Don't Give Up on America
In three years, America will celebrate her 250th birthday. A quarter of a millennium will have passed since the founding — a long time indeed. And in many aspects, this country is very different from what the founders could have imagined.
For the better part of a century, America has been the planet's premier superpower, and it remains the most powerful and prosperous nation mankind has ever seen. Many of the world's most important technologies and innovations, from modern aviation to the internet, are attributed to its elite inventors and entrepreneurs. America dominates in academia, science, innovation, finance, sports, and several other sectors. Politically and geographically, the nation now spans the breadth of a continent, its people having managed to unite the east and west coasts and unlock the natural resources housed within. In less than 250 years, America has transformed from a mere idea into an unparalleled behemoth of proportions that would have been inconceivable to an 18th-century mind.
Yet at the same time, there is trouble on the horizon. Polarization dominates contemporary American politics — a prospect the founders abhorred. The ever-increasing centralization of decision-making in Washington since the New Deal has fundamentally shifted the balance between federal and state power. While some parts of the national government, such as the executive, have overstepped their constitutional bounds, others, such as Congress, have relinquished important duties assigned to them. Culturally, much of modern American society would be quite alien to the well-read, at least nominally religious Enlightenment-era men who wrote the Constitution. In recent decades, America has assumed the unfortunate reputation as the fast-food and consumerism capital of the world, while patriotism and religiosity among its people have been in steady decline. The values espoused in their place by Hollywood, Big Tech, and many of the country's premier academic institutions have an unmistakable veneer of oikophobia.
Today a sense of pessimism reigns, among both intellectual elites and everyday citizens, about the current state and future of this nation. Three-quarters of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, and around 80% are worried about the way Washington is governing our vast, pluralistic republic. On both sides of the political aisle, the public appears to be losing hope in the American project. As thinkers like Timothy Carney today and Robert Nisbet decades ago have recognized, Americans feel increasingly alienated — not just economically, but also politically, socially, and culturally. It is hardly surprising that many are asking the question: Can America survive?
Neither of the authors of this article grew up in the United States; we've both lived in Europe for most of our lives. One of us, Chris, was born in Belgium to a Dutch father and an American mother. At 17, he moved to the United Kingdom for school before moving to Washington, D.C., in 2020. His upbringing and background have been distinctly European — trilingual and all. And yet the lure of country music, mutton-busting, fishing in the Rocky Mountains, and singing the national anthem before, well, everything, was irresistible. In the summer of 2021, he married an American girl from Colorado. Today, he proudly flashes his American passport at the airport. Even the British accent is gone.
The other, Kai, hails from Regensburg, Germany, and has lived in Vienna, Prague, and Brussels for most of his adult life. Having traveled to the United States for the first time in 2016, he immediately felt at home. He has since visited more than 40 states before finally moving to Michigan in 2021 to earn a master's degree at Hillsdale College. A whiskey-drinking, burger-eating, bluegrass-listening, college-football-addicted patriot, Kai has, like millions of others who came to this country over the centuries, found Peter Schramm's quip of being "born American, but in the wrong place" rather fitting.
While we cherish America for distinct reasons and are living out our American Dream from vastly different locations — one on Capitol Hill, the other in the rural Midwest — we share the same sentiment: America still stands as a beacon of hope for the world and offers a promise of a better future. Rather than wanting to give up on the project in dismay, our outside perspective has allowed us to realize that there is something genuinely exceptional about America that sets her apart — something well worth protecting.
We believe America has something to offer for the future. To us, much of Europe is mired in relativism, declining religion, and an overbearing and culturally erosive European Union. Our firsthand experience in America, however, tells us that despite her many problems, she still harbors thriving communities of citizens who take pride in their national heritage and hope to see it preserved. A countercultural reawakening is thus not only more likely to occur in America than in Europe, but is actively being brought about today — especially by many thousands of young people who simply care. It's not necessarily easy to explain to those who don't share our experience, but segments of American society exhibit a vibrance that simply doesn't exist in much of Europe.
Coming from Europe to America, we have been struck by the hope, freedom, and dynamism we believe remain core features of this great nation. We must emphasize that our account is thus one-sided, and intentionally so: There has been no lack of attacks on the American project in recent years. Instead, we seek to remind Americans that they have inherited something special that deserves protecting. Ultimately, our hope is that this account will contribute to a growing revitalization and resurgence of the American project that we have come to know and love so dearly.
