The Bashing of American Exceptionalism
In 2008, when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama responded, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
This reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's "The Incredibles" in which the mom says, "Everyone's special," and her son replies, "Which is another way of saying no one is."
But at least the president made room for the sentiment that America is a special place, even if he chalked it up to a kind of benign provincialism. Not so
Not to be outdone, Daily Beast columnist
What's bizarre about Beinart and Kinsley's rendition of American exceptionalism is that it hinges on the premise that the idea of American exceptionalism is an artifact of right-wing jingoism, xenophobia or ignorance.
Forget that every
"The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in "Democracy in America," "and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one." Ever since, historians have argued that America's lack of a feudal past, its Puritan roots, the realism of its revolutionary ambitions and many other ingredients contributed to America's status as the "first new nation," to borrow a phrase from
Ever since, left-leaning intellectuals have been taking dead aim at American exceptionalism. The notion that America has its own way of doing things separate and distinct from
Ultimately, it's not that liberals don't believe in American exceptionalism so much as they believe it is holding America back, which might explain why they're lashing out at the people who want to keep it exceptional. But that too is nothing new. "The Coolidge myth has been created by amazingly skillful propaganda," editorialized The Nation in 1924 about the unfathomable popularity of
For the record, I'm with Rubio. America is the greatest country in the world. That doesn't mean it's perfect. But it is, and remains, the last best hope of Earth.
But, by all means, Democrats, listen to the sophisticates who chortle at the idea that there's anything especially good about America. That will solve Obama's "communication problem."
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