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It’s a longer watch, yes. But I felt it incredibly necessary. For those of you who can’t be bothered, I’ve included a transcript below.
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So this video’s gone viral. It’s Jeff Daniels’ rant on The Newsroom in which he makes the case that America is not the greatest country in the world. Every progressive and their dog has sent it to you, using it to declare the death of American pride and excellence. It’s worth a watch. But is it at all true? Let’s watch.
WILL McAVOY: I’ve voted for candidates run by both major parties.
Firstly, this is a red flag; this is the bipartisan journalism that ONLY occurs in Hollywood. This is meant to set him up as objective, as a way of covering up what becomes an agenda-driven, anti-American, leftist diatribe–be aware of that slight of hand.
WILL McAVOY: Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece. James Madison was a genius. The Declaration of Independence is for me the single greatest piece of American writing.
Yet of course, he goes on to elude his support for the consistent progressive violation of the Constitution, because you know, he’s objective.
WILL McAVOY: You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so f***in’ smart then how come they lose so g**damn always?
Okay, it’s important to note that again, in an attempt to feign even-handedness, the only indictment on liberals is that of strategy, not principles. Contrast this with what comes next
WILL McAVOY: And with a straight face, you’re gonna tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The U.K. France. Italy. Germany. Spain. Australia. BELGIUM has freedom. (laughs) Two hundred and seven sovereign states in the world, like, a hundred and eighty of them have freedom.
Here’s the fulcrum of his argument. The equivalency between the United States and other countries. Because they claim to be free, it must be so. That our freedom is the same. Is it true?
Canada? Where I was raised, let’s start with that. They have freedom? A place where pastors have been banned from engaging in free speech for speaking from the pulpit? A place where the right to spontaneously protest and peaceably assemble has literally been BANNED in provinces like Quebec, a place where there’s a gun registration because you’re not even allowed a handgun unless you extensively justify your right of self-preservation to the government just for them to likely turn you down anyway? A place where freedom of the press is essentially non-existent with a monopoly on TV news coming from government-funded media, and where the right to free speech… is not even actual right at all.
WILL McAVOY: Japan has freedom. The U.K. France. Italy. Germany. Spain. Australia. BELGIUM has freedom. (laughs) Two hundred and seven sovereign states in the world, like, a hundred and eighty of them have freedom.
Obviously I can’t go through every country to list the differences, but I do encourage you to do so. What I can say without any shadow of a doubt is that not only are these countries nowhere near as free as the USA, but they were never, from the ground-up, even intended to be.
Places like the UK, Britain specifically, with some of the highest taxes in the world surpassed only by the other nations Daniels so praises in France, Netherlands and Italy, Ireland and Spain. The UK, a place where a business can be shut down simply for holding unpopular religious beliefs. And of course, access to self-defense firearms is all but non-existent… because they saw how that ended up. State militia and all.
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Or other places he’s mentioned like Belgium and France, where even the U.N. reports that violations of religious freedom have increased dramatically–with the exception of radical Islam, which has grown so rapidly they’ve been able to establish their own anti-freedom communities, courts, and even laws. Women’s rights, human rights, civil rights all violated grossly and consistently, in the name of Islam to which these bastions of freedom so incessantly cave and to which they will very soon be overrun.
Japan, a place founded on pre-determined non-moving societal structures for centuries where you were either born into nobility or a peasant, a country who sought to spread tyranny to the world several times who, in the modern era, still make firearms for personal defense all but illegal–and religious freedom is in essence all but nonexistent. Yeah, in my opinion, I think we’re more free.
WILL McAVOY: There’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re seventh in literacy. Twenty-seventh in math. Twenty-second in science. Forty-ninth in life expectancy. A hundred and seventy-eighth in infant mortality. Third in median household income. Number four in labor force and number four in exports.
Firstly a couple of things: the infant mortality rate is a long debunked myth, and the fact that Jeff Daniels’ character uses it here shows us the “unbiased” slight of hand that I’d mentioned earlier. The U.S. ranks high on the infant mortality list largely because we actually measure neonatal deaths, notably in premature infant fatalities, unlike other countries that basically leave premature babies to die. You’d think that a “non-partisan journalist” like Will McAvoy could have an intern do a modicum of research, that is… if he wanted the truth.
Now there are a few things there that yes, Jeff Daniels gets right. We don’t have a great life expectancy; but ironically, that comes as a consequence of freedom. Nobody will argue that personal responsibility and free choice come without negative ramifications for individuals who seek to abuse them. Unlike other countries on the list who have low life expectancy because of famine and lack, Americans have so much overabundance that many, in their freedom, over-indulge themselves into an early death. In the United States, you are free to do so. It’s also why the United States dominates physical endeavors in the record books in nearly every category. Because that over-abundance and free choice that allows you to become a glutinous pig allows Americans the choice to create the optimal, healthiest lifestyle possible. It’s why most Olympic athletes competing for other nations want to get here to train. Because whether it’s food, technology, cutting edge training protocols with the freedom which allows for that kind of mediocrity also comes the best of the best.
