View Poll Results: Do you believe in American exceptionalism?

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  • Yes. America is truly exceptional.

    18 27.69%
  • America is better than most countries.

    7 10.77%
  • America is better than some and worse than others.

    17 26.15%
  • America isn't exceptional.

    15 23.08%
  • Other/not sure (explain)

    8 12.31%
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Thread: American Exceptionalism

  1. #31
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Of course they should! It's their country. Ours is better because it's ours.
    Not sure that's real objective.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  2. #32
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    it certainly is now. however, there have been two major nations that have been the catalysts that created that movement: and those two nations are Britain, and the US.
    Ahh, now you've added another country. Anyone else you'd like to add? Care to Athens? Maybe even India? How about the Romans? Do they play any role in this movement?

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

  3. #33
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    The U.S. is no more exceptional than any other country. American exceptionalism is just a romanticization of this country by nationalists who use lies and exaggerations to advance a much less altruistic agenda.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
    - Khalil Gibran

  4. #34
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Yes, it is.

    The only thing is that most people hear "Exceptionalism", and they think positive....patriotic...or even best country in the world. This doesn't necessarily mean that. American exceptionalism is a complicated idea that essentially states that we are somehow different, for good or for ill. In a way, it only merely needs to be in the minds of Americans for it to become a reality. It is a significant declaration, and completely relevant today. You can still see it wherever you look.





    Relating to "best country in the world", we can argue that that notion has made us unique.
    The American must go outside his country and hear the voice of America to realize that his is one of the most spectacularly lopsided cultures in all history. The marvelous success and vitality of our institutions is equaled by the amazing poverty and inarticulateness of our theorizing about politics. No nation has ever believed more firmly that its political life was based on a perfect theory. And yet no nation has ever been less interested in political philosophy or produced less in the way of theory. If we can explain this paradox, we shall have a key to much that is characteristic-and much that is good-in our institutions.
    [...]
    For the belief that an explicit political theory is superfluous precisely because we already somehow possess a satisfactory equivalent, I propose the name 'givenness'. 'Givenness' is the belief that values in America are in some way or another automatically defined: given by certain facts of geography or history peculiar to us.
    -Daniel Boorstin, Historian, The Genius of American Politics, 1953.
    For Americans, there was a great debate as to whether or not there was an actual conservatism and whether or not it is liberalism that is America's only tradition (Liberal and Conservative intellectuals and historians have debated this for decades). For Americans, there is a firm belief in the nation of immigrants, the melting pot..and an ideal universal to man (See American theory of Assimilation). There is also a solid tradition of devaluing material goods in favor of being the practical-minded man who makes for himself (Thoreau)..... of having a hard work ethic while at the same time being practical-minded rather than philosophical (Tocqueville). Marx and Engels ran into this notion of American exceptionalism and pondered it. Why on earth isn't the United States, perhaps the single best target for a revolution, moving in our direction? It vexed them before they passed on, and it continued to confuse and frustrate Marxists ever since.

    There is also a dangerous side to American exceptionalism. If we do not hold up to our ideals, we will be punished by God, by nature, or by posterity (History). It will not be like what many others have faced. No, it would be even worse of a punishment.

    For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.
    -Governor John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity 1630.
    Then, there's also this side of American Exceptionalism. What is our role in the world? The above quote could mean that people are merely supposed to look at us for an example and mold themselves after us if they can. Or perhaps it could mean other things. Perhaps it could mean that we have a specific destiny in shaping the ways of others with our very own hands. That idea has been a very powerful notion in the 19th and 20th centuries, and continues to impress us today. Each century attached the idea in a different way, but there was something underneath the surface that said "History/God has given us the opportunity to improve this world."
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 11-29-10 at 03:55 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Plus, the article states that it is an old concept that only recently is gaining attention because of 2012.

    American exceptionalism" is a phrase that, until recently, was rarely heard outside the confines of think tanks, opinion journals and university history departments.

    But with Republicans and tea party activists accusing President Obama and the Democrats of turning the country toward socialism, the idea that the United States is inherently superior to the world's other nations has become the battle cry from a new front in the ongoing culture wars. Lately, it seems to be on the lips of just about every Republican who is giving any thought to running for president in 2012.
    That is simply ridiculous. American Exceptionalism never really left the tongues of Americans, and especially writers. Here's just a few examples.
    (I'll start the funniest ones first.)

    "American Exceptionalism
    A Double Edged Sword
    By Seymour Martin Lipset
    Chapter One: Ideology, Politics, and Deviance"-Washington Post, 1996.

