Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 26, 2009

"American Exceptionalism" and the Sin of Pride

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 9:38 am

Don’t get me wrong, I love America. I honor those who sacrificed and still sacrifice to protect and defend our freedoms.

And unlike most liberals, I actually listen to conservative talk radio. I think El Rush has a good b.s. detector (as well as a good b.s. projector) and I’ll take Imus’ word that Sean Hannity is a nice guy, although his prideful sense of his own righteousness rivals that of the Spanish Inquisition.

In fact, the sin of pride (aka self-righteousness) is what I’m here to talk about today. I’ve noticed a new meme developing particularly on Hannity’s show. Not the old meme in which everyone who calls in gets praised as “a great American” even though Hannity has no idea if he’s talking to a serial killer or an al-Qaeda mole. So long as the serial killer calls Sean “a great American” he must have the superb discernment to be a great American. No pride there. I just feel a guy who needs to be called “a great American” every five minutes might have … some kind of problem. Don’t church-going listeners find this embarrassing and deplorable, by the way? Isn’t pride one of the seven deadly sins? One of the deadliest?

No, the meme I’m talking about is the one where everyone is called upon to pledge allegiance to the doctrine of “American exceptionalism.” Frankly I don’t think many of the callers (and I’m not sure of Hannity himself) know what they’re talking about when they use the word “exceptionalism.” It’s actually a subject I’ve given considerable thought — and study — to in both my book on Hitler and the one on Shakespeare. Was Hitler on the continuum of evil-doers, just at the far outer edge? Or was he off the grid, off the charts, in a realm of “radical evil,” as the exceptionalists argue? It’s not an easy question. Nor is the one about Shakespeare: was he just a very, very great writer or was he off in some realm of sublimity all his own beyond all other great writers, as some exceptionalists argue? Again, not an easy question.

But American exceptionalism? These days, on Hannity’s show at least, it’s mainly used in a simple-minded, dumbed-down, loutish “we’re number one!,” Freddie Mercury “we are the champions of the world,” boastful, sin of pride way. (Remind me all you “values” types: isn’t humility supposed to be one of the cardinal virtues?)

But recently “American exceptionalism” has been used to club Obama, who, when asked (I’m paraphrasing) whether he believed in American exceptionalism, replied something like, “sure, just as the Brits believe in British exceptionalism … etc.” Something like that. In a low key way, but a remarkable instance of intellectual integrity not submitting to the demand for jingoist blather.

In a quietly courageous way, knowing it would be misinterpreted by ignoramuses. He was agreeing he felt pride in his nation. But he could understand others feeling pride in theirs. Does he really expect other nations to bow down and worship the Golden Calf of our pridefulness? And oh, how the historically oblivious tried to turn it against him!

Because let’s look at the definition of American exceptionalism and see if it’s a doctrine anyone who has studied history can take seriously as anything but jingoistic boasting. (Outta my way, lesser nations, I’m cutting to the head of the line ’cause I’m an American and we’re exceptional.)

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100 Comments »

  1. Name anoher country where everyon wishes to move and which takes you in? Not China, Ron, not Saudi Arabia. USA IS EXCEPTIONAL!! WAKE THE F… UP!!

    Comment by charlie finch — December 26, 2009 @ 10:02 am | Reply

  2. […] Read the entire story here. […]

    Pingback by Pajamas Media » American Exceptionalism and the Sin of Pride — December 26, 2009 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  3. Well, Ron, I will say this much, you are an exceptionally ignoramus. Spewing the usual leftwing garbage.

    White man did not spread small pox infested blankets, the Indian usually infected their own tribes when their “warriors”, those brave brave .. oh “Braves”. Went and slaughtered white settlers and stole the blankets which held their doom. Poetic justice that.

    Genocide it was not. Unlike what the Indian did to Jamestown, now that was genocide. Remember in Jamestown us “oppressors” set up schools and colleges to impart our advanced knowledge to peoples who did not even have writing.. stone age cultures.

    As for slavery. No this nation was not built on the backs of slaves either. Many many more white men were here as indentured servants and freemen who more than lifted their own share of the burdan of building this nation.

    Seriously Ron, you are the kind of scum which makes me want to puke. You are a sniveling left wing propagandist.

    Comment by Fantom — December 26, 2009 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  4. Indeed. Indeed. Fantom, you are the kind of scum which makes me want to put you on a reservation somewhere. Yes, let’s that do. Round up all the “great Americans” and shuttle you off to some patriotic piece of this great nation you can have and do with what you like, regardless of anybody else’s rights. That’d be col, wouldn’t it, Fantom. you are your friends – Fantasm, Spector, Cypher, and of course Wood Chuck and Grey Squirrel – you could have walkie talkies and trucks with big tires and guns that go pop and you could stay out way after dark and even sleep in a tent and tell scarey stories with “Mr. Willy” the guy your parents warned you about but who seems “OKAY by me.” I’m thinking west Texas. Pack your bags. You’re going whether you like it or not.

    Comment by Now and Then — December 26, 2009 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  5. The author writes:

    “So sure, America is great in many, many ways. But to say that its history is an exception from all the flaws of the old world is bunk.”

    You guaranteed your argument by stating a position that no one holds or has ever held. If you want to be serious about American exceptionalism, you must address the institutions of our government, especially the founding institutions such as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and so on. They are the best that have ever been and they have no serious competitors.

    Would you please stop blaming me for slavery, the bad treatment of Native Americans, and every other ill in American history. I did not do those things. I bear no responsibility for them. By the way, the same is true of my ancestors. They did not own slaves or participate in the markets generated by slavery. Though southerners, they fought for the Union during the Civil War. And a native american was a fixture of my grandfather’s general store until the death of my grandfather in the great bird flu epidemic of 1918. I guess you think I am responsible for the poor life that the native american led after my grandfather’s death.

    Comment by Theo Goodwin — December 26, 2009 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  6. 4. Now and Then:

    LOL, first you are going to find that my “Tribe” is both more numerous and far more American than you. We are better armed and better trained militarily.

    My People also grow most of the food and control most of the power plants. Get back to me when you are sitting in the dark in your metrosexual cave. The hunger pains will grow, then your tribe will start killing each other. In a way you are your own pox blanket.

    All we have to do is quarantine you, and the rest will take care of itself.

    Comment by Fantom — December 26, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  7. If America is destroyed and is reduced to a garbage pile left/liberals are content to rule because that’s enough for them, would that be better? Would corruption, tribal/identity politics and squalor be better because it’s like the rest of the wrold? (Think of that next time a fat, ignorant, leftist, minority, racist government employee turns you down for something because, though they can’t understand their own policies, they just feel like saying “no” to a white male because he “has too much” anyway while they let their friends, families and political buddies get all the goodies. That’s most third world countries, you like that here?)

    Comment by Anonymous — December 26, 2009 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  8. Your illusion of sobriety is just that an illusion. Come back when you can make sense.

    Comment by aloysiusmiller — December 26, 2009 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  9. Forgive me if this is a double post

    As per standard Ron Rosenbaum likes to take some of the most blatant Goebbels wanna be claims and expand them 100 fold.

    The list of historic fail in this piece is impressive.

    “Was Hitler on the continuum of evil-doers, just at the far outer edge? Or was he off the grid, off the charts, in a realm of “radical evil,” as the exceptionalists argue? It’s not an easy question.”

    First its a pretty easy question… hitler was a pretty standard leftwinger. Even stalin could be considered pretty standard. Both followed an ideology that is worshiped by many.

    Now one could argue that socialism/leftism is a mental disorder and one could have some science to back up that view point however realistically leftism is a standard thought pattern and must be viewed as such. As stalin, hitler and countless others throughout history believe in pretty standard leftists beliefs once again its a very easy question.

    “But recently “American exceptionalism” has been used to club Obama, who, when asked (I’m paraphrasing) whether he believed in American exceptionalism, replied something like, “sure, just as the Brits believe in British exceptionalism … etc.” Something like that. In a low key way, but a remarkable instance of intellectual integrity not submitting to the demand for jingoist blather.”

