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We didn’t fight hard for our freedom on that summer day in 1776 so we could go ahead and be mediocre. We wanted it so badly because we had lofty goals to be a nation of winners, people who excelled at everything we tried. We wanted to become powerful and prosperous so that we wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else, ever again. And we knew that being prosperous would make us generous. We wanted to win at that, too.
And from there, we went on to win at all kinds of stuff, and we did it without apologizing. Charles Lindbergh didn’t land in Paris and apologize for getting there first. We didn’t have a space race with the Soviet Union to see who could get there last. Bruce Jenner doesn’t have an Olympic gold medal (and two inexplicable earrings) because he’s a loser.
Our desire to win has made us who we are.
And it is for this reason that, right now, the United States is about to develop multiple private companies capable of putting humans into space, while every other country in the world that has tried it can barely manage to come up with one option.