The basic idea behind America is "liberty rather than tyranny", but those words have been repeated so often as to lose their impact, so I'll say it a different way.
The basic idea behind America is that citizens are responsible adults, not teenagers who need minding. In our original, post-1776 political culture, every adult was assumed to be responsible for his own life, and neither entitled to coddling and hand-holding, nor answerable to anyone unless and until he violated someone else's rights.
Saying "You cannot have a gun, you'll hurt yourself, or do something wicked with it" is anathema to the American soul, because it treats the citizen as a child. Canadians, British subjects, Swedes, etc, do not understand this because they live in socialist sorts of nations where it's accepted that people are teenagers and the state is Mom.
'via Blog this'