    Yes I can see why a hitler lover would like this response…

    Lets break it down. All groups good or bad tend to believe in the “exceptionalism” that is “them”. Hitler, stalin and countless others believe in it. Obama clearly states that he also believes in that hitler, stalin and countless others were “exceptional” just like the US.(at least thats what your paraphrase clearly points out and being obama is a standard leftists he does believe that).

    PS you shouldn’t paraphrase…. moron.

    ““We got nothin’ to apologize for.”

    We don’t have anything to apologize for… a simple look at history will show that the US has always lead the way in every area of life, liberty and freedom for everyone.

    “A nation founded on the genocide of the native population (using biological warfare–smallpox-infected blankets)”

    Its nice to see leftist fictional history being employed as propaganda. First their is no proof that any blankets were purposely infected with small pox. Second their is no proof that these blankets were given to anyone. People who believe in this small pox blanket myth are basically on the same level as 9/11 truthers. They take a few pieces of evidence, weave them together into with some hollywood screen plays and create the “truth”.

    ” whose initial prosperity was based on the cruel and murderous and arguably genocidal practice of slavery,”

    The irony of the placement is funny since all groups of humans throughout pretty much all of history have had slaves…. of course US Indians being among those groups. White ppl and the US as a whole were the group that put an end to slavery and where it was blacks and arabs the most abusive and pro-slavery of any groups. The US people also enslaved near no one. Yes many ppl in the US bought and sold slaves however theirs a huge difference between buying slaves from africa and enslaving whole villages of free ppl(of which blacks, arabs, indians and other were doing all the time and STILL DO EVEN TODAY)

    ” blessed by our Constitution, which made women voteless, second-class citizens for most of its history — hey, we’re number one!”

    Poor poor women… this line of BS is crap. First most women couldn’t cut it in the old days so its not surprising that they were viewed as second class(because they were). The only reason why women were able to come into their own is from rightwing individualist ideology and the technology that the US/rightwing ideology created.(The same tech and ideology that ppl like you wish you could ban)

    “I think America’s great strength has been its admirable ability to evolve democratically (with the help of an “activist” Supreme Court) into a far more just and beneficent society at home.”

    I’m so glad your “proud” of the US for pushing toward nazism/communism…

    “And one that — while often serving corporate imperialism abroad (viz. virtually the entire history of our involvement in South and Central America which put us on the side of torturers and murderous neofascist dictators) — nonetheless showed itself bravely willing to sacrifice to defeat fascism and communism.”

    Don’t even know where to start with this line of BS.

    For all the whining about centrel and south america for the most part the US always backed the lesser of 2 evils… As for south/central opposing fascism/communism I don’t know what drugs your on, whatever they are they have to be banned and if not please send some my way because they must be insanely strong.

    Both central and south american were very pro-nazi and later pro-commie. Their was a reason why hitler sent a letter to mexico to invade the US… their was a reason why most nazi war criminals went to both central and south american… and it wasn’t the nice beaches…

    “But to say that its history is an exception from all the flaws of the old world is bunk.”

    No… more history shows that the US is far in the lead… just because the US doesn’t live up to some fantasy nazi/commie utopia that you want it to be doesn’t mean that it isn’t the best country to ever exist on the planet in known history and will likely be the best country until commie/nazi filth like you run it into the ground doesn’t change history.

    “European settlers brought the diseases of the old world with them. We were not immune, unflawed, unlike any national entity that’s ever come before.”

    And they took diseases back… and they found cures for those diseases… once again nice Goebbels moment there. Also no one but the evil white ppl/euros have ever taken/transmitted diseases back and forth…o and I thought we were talking about the US here…

    “In other words, “American exceptionalism” is just a phrase for parochial self-righteousness. Bunk for historical ignoramuses.”

    No “American exceptionalism” is pure historic facts…

    ” We don’t need to get better;”

    We can always get better…. a good first step would be returning to our rightwing ways of freedom and liberty and turning away from nazism and communism of which you support.

    “we don’t need to acknowledge any flaws in the past.”

    We always need to look back at history… and more importantly look at the huge picture that is history and not try to play Goebbels and select a few points twist them into completely retarded angles argue that we need more nazism/communism.

    “We already are, always were, the best, so shut up, get outta the way and”

    Pretty much

    ” we’ll tell the rest of the world what’s right and what’s wrong.”

    As long as its obeying the constitution and not following your nazi/commi utopia ideology yeah.

    “but that superiority comes from a recognition of flaws and a willingness to mend them.”

    The irony of a nazi/commie supporters saying we need to “recognize” our “flaws” is laughable… since the only flaw you nutbags believe in is that you didn’t create enough nazism/communism and if you just do it bigger then it will work this time… you promise.

    “(yes, I know, most of them were Republicans at the time, all the more shame for the current GOP’s “Southern strategy.”)”

    Another great display of hate mongering, racism and bigotry. I find it laughable how everyone can “change” but not those dirty southerns… no not them. You’d think that you only believe white ppl can be racist and that slavery was all white ppl’s fault and never ever happened until those evil white ppl did it… o wait… you do believe that.

    “And never having to say we’re sorry.”

    Being that ppl like you never say sorry for creating hitler, stalin, mao and hundreds of other leftwing nutters… and that you still support their ideology to this day… why should anyone say anything to appease you nut bags.

    Comment by robotech master — December 26, 2009 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  10. The same thoughts occurred to me that 99.99% of people on television and radio are shameless self-promoters.

    The truth is they NEED to be. The fame that keeps them employed didn’t come out of nowhere. They have to promote themselves so they can stay popular. Like nobody will like you unless you like yourself, nobody will talk about you unless you talk about yourself.

    Annoying? Yes. Shameless? Yes. A big reason why they made it onto TV/Radio and are still there? Absolutely.

    Comment by e — December 26, 2009 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  11. Look, I don’t expect the rest of the world to recognize America’s exceptionalism; to do so would imply that I cared what they think. What I really want is our leaders to stop caring what the rest of the world thinks and just ignore them. While the self-righteous busibodies complain about how bad America is, America will be kicking their buts at everything, like we always do.

    Comment by myth buster — December 26, 2009 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  12. American Exceptionalism, eh?

    Well I’m not a fan of Hanity, given his ego gratification et al. The man is also a bore and a boar.

    http://www.pjtv.com/video/Afterburner_with_Bill_Whittle/__Bill_Maher,_Barack_Obama_and_the_Truth_About_American_Exceptionalism/2378/

    But for whether American is exceptional, well there’s what one of your fellow Pajamas writers has to say about it.

    But hey, someone needs the stress relief of an over-emotional screed about “God-might”, moral purity, serial kills, and other inanity.

    Comment by Jack — December 26, 2009 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  13. Mr. Rosenbaum,

    While America is not divine or perfect, as you clearly point out, America is exceptional in that it has a number of characteristics that are not common to other nations, with a much different pattern of settlement, revolution, government, and national traditions compared to European countries, despite having many ties to the European tradition. These are not controversial to state – they are simple realities.

    I guess you are arguing that the US exceptional in a negative way. Unfortunately, you seem to have not done much research. The smallpox blankets were an idea considered, but not implemented because of a fear of the epidemic spreading. While there were horrible acts of murder and oppression done against the Native Americans, there was not a campaign of genocide. Slavery was never very prevalent in the North, and slave labor was not key to it’s prosperity. You gloss over the Civil War, which would not have occurred without Southern chattel slavery, and was its end.

    Of course, the good thing about America in your eyes is a long march of Progress via activist liberals like yourself. So much for humility. On the judicial question, I hate to break it to you, but the Dred Scott decision was as activist as they come. I’d also have include the liberal fascination with fascism in the interwar period and the current love of any anti-American thug who fights the “man” in your trail of Progress.

