual rights.
- Legitimate government has a very limited scope and no powers but such as are enumerated in the people's mandate for government, the Constitution.
Today, only a minority of Americans believe in the American Principle. Because of this, the United States of America has definitely lost much of its Exceptionalism. The Index of Economic Freedom of the Heritage Foundation says the USA is the 12th freest nation, rather high in the group of mostly free nations, but falling once again compared to earlier rankings. The Simon Fraser Institute and Cato Institute do an evaluation of economic freedom around the world also. Their 2013 report on the degree of freedom in 2011 places the USA in the number 17 position and falling from its earlier rankings. So, yes the USA is the world's most powerful country. It is a comparatively free country. But it is not the world's freest country.
Frankly, the USA is not living up to the American Principle. It is the American Principle that would make us the freest country in the world. It is this principle that provides the basis for the great opportunities for personal happiness that we have often provided better than other countries in the past. On Independence Day we should all be renewing our commitment to the American Principle and we should be paying respect to those Americans who were committed to it in the past and to those who are committed to it today. We should all be eager to see America once again the premier country in the world with respect to our most important political value, our Liberty as individuals.