Today Walter Williams writes and excellent column, American Idea. I encourage you to read the entire article. He basically describes how the major difference between Americans and the rest of the world is the healthy distrust and suspicion Americans have had for government. Unfortunately these sentiments are not shared as much by today's Americans.
This distrust is evident in the Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, Electoral College, and constitution amendment process requirements. The creation of this nation's framework was not designed out of a desire for speed, efficiency, and good intentions impulses, but rather out of a suspicion and distrust of government.
It certainly has worked out well to grow a collection of diverse colonies into the most powerful nation on the planet. Unfortunately, the debates we have these days does not include as part of the debate the question in my title.
As we lose the healthy suspicion and distrust of government, then we move toward less liberty and greater governmental control of our lives.