2010 ERC Scholarship Essay Program $250 Recipient
Andrew Boomhower, Seattle (Home School)
Why America is the Greatest County in the World
Why is America the greatest county in the world?
Is it because of her natural resources? That cannot be right, because there are so many countries similarly endowed that exist in poverty, corruption, and violence.
Is it because of her size? No, because Russia and China are also quite large, yet still experience strife and hardship.
Is it her power that keeps these things away? Again, see China and Russia, and one will know that that is not the case.
Her people are on the whole quite wealthy. Does her greatness lie in that? No, since not all her people are wealthy, and peoples living in the many wealthy nations of Europe do not posses such freedom or security as America’s do.
Is it her religious heritage that brings these good things? No, it is not even that, for Poland was extremely Catholic during the Soviet era, yet possessed an iron-fisted regime.
If none of these bring the freedom to do what we want, is it this freedom itself that makes America great? It is not. The police keep her people from doing absolutely anything they want, and in countries where this does not happen, tribalism and anarchy rule.
If it is none of these things ─ not even freedom in and of itself, what is it then?
It is Liberty.
It is the freedom to do not what we want, but what we should. This is what makes America great: not her land, not her wealth, not her power, not even her heritage (in itself), but her Liberty.
Many of this author’s ancestors were from Germany. They left for quite a number of reasons. Farm land was scarce and expensive. Many were drafted into the armies that the assorted German states fielded to fight their wars. The rulers were trying to impose a state religion. The theology and academia of the seminaries and colleges were becoming increasingly corrupt and secularized. Then they came to America.
Then they found Liberty.
The Liberty to labor.
The Liberty to put that labor to those ends which they considered to be praiseworthy.
The Liberty to teach their children what they should know and love.
The Liberty to worship God as they saw fit.
The Liberty to work for all that is good and the Liberty to keep and defend that good.
Their descendants can still do that today, this essayist included. Their descendants can get a decent education, they can raise a family, they can provide for it, they can protect it, and they can give thanks to God for it.
As their first ancestors who came to this land did so long ago, they still can and still do say, “Amerika ist das grӧßte Land in der Welt!”— America is the greatest country in the world!