Friday, July 17, 2015

American Exceptionalism: Not What You Might Think!

One thing I do wish SOMEONE on the talking head panels would point out - perhaps no phrase these days is more misunderstood or distorted for political convenience than the term "exceptional nation" applied to America.

American exceptionalism in its origin did NOT mean that Americans in and of themselves were better than anyone else on the planet, or our people worth more than anyone else on the planet.

It meant this: given world history in Europe, Asia, etc - America was a concept—an ideal—where the social contract was set forth in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The ideas of personal freedom and individual responsibility, coupled with a healthy recognition that God governed in the affairs of men, were the fruit planted and nourished unlike any other countries governed by monarchies or dictatorships. Our republic used to be called "The American Experiment" for a reason. We were a country like no other, and that is why drew millions here from around the world. 

This is close to being entirely lost. Those who want to fundamentally change America from the ground up have to be successful in uprooting our philosophical foundation for their efforts to pay off. So they redefine "American exceptionalism" to mean an inherent arrogance and conceit that we're better than anyone else and entitled to whatever we want. That is a false definition, but unfortunately I have a hunch it is precisely what generations of American students hear in school, university, and of course, much of the media.

One final aside: I don't dispute that there ARE some who actually do hold the opinion that being American makes us better than anyone else to whom God gave breath. To their shame and loss. But we defeat that notion by resurrecting and teaching what the REAL meaning of the term is.

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