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE AMERICAN PROJECT
American history provides an unparalleled case study in statecraft. As Alexis de Tocqueville, America's most famous visitor, recognized long ago, this "is the only country where we have been able to witness the natural and tranquil development of a society." This was no accident. As the late political philosopher Harry Jaffa wrote, the American experiment "remains the most radical attempt to establish a regime of liberty that the world has yet seen." For the first time, a people were truly empowered to deliberate over and establish what they considered a just and free political regime.
This is not to say that justice and freedom were alien to mankind before 1776. The values that animated the American founding weren't born in a historical vacuum; they were the direct result of millennia of philosophical, religious, cultural, artistic, scientific, and political developments on the European continent. Russell Kirk identified four great cities as precursors to America: Athens, Rome, Jerusalem, and London. America became the fifth installment of that great civilization we might call "the West."
But despite its civilizational antecedents, there is something decisively different about the American project. Here were people, left largely to their own devices on a continent mostly uninhabited, who quickly found purpose and direction in their newfound freedom. From the beginning — embodied by the archetypal Puritan in whom Tocqueville saw "the whole destiny of America contained" — Americans thrived on self-government, individual liberty, and Judeo-Christian morality in a decentralized polity. Even before the name John Locke swept across the ocean to the new continent, Americans had already started building a regime of liberty. However imperfectly it was upheld at times, the fundamental principle of this emerging society was that "all men are created equal" and endowed by God with the right to shape their own future.
Bucking the historical trend of revolutionary movements, the experiment did not lead to catastrophe. In Europe, as Tocqueville noted, the cry for freedom was a slippery slope to a full-blown rejection of tradition and history. Like Edmund Burke, Tocqueville worried that revolutions like that of the French in 1789 were rooted in a narrow, subversive individualism that eroded what was meaningful in society, leaving behind the lone, atomized individual who would inevitably fall prey to tyranny. Thus it was not surprising to him that Europeans perpetually "oscillat[ed] between servitude and license."
The first Americans, by contrast, fought and defeated "by means of liberty" this distorted notion of individualism. As Hillsdale professor Matthew Spalding points out, self-government in the American context meant not only that a democratic people would govern itself politically; it also implied "moral self-government," or the idea that each individual should govern himself along established moral lines. Americans realized that in order to be free while maintaining their republic, they would need to remain, in the words of Tocqueville, "moral, religious and moderate, in proportion as [they were] free." And for guidance on these matters, they turned to the repository of knowledge, traditions, norms, and wisdom that had developed over time in the great Western civilizations of the past.
DYNAMISM OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
At this point, our readers might be forgiven for expressing a sense of disillusionment: How far America has strayed from this original vision! Yet we contend that, while many of these traditional values are indeed on the decline, they remain stronger here than anywhere else in the West. In fact, they aren't just strong; they also provide the best hope for an American revival.
The continued existence of local initiative, self-government, and community association have been key elements in our admiration for America. These principles, combined with the wilderness and vastness of the continent, offered the early settlers and the millions who have arrived since then an unparalleled opportunity to pursue their own paths in life. This has led to an astonishingly dynamic society, with the American citizen "ardent in his desires, enterprising, adventurous, [and] above all an innovator." For Tocqueville, America was a land teeming with "activities and efforts." Thus, as Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist No. 12, the "prosperity of commerce...[became] a primary object" of American policymaking straight away.
The American economic model of limited government, private initiative, and free enterprise unleashed and helped sustain the dynamism and proactivity of its people. Even today, with rising economic competition across the globe, 45% of start-ups and 50% of unicorns (start-ups valued at $1 billion or more) come from the United States. These companies have a much higher success rate than those in Europe, and tend to stay in business longer. The unceasing can-do spirit required for these firms to take root and thrive is much more prevalent among Americans than it is among Europeans, in part because Americans begin nurturing it at an early age: Even young children in the United States do chores to earn pocket money and hold bake sales to fundraise for school field trips.
