012: Is the United States the Greatest Country in the World?

Interview with scholar John Wisley, Historian of American Exceptionalism.

Is America the Greatest Country in the world? Trump’s theme is “Make America Great Again” or “America First!” Is there anything wrong with this hypothesis? In this podcast I interview a scholar, my friend, John Wisley, Historian of American Exceptionalism.  We will address this question head on! 

John Wisely is Assistant Professor of History and Christian Apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at the Houston campus. His areas of research include religious freedom, American historical theology, American identity, history of Western thought, race in American history, and civil religion. He blogs at To Breathe Your Free Air ! He has been working on a project about “American Exceptionalism,” and the resulting book–American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea–was released late in 2015 by IVP Academic.

Dinesh D’Souza argues in his book What’s so Great about America, that ” My conclusion is that America is the greatest, freest, and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.”Dennis Prager argues similarly in his book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph, Is there any truth to this?

In this podcast we also discuss Jeff Daniels famous critique of America being NOT the greatest country in the world. See the video on it below. It is worth it!


But to be fair, here is a this rebuttal from Steven Crowder .

I look forward to your feedback!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jen

    First of all let me start by saying how fascinated by the argument I was. I think it is a pretty natural response when we think of the United States of America ,we think freedom, but does that make America the greatest country in the world? Well it could be. However, like mentioned in the video with Jeff Daniels there is Canada, Belgium, Germany, and many others more that are also to be consider as a free country. There is no arguement that America , along with the other free countries, do not have the same kind of freedom and are not hoping for the same outcomes. I could say America is not great, because our prison systems, infant mortality, education ratings, and other reasons, but America is not the worst. America offers people there god given rights, and not just the right to bear arm or the right to assemble, but the freedom to believe in what we want or just simply having the right to an opinion. Some of the “free countries” are free under different terms and no country is run exactly the same. In a America,we are known to be equal opportunist society, it may not always seem that way, but our system is built to give us that chance. I think America is great, not to say it is prefect, but because America lets you be whoever you want to be and stand up for what you believe in.

  • Allie Padilla

    He made a valid point by speaking on behalf of the equivalence of freedom between the United States and other countries. The United States does offer more privileges when it comes to religion and federal law, but in all reality what kind of freedom are we speaking on? because there are always going to be limitations like how he mentioned taxes, but then again some people abuse that power that’s given. Quote on quote “this mediocrity fosters an environment only the best of the best” its just how there is the stereotype that immigrants come to America for better opportunity because that is the belief everyone seems to have. All our worldwide companies and entrepreneurs are stationed here when it comes to economic values, and although we do have a diverse culture doesn’t necessarily mean that there are because up to date people are still fighting for women rights, LGBTQ rights. Based on every countries government, they get to make all the decisions so its only freedom to an extent because people are indifferent to the bystanders.

  • Tin Aguila

    Is America the greatest Country in the world? I thought this argument was interesting to watch. I was persuaded by Jeff Daniels speech. But as soon as I watched Steven Crowder’s rebuttal I favored his video because of the information he had provided. Steven Crowder complained about Canada not having a freedom of speech. Where Religious parties have been banned from protesting. That is not a free country! Japan is not as free as US. Crowder mentions that Japan wished to spread tyranny all over the world. Japan force their people into societal groups where you were either a peasant or royalty. Japan is nowhere near as free as USA. It was interesting that he mentioned that other countries still come to US to pursue their dreams of success. America is still the dominant country to go to when you want a free country. America gives the people the freedom to education, women’s right, speech, and civil rights. America might not be the best country in the world in all categories. But no one is perfect. There are things that we could work on like education, prisons, and many more. I still stand by America. I am a first generation Filipino-American. My mother came to America to provide a better life for her family in the Philippines. Moving to America has provided my family the ability to succeed in a free country. My mom till this day never looks back on her decision to leave because of the things her family is going through in the Philippines. Overall, America is not perfect but continues to progress and still dominates as one the best countries in the world. The demographics do not lie. You can tell by the amount of people who travel and continue to migrate here. America is still by far one of the best.

  • Ryan Foster

    America is no longer the greatest nation in the world, maybe it was after the Great Depression up until the late 70s. Or maybe it was when the gold standard or should I say gold was taken off the currency system and replaced with these American dollars. No offense but anyone who says that America is the greatest country in the world is delusional. One thing that I can agree with Donald Trump on is that America does need to be made great again, but considering how “Trumpcare” turned out, I cannot take him seriously for he was only talking to gain votes. America has way too many cons over Pros for it to be considered the greatest country in the world. How can the greatest country in the world have such an out-of-control debt problem? How can the greatest country in the world have people on the streets that go hungry each night? The greatest country in the world would be a place where nearly all citizens are employed, fed, have places to live, healthcare, and live in a safe environment as well as be healthy themselves with a long life expectancy.