Here's a rather lengthy quote (sorry!) from something I wrote about 6 years ago: Citations for the above: Campolo, “The Success Fantasy”, pp.143-144 See Max Weber , “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” Campolo, op. cit, p.144 John Adair, “Puritans”, p.134 Ibid, p.266 I'd like to suggest from the above that the US has a fundamentally different social model to that in Western Europe, based largely on two very different versions (at least from a sociological POV) of Christianity. Whereas Western Europe was exclusively Catholic until 1517 and is still largely Catholic (or post-Catholic) today, with that Church's (and its Magisterial Reformation successors') strong communitarian emphasis and the concept of 'Christendom' (ie: the 'marriage' of Church and State/society), North America outside of the Francophone territories such as Quebec has been largely Protestant, which Church and State very much separated. Thus the US has evolved into a nation of 'rugged individualism' where, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, "There is no such thing as society, just individuals in families"; conversely in Europe, the idea of society and community is paramount. Thus further, many Americans are aghast at the thought of any kind of 'socialism' (whether that be 'socialised medicine' or other forms of welfare) whereas in Europe some form of socialism is largely seen as desirable and the norm, if viewed as somewhat inefficient and unaffordable economically, by both Left and Right (Margaret Thatcher famously, for all her right-wing rhetoric, did not at any stage publicly talk about abolishing the UK's National Health Service). Thoughts?