What Made The U.S. Unlike The Rest Of The Americas? (And Can It Last?)

Little House On The PrarieWhy is the United States astride the world, the modern Rome, when it is but a portion of the European-settled Americas? What has differentiated this portion of North America, between Mexico and Canada? It is rich and powerful while the rest of the Americas are, but for Canada, poor. Why?

First, let’s identify potential explanations that fail: The difference is not natural resources; Mexico and on south are well endowed. It is not the native peoples, they are the same folk from one pole to the other. It seems to us, that it comes down to which Europeans invaded. England sent folk it wished to be rid of, folk who saw the new place as an opportunity. Spain sent folk who planned to exploit the new lands and return to Spain, rich. The arriving English took the land for their own, cutting down the trees, expelling the natives and laboring to make the land produce. The Spaniards and Portuguese enslaved the natives and searched for gold and silver.

North American natives died, merged into the larger society or ended dancing listlessly for tourists on reservations. In Latin America, the freed slaves became the larger society, with a frosting of Europeans on top, whom they served in what has amounted to quasi peonage. When they expelled their European masters, they retained the master-peon social structure and therefore, their poverty.

The North American with his piece of land was an embattled individual and the U.S. Constitution enshrines individuals. The Latin Americans, as they revolted against their European masters, installed communal (socialist) land ownership (e.g. the Mexican ejido system). North Americans, who received the results of their own lands, grew rich; Latin Americans remained poor. The story of Argentina illustrates. Today’s economic breakdown in Venezuela brings us up to date. You want socialism; you get shortages.

So what we have now, is the poor folk fleeing various degrees of Latin American socialism by seeking work in the United States, a place built upon individualism. And as our species tends to do, the more socialist-reared Latin Americans arrive in North America, the more pressure builds to accommodate the language and the socialism of their birthplaces. That’s just the way people are. U.S. politicians want to use it to accumulate voters, letting any eventual social changes be the worry of their successors.

They point out truthfully, that America is an immigrant nation. They somehow fail to notice that previous waves of immigrants were anxious to discard their home cultures and to become Americans, an attitude missing from our current Latino immigrants. That is no obstacle for present U.S. political elites; they wish to discard traditional Americanism in any case. We worry about whatever it is that they have in mind to replace it….

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About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much)
This entry was posted in Capitalism, Culture, Socialism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What Made The U.S. Unlike The Rest Of The Americas? (And Can It Last?)

  1. NEO says:

    Two phraes for you, Jack:

    The Rule of Law

    Protestant Work Ethic

    I may be a Scandi but I thank God for England every day.

    But both are embattled now, and it may be over.

  2. That was interesting to read! Good question, too. I think a big part of what has shaped America really is the attitude of our immigrants. Even our founders were fleeing something oppressive and came here with the attitude that this was a new land and they would fight to keep the ways of the old world out. For a couple centuries that has been the attitude of people immigrating here. We have people in our country who have lived under communism, lived under invasions, lived where there is no economic freedom. These are not abstract ideas, they’re reality for those who have experienced them. Some of the greatest defenders of America are those who immigrated here and some of our worse critics are those who take everything we have for granted because they have never known anything else.

    Ironically, people still come here to have what the dominant culture has, those we are currently disparaging as the wealthy, the oppressors, the bigots, the greedy. We used to emulate “the rich,” now we mock them. It doesn’t bode well for our future.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Your weather eye view accords with mine … and it seems to me, that more “immigrants” come now, wishing to alter what they find rather than change themselves to match it. If that is so, it seems a bright red warning flag.

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