Friday, February 18, 2011

Regarding the Notion of American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism is an idea that has at its core the notion that the United States is qualitatively different; the implication being that it is inherently superior to all other forms of government and social organization on the planet. 

Conservative ideology clearly and unambiguously supports this dogma.  Furthermore, it is this idea that has been used by many Presidents over the nation's past to rationalize the unilateral use of force against other nation states even when such action has been condemned by the international community, and in spite of the fact that such behavior represented a flagrant violation of international laws and treaties.

Like all ideas that spring from dogmatic principles, this belief ignores all those aspects of reality that argue against its veracity.  American Exceptionalism is not an innocuous idea, for it inspires irrational and destructive behavior and tends to isolate the United States from the community of nations.  We are, in fact, a nation among nations, and we would better serve ourselves and our future by accepting this obvious truth.

For these reasons, I was quite distressed to learn that the current American, Barrack Obama, has embraced this idea like his predecessors.     

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