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. #121
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by CRUE CAB View Post
    Everyone should believe their nation is the best.
    No they should not. They should strive to make it better. But to believe their "nation is the best" is simply idiotic, and leads to stopping progress.


  2. #122
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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."
    Well said, sir! Remember Kipling's "White Man's Burden"? If one takes it in the context of the time (by which I mean one should ignore the racist language), one can see that Kipling was being a 'sunset poet' for England, that it was his way of "passing the torch" from England to America when it came to world leadership. For the past few years, I've come to think that maybe it's time that we here in America find a 'sunset poet' of our own (and I've hubris enough to submit my own entry for the title). We were on top for almost a century, but because we had the best of everything, we sat on our laurels and have allowed other nations to pass us up when it comes to standards of living and education, all the while never dreaming that we could ever be surpassed. What's more, we don't realize that when it comes to world leadership, we have not even come close to the centuries of influence that England (and Rome before her) held - we are too blinded by our own national hubris.

    Who will next assume the mantle of world leadership? China might - they're very smart and they've got more political will than we do - but I suspect that they've got a great deal of internal problems that they've got to address first. My money is on the EEC instead.
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  3. #123
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    No they should not. They should strive to make it better. But to believe their "nation is the best" is simply idiotic, and leads to stopping progress.
    When it was universally accepted that we were the best. We did great things.

  4. #124
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Why do so many people confuse "exceptional" with "best" and a sense of exclusivity?
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  5. #125
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Why do so many people confuse "exceptional" with "best" and a sense of exclusivity?
    I don't think they do. We're not discussing 'exceptional', but 'exceptionalism'. I thought I answered this point in my first post.

    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 problem.

    If 'exceptionalism' were simply about being exceptionally good at something, then almost every nation on Earth could make a valid claim. The -ism bit is what makes the difference.
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  6. #126
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by US Conservative View Post
    The definition of exceptionalism was defined immediately in the first post. One wonders if you bothered to read
    it.
    What someone says and what someone means are often two different things. And the word "exceptionalism" is sort of self explanatory in meaning.

    If you have to ring your own bell and tell the world you're great, you might not be as exceptional as you think?
    Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

  7. #127
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by CRUE CAB View Post
    When it was universally accepted that we were the best. We did great things.
    Was it nationalism that excelled that? Or was it the idea that we ca better the country?


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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Was it nationalism that excelled that? Or was it the idea that we ca better the country?
    It was a mind set that the US was the top of the food chain. Best and brightest. We always have been the shining light on the hill that all other nations strive to be. Don't believe it? Look how many people came here.
    I don't seem to remember a mass exodus of people from the US heading to Europe in the early 1900s.

  9. #129
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by CRUE CAB View Post
    It was a mind set that the US was the top of the food chain. Best and brightest. We always have been the shining light on the hill that all other nations strive to be. Don't believe it? Look how many people came here.
    I don't seem to remember a mass exodus of people from the US heading to Europe in the early 1900s.
    A "mind set"? Really? So why do so many other countries have the same mind set and dont reach the top of the hill? Your trying to simplify a nationalistic propaganda technique.


  10. #130
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    Re: Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

    Only insofar as we act exceptionally, sure. But we're not magically exceptional because we happen to have been born on American soil. That kind of belief is absurd.
    There is nothing demonstrably true that religion can provide the world that cannot be achieved more rationally through entirely secular means.

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