Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
That's a nice description of the struggle of humanism since the Enlightenment - but its not uniquely 'American'.
America isn't even the best example, I'm thinking of the entrenched racism and the legal (prison) system.
Finland and some other Northern European countries have been more successful in aspiring to the 'Virtues of the Enlightenment'.

I think the OP is asking what qualities distinguish Americans from every other western liberal democracy....

War is very American. Not just the heaps of wars they've been in since the beginning of the 20th Century, but War on Drugs, War on Terror and so on. Wasn't there a war on crime too?

Militarism and prisons. Very American.
Guns....
Indeed. And applicable across a range of human institutions. Religion, for instance. Some lofty values... on paper. Some folks who work hard at living those values. Some who give lip service only. Some who actively pervert those values for various reasons reflection their own personal damaged states. Which wolf?