Dustin Messer on The Civic Virtue of Gratefulness

An American flag is seen along Wyoming Highway 59 near a residential housing development south of Gillette, Wyoming, U.S. May 31, 2016. | REUTERS/Kristina Barker

If you could be king of America for just one day, what would be the first thing you’d do to fix the country? When asked that very question, the great columnist George Will gave a surprising response. Paraphrased, he said, “I’d make every college student change their major to History and their minor to Contingency Studies.”

His point is an important one, and it’s as important as we are apt to forget it: America did not have to turn out the way it did. The Republic we inhabit is the result of bravery and revolutionary ideas, to be sure, but it’s also the result of an often-under-appreciated element; namely, chance.