    Comment by OmegaPaladin — December 26, 2009 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

  14. Okay, here’s the text of Mr. Whittle’s report.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/ejectejecteject/2009/09/22/bill-maher-barack-obama-and-the-true-story-of-american-exceptionalism/

    His argument is that America is exceptional on the grounds of Militarily, Economically, Scientifically, and culturally.

    But it is fascinating that the man that clubs “anonymous internet cowards” likes using such blanket statements of “But recently “American exceptionalism” has been used to club Obama…”

    and then doesn’t actually cite any cases of that happening. I’m sure they exist but it is fascinating that a man that is filled at such rage of people saying things without proper identification papers would not exhaustively source his own work.

    People may have said things. Callers on a radio show might be serial killers. And so on.

    Oh and for a final bit of deliciousness: the trope of liberal-bravery. You see it’s brave for Obama to say what he said.

    Courage.

    Comment by Jack — December 26, 2009 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

  15. Surely you are correct, that pride goes before a fall.

    But who and what is being ‘prideful’ here, but the people like yourself who bemoan all the evil wrought by the Americans, with the clear implication that ‘if only’ you and your ilk were in complete charge, then none of these sins would have occurred, ever.

    “American exceptionalism” is a topic of conversation BECAUSE of the unremitting anger of large swatches of the present ‘intelligentsia’. And now, your country has chosen a leader who bows to the Japanese Emperor, kowtows to the Chinese leader, and then is (surprise!) snubbed by the world’s Big 4: China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

    A lot of Americans don’t want to be weak, Ron. And right now, that is how America looks to the world’s hyenas: weak. If you cannot see that, I can: this is very dangerous for my world.

    Comment by heathermc — December 26, 2009 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  16. Never read your column, Mr. R., and I won’t be doing it again.

    Comment by tanarg — December 26, 2009 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  17. Never read your column before now, Mr. R., and I won’t be doing it again.

    Comment by tanarg — December 26, 2009 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

  18. American exceptionalism is too broad a term. Better to expound the genius of our founders and the success built upon it. Why we are number one should be explained or it becomes a mindless pep rally. Ron buys too much anti American propaganda to be credible. The left likes to pretend our history is exceptionally bad. Compared to who? No one matches the proud aspects of our history and generosity. Our system has long been copied by foreign admirers. It works well when there is honest government and honest elections. I agree Hannity gets tiresome, I cringe with his declarations of who is a Great American–you have to agree with him to qualify. So Hannity is not perfect. His virtues save him. Kinda like America.

    Comment by Gary Ogletree — December 27, 2009 @ 5:08 am | Reply

  19. Paul Krugman say (in the NYT): “A couple of notes to address complaints about the Senate bill from the left and the center. (There’s no use addressing complaints from the right; in general, the safest thing when dealing with crazy people is to avoid eye contact.)”

    Is this the kind of thing you are pointing out, Ron, when you write this?: “In fact, the sin of pride (aka self-righteousness) is what I’m here to talk about today…”
    Yes, Paulie actually called about half the country crazy. The sane half, according to Paulie, you know the half represented by Jane Hamsher at EmberPuppyPuddle, say Obama is too weak and too far right to be a good POTUS. Yet they backed this inexperienced, undistinguished teleprompter reader to be the POTUS. Now I ask you, which side is the crazy one?

    Again, you write: “What’s great about America, though not exceptional, is that we evolved, we reformed, and we listened to radical liberal abolitionists (yes, I know, most of them were Republicans at the time, all the more shame for the current GOP’s “Southern strategy.”)”
    So, Ron, you are saying the GOP plans to bring back slavery in the South. Gee, that’s odd. I vote GOP, as do many of my friends, and live in the South, but haven’t heard a word about that plan. Don’t worry though, when the GOP announces this plan, I’ll vote for Dems. Like my friends, I’m opposed to slavery. Once again the question arises, which side is the crazy one?

    Comment by Fred Beloit — December 27, 2009 @ 6:05 am | Reply

  20. To 14. Jack

    Old Ron isn’t a very bright one nor does he want to put any time into a piece… thats why he whines about hannity because he’s an easy(and not very hard opponent) to “defeat”. Its also why he makes broad generalizations because he really has no facts or history to back up his poorly researched point of view.

    Comment by robotech master — December 27, 2009 @ 6:12 am | Reply

  21. “Does he really expect other nations to bow down and worship the Golden Calf of our pridefulness?”

    Obama does all the bowing that is necessary, thanks. I can’t tell from your photo, Ron, but are you the kind of old hippy who gahers what hair remains in a ponytail? Your opinions certainly have that old fashioned flavor. Talk to them for three minutes and you will hear the Blame America argument begin to reveal itself. They just can’t help it.

    Comment by Banjo — December 27, 2009 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  22. Fantom, NOW AND THEN is someone to be dealt with carefully. I had a run in with him a few days ago and he’s a powerhouse. The guy can quote from Mr. Rogers, the TV kiddie host, damn impressive. My sources tell me he’s also an authority on Captain Kangeroo and Daffy Duck, and can roll out long lengths of Mr Wizard as well as toss in a few beauts from The Merry Mailman.
    So be careful, a word to the wise.

    Comment by johnt — December 27, 2009 @ 8:59 am | Reply

  23. Janet Napolitano should be fired for her disgraceful weasel words, PC, deer in the headlights on the Sunday chat shows this morning. Well, Ron, you are going to get your wish as the Holder crowd makes the USA only an exceptional target for the terrorrists.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 27, 2009 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  24. This poem to Victius, by the ancient Roman poet Catullus, is perfect for you too, Ron.

    In te, si in quemquam, dici pote, putide Victi,
    id quod verbosis dicitur et fatuis.
    Ista cum lingua, si usus veniat tibi, possis
    culos et crepidas lingere carpatinas.
    Si nos omnino vis omnes perdere, Victi,
    hiscas: omnino quod cupis efficies.

    You’re it if anybody when they say putrid, Victius,
    always full of crap and running off at the mouth.
    With that tongue of yours you could go into business
    licking people’s assholes and the crap off their shoes.
    And if you feel like wiping us all out for good,
    just open your mouth one more time and you’ll do it.

    Comment by Carl Sesar — December 27, 2009 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  25. @ 24

    Oops! The second line in English should read: “always full of shit . . .”

    Comment by Carl Sesar — December 27, 2009 @ 11:43 am | Reply

  26. Ron, I don’t care what the others say, I still love that tough guy photo pose you use. Man, do you look baaaad !!

    Comment by johnt — December 27, 2009 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  27. From Carl Sandburg, “Playthings of the Wind”:

    …The feet of the rats
    scribble on the door sills;
    the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
    chatter the pedigrees of the rats
    and babble of the blood
    and gabble of the breed
    of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
    of the rats.

    And the wind shifts
    and the dust on a door sill shifts
    and even the writing of the rat footprints
    tells us nothing, nothing at all
    about the greatest city, the greatest nation
    where the strong men listened
    and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was.

    (1922)

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — December 27, 2009 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  28. I’m sorry I even read this simple article.

    Sure we’re not perfect but who is? Forget your religion baiting “pride is a sin” crap and get off your friggin high horse. We’re not perfect but we’ve got a HELL of a lot going for us, and we have for years. The reason why we are tooting our own horn is because no one else is!

    Everyone else is trying to tear us down and piss on us, and I for one am sick of it. It is good to hear of how good a place America is from SOMEWHERE since every other place you turn someone is trying to tear it all down.

    Thanks for wasting my surfing time and adding yourself to my “don’t read” list.

    Comment by Gozer the Carpathian — December 27, 2009 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  29. When you have your head up your ass, Ron, everything smells like shit.

    Slavery in America was monstrously cruel but it was neither murderous nor genocidal. An American slaver who murdered his slaves was wasting valuable property. Equating the exploitation of slave labor for profit with intentional genocide elevates Hitler and the Nazis by assuming a sound, rational basis for their program.

