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. #71
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Are we talking about the same America, here? Because I just spent a few hours getting roasted on another site for defending the Trail of Tears.
    That's a fair criticism, and I can't really think of a good response. Until the civil rights era America was quite unexceptional. But there was a stretch between LBJ and Clinton where it seemed like the country was really living up that ideal, or at least on the right track.

    Perhaps American Exceptionalism isn't so much something ascertainable as it is a quest toward an unattainable sort of justice. But ever since Bush I feel like that quest has been abandoned.

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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by liblady View Post
    not as defined by gingrich. god doesn't favor america, it's plain stupid to believe so. if he did, perhaps he should think again about which countries really need his help.
    except if it is true, then it is plain stupid to believe he doesn't...

    Originally Posted by Gardner
    Yep -- I think we ARE exceptional.

    We have a long history of taking in people from all over the world, and shaping them into a melting pot society that has led the world in innovation. Sure, we have our warts, and it is easy for resentful or unhappy people to focus on those warts, but the preoccupation with fault finding by the resentful can sure get tiring at times.
    A mixed salad is a better term than melting pot... but I agree, we have faults and that will happen to even the best, and that is the USA to a large degree. We give more aid to the world than just about the entire world combined, we take in people and have amazing rights... can it improve, yes... everything can though.
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  3. #73
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    This is a very good thread and I thank the OP for making it. It is good and necessary because, as far as I can make out, most Americans feel that the USA is both exceptional, and better than any other society past or present. Such attitudes benefit from wide ranging discussion and analysis.

    My view is that the USA is exceptional to exactly the same degree that every other society on earth is exceptional. That is, there are things peculiar to US society, just as there are things peculiar to Australian, British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian (to name a few) society. There are things the US, as a society, does better than other nations, and there are things other nations do better than the US. This is the way of the world, it has always been thus, and will always be thus.

    There is no such animal as 'the best country in the world', and the attitude that mine is the best in the world (basically for no better reason than I was born there) is a childish one which betrays a lack of knowledge (no one can know everything about every other society) and a certain personal insecurity (proclaiming my superiority over everyone else, assuages a suppressed fear that I am actually not quite as good as they are).

    Accordingly, I have voted that the USA is unexceptional. Which is not the same thing as saying it is without value.
    I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. E.M. Forster

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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    I should like to point out in fairness that "Exceptionalism" is not restricted to the US. "My country rules, yours drools" can be found in virtually every country in the world.

    We tend to focus more on American Exceptionalism because, for the most part, we tend to be the biggest dicks about it
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  5. #75
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo View Post
    There is no such animal as 'the best country in the world'
    Sure there is, it's my country.
    So follow me into the desert
    As desperate as you are
    Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
    And all the little pigs have God

  6. #76
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    At a point in our history, America was exceptional, but since WW1, many countries have become democracies and we lost that edge.
    There are still things that make America exceptional. We are the great melting pot. And while we aren't always completely accepting of new immigrants (a constant from the Irish of the 19th century to the Mexicans of today), we tend to embrace their children and grandchildren readily. So many other countries are divided along ethnic or religious lines, but here, all you need to do is become a citizen and embrace the culture and you are an American. Even race, our biggest fault line, isn't nearly as deep and divisive as it once was.

    And can you point to any Great Power or Super Power in history that has been as restrained and benevolent as America? In the past, any other nation with our wealth and power would be intent on carving out an empire. I'm not suggesting we act purely out of benevolence, nor do I think we should, but considering our relative power, we are a remarkably restrained nation on the world front.

    I'm not suggesting that America doesn't have its faults and hypocrisies. We have engaged in imperialistic activities in the past. We embraced slavery for far too long. We committed genocide against the Indian nations. We persecuted and oppressed people for no better reason than the color of their skin. But we also have moved to correct those faults, on our own. Without outside pressure or prompting, and often at great cost.

    I think both the extreme left and extreme right get it wrong when it comes to American exceptionalism. The radical left denies that we are special, focusing only on our mistakes and faults, while ignoring our efforts to right those wrongs. The radical right uses the cloak of patriotism and exceptionalism to deny there is or every was anything wrong with this nation. Neither point is true. We are both exceptional and flawed.
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  7. #77
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    Sure there is, it's my country.
    As a matter of fact, I am writing this from your fair land. It like the USA, the UK, and every other nation has many good points and many faults. Like the Septics, it is really time you Aussies learnt to speak English (but at least you write it and spell it tolerably well).
    I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. E.M. Forster

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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoclown View Post

    I think both the extreme left and extreme right get it wrong when it comes to American exceptionalism. The radical left denies that we are special, focusing only on our mistakes and faults, while ignoring our efforts to right those wrongs. The radical right uses the cloak of patriotism and exceptionalism to deny there is or every was anything wrong with this nation. Neither point is true. We are both exceptional and flawed.
    So, you are saying you are exceptionally flawed? That's being just a touch harsh - is it not?
    I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. E.M. Forster

  9. #79
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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoclown View Post
    can you point to any Great Power or Super Power in history that has been as restrained and benevolent as America? In the past, any other nation with our wealth and power would be intent on carving out an empire.


    Sad to say in this day and age the separation between rich and poor is criminal, we ignore our war veterans needs, allow people to starve on the streets, 40 million don't have health provisions, millions have lost their jobs and homes, proof in advertising isn't being inforced, resulting in billions of dollars spent on worthless things and drugs that promise nothing and deliver nothing. Congress is a tragic joke, newspapers are too opinionated, our army is far too ambitious, our CIA and other intelligences over-exaggerate events to justify their existence, streets and other infrastructure are a disaster waiting to happen, we kill defenseless animals for sport, allow drugs on the market with not near enough testing, allow insurance companies to run our health care, our jails are filled with political misdemeanors, the Supreme Court is too political, far too much prejudice, too much blind faith, and too many charlatans.

    ricksfolly

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    Re: American Exceptionalism

    America was once exceptional because of the fact that virtually all of the euro peon immigrants to America came in opposition to some form of authority. That characteristic distinguished Americans from others. It tied into the frontier experience where govt. was mostly absent.

    Those people believed in all the component elements of individual liberty and personal freedom.

    But most of those people are gone now. They have been replaced by people who idolize paternalism.

    Obama's America isn't worth spit.

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