View Poll Results: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

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  • Im a right leaning American, yes.

    26 37.68%
  • Im a left leaning American, yes.

    9 13.04%
  • Im not American, yes.

    1 1.45%
  • Im a right leaning American, no.

    8 11.59%
  • Im a left leaning American, no.

    18 26.09%
  • Im not American, no.

    7 10.14%
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Thread: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

  1. #111
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Load of crap.

    America might once have been exceptional...not any longer.

    Gitmo, drone strikes (acts of war without declaring war), the Federal Reserve basically running the economy, gigantic military industrial complex dictating foreign policy, assassinating Americans without trial on the whim of the POTUS, the NSA spying on Americans with only a generalized court order.

    I think most of the Founding Fathers would be ashamed of what America has become.

  2. #112
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    I don't believe in Exceptionalism, period. Whichever country or institution has claimed it, it has been wrong, misguided and ultimately damaging and dangerous for itself and the community of nations/institutions in which it operates. American Exceptionalism is not exceptional; many nations and institutions have/do claim to be exceptional. The British, Roman, Chinese, Ottoman, Timurid, and Soviet empires have all claimed to be exceptional, as have the Catholic and Orthodox churches, Islam and the Jewish religions.

    Here's the problem:
    Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is "exceptional" (i.e., unusual or extraordinary) in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles.
    The bolded bit is the dangerous part. Many peoples may believe their own systems and achievements to be uniquely laudable. That might be understandable, if misguided, but when one believes that such self-proclaimed status exempts one from behaving unto others as you'd demand that others treat you, then trouble ensues.

    I guess 'exceptionalism' could theoretically be accepted, if it were the case that it is accepted by the acclaim of all other nations or institutions, but I can't imagine a situation where such circumstances might pertain.

    Growing up in Sixties and Seventies Britain, there was an assumption, rapidly being undermined by perfidious reality, that what England (and it has always been the hubris of the English that 'British' achievements were really English ones) stood for was everything best in the world.

    The English, the English, the English are best
    I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest.

    In historical achievement, sporting prowess, ethically, morally and inventively it was assumed that if everyone could be, everyone would be born English. In the modern world that sounds as ridiculous, and as logically and rationally wacky as it always has been, and I don't feel remotely traitorous or nation-hating to say so.

    The fact that currently the US is at the zenith (or maybe just a bit past it) of its military, economic and cultural influence (as Britain was from c.1815-1914) doesn't make the proposition 'The US, the US, the US is best, I wouldn't give two cents for all of the rest' any less hubristic or preposterous, and to buy into the whole shebang of American Exceptionalism is to do just that.

    If you want to argue that America's exceptional past and present should exempt it from behaving as one expects every other nation to behave, then you undermine several of the very qualities that people believe might make it exceptional in the first place - that all men are created equal, for one thing. Are we to believe that Americans should be endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but not that 'all men' are entitled to do so?
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by US Conservative View Post
    I am British, and I believe in American exceptionalism by one conception of the term, though I also believe in British exceptionalism, French exceptionalism, Russian exceptionalism, and a few others.

    The US has done exceptionally well for itself -- at the start of the last century, it was a nobody; by the end, it was the undisputed superpower. This is indeed impressive. The US has the world's most powerful military, and by many measures the world's largest economy. Americans as a people are exceptionally friendly, outgoing and welcoming.

    There are, however, plenty of ways in which the US is doing worse than other countries -- some immutable, some not. For example, the US simply lacks the institutional history to deal with questions of sovereignty crises as well as older nations like Britain or France. It's more susceptible to both extremist traditionalism and extremist revisionism, because of the lack of this institutional history.

    The US also has huge crime problems, widespread poverty, a truly shocking healthcare system, poor education and an intractably corrupt local government system in some areas. These aren't unique problems, but that doesn't mean the US doesn't suffer from them -- and it's also true that some countries deal with them better.

    Yet for all this I do tend to think of the US and Americans as somewhat headstrong and certainly impulsive but still good-natured children of ours. There's no doubt that of all our colonies, the US is the most powerful and influential.

    I also fundamentally think that Americans' hearts are in the right place -- too many people think the US is just full of racist bigots and morons seeking to glass the entire Middle East and establish worldwide Christian American hegemony. I give you more credit than that. There are some of those sorts in your country, but then there's some of those sorts in every country. One shouldn't judge the country on that -- equally applied, I might add, to a place like Afghanistan, as troubled as it is.

    Fundamentally I think the US is, in terms of national consciousness, trying to do right by the world, but a bit lost as to how to go about doing so. Like a child full of potential that rebels against his parents and doesn't listen to all of the lessons taught at school, I think the US at its roots is no longer rebellious (clearly not) and has taken a seat at the table of Western nations that have the power to shape the world, alongside countries like Britain, France, Germany, Canada, etc. The US may have missed out on a few lessons Canada got from its parent nation, but the US learned some valuable lessons of its own.

