Quote: What is the secret of our success?

What is the secret of our success?

Well, I think it had to do with a basic American’s Creed. Perhaps it never passed a pioneer’s lips in this form, but if it had I think he would have said something like this:

‘I believe in my God, in my Country and in Myself.’

I know that sounds like a trite too simple thing to say, and yet it’s a rare man today who will dare to stand up and say, ‘I believe in my God and my Country and in Myself.’ (And in that order.) When the early American pioneer first turned his eyes toward the west, there were only Indian trails or ‘traces’ as they were called, for him to foll’er through the wilderness. Do you know, today, you can roller skate from Miami to Seattle, from San Diego to Plymouth Rock? In this little bitty instant, as historical time is measured, our 7% of the Earth’s population has come to possess more than half of all the world’s good things.

How come?

Well sir, when that early pioneer turned his eyes toward the west, he didn’t demand that somebody else look after him. He didn’t demand a free education. He didn’t demand a guaranteed rocking chair at eventide. He didn’t demand that somebody else take care of him if he got ill or got old.  There was an old fashioned philosophy in those days, that a man was supposed to provide for his own and for his own future. He didn’t demand a maximum amount of money for a minimum amount of work. Nor did he expect pay for no work at all. Come to think of it, he didn’t demand anything. That hard-handed pioneer just looked out there at the rolling plains stretching away to the tall green mountains and then lifted his eyes to the blue skies and said:

‘Thank you God. Now, I can take it from here.’
— Paul Harvey

Quote: Who is “the Country”?

For in a republic, who is "the Country"? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant--merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is "the Country"? Is it the newspaper? is it the pulpit? is it the school superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn't.

Who are the thousand--that is to say, who are "the Country"? In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country--hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.

- Mark Twain Glances at History (suppressed)