    Criticizing America for not immediately extending the vote to women in 1776 is determinedly seeing the glass half empty. Where but in the United states did ordinary males enjoy the power to vote in 1776?

    “Corporate imperialism” and exploitation of Central and South America by companies like United Fruit was nothing to the Imperialism of the Spanish Crown and Church that preceded it. Teddy Roosevelt booting out the Spaniards was the greatest blessing ever bestowed on the peoples of Latin America.

    Taking up the cause of every oppressed people before their own is a perversion unique to Jewish leftists. Stop obsessing on America’s past sins against African Americans and Latin Americans and female Americans and read some Jewish history, Ron. If it doesn’t convince you that America is very, very special, you’re an ingrate.

    Comment by David Levavi — December 27, 2009 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  30. Rosenbaum’s bringing up the dubious smallpox blankets (Lord Amherst proposed the possibility as did someone else, later, I believe, but there is little evidence that such a thing was actually done, or if it was done that it achieved anything) is over the top, but talking about all the treaties we broke with Indians, because we changed our minds a number of times and decided that the land we had “given” them was too valuable a resource would be right on target. The slavery which was built into the Constitution with the 3/5ths rule, speaks for itself, but it was also the only way that we could cobble together a country at the time.

    Obviously many aspects of a belief in American Exceptionalism reflect an overly jingoistic world view, which has no shortage of knuckle-draggers in these parts springing into action to “defend” the country. Hannity’s pitch to appeal to these folks is tedious and actually goofy, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    It’s clear to me that the United States of America is one of the better, if not the best country around, and I wouldn’t wish to live anywhere else, but it is also good enough to try to be realistic about its strengths and weaknesses and not rely on goofy self-promotion and defensiveness. It is also ironic that many of these exceptionalists will also be the first to tell you that the country is going to hell with Obama…or is it FDR, I can’t keep track.

    By the way, there ARE attacks on our country that raise my hackles, but Rosenbaum’s (for the most part) common-sense response here is NOT one of them.

    Comment by Dwight — December 27, 2009 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  31. #30 David: “….Teddy Roosevelt booting out the Spaniards…….” You may want to do a fact check. Latin American countries liberated themselves from Spain during the 1810 to early 1820s time period. We simply removed them from their last holdouts in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Brazil was never Spanish.

    If you do some further study of the Spanish-American war, you’ll find the war fever was fueled by the Hearst newspaper chain as much as Spanish treatment of Cuban dissidents.

    Comment by SteveB/Colorado — December 27, 2009 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  32. Hey, if Charlton Heston had thought like some of the folks here he might not have starred in Planet of the Apes! How much would that have sucked?

    From Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias”:

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

    (1818)

    Comment by Fred Mecklenburg — December 27, 2009 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  33. Well, Mr. Rosenbaum:
    If it weren’t for American exceptionalism, you being a Jew would not be writing articles/books today, critizing the country that enabled your very right to exist. For if it were not for America, Hitler’s killing machine would have exterminated every Jew and black on the face of the planet. And yes, I do believe God was on our side and still is. So, instead of all your pompous rhetoric, perhaps you should get on your knees and thank God everyday we were exceptional in doing his will.

    Comment by angry american — December 27, 2009 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  34. This article, to me, really represents the some old ‘fatalist’ mindest. But if I was to try, I would say…

    The government is not a soul. The government is given the sins of preserving the society (via social contract). “Render unto …”

    Does the government not sin when IT successfully neutralizes an enemy target, or executes a convict? Ever consider which humans really sacrifice most for this function? What that must take?

    The sin of man of pride is, indeed, a tough one. I suppose we are to do things for His glory. But I do not claim to have solved that one.

    What the author calls ‘Exceptionalism’, it’s main function is to be a symbol for the people to bind around. Every country has such a symbol. It just so happens ours is, still, #1. This country doesn’t apply that fervor like ‘other’ nationalists d(id)o though.

    When he says,

    “He was agreeing he felt pride in his nation. But he could understand others feeling pride in theirs.”

    This, however, is a personal opinion. Not recalling the event myself I cannot judge, but can say, if I did, it would just be my opinion.

    BTW, Since when does enthusiasm preclude fairness?

    There is also the historical fact that no democracies have declared war on each other. Troubling though it is, I gather.

    “European settlers brought the diseases of the old world with them.”

    I don’t understand this metaphor. I always viewed those willing to make ‘the trip’ as exceptional by definition. What disease is this… ambition?

    “In other words, “American exceptionalism” is just a phrase for parochial self-righteousness”

    I believe the author, again, is mistaking what is motivation. Does the Nth best say, “Yay, keep working harder to remain Nth best.” Or does he say, “Next year, with your hard work, we shall be N-1th best”. I guess it’s clear how he would govern.

    Realize every thing needs a leader, a model. Even nations. We were very lucky. America is the model of nations; in my view. I understand not his. Cause, otherwise he would refer to it for what it is; call things what they are. It does service to everyone by it.

    Comment by Distraught — December 28, 2009 @ 3:41 am | Reply

  35. To clarify:

    When I said: “This, however, is a personal opinion.”

    I meant that so much lies in subtlety and nuance with this man, that it is unwise to take all his words at literal value. I think both sides would agree with that. Sometimes body language is invaluable, which is why I like debates.

    Comment by Distraught — December 28, 2009 @ 3:45 am | Reply

  36. 3rdly: Another evidence for healthy skepticism is that his wife was, only recently, proud of this nation. And also that we know he wants to ‘transform’ it (goes back to should either side believe him I guess, but anywho.)

    Comment by Distraught — December 28, 2009 @ 3:50 am | Reply

  37. … Thanks for writing it though, Mr. Rosenbaum. Interesting perspective.

    Comment by Distraught — December 28, 2009 @ 4:06 am | Reply

  38. It’s always a one-way street with you liberals, Mr. Rosenbaum.

    The day I hear you call for a bit of “humility” from the most nacissistic megalomaniac ever to find himself in the Oval Office, Barry Hussein Soetero Obama, then maybe I’ll listen to you. And your ilk. I say again — maybe.

    Comment by Jack Jolis — December 28, 2009 @ 4:13 am | Reply

  39. Ron, you are too prone to fall into the old self-loathing trope. You are 100% correct that neither the treatment of the native population nor slavery make America’s history exceptional (nor do they make its history exceptionally evil compared with other nations). The exceptionalism lies in the degree and effort with which America has, as a nation, openly addressed and sought to overcome such seemingly universal foibles of the human condition. As a single example, please provide another case in which an individual of such a historically oppressed and discriminated group has, within less than five generations, had one identified as their own peacefully attain the pinnacle of power. This, itself, was an exceptional accomplishment of America over baser human nature.

    If your premise was that some conservatives tend to gloss over the past sins of the nation you might have a point I could agree upon. On the other hand, an equally valid point cound be made that some (many?) liberals obsess too much on these very same faults. My question to you would be which do you believe to be more influential to the future success of the nation (and mankind): a view of these historical failures as endemic of original sin and requiring great and (seemingly) eternal penance, or a view of these historical failures in relation to how they have been overcome and how, as a people, we have become stronger together in the struggle?

    (BTW, your tired old “biological warfare–smallpox-infected blankets” is an apocryphal accusation. While unfamiliar diseases were introduced into native population with devestating effect, I have never been able to find a single documented case of this being intentionally done. As a member of the Muskogee Nation, I have particular interest in the truth of this piece of “common knowledge,” so if you do have sunstantiation o fthis claim I would appreciate you sharing it.)

    Comment by submandave — December 28, 2009 @ 6:35 am | Reply

  40. “A nation founded on the genocide of the native population…” You lost me, are talking about France, England, Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Cuba, Mexico?

    I find a liberal preaching about sin humorous. The Democratic Party is based on violating the Tenth Commandment.