    "American exceptionalism is nothing new. But it is getting sharper" -The Economist, November 6 2003.

    *Just read that whole issue. It's filled with articles on it.

    "The Power and the Glory:Myths of American Exceptionalism"-Howard Zinn, Boston Review: November, 2006.

    "Palin’s American Exception"-Roger Cohen, Op-Ed, New York Times, September 2008.

    "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty. The lives of hundreds of thousands of America's sons and daughters were laid down during the last century to preserve freedom, for us and for freedom loving people throughout the world. America took nothing from that Century's terrible wars -- no land from Germany or Japan or Korea; no treasure; no oath of fealty. America's resolve in the defense of liberty has been tested time and again. It has not been found wanting, nor must it ever be. America must never falter in holding high the banner of freedom.
    That was Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech in 2007.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 11-29-10 at 05:10 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  6. #36
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    I would have to say that claiming America is better than it actually is is un-patriotic. Truly loving your country means trying to make it the best it can be. Obviously, no one is perfect, and no country is. Ignoring our shortcomings and refusing to try and fix them is detrimental to this nation.
    Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.

  7. #37
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    American exceptionalism is about ordinary people being free to do extraordinary things. It's about being founded on this principle, that people can government themselves. Each sovereign person, by governing his own actions, respects the rights of others; can best decide his own course.
    Best answer yet. I was about to type the same thing, but I'd rather just give props to the guy that beat me to it
    You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

  8. #38
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by ksu_aviator View Post
    Best answer yet. I was about to type the same thing, but I'd rather just give props to the guy that beat me to it
    How is this different from the current systems in most western nations?

  9. #39
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post

    We could be exceptional. We're just not right now. We need to earn it.
    Exceptional at doing what, not just a general assessment of dozens of noteworthy accomplishments.

    ricksfolly

  10. #40
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    America is unique, it is better than many other countries on many fields, worse than some on other fields, and America has made great historical achievements. I say that as a non-American: America has indeed done a great job spreading, preserving and defending freedom and democracy on this planet. Without America, I couldn't live in freedom today here in Germany, and I am very grateful. America is probably the one foreign country I feel closest to. Also, America is the most important ally of my country these days.

    So Americans have reasons to be proud.

    But that doesn't mean I don't find some kinds of American nationalism silly. Pride in your own country and its achievements is one thing, but looking down on others is another. Also, some nationalistic American myths are just that, they are either exaggerated or emphasize an alleged exceptionalism that doesn't exist any longer. When patriotism comes with chauvinism and ignorance, it's pretty ugly, not only when Americans do it, but also when Americans do it. And sometimes, it seems that those who are most vocal about their patriotism are those who have the least knowledge about other countries and places on this planet.

    For example, sometimes you meet Americans who have never been to Europe, don't speak a language other than English, yet believe America is better than Europe, because Europe allegedly is a "socialist" hellhole, because Europeans allegedly don't know what freedom is, etc pp. People who make jokes about Nazis and "cheese eating surrender monkeys" not just in jest, but take these stereotypes way too seriously. Ignoring that freedom and democracy have a long tradition in countries like France, the Netherlands or Switzerland too, and ignoring that fact that most of Europe today is not any less free than America (some European countries are even more free, if you believe certain indexes).

    What's also silly is when an individual American believes the world, or people of other nationalities, owe him anything, although he himself probably has never done anything constructive to improve America, or even the rest of the world, but just waves the American flag. Just because the American nation did many great things in history, it doesn't mean every backwards redneck was part of it. I feel great gratitude towards the achievements of American soldiers who liberated my country, and I have great repect for Americans who help fostering their and my values within and outside of their country, but that doesn't mean I need to kiss the butts of ignorant random Americans who were born long after that, just because they happened to be born into that club.

    I hope nobody gets me the wrong way when I write that. I don't think the ignorant or rah rah patriots are a majority in America, on the contrary. And I know for sure that such horrible people exist in every country, definitely in my country as well. They exist in America too, and they can be annoying. They draw the wrong conclusions from the myth of American exceptionalism and get it the wrong way.

    So I'd say Americans have all reason to be proud on their country, America is indeed exceptional on some fields, not so much on others, and on some fields, others are better. But Americans don't have any more reason to look down on others, or condemn them, than non-Americans. An "exeptionalism" that is understood as a blank cheque to mock or loathe other nationalities is misguided.
    Last edited by German guy; 11-29-10 at 06:32 PM.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

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