Daniel J. Mitchell

I wrote a celebratory post last November about the dramatic difference between Americans and Europeans. There truly is American exceptionalism in that Europeans are much more likely to think it is government’s responsibility to provide the basics of life.

Another poll in 2010 showed Americans, by a 20-percentage point margin, want smaller government and lower taxes. A 2011 poll revealed negative views, by an almost 2-1 margin, of the federal government. And it’s not scientific, or even a poll, but I also enjoyed this Mark Steyn column  describing how Americans were the only people in the world to protest for less government when the financial crisis hit.

Perhaps most impressive is this data from late last year showing that Americans overwhelmingly view big government as the greatest threat to the nation’s future.

But self reliance and individualism are not necessarily a permanent part of American DNA, and some left wingers openly argue that they want to create an entitlement mindset.

Based on what’s already happened, Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute is worried that the narcotic of dependency may be diluting American exceptionalism.

Here are some key passages from Eberstadt’s column, beginning with a look at what makes America special.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

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