Unfortunately, America's economic dynamism has taken a downturn in recent years, as the American Enterprise Institute's Ryan Streeter recently pointed out in these pages. The United States has increasingly embraced the European economic model of dirigisme, sidelining principles like free enterprise and bottom-up innovation in favor of government spending and money-printing. Currently, the United States has the 14th-largest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world. And yet, it has managed to remain stronger economically than any other country thus far.
Of course, it would be too narrow to speak only of material prosperity in describing American dynamism. Tocqueville famously observed that civil society plays an even more important role in the dynamic nature of Americans, who are bound by religious, civic, and family ties that cannot be orchestrated from the top down. "Americans of all ages, of all conditions, of all minds, constantly unite," he observed. "There is scarcely so small an enterprise for which the Americans do not unite." This notion is most keenly expressed in the money and time Americans invest in charity. Americans are by far the most charitable people in the world: As the Philanthropy Roundtable shows, Americans give three to 15 times more money to charity than citizens in other countries. Americans are also incredibly charitable with their time: Sixty-three million individuals, or one in four adults, volunteer their time every year, each donating an average of 139 hours annually.
This charitable nature also expresses itself culturally. There's a certain sociability to the American spirit — and not just in the deep South or the Midwest. Many first-time visitors to America are surprised by the warmth and friendliness they are met with. Whereas Europeans politely ignore each other, Americans interact. When you need help with something, neighbors and friends trip over one another to provide assistance. When you visit, an American will invite you to his home and plan his whole day to make your visit a success — even if he barely knows you. These are all anecdotal experiences that might not sound special to those who have only ever known America. But for those of us who come from other countries, it is a culture shock of the most beautiful kind.
The American spirit of dynamism has also turned the country into a nation of problem-solvers. Rather than resigning themselves to the status quo, Americans strive to improve things. Those who are pessimistic about the state of the country today should take solace from the fact that bottom-up reform movements are a core feature of the American experience. What starts out as a small, incremental change has the potential to grow and expand, offering Americans hope of a better future.
We've been struck in particular by the country's massive, self-organizing ecosystem of conservative institutions. Unlike Europe, America offers genuine alternatives to the prevailing orthodoxy. Countercultural opinions not only exist, but can find an enormous audience. From prominent news platforms, to a flourishing magazine culture, to an incredible range of think tanks and non-profit organizations, to student organizations on prominent college campuses, the conservative institutional network in America is unparalleled elsewhere in the West.
The contrast between Europe and America is perhaps most stark when it comes to the education sector. It's no secret that public education in America is in a dismal state. Yet from charter and home schools to religious colleges and private universities, American parents have the freedom to send their children to educational institutions whose values are more closely aligned with their own. American conservatives may be horrified that this country needs places like Hillsdale, Ave Maria, Steubenville, or Pepperdine, yet America is the only country in the West where these places could both exist and thrive, providing a foundation for successive generations of students to stem the cultural tide and revitalize the American project.
RESILIENCE OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
The American people are the cornerstone of the greatness and robustness of the American project, and their dynamism and associational tendencies make them unique among the peoples of the world. Their greatness is also facilitated by another key element: America's political tradition. That tradition not only upholds the idea that every human being enjoys natural rights that cannot be infringed upon; it also celebrates the role federalism plays in protecting these rights.
Ever since the European Union's inception, political power in Europe has increasingly flowed from national governments to supranational governing bodies. Unbounded by the pesky shackles of national sovereignty, the union has pursued an agenda of political and cultural integration that seeks to address every political problem directly from Brussels. This centralization risks lumping the rich diversity of the continent into one large, homogeneous mass that renounces anything smacking of differences in culture, policy, or opinion. Even among the ever-diminishing vestiges of national sovereignty in Europe, political power is heavily concentrated in capital cities, which dole out legislation from the top down.
Americans, by contrast, have long subscribed to the concept of subsidiarity, or the principle that power should be decentralized as much as possible and dispersed as close to the individual as possible. For Tocqueville, the United States was the prime example of localism in action. Thanks to both its political system and its sheer vastness, it would be "very difficult, to establish a centralized administration" here.