WILL McAVOY: We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.
Sure we may not be the #1 country in math or science today. It’s hard to compete with places like China, where you are ASSIGNED your life profession and direction at a young age as based on genetics and proclivities by the government. Again, with freedom comes a greater variance than in non-free societies; but even with that, his numbers are misleading. The United States has historically and continues to lead the world in both manufacturing and innovation. Before you get your hate-comments ready, it’s true that on the Global Technology index, the United States ranks third behind Finland and Japan overall when a more significant portion of technological advancements come from government; but the United States still leads by a large margin in individual innovations/patents per capita because sure, it’s hard to argue with our global stand-outs like Microsoft, Google, or Apple–but more importantly, the United States is still the land of small business owners and innovators, not only a few companies with big government contracts. Our continued scientific, technological, and medical innovation is, yes, a huge reason that the United States is still arguably the biggest determining factor in global market economic impact, but not the biggest. That would go to our most influential export, culture.
Films, televisions, stories, icons, there has never been a culture to so saturate the world quite like that of America’s. Even if you personally don’t like American culture, this one is undeniable as seen by looking at the top grossing films, albums, and most influential modern artists of our time, America dominates the list. Even with many of the exceptions from the UK or Canada, most of them only found success once they made it in and moved to the United States. It’s why all of these countries that McAvoy praises in his monologue find their top cultural charts filled to the brim with American content; yet we don’t find ours with theirs. See, whether you, the self-loathing Americans in the comments section, happen to like American art or not is irrelevant to the fact that the world, the entire world has spoken with their dollar. And it’s one of the greatest ironies that America, the country accused by leftist, multiculturalism proponents like McAvoy of having no real culture… is only capable of making it it’s greatest export because the rest of the world so desperately seeks to be included in it.
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So sure. I wanted to brag on my country for a bit; but to get back to the point, none of those statistics, had they even been true, have anything to do with freedom. Sure, freedom has ultimately produced fantastic results–but even if or when it doesn’t that isn’t the case; it doesn’t negate the inherent moral superiority of freedom as a governing principle to tyranny. A redneck in a trailer park drinking bottom shelf beer, running a convenience store, firing guns off into the woods on Saturday night is still free, unlike the child in China who’s told by her government at age 6 that she’ll be an Olympic gymnast because she has the right bone structure and genetics. Also, that her career will be over by 12. Freedom isn’t afforded to a citizenry because it inherently produces the best results; it’s afforded simply because it’s right.
WILL McAVOY: we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.
Now many of us would agree that United States is flawed, that the prison system could be improved upon. His jab at people who “believe in angels,” which is the linchpin that ultimately and entirely undermines his entire point, I’ll address in closing. But in his mocking of national defense, he misses one of leftism’s greatest ironies in that all of these countries who, granted, still only enjoy the paltry selective freedom that their government allows their citizens are only afforded the ability to enjoy any of it in the first place because of the United States of America.
That’s right, Belgium, France, Japan, Italy, Germany–all of those countries mentioned get to enjoy the benefits of the free world because the greatest peace-keeping organization the world has ever known, the United States military… keeps it that way.
And these countries can complain about the United States’ nuclear arsenal, our overly-armed citizenry, or our interventionism abroad when compared with our in-country social programs because the burden of ensuring the continuance of the free world at all falls squarely on our shoulders, not theirs.
The UK wants to continue enjoying their right to censor social media and the press–you now have to defend the free world.
Canada enjoys their free right to censor public speech; fine, but let’s change one thing… protect your own borders, and your own vast, underpopulated country, rich in natural resources, because the United States is no longer your big brother.
France wants to continue enjoying their 75% tax rate on the wealthy; go nuts. Now try and keep your economy afloat while stopping terror cells around the globe and giving more foreign aid to third world countries than any nation in the history of ever. See if you can make it work.
As a matter of fact, a great irony here is that most of these countries Jeff Daniels so lovingly praises found themselves several times on the wrong side of freedom fighting to end it, only to be thwarted by the ignorant patriots of the United States who ensured that it would live on for generations to come. Germany, England, France, Japan, they’re the ones who get to educate us… on freedom?
WILL McAVOY: Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons.
Here’s where we get emotionally disingenuous. His assertion that unlike today, we once wrote laws for moral reasons. There may be a shred of truth to that. Why do you think that is?
“…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
WILL McAVOY: We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered.
These men were intelligent men, yes. But they’re revered not because they were more informed than the English aristocrats, but because they were principled, brave, and unwavering; and whether you like it or not, that came from these men also having a deeply held respect for faith and it’s necessity in creating a government allowing for a free people. He’s right; we stood up for what was right. See, for the first time, a system of government was designed from the ground up to allow for true freedoms granted to its citizens, not by these men, but by a Creator, on which no man could infringe. The principles of God-given rights. By men, who were silly enough to believe in angels.
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