I was recently listening to an interview with a young marine and I was particularly struck by something he said. He was talking about why he had volunteered to serve in Iraq and one of the reasons was that he felt that it was America's job, and therefore his, to help spread freedom to the rest of the world.
That set me to thinking about the parallel between the characteristics of a successful individual and a successful nation. Truly successful individuals are those who looks beyond themselves to help others. Not until we put aside our selfishness and self centeredness can we truly be whole human beings.
This characteristic is also one that has been key reason for the success of our country. We have spent billions of dollars and thousands of lives to spread freedom throughout the world. Freedom is America's distinctive competency. If we as a nation horde that freedom and cease the willingness to make those sacrifices necessary to guarantee it for others, we do so to our own detriment.