Which makes sense to anyone that's ever actually owned a gun.
Mark Steyn also looks into this in "Gods and Guns? Hell yes."
Where was I? Oh, yes. In my book "America Alone," I note a global survey on optimism: 61 percent of Americans were optimistic about the future, 29 percent of the French, 15 percent of Germans. Take it from a foreigner: In my experience, Americans are the least "bitter" people in the developed world. Secular, gun-free big-government Europe doesn't seem to have done anything for people's happiness. Consider by way of example the words of Keith Reade. He's not an Obama speechwriter, he's a writer for the London Daily Mirror. And the day after the 2004 presidential election he expressed his frustration in an alarmingly Obamaesque way:
"Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets. The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', nonpassport ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest d*** in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong.'"
Well, that's certainly why I supported Bush, but I'm not sure it entirely accounts for the other 62,039,073 incontinent rednecks. Reade, though, does usefully enumerate some of the distinctive features that separate America from the rest of the West. "Self-righteous"? If you want a public culture that reeks of indestructible faith in its own righteousness, try Europe – especially when they're talking about America: If you disagree with Eutopian wisdom, you must be an idiot.
As for "gun-totin'," large numbers of Americans tote guns because they're assertive, self-reliant citizens, not docile subjects of a permanent governing class. The Second Amendment is philosophically consistent with the First Amendment, for which I've become more grateful since the Canadian Islamic Congress decided to sue me for "hate speech" up north. Both amendments embody the American view that liberty is not the gift of the state, and its defense cannot be outsourced exclusively to the government.
I think the last part is key in how to view the role of Goverment in people's lives.