“American Exceptionalism”: Voices From the Past

September 20, 2010

Money-Guy 09-20-2010

It is absolutely amazing the things we can learn from history. Even more amazing is how, very often, history appears to repeat itself. No, not in the deja-vu type fashion; but more of a, “Hmm, I think I’ve been here before”. Today’s show comes from the minds of two great thinkers and theorists, Milton Friedman and Adam Smith.

I recently returned from a trip to Disney World where, in my free time (which there wasn’t a ton of), I was fortunate enough to begin reading a book I have been wanting to read for quite some time. That book is Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. Even though I am only currently through the 4th chapter, I can definitively say that this book is amazing! It is an in depth look at Mr. Friedman (and his wife’s) view on capitalism and the free market system.

What I find especially amazing about this book is that the things that were going on when Mr. Friedman was writing this have a striking resemblance to the nature of our economy at present. While the players and the circumstances have changed, it appears as though the issues are still the same.

As you listen to the show, I will explain my thoughts on American Exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism is defined as:

“The worldview that the United States occupies a special role among the nations of the world in terms of its national ethos, political and religious institutions, and its being built by immigrants.”

The way this country was formed and the unique set of circumstances that existed at the time were truly miraculous. In the show I try to bridge the gap between the visions of our founding fathers and the fundamentals of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and the amazing success this country has seen over the last 234 years.

I go on in the show to attempt to explain where we as a country have missed that picture that the founding fathers were attempting to paint and how our view of the role of government has become skewed. I even cite specific examples such as the agricultural revolution that followed the abolishment of slavery as well other economic systems such as that of Soviet Russia. What I feel is truly profound is how, over the years, too much government has pulled us away from the very roots that made this country great. I am NOT anti-government, however.

As I close out the show, I attempt to explain the three duties of government as described by Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations:

  1. The duty of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies.
  2. The duty of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice.
  3. The duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions, which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals, to erect and maintain; because the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, though it may frequently do much more than repay it to a great society.

I challenge each and every one of you to go out and purchase Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. If you have already read this book, please feel free to leave your thoughts or comments below. It is this sort of thinking that I truly feel will keep America exceptional!

Most Recent Episodes

How to Win With Money in 2023!

Financial resolutions are always near the top of the list of Americans’ most popular New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to save and invest more, pay off debt, or have other financial goals, we will give you the tools you need to win with money in 2023.   In this...

TikToks That INFURIATE Financial Advisors

The most powerful time to get serious about building wealth is when you’re young. So, what is the younger generation learning? Financial Advice (good and bad) is being produced in massive rates across online platforms and TikTok is the new frontier. Is there good...

5 Levels of Wealth AND How to Achieve Them! (2023 Edition)

We believe there are five distinct levels of wealth, but they aren’t solely dependent on income or net worth. We’ll walk you through each of the five levels - including how to know where you are at, how to advance to the next level, and signs you are doing it right.  ...

Average Net Worth By Age in 2023!

It’s time for one of our most anticipated shows of the year: our annual Net Worth By Age show! In this year’s edition, we’ll shared updated numbers and data for 2023 and discuss the most important things for you to focus on in each decade.   In this episode, you'll...

Win Financially During a Recession! (Everything You Need to Know)

The bear market we've experienced in 2022 has been longer than many in recent memory - and some are concerned that the economy may soon enter into a recession. Here's everything you need to know to stay on-track and win financially during a recession!   In this...

The Fed Just BROKE the Car Market! (What You Need to Know)

Car prices have been on a rollercoaster ride the last few years, and it looks like they might finally be coming down. In this episode, we’ll discuss what you need to know about the current car market, pitfalls of buying a car, and how to do it the right way.   In this...

Top 4 Money Mistakes People Make During the Holidays!

There’s a reason why financial resolutions are always near the top of the list in January - many Americans spend the holiday season making financial mistakes. In this episode, we’ll discuss the top money mistakes people make during the holidays and how to avoid them....

Financial Advisors Share What They WISH They Knew About Money Earlier!

Have you ever felt like if you just knew this one thing about money earlier your finances would be in a better spot? In this episode, we’ll share the five biggest things we wish we knew about money earlier!   In this episode, you'll learn: What we wish we knew earlier...

Dave Ramsey vs. The Money Guy: Which Strategy is The Best?

Dave Ramsey has an incredible legacy of helping folks get out of debt and take control of their financial lives. We agree on a lot of things, but there are a few points of contrast. In this episode, we’ll discuss differences between The Money Guy Show and Dave Ramsey...

Top 4 Financial Mistakes We Saw This Year! (2022)

We saw some wild financial mistakes this year during the bear market. From making extreme changes to portfolio allocation, chasing the hot dot, and using too much leverage, we’ll talk about some of the biggest financial mistakes we saw in 2022 in this episode.   In...