Of course, a powerful centralized government and unaccountable administrative state have regrettably come into being in America, and decisions made in Washington can have major repercussions across the country. Yet most Europeans would scoff at American complaints over excessive centralization. Both constitutionally and empirically, decision-making is significantly more decentralized in America than most other places in the world. To quote former Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, "a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." States that implement bad policies are penalized, while states that do well gain in popularity. Consider the migration flows in recent years from California and New York to states like Texas and Florida. As Mark Perry of AEI has argued, this can largely be explained by beneficial differences in factors such as business climate, tax rates, energy costs, and economic growth. The competition among states in America thus incentivizes good politics.
The recent pandemic provided a powerful inflection point for American federalism. All across the world, governments responded to the spread of Covid-19 by encroaching on the daily lives of their citizens in unprecedented ways. In much of Europe, national governments dictated lockdown policies from the top down, regardless of regional variation or competing scientific interpretations. In contrast, pandemic policies in the United States were consistently implemented at the state level or even more locally, to the extent that states like Florida and New York might as well have been different countries. From the Covid-19 pandemic to issues like education, taxation, health care, and more, Tocqueville continues to be correct when he observed, "there can be no doubt that the great political principles that govern American society today arose and developed in the state."
THE SPIRIT OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
The American constitutional tradition isn't merely political; it is also, in a very real sense, influenced by underlying metaphysical premises. As the late philosopher Michael Wyschogrod observed in 2010, "constitutional restrictions on popular sovereignty imply reliance on an authority that is greater than human." Indeed, the very nature of American constitutionalism reflects submission to a set of higher principles. This appeal to superior authority implies not just a sense of historical and spiritual anchoring, but also contributes to the American sense of exceptionalism and national solidarity. The enduring nature of these principles is what keeps the project alive.
America's constitutional tradition thus reveals another significant aspect of the country's psyche: the predominance of religion. Since the beginning, religious liberty has in many ways been the founding motto of America, from the Puritans who fled Europe to other religious communities who found refuge here. Liberty under God was so essential to the American colonists that it found its place in the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, which rooted the concept of natural rights in a recognition of the divine. Spalding observes that in the founders' conception of "a nation of limited government, religion is the greatest source of the virtue and moral character required for self-rule." As late as 1952, the Supreme Court asserted that Americans are "a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."
What is remarkable about the religious nature of American society, however, is that it has never intermingled with earthly authorities. Whereas in Europe the Church, in Tocqueville's estimation, "allowed itself to be intimately united with the powers of the earth," America was the first country in which the "spirit of liberty" and the "spirit of religion" combined and unleashed a vibrantly spiritual society based not on state religion, but on religious freedom.
Europe was the bastion of Christianity for over 1,500 years. And yet from the Roman emperor Constantine onward, the Church was more often than not backed by the authority of governments. In contrast, religious Americans have historically beheld the state with deep suspicion, having fled in search of religious liberty from the outset. As Asia Times deputy editor David Goldman argues, "[n]o greater discontinuity...has appeared in Western political thinking than the 17th-century Puritan claim that monarchy was an object of idolatry rather than a vessel of sanctity." America is thus a perfect case study of what the academic literature suggests: Religious expression is stronger where it exists independently of government.
The experiment has largely worked. While American conservatives rightly rue the growing irreligiosity of the country, the fact remains that America is the only wealthy industrialized nation where religion still plays a major role. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center study, 68% of American Christians pray daily, compared to only 18% of Western European Christians. Similarly, 68% of Christians in the United States say religion plays a big role in their life; in Western Europe, it's only 14%. Two-thirds of American Christians attend a religious service at least once a month, while only a third do in Western Europe. Perhaps most remarkably, 76% of American Christians are certain that God exists, compared to 23% of European Christians. Even a third of religiously unaffiliated Americans profess an absolute certainty in the existence of God, compared to a mere 3% in Europe.
We could continue endlessly with statistical evidence, but we have also witnessed this marked contrast firsthand. While most Europeans, especially in the West, have relegated religion to the private realm and would find public pronouncements of one's faith crass, Americans unabashedly profess their faith. Talking about God is almost taboo in Europe, whereas it is normal, if not expected, in many parts of America. While European politicians avoid talking about religion, American politicians frequently reference their faith in speeches (even though they may not always live up to those principles in practice).