    Comment by Old Soldier — December 28, 2009 @ 6:53 am | Reply

  41. I’m impressed by the ratio between the many people who want to disagree with our host and the very few who respond to what he said.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 28, 2009 @ 7:00 am | Reply

  42. Note to Ron: there are various measurements spanning the entire spectrum of human potential and achievement that are handy when evaluating nations, cultures, societies, etc. Try it some time.

    Comment by brad — December 28, 2009 @ 7:33 am | Reply

  43. Slothrop@32: Huh? In disagreeing with the author the posters did in fact respond to what he said. Except for the mentally-challenged, the responders were very exact and eloquent in their remarks. They did in fact rebut the author with clear examples.

    Tell us, what nations would you consider that could carry the mantle of exceptional? Why is it you lefties can not think that America is good? Why is it that lefties like the author, you and Jerimiah Wright feel that America is so wrong and you must invent things to discredit and denigrate her?

    Finally, as has been said, the author is part of an American ethnic sub-group that has always found fault with America despite America being the ONE nation which pretty much saved the lives of his forefathers and their families not only in Europe but around the world. Talk about ungrateful. And I am getting pretty tired of it.

    Comment by blotto — December 28, 2009 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  44. Dear Dr. Bones,

    Skipping over the obvious nine days wonder about the _Neudenkpolizei_ [ http://tinyurl.com/yzsphop ] ever allowin’ such an (ahem!) exceptional scribble to appear in a loyal Party-’n’-AEIdeology venue, notice that Neocomrade R. Rosenbaum does not actually ever specify what it is, exactly, that is supposed to be so goshdarn self-exceptional about Wunnerful US.

    Nor does the superneutral neutrality of the Princetonians attempt the feat: we learn HOW or WHY, but not WHAT. We are advised that the sweet puppies of Endarkenment are automphaloscopic and hypernarcissistical thanks to their “unique origins, national credo, historical evolution and distinctive political and religious institutions.” Well, *that* barrage can hardly fail to miss the broad side of the barn altogether. Yet one *would* rather have liked to be told wherein Sweetpuppiedom’s uniquenesses of origin / credo / evolution (?!) / institutions substantively consist.

    Or on the other hand, maybe not.

    I trust, Dr. Bones, that you still remember Snoopy with the Icicle of Doom hanging over him, protesting at last “I’m too *ME* to die!” [ http://tinyurl.com/yfofnaz ] Perhaps that’s the true moral cretinism of wingnutettes and wingnuts and wombscholars and pajamatarians — even of G.O.P. geniuses and the señoritoly element. “Narky loves Narky; that is, I am I.” Simple as that, begorrah! Maybe.

    On that hypothesis, Neocomrade R. Rosenbaum is barkin’ up entirely the wrong icicle when he drags in anythin’ so distinctively Old Euro as _superbia_. Neither gung-ho neo-Levantines nor militant extremist Republicans lend themselves to that sort of explanation very easily.

    You and I tend to emphasize the respects in which kiddie selfservatism chooses to retrobarbarise its neoself by breakin’ off relations with our friend Mlle. d’Éclaircissement. Maybe one time in twenty-three we ought to recall that the so-called Western Civ. is not (yet) perfect either.

    ’Tis just a suggestion. Let me know what you think.

    And I wish you, sir,
    Healthy days.

    Comment by JHM dba 'Neocomradologist' — December 28, 2009 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  45. I have seen a lot of people around the world, and generally, everybody:
    Wants to come the United States,
    If they can’t come to the US, they want to go to England,
    If they can’t go to England, they will take France or Germany,
    If they can’t go to France or Germany, they’ll take Spain, Italy, or Scandaniva,
    If thye can’t to to Spain, Italy, or Scandaniva, they aren’t interested.
    But I’m sure that that has nothing to do with crass ideas of good and bad.

    Comment by Dave F — December 28, 2009 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  46. This is not the time to be pandering to the Holder morons on the left who want to let a few planes get blown up so that Khalid Sheik Mohammed can get tried in New York and then Manhattan get nuked. This IS the time for Obama and the rest of us to declare that Mr. Liu should be freed (pull our Ambassador from China for starters) and Khameini be overthrown in the name of human rights. As much as I admire Ron, his constant masochistic noodling about Iraq, Afghanistan,guilty US is so inappropriate at this historical moment that my head spins. It is as if we were condemning the British monarchy during the Blitz. Come on Ron, EVIL IS ON THE MARCH AND MUST BE STOPPED. I really hate to say this, but, at this moment, EXTREMISM IN THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE, IT IS A NECESSITY.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 28, 2009 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  47. America is exceptional. Do we as a nation have things in its past not to be proud of? Sure, but no more or less than self-righteous socialist Europe.

    In fact we have more to be proud of than any other nation. We are constantly hammered for racism yet we’re one of the few nations in the world that for its entire existance has lived for generations with an ethnically mixed populace. How many blacks & Asians lived in Europe in significant numbers until the last 30 years? How many white or black people have lived in SE Asia (under Asian rule)? Not a whole heck of a lot.

    Up until recently we possessed more freedom and social mobility than any other nation on the planet. The “peasants” of Europe, Russia, and China are (and always have been) ruled by the “Elite”. Sadly America is moving in that direction as well. Our leaders often fail us, but as Americans we hope they do the right thing. If we were not generally moral in our polices the “conundrum” of Afghanistan could have been easily solved long ago buy turning the entire nation into a sheet of fused glass and irradiated ruins.

    So Mr. Rosenbaum we do have much to be proud of, and there’s a difference between being proud and prideful, as a educated and supposedly “enlightened” individual you should know the difference. Then again you could be just another liberal living in the dark because their head is placed firmly in their rectum…

    Comment by Real Deal — December 28, 2009 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  48. Please forgive me if this is a double post but the original post still carries the tag – “Your comment is awaiting moderation” – and I’m not sure if others can read it. I am also not sure why it has taken the moderator so long to get to the original post which should have been at #9.

    —————–

    Congratulations! I think you managed to hit upon ever leftist cliche about the evil United States in one article. Quite an achievement! Are you perhaps the ghost writer for Howard Zinn? Unfortunately, you miss the whole point of American exceptionalism.

    Since you want to take history serious, let us start from the very beginning. Jonathan Winthrop gave voice to the concept of American exceptionalism with his famous “City Upon a Hill” sermon. The sermon did not declare American exceptional by the simple fact that it was America, especially since the United States did not exist at the time. The sermon called upon the Puritans and other colonists to build a city upon a hill based upon Judeo-Christian principles. Winthrop and others believed that a society conceived and founded on such principles would be a light to other nations. However, if the flip side to the sermon analogy was that if the colonists departed from such principles then they would no longer be a city on a hill but rather salt which has lost its flavor. In short, Americans are exceptional when they cling to their founding principles, which are exceptional. Americans are not exceptional when they follow the unexceptional European slide into cultural and moral decline. Mr. Obama is intent on destroying those principles and thus making the United States an average nation.

    As to all the evils you claim about the United States and its founding, you take a few isolated incidents and generalize from those points to condemn all Americans. Michael Medved has done some research on the smallpox blankets and I encourage you to take a look at his findings and educate yourself. Overall, very shoddy history and very shoddy scholarship. In fact, it used to be called slander.

    How about we put a few things in context? Name for me a nation that did not displace another group of people to found their own nation. I’m not claiming it to be right or wrong but it does seem to be the way of the world. Also, in 1776 and 1789, please name for me another nation that recognized the rights of women and did not participate or at least accept the practice of human slavery. From the time of our founding until the advent of the Obama administration, the United States has led the way in human rights. We were not always perfect but we overcame and we did so not because an actvist court told us to do so. Those same activists courts and their progressive supporters destoryed the tribes with the Dawes Act and placed the Americans of Japanese descent into prison camps so don’t lecture us about human rights. It was the progressives who took us into the Philippines, Cuba, and Central and South America so don’t blame the conservatives.

