Thursday, October 15, 2009

American Exceptionalism

Decline and Fall. Post America time.

Diminishing America's unbridled awesomeness to put her on the level with cats like Turkey or Mexico seems to be picking up steam.

Not only that 44 may be the 1st of Post Modern Presidents, actually equivocating exceptionalism with nationalism -- the designer diminishment features academia's 'Binding Great Satan For Dummies," articles like "American Exceptionalism is Whee! Tarded" and boring assetted tomes like "The Rise of The Rest"

Yeah, yeah. We know. American Exceptionalism is a myth, instead of a fun, friendly myth like Batman or the Beatles -- this one actually has fangs:

"None of this would make much difference if the self-congratulation was just harmless bragging. But there are consequences. A country that believes it is the greatest in the world is also less likely to be constrained by that world. One could argue that the Iraq war was a direct result of a sense of national infallibility."

"So was our willingness to torture, our reluctance to admit our mistakes in Afghanistan, our culpability in the global recession, and our foot-dragging on global warming. Such a nation is also less likely to introspect or to strive for true greatness because it believes its greatness has already arrived."

Oh Snap! Aside from making a possible great case for drug testing columnists, this twisted world view is totally grounded in a failure to understand how Great Satan busted out of her cocoon in 1990 -- uniquely powerful -- the only one of her kind!

The short answer to Great Satan hating Disney fanboy Mr. Neal Gabler may be that the poor guy is confusing nationalism with exceptionalism:

Nearly every nation on earth looks to the past. Past glories -- like when France had Napoleon driving them to empire - or when Persia ruled the known world - or when Palestine stretched from the Atlas Mountains to Taiwan (just teasing on the last one there).

Or, nations look to past injustices - Like when Deutschland lost her empire at Versailles or like when Palestine lost her goodies as a desperate Little Satan absorbed surprise blitzes, counter attacked and acquired real estate booty in not one, but several real wars. Or when a gigantic Syria was cut down to smaller, bite size bits

Americans exceptionally look to the future. Great Satan has no holy tribal turf, no sacred bloodlines, and no past grievances.

American blood comes from every corner of the globe. Great Satan has shed that American blood in every corner of the globe, usually in defense of someone elses freedom -- the ultimate in humanitarianism.

This shiny shiny crib up on the heights -- the idea that America is a beacon to the world may actually be encoded in American dna.

When the gov of Massachusetts Colony greeted newbies on the goode shippe "Arabella" in 1630 he preached that "the eyes of the World are upon us..."

Eons later - a rogue Governess - preached the same thing

"...America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill, that we are a beacon of hope and that we are unapologetic here. We are not perfect as a nation. But together, we represent a perfect ideal."

"And that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights."

She summed up the real deal in 1/2 a dozen words:

"America is a Force for Good"

The long answer is found in the ancient remarkable commitment to liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, and laissez-faire values -- "Democracy in America" by Alexis De Tocqueville:

1. Great Satan differs qualitatively from all other nations, because of her unique origins, magically especial because she was 1st a country of immigrants and the first modern democracy. Plus, being one of the world's youngest nations -- she also sports the world's oldest continuous republic

(Australia, Little Satan and Canada could also claim part of this too - not surprizing - they also share the same values as Great Satan - including off the chart literacy rates and a few other institutions*)

2. Also helps to note that Great Satan is the only nation on earth that actually fought a civil war over slavery.

3. Great Satan's determination to create, evolve ansd sustain a tolerant, egalitarian society - with periodic, transparent elections, a free, uncensored press, a military under civie control, an independent judiciary under elected gov oversight and a nat'l treasury under public scrutiny (kinda like Little Satan, Australia and Canada - again modern nation states created from immigrants)

As former Sec o' State Madame Maddy Albright once laughed off concerns about Great Satan acting out from time to time

"Because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

Americans believe they know the truth, and they do not admit alternate truths. Instead of playing the relevency game, Americans play 'Which one of these things is not like the other?"

"Oh, things, for instance things like supremacy of democratic states over tyrannies, which is just a very simple notion. The fact that there is not moral equivalence between a despot and a democratic leader, that we free people do not inhabit the same plane morally as terrorists"

As daemoneoconic philosopher king Robert Kagan pointed out:

"Democracy is the only legitimate form of government, and America as the greatest democracy is the most legitimate of all. America's ambition for power and wealth, an ambition that has drove Americans outward for like the last 3 centuries.

"In fact, the expansive, idealistic, and at times militaristic American approach to foreign policy has produced some accomplishments of world historical importance—the defeat of Nazism, Japanese imperialism, and Soviet Communism—as well as some notable failures and disappointments.

"But it was not as if the successes were the product of a good America and the failures the product of a bad America. They were all the product of the same America.

"The achievements, as well as the failures, derived not from innocence or purity of motive, and not because Americans abided by an imagined ideal of conduct in the world, but from the very qualities that often make Americans queasy: their willingness to accumulate and use power, their ambition and sense of honor, their spiritedness in defense of both interests and principles, their dissatisfaction with the status quo and belief in the possibility of change.

Bottom Line?

Great Satan is crazy and unpredictable.

In spite of being more fickle than any girl, with the attention span of only twice as long as whatever she's hit with - Great Satan continues to confound critics and undermine critique on her will power, fire power and staying power.

Hearts, minds and hands that work diligently at endeavours like space exploration, medicine, high tech, education, academics, biz and the arts can easily be turned to amazing battlefield exploits, determination can devastatingly be turned to deadly endeavours like annihilating enemies, birthing baby democracies, staying the course or surging.

"Are we really interested in abandoning this course?

Pic 'Well I heard Ol' Neal Put Her Down..."

Dedicated to Seth Sharp


Peter said...

I am praying that this great nation is big enough to absorb the ruin this administration is causing.

I fear that we will have more thousands of dead from the same crowd that brought us the 9/11 deaths. And Bali and Chechnya and London and Madrid and Moscow and...

When is everyone going to realize that we are at war whether we want it or not?

book publishers said...

It is true that Americans exceptionally look to the future. Great Satan has no holy tribal turf, no sacred bloodlines, and no past grievances.