The reality is that, as governments in Europe secularized, so did the citizenry. In contrast, America's religious tradition made a point of sanctifying not the state, but the people and the communities that uphold the faith. From the founding era to periods of revival like the Second Great Awakening and the Reagan years, American believers have identified themselves apart from the state, and as a result have embraced a sense of responsibility and communal vibrance necessary to ensuring their faith's survival. American religion has therefore thrived not because it is subject to the whims of governments, but as a result of its institutions' and practitioners' own efforts and dedication.
Thus it is hardly surprising that our own spiritual lives have deepened in America. Chris traveled from Belgium, where local churches are all but empty, to a beautiful yet slowly dying Anglican congregation in England, to one of many vibrant young churches in Washington, D.C., that attract hundreds of people every weekend. Kai, formerly an agnostic, was immediately impressed upon his first visit to America by the widespread passion of evangelicals — a rarity in German-speaking countries. He was even more impressed by the enthusiasm and dynamism of young American Catholics, ultimately converting to the faith not in historically Catholic Europe, but at the Dominican Order in Washington.
A HEALTHY PATRIOTISM
Despite the enormous diversity of backgrounds and cultures in the United States, America's civil religion, community spirit, and constitutional design have helped establish a strong sense of patriotism among its people. For Europeans, American patriotism is a sight to behold. Red, white, and blue fireworks exploding overhead on the Fourth of July; tens of thousands of fans singing the national anthem before sporting events; sporadic "USA" chants interrupting the mundanity of daily life; and oversized flags hanging from flagpoles and balconies across the country all bear witness to America's rank as one of the most patriotic nations in the world.
Indeed, Americans tend to share a profound, sometimes exaggerated, sense of national pride and direction. For better or worse, the American zeitgeist has always rooted itself in a Manichean worldview, dividing the world into competing spheres of good and evil. America's earliest settlers imagined their new home as a "city upon a hill" — a national vision lived out by westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the dream of extending liberty and justice to all. Later generations fought a brutal civil war to end slavery at home, defeated fascism in Europe and Asia, and triumphed over communism in the Soviet Union. The moralization of politics has certainly led to serious excesses, most recently embodied in military excursions abroad. Yet in subordinating the experience of the bad to the promise of the good, America's public consciousness revels in an admirable sense of togetherness and civilizational confidence.
Our experience of Europe, by contrast, reveals a drifting continent with no clear sense of purpose. While there are notable exceptions, especially in parts of the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe, our moving to America has highlighted the extent to which Europeans lack a sense of national pride and exceptionalism that might animate a cultural revival. Whereas 41% of Americans believe their country is the best in the world, only 5% of Germans, 5% of French, 7% of Swedes, and 13% of Brits believe the same of theirs. Even if they are aware of their history, many Europeans of our generation simply don't care about it.
Of course, things weren't always this way. Many countries in Europe have striking historical examples of cultural excellence, from Italian art, to German music, to French literature. The nationalist movements of the 19th century were a political expression of this unabashed pride in Europe's contributions to the world. But the excesses of nationalism eventually led to catastrophe. During the early 20th century, Italy and Germany spiraled into fascism and ethno-nationalism, culminating in World War II. As the continent slowly rebuilt, Europeans decided that integration was necessary to avoid any one country from becoming too zealous about its history and culture. Initially a laudable form of economic integration and the safeguarding of peace, the European Union has increasingly sought political integration under that guise. National pride is now viewed with suspicion as a slippery slope to the nationalism that caused two world wars, while patriotism is seen as a dirty word, synonymous with xenophobia.
The result is a continent deeply uneasy with its own past, and therefore insufficiently dedicated to preserving it. Instead of celebrating the successes and achievements of Western culture, many Europeans dwell on the sins of their forebears, incapable of separating good from bad. One of us, Kai, experienced this in high school, where German history classes emphasized the 12 "abominable years": Anything else from the country's history was relegated to footnotes. Flying a German flag in Germany would draw suspicious looks. This increasing erosion of cultural pride can be seen in other countries, too. In Scandinavia, the regional airline released an advertisement several years ago that began by stating: "What is truly Scandinavian? Absolutely nothing. Everything is copied."
While there are certainly revisionist strands in the United States as well, America exhibits a distinct sense of national pride rooted in religion, community, and, importantly, the historical anchor of the founding. The active participation of American society in maintaining and advancing this pride has been crucial to its civilizational endurance to this day.