    Comment by Kipling — December 28, 2009 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  49. @33,

    If you were at a social gathering and you walked into a conversation where your host had just said what Ron just said, and you responded with a diatribe like your rant here, people would look at you as if you were deranged and shun you, even if they were to agree with some of your points. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your behavior is any more appropriate here.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 28, 2009 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

  50. The inarticulate howl of outrage Mr. Rosenbaum seems to have evoked says to me that a lot of people out there are feeling very, very insecure about America’s putatively eternal Number One position. Me, I’m reminded of how I was struck when I was a very young child by the incongruity in the lyrics to “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” You know, after all that over-the-top bombast, we are instructed that “there is never a boast or a brag,” so that the songwriter can claim the virtues of humility for ol’ Number One America on top of everything else!

    The true patriot does not find it necessary to boast loudly and continuously to the world about how excellent his country is! Yes, the world is a better place with America as its hegemon than it would be should we lose that position to the likes of China. But tell us this, you howlers and ranters: how exactly are you serving your country by bawling like a baby whenever anyone criticizes it? Is it not the loving, patriotic critics who would save America by denouncing and working to repair its flaws?

    Perhaps the howlers and ranters should read Rudyard Kipling’s immortal poem Recessional and take to heart the wisodm of one so often and so wrongly condemned as the archetypal jingo:

    Far called, our navies melt away;
    On dune and headland sinks the fire:
    Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
    Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    Comment by Martin Berman-Gorvine — December 28, 2009 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  51. To 35. Martin Berman-Gorvine

    I find great irony in your comments do from the fact that very few go boosting about unless directly confronted by tools such as ron who blatantly lie to stir up hate and bigotry…

    Comment by robotech master — December 28, 2009 @ 3:52 pm | Reply

  52. Those who have lived overseas are more likely to believe in American Exceptionalism by virtue of direct comparison of the US with othr countries.

    Comment by Xpat — December 28, 2009 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  53. Rosenbaum and poster 35 do not understand how people think.

    Everyone thinks their group is exceptional. Don’t the chinese and muslims and albanians and russians? They have a much higher opinion of themselves than we do of ourselves.
    I recently had a discussion with a Chinese immigrant who kept on talking about what “we” were doing wrong around the world. Meaning the US. If I had raised what the Chinese were doing wrong in Tibet or about the killing of thousands of Chinese muslims, he would have screamed Racist! If this man had moved to India or Malaysia, he would not have said “we”.

    Americans have just as much right as anyone to believe we are great. We don’t have to apologize for anything any more than any one else does. That is how conservatives should deal with criticism. When everyone else takes it, then we will too. In the meantime, we should have the same belief and self love that everyone else does. Don’t apologize, don’t explain. If you don’t get it, then you are not one of us. This is the only way to deal with this negativity which only finds the US (usually including Israel and the west) at fault and never anyone else.

    Without love a nation or any group, however defined, cannot survive.

    If we are insecure, then everyone else is too.

    Mr. 35, many flaws cannot be corrected. Everything has the defects of its qualities. In any case, criticizing things to death does not solve anything. Also, you are not interested in fixing flaws. You are practicing one of Alinsky’s rules, criticize more and more and more until the thing criticized cannot exist any more.

    Comment by Minda — December 28, 2009 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  54. 40. Martin Berman-Gorvine:

    The lyric “…where there’s never a boast or brag…” is from a song entitled “Grand Old Flag”. “Stars & Stripes Forever” is a march by John Philip Sousa. He didn’t write lyrics to it. As usual, just like a modern liberal, no homework done, making stuff up.

    Just howling here, inarticulately of course.

    “… Me, I’m reminded of how I was struck when I was a very young child by the incongruity in the lyrics to “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” You know, after all that over-the-top bombast, we are instructed that “there is never a boast or a brag,” so that the songwriter can claim the virtues of humility for ol’ Number One America on top of everything else!”

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 28, 2009 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  55. 40. Martin Berman-Gorvine,

    You disparage winners because when you were a child you were probably someone who was last to be chosen for kick-ball, who never learned what it was like to try hard enough to be a winner. Classic self-loathing. By the way, I knew a rabbi once who hyphenated his last name by tacking his wife’s maiden name onto his. How progressive of him. He was a horrible rabbi and a panty-waste too.

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 28, 2009 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  56. I don’t know, I’ll compromise with Ron.

    Just as Obama can’t actually apologize for things he had no involvement in, I can’t either. It’s a meaningless gesture at this juncture.

    For instance, one can say they are sorry that the US was ever, in any way, involved in slavery and the damage it did, and, sorry to see how it continues to taint our politics and the lives of US citizens. It held the US back and has delayed opportunities and even further advancement. However, the people who should have apologized are gone. I feel no guilt. How could I ? My ancestors neither owned nor profited from slavery. They worked extremely hard.

    The US government has made mistakes in the past and, unfortunately, will again. Human judgement is not 100%. Even good intentions can have unforeseen and negative consequences. That is life.

    While I think that bragging/boasting is an unattractive trait, a turn off, still, I am so grateful to be an US citizen, to have prospered, to have had so many opportunites and, I too, love my nation and am proud of her.

    In addition, I am grateful that I am treated in the US as a unique individual(not a collective) who is not held responsible for any of the perceived character flaws of my fellow conservatives(Sean Hannity is often correct nevertheless) and thus am allowed the personal time to work on my own imperfections.

    Comment by Elliot — December 28, 2009 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  57. Response to Martin Berman-Gorvine @37:

    Recessional is a beautiful poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1897. The wisdom contained therein is that the British had to remember their founding principles, the Christian values that made Britain great. Kipling ends each stanza with a call to remember the “Lord God of Hosts” or “Judge of the Nations.” To forget the Lord God of Hosts or His Law and to trust in the strength of other things will lead the country to the ultimate fate of Nineveh and Tyre.

    Comment by Kipling — December 28, 2009 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

  58. It is an indisputable fact that America is Exceptional. Building the first reactor, putting a man on the moon as well as a host of other things prove that.

    ex·cep·tion·al (k-spsh-nl)
    adj.
    1. Being an exception; uncommon.
    2. Well above average; extraordinary: an exceptional memory. See Usage Note at exceptionable.
    3. Deviating widely from a norm, as of physical or mental ability: special educational provisions for exceptional children.
    So either that word doesn’t mean what you think it does or you just don’t like the concept of being exceptional in general and it mixes with your hatred of America to become denial of America exceptionalism.

    Or, perhaps you are being misled by this;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism

    http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/courses/ed253a/american-exceptionalism.htm

    America IS exceptional, by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps you are putting to much emphasis on Alexis de Tocqueville’s Usage. Alexis was French of course, so maybe he wasn’t using the phrase the same way you do.
    {snipped}
    “”Exceptional” in this context is to be interpreted as “…qualitatively different from all other countries.”
    -Seymour Martin Lipset

    So Alexis was fakin it. Making up words as he went along.
    That doesn’t help you, since you now have to argue that the Nation which created the UN, Built the first Nuclear Sub and the Hydrogen bomb isn’t “…qualitatively different from all other countries”.
    Good luck with that.
    Please note that Quality is a relative term. Those arguing against America’s Exceptionalism are using their own non-standard paradigm of Quality. One that fits what ever axe they are grinding today.
    By any rational standards, America is Exceptional.
    America is not perfect. Some people confuse the two words.

    Comment by Typos_R_Us — December 28, 2009 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  59. to 30 and 35:

    Thank you for your contributions. I was starting to fear that all intelligent life had disappeared from the planet. Most of the other contributors seem to hate the things that do make the United States exceptional, and wish to see us excel in those things which can best be described as the worst worst practices of other nations.

    Comment by Eligius — December 28, 2009 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  60. I would simply like to ask why my comments have not been posted. I have broken none of the rules stipulated at pajamasmedia. I have not used profanity nor participated in ad hominem attacks. I have however correct Mr. Rosenbaums misinformation about the nature of American exceptionalism, refuted all of his accusations, and shown that it is actually the progressive left behind much of the oppression to which he eludes. Is it the fact that you cannot refute my points that you choose not to post my comments? How broadminded and liberal of you.