    SO! Yes, I do believe in American exceptionalism, if by exceptionalism you mean "the belief that the US and the American people, while not perfect, have a distinct and good role to play in the world, and their struggle is our struggle, and vice versa."

  4. #114
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    I am British, and I believe in American exceptionalism by one conception of the term, though I also believe in British exceptionalism, French exceptionalism, Russian exceptionalism, and a few others.

    The US has done exceptionally well for itself -- at the start of the last century, it was a nobody; by the end, it was the undisputed superpower. This is indeed impressive. The US has the world's most powerful military, and by many measures the world's largest economy. Americans as a people are exceptionally friendly, outgoing and welcoming.

    There are, however, plenty of ways in which the US is doing worse than other countries -- some immutable, some not. For example, the US simply lacks the institutional history to deal with questions of sovereignty crises as well as older nations like Britain or France. It's more susceptible to both extremist traditionalism and extremist revisionism, because of the lack of this institutional history.

    The US also has huge crime problems, widespread poverty, a truly shocking healthcare system, poor education and an intractably corrupt local government system in some areas. These aren't unique problems, but that doesn't mean the US doesn't suffer from them -- and it's also true that some countries deal with them better.

    Yet for all this I do tend to think of the US and Americans as somewhat headstrong and certainly impulsive but still good-natured children of ours. There's no doubt that of all our colonies, the US is the most powerful and influential.

    I also fundamentally think that Americans' hearts are in the right place -- too many people think the US is just full of racist bigots and morons seeking to glass the entire Middle East and establish worldwide Christian American hegemony. I give you more credit than that. There are some of those sorts in your country, but then there's some of those sorts in every country. One shouldn't judge the country on that -- equally applied, I might add, to a place like Afghanistan, as troubled as it is.

    Fundamentally I think the US is, in terms of national consciousness, trying to do right by the world, but a bit lost as to how to go about doing so. Like a child full of potential that rebels against his parents and doesn't listen to all of the lessons taught at school, I think the US at its roots is no longer rebellious (clearly not) and has taken a seat at the table of Western nations that have the power to shape the world, alongside countries like Britain, France, Germany, Canada, etc. The US may have missed out on a few lessons Canada got from its parent nation, but the US learned some valuable lessons of its own.

    SO! Yes, I do believe in American exceptionalism, if by exceptionalism you mean "the belief that the US and the American people, while not perfect, have a distinct and good role to play in the world, and their struggle is our struggle, and vice versa."
    Outstanding post. Thank you for that.
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  5. #115
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by US Conservative View Post
    Thats human nature but with nations we can at least compare objective criteria.
    That will not conclusively establish anything as the choice of criteria is a subjective activity.

  6. #116
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    We aren't exceptional. We could have been, and for a while maybe we were, but we've failed to live up to our promise.
    Don't be a grammar nazi - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 1 #7

  7. #117
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Oh, I don't know. I kind of like freedom of speech.
    Cool many countries respect that right. We are not the only country that respects that right.

    The idea that individuals have rights granted them by their creator rather than by a government which can remove them at a whim is also an old favorite, admittedly.
    Also many countries also respect this.


  8. #118
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by DA60 View Post
    Load of crap.

    America might once have been exceptional...not any longer.

    Gitmo, drone strikes (acts of war without declaring war), the Federal Reserve basically running the economy, gigantic military industrial complex dictating foreign policy, assassinating Americans without trial on the whim of the POTUS, the NSA spying on Americans with only a generalized court order.

    I think most of the Founding Fathers would be ashamed of what America has become.
    Actually, I think that if you actually checked, you'd find that in our first 50 years as a nation, we did a lot worse things than Gitmo (which I'm virulently opposed to, btw), we did indeed commit acts of war without declaring war (just ask the Native Americans of the time), our economy was a mess since there was much disagreement on how it should be structured (and Jefferson himself warned against the danger of corporations), the assassination of Americans without trial wouldn't have raised an eyebrow - we just simply would never have heard about it like we do now (there were brawls between congressmen even during sessions of Congress), and spying on American citizens has always been something our government has done (though never to the extent that the NSA has done).

    As I keep saying, in the big picture, if we look at the whole of the American population, we are freer NOW, the conduct of our nation is better NOW than ever before. We're far from perfect - we've got a lot of problems. But let's not kid ourselves about what our nation was like in the past.
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  9. #119
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Cool many countries respect that right. We are not the only country that respects that right.


    Also many countries also respect this.
    And it's amazing to see how many conservatives simply cannot grasp that yes, other nations do indeed value freedom of speech, of religion, of choice, every bit as much as we do...and sometimes even more so.
    “To do evil, a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good" - Solzhenitsyn

    "...with the terrorists, you have to take out their families." - Donald Trump

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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Hell no. What makes us so much "exceptional than other countries"?
    Ill let one of the greatest current TV shows to explain the rest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q49NOyJ8fNA
    Everyone should believe their nation is the best.

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