In a post on President Obama and American exceptionalism, Victor Davis Hanson explains why he thinks our nation is different from all the others:
Perhaps it would be better, when speaking of an early rural society, to talk of an absence of peasantry: We had no concept of a large underclass of only quasi-free people attached to barons as serfs; instead, yeomen agrarians were the Jeffersonian ideal, a nation of independent farmers rather than peasants.
Odd that a historian should forget about American slavery!
In the same post, he writes:
A gun-owning society, unlike Europe — On the theory that an armed citizenry would fight any federal effort to overturn individual liberties: That tradition later made our citizenry more comfortable with firearms, with obvious advantages for our military.
As a military historian, Professor Hanson would benefit from familiarizing himself with Switzerland. Its citizenry is armed, with obvious advantages of its military:
The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.
This is in a very large part due to Switzerland’s unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries.
Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives.
John McPhee’s book on this subject is exceptional.