TIME TO GIVE UP?
Though there are distinct signs of decline, the American project is faring better than Americans typically give it credit for. At the very least, we believe the seeds necessary for a revival of traditional American and Western values are present here more so than they are in Europe — a continent we both grew up in and still love dearly.
Yet it appears those on the fringes of American politics are increasingly giving up on the project. Elements of the progressive left have engaged in campaigns to delegitimize America's founding principles as racist, patriarchal, and oppressive. They claim that the American project is indistinguishable from colonialism and slavery. Yet while both slavery and the treatment of Native Americans were certainly profound national sins, they were at odds with the values of the founding. As has occured in Europe, advocates of such historical revisionism obscure the very real achievements of American and Western civilization, and ultimately seek to ostracize those they deem "deplorable." From refusing to sing the national anthem to burning the American flag outside the White House, a worrying anti-Americanism is on the rise in ultraprogressive circles.
On parts of the right, too, a certain pessimism reigns — though of course one of a different nature. Faced with radical leftism on college campuses and corporate boards, a hostile media, and an unaccountable administrative state, some conservatives are giving up; to them, America is increasingly a lost cause. Their despair sometimes expresses itself in extreme ways. In more radical circles, agitators have invoked the need for a civil war, which 54% of those self-identified as strong Republicans think is likely to occur within the next decade. Among the right more generally, one can sense a disillusionment rooted in a reluctant recognition that perhaps the American project was doomed to fail from the beginning.
Stuck in the middle of all this is the average American — the everyday citizen who loves his country despite its flaws and worries more about being a productive member of society than about the tiring demands of America's incessant culture wars. While the vicious partisan battles that monopolize headlines make it seem as though Americans are split down the middle, these self-identified political independents represent the clear plurality of Americans.
The reality is that most people aren't self-professed intellectuals or philosophers who debate among themselves the logic or constitutional validity of this or that policy. Rather than espousing a meticulously coherent worldview, they lead their lives with a healthy dose of common sense and an innate desire to be left alone. This "street-corner conservatism," embodied in the 1970s by the "Dayton housewife" — the average American who wants to enjoy her community, practice her faith, and pursue her dreams in peace, rather than having the government lead her life — is deeply entrenched in the psyche of the average American. The precepts of faith, freedom, community association, and love of country that Tocqueville observed in antebellum America are unique features of the country that survive to this day.
Yet the extremes of modern political rhetoric, expressed 280 characters at a time, risk fraying the associational spirit of a people who have endured so much together. Faced with the constant drumbeat of election campaigns and public debates that demonize the other side, Americans are growing increasingly alienated from one another. The polarization and pessimism that consume so much of the nation's attention are pulling people in different directions, leaving the level-headed middle stranded.
There are, of course, constructive ways to engage in this culture war. Rebutting the fallacies of radical progressivism and standing up for the principles of the American founding are messages that resonate with the everyday citizen. This type of conservatism roots itself not in cynicism, but in the hopes, aspirations, frustrations, and demands of daily life, rallying the majority of Americans around a united sense of patriotism, community spirit, and the freedom to pursue one's dreams.
America has serious challenges that need to be dealt with, as it has throughout its imperfect history. The country has had to navigate the very real tension between its founding and the many difficulties modern society poses to it, from attempts to redefine American history to the rejection of traditional values. But at least there is a tension to be explored. More often than not, Europe feels like it's on the wrong end of an increasingly slack strand between its history and its present. Most young Europeans, especially in the West where we grew up, lack both the cultural awareness and community cohesion that are so crucial to a thriving civilization.
Our hope is that Americans can once again rally around the principles of freedom, community, civic duty, and national pride that have long underpinned American society. Rather than rejecting the past or embracing cynicism, Americans should remember that they have inherited something exceptional that is worth preserving. While the battles of contemporary America are sometimes overwhelming, those that defend genuine American values must relish the tension and pull harder in the right direction.
As Abraham Lincoln said in a speech in 1858, America has managed to assemble people from different backgrounds with different goals under one common project, linking "the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together." "As long as the love of freedom exists," he continued, this project does not have to be over. As two Europeans who cherish this great country, we couldn't agree more.