    Comment by Kipling — December 28, 2009 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  61. 49. JHM dba ‘Neocomradologist’:

    OK. So, which hand do you type with?

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 29, 2009 @ 1:50 am | Reply

  62. Gee, Obama finally got around to praising the resisters in Iran. I guess Rahm told him his poll numbers were tanking in Qom.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 29, 2009 @ 6:04 am | Reply

  63. Maybe you could post this in Spanish, and hand out copies at the Mexican border…or just plaster the border wall with reprints. (Or French at the Canadian border for that matter) Surely illegal immigrants would stop coming here once they understand how “unexceptional” we really are.

    Comment by walt b — December 29, 2009 @ 7:11 am | Reply

  64. Gorvine@50: Your comments are so convoluted, disorganized and nonsensical that they deserve no response except to say:

    Hey Gorvine, I got your hegemon right here!

    Tool.

    Comment by blotto — December 29, 2009 @ 7:29 am | Reply

  65. #60 Mr. Kipling: The same thing happened to my post.

    In brief: We are exceptional because
    a) We are not ruled by our government (Dictatorship, Monarchy, or government committee).

    b)Capital production and benefit are in the hands of the citizen not the government.

    This is what makes America unique (exceptional)among nations. It is also what progressives want to change. Every other form of government eventually leads to dictatorships and/or bankruptcy. It is also why when other countries descend into tyranny and starvation they come here. It is also why our exceptional qualities are something defend against “Socialist Utopians” and narcissist with delusions of grandeur. If we lose this, there is no where else to go; because America is the one exception to all others. That is not bragging, just the facts. We are not perfect, nothing human ever is, but we are exceptional.

    Comment by Ione — December 29, 2009 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  66. blotto @43 / Dec 28 – 7:43 am,

    Every country is exceptional in its own way (just like most people think that they are above-average drivers), using the dictionary definition of the word. But that definition is very clearly not what Rosenbaum is talking about in this piece. If you read as far as the top of page 2, you will see a definition of American exceptionalism drawn from “a recent Princeton University Press anthology.” Most of the people responding here are missing the point, and generating far more heat than light.

    I won’t speak for Rosenbaum or other “lefties”,* but I don’t hate America

    Finally, as has been said, the author is part of an American ethnic sub-group that has always found fault with America despite America being the ONE nation which pretty much saved the lives of his forefathers and their families not only in Europe but around the world. Talk about ungrateful. And I am getting pretty tired of it.

    There is so much that is wrong here that it’s hard to know where to start. As a matter of history, it is fatuous self-congratulation to suggest that the U.S. fought WWII to save the Jews. Much more could have been done at the time to help Jewish refugees or stop the concentration camps, and wasn’t. And many other countries fought in that war. There is no way we could have defeated the Third Reich on our own. More importantly, the notion that Jews are too critical of the United States is pretty repulsive.

    * or for Jeremiah Wright — you are making common cause here with the wingnuts, so you can have him on your side.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  67. To 64. Tyrone Slothrop

    “As a matter of history, it is fatuous self-congratulation to suggest that the U.S. fought WWII to save the Jews.”

    While I agree with this statement some what you have heavily taken blotto’s argument out of context. He never said anything about ww2 alone. The US took hundreds of thousands even millions of jews in at the run up to the war. Their is of course israel and many other actions in which the US has helped or saved jews across the world.

    While sure the US could have done more for ww2… ww2 should never have helped and if it wasn’t for the french, brits and a handful of others who basically did everything in they’re power to help hitler every step of the way it wouldn’t have happened. Blaming the US for not entering ww2 sooner is a completely retarded argument… it tries to shift the blame away from french, brit, etc onto the US who has also been a country that avoids war and who was half a world away.

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  68. Most of the cultural world after 1935 (including all of Hollywood) was created by Jewish refugees from the Nazi here in the good old USA. This diaspora of genius expanded what makes the USA exceptional.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 29, 2009 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  69. (I have had the same trouble being ‘moderated’. Must be something kaput in the system)

    Wow. I’m not American, which I guess disqualifies me from holding a valid opinion in the eyes of some here, but I’ll have my say anyway.

    America is ‘exceptional’ in many ways, not all of them good. I won’t bother inflating your egos by listing the positives (of which there are still many) here.

    The first exception that really stands out to me is the sheer number of your really stupid, really nasty citizens who are capable of and driven enough to express themselves on every issue under the sun – even though they are utterly un or misinformed. We all have our ignorant Archie Bunkers, but thankfully most in the rest of the world are content to confine their know-all-but-know-nothing views to the others propping up the bar. In America, such people can sell their ignorance on a national stage!

    Amongst the civilised countries of the Earth, you are exceptional in your acceptance, encouragement even, of your people owning lethal weapons – not just for hunting and reasonable self-defense, but assault weapons that make going on a killing spree so easy.

    You are exceptional in believing that one of the basic responsibilities of a nation is not to provide a reasonable standard of health care to every citizen. And that anything run by the government is necessarily bad and ‘socialistic’ – except police, the military, health care for ex-military and the aged, the justice system, postal services, basic public education, sanitation services, the roading system etc etc etc.

    You are exceptional in selling your electoral system off to the highest bidder. Rather than constructing cohesive party platforms to give voters a proper choice and an expectation of certain actions, you simply license individuals to do whatever they damned well like – including accepting ‘donations’ from corporates to influence their decisions. You actually gauge politicians’ chances of election by the piles of cash their PAC’s have raised, for heaven’s sake. Honestly, to an outsider, the endemic corruption in American democracy is almost beyond belief.

    Some other exceptions of which you may not be so proud:-

    * The highest rates of crime and incarceration outside the third world
    * The continuation of cruel and unusual capital punishment (cruel to kill a 40 year-old for the crime of a teenager, unusual in that only the poor and/or mentally defective ever seem to be executed – the prosecution didn’t even bother to ask for OJ to suffer the extreme sanction)
    * An incredibly rich country that still allows 5% of the population to control 95% of the wealth and has vast numbers living in abject poverty
    * The highest rates of drug use and addiction in the Western world
    * A country where incitement to hate and calling for vigilante action and even armed insurrection is regarded as a sacred right

    You may be rich and powerful, but that is ebbing away as your leaders continue to put the country into hock to the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis. Unless you mend your ways, and do it soon, the once great USA will continue on its tragic decline and fall.

    Comment by John McKee — December 29, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  70. @67 robotech master, Dec 29 – 8:15 am
    While I agree with this statement some what you have heavily taken blotto’s argument out of context. He never said anything about ww2 alone. The US took hundreds of thousands even millions of jews in at the run up to the war. Their is of course israel and many other actions in which the US has helped or saved jews across the world.

    One can quibble about how willing the U.S. was to take in Jews before and during WWII, but this isn’t an argument for American exceptionalism. Many other countries did the same. The point is not to “blame” the U.S. for its actions, just to say that they do not support a claim that the U.S. has been a uniquely moral presence in the world.

    @68 charlie finch, Dec 29 – 9:36 am
    Most of the cultural world after 1935 (including all of Hollywood) was created by Jewish refugees from the Nazi here in the good old USA. This diaspora of genius expanded what makes the USA exceptional.

    Rosenbaum is talking about a very specific sense of American exceptionalism. You are not. If you can’t be bothered to engage in the conversation he started, why do you post? You’re either being obtuse or rude.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  71. #75 Tyrone,

    You say:

    Rosenbaum is talking about a very specific sense of American exceptionalism. You are not. If you can’t be bothered to engage in the conversation he started, why do you post? You’re either being obtuse or rude.”

    We are “bothering to engage Rosenbaum in this conversation precisely because Rosenbaum’s “very specific sense of American Exceptionalism” is wrong and completely out to lunch! That’s the whole reason we’re shouting at him in this way. Why don’t you get that?

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 29, 2009 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  72. Tyrone #71,

    You say,

    “Every country is exceptional in its own way (just like most people think that they are above-average drivers), using the dictionary definition of the word.

    This statement COMPLETELY ignores the fact of our founding and the terrible history of tyranny behind it. Your statement ignores our founding documents and everything which derives from them. This is why the rest of us are angry. Because you and others like you don’t bother to look at the history of this great nation and allow yourselves to be convinced that it is Exceptional. We are tired of your willful ignorance of the basic facts of our founding. Just like your moral relativism and all the other relativistic viewpoints of the left, you refuse to acknowledge the existence of even the struggle between good and evil because then you’d have to acknowledge something greater than the limited confines of your own brain, the post-intellectual aspects of our humanity. And frankly, we are tired if that type of intellectual sloth. That willful ignorance.

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 29, 2009 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  73. And Tyrone,

    Who cares how Princeton University Press chooses to define American Exceptionalism?
    Well, besides impressionable lefties, that is. The flaw in the statement below is that our founders and indeed our founding documents do NOT promote religious institutions. There were religious institutions already in place for more than 100 years before we became a country but our Constitution does not acknowledge them. It actually says freedom OF religion. Our country most certainly DOES NOT differ qualitatively because of our “unique political and religious institutions”. It is unique in that our founding documents allow for freedom of expression in these areas and take great pains to limit the ability of ANYTHING to gain too much power and influence without the consent of the governed. I defy anyone to find a founding document that is its equal.

    “Here’s a recent neutral definition from a Princeton University Press anthology on the question: American exceptionalism “is based on a self-perception that America ‘differs qualitatively from other developed nations because of its unique origins, national credo, historical evolution and distinctive political and religious institutions.”

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 29, 2009 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  74. Thomas Cambridge, Dec 29 – 11:47 am
    We are “bothering to engage Rosenbaum in this conversation precisely because Rosenbaum’s “very specific sense of American Exceptionalism” is wrong and completely out to lunch! That’s the whole reason we’re shouting at him in this way.

    Most of the comments claiming that America is exceptional are saying things that simply don’t make sense in the context of the way that Rosenbaum defines “American exceptionalism” at the top of the second page of the article. He’s not using a dictionary definition. Under a dictionary definition, every country is exceptional in its own ways.

    So no one is really engaging with the argument he’s making. Which, as I initially posted, is striking in light of the number of people who think they’re disagreeing with him.

    For example, a few posts back Ione said:
    We are exceptional because
    a) We are not ruled by our government (Dictatorship, Monarchy, or government committee).

    b)Capital production and benefit are in the hands of the citizen not the government.

    This is what makes America unique (exceptional)among nations.

    Apart from the fact that this is wrong on its face (there are scores of developing and developed countries where the people are no more ruled by their government and control capital as much as we do), it has nothing to do with the sense of “American exceptionalism” that Rosenbaum is talking about.

    And when you say that Rosenbaum’s sense of American exceptionalism is wrong, you’re not making sense. Rosenbaum is describing a set of views that others have that he thinks is misguided. They’re not his views.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  75. To 69. John McKee

    For someone who claims that their are many un/misinformed ppl in the US you display a complete lack of even basic history or understanding.

    “* The highest rates of crime and incarceration outside the third world”

    A classic sleight of hand argument. First the US takes in more 3rd worlders then any other country… legally and illegally. Lets not also over look the fact that roughly 33% of fed prisoners are Non-US citizens and roughly 10-20% of state prisoners depending state are non-us citizens. We also happen to be the largest first world country far and again larger then many first world countries put together.

    “* The continuation of cruel and unusual capital punishment”

    Your opinion is noted and borderline meaningless… you likely live in a complete bubble from reality to believe this crap.

    “* An incredibly rich country that still allows 5% of the population to control 95% of the wealth and has vast numbers living in abject poverty”

    Once again another meaningless socialist ideology argument… if ppl don’t like living in the US THEY CAN MOVE. You also live out the fact that the poorest ppl in the US are only about 100x better off then 95% of the rest of the world.

    “* The highest rates of drug use and addiction in the Western world”

    Once again a sleight of hand argument… we are far bigger then any other country in the western world… we also have a major drug cartels sitting right on our border… of which ppl like you would likely scream “cruel and unusual punishment” should we got and kill them off…o wait you did already…

    “* A country where incitement to hate and calling for vigilante action and even armed insurrection is regarded as a sacred right”

    Well I’m glad to know that you would happily walk into an oven when the guards asked you to… btw are you french? You seem to have quiet the surrender complex…

    To 70. Tyrone Slothrop

    “Rosenbaum is talking about a very specific sense of American exceptionalism.”

    Their can be no doubt about that… he is blatantly trying to narrow down the debate so that he can use his twisted logic to win any argument. Old ron has no intend in trying to argue anything at all since he refuses to debate or even counter any arguments expect with a classic elitist attitude of “I’m better then you blah blah blah cheap shot”.

    Almost all of rons main arguments have been completely wiped out when looking at the facts… the fact that a very narrow view of the small “technical” arguments left can be viewed as somehow him being right is pretty weak.

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  76. Response to John McKee circa #70:

    I agree with most of your first three examples of exceptionalism.

    The first is called the right to free speech. Not every one uses it well but we do like to use it. I believe the Islamic immigrants in civilized Europe are the only ones allowed by your government to exercise such freedoms. Western Europeans have largely been cowered into silence by hate laws and fear of their own government’s soft despotism.

    The second is called the right to bear arms. It has kept us from having to kowtow to vicious dictators, local thugs, and various criminal organizations. One cannot say the same of civilized – in some cases feminized – Europe.

    The third is called personal responsibility. Europe, with only a few exceptions, have not tried it since WWII. Our system of free enterprise and personal responsiblity has produced a health care system that is second to none in the world. All of the exceptions you provided to our allowance of government control only goes to prove our point that government is a poor manager. The postal service, the Veterans Administration, etc are hardly shining examples of efficiency and honesty.

    The fourth assumption is completely false. Although money does play a role in politics. We spend more on Halloween candy than we do on Presidential campaigns. If your example was true then Romney would have been the nominee and not McCain. The party system here is weaker because we do not have a representative system but a winner take all approach.

    I will agree that our elites have sold us to China and other debt collectors. The problem is the debt is incurred becoming more like socialist Europe.

    Comment by Kipling — December 29, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

  77. Thomas Cambridge,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

    Above at Dec 29 – 12:00 pm, you say:
    You say,

    “Every country is exceptional in its own way (just like most people think that they are above-average drivers), using the dictionary definition of the word.

    This statement COMPLETELY ignores the fact of our founding and the terrible history of tyranny behind it. Your statement ignores our founding documents and everything which derives from them. This is why the rest of us are angry. Because you and others like you don’t bother to look at the history of this great nation and allow yourselves to be convinced that it is Exceptional. We are tired of your willful ignorance of the basic facts of our founding. Just like your moral relativism and all the other relativistic viewpoints of the left, you refuse to acknowledge the existence of even the struggle between good and evil because then you’d have to acknowledge something greater than the limited confines of your own brain, the post-intellectual aspects of our humanity. And frankly, we are tired if that type of intellectual sloth. That willful ignorance.

    I can’t figure out why you are ascribing these views to me — ignorance of the history of our founding, moral relativism, the denial of “the” struggle between good and evil. You’re responding to straw men, not anything I’ve said.

    At Dec 29 – 12:16 pm, you write:
    Who cares how Princeton University Press chooses to define American Exceptionalism?
    Well, besides impressionable lefties, that is. The flaw in the statement below is that our founders and indeed our founding documents do NOT promote religious institutions. There were religious institutions already in place for more than 100 years before we became a country but our Constitution does not acknowledge them. It actually says freedom OF religion. Our country most certainly DOES NOT differ qualitatively because of our “unique political and religious institutions”. It is unique in that our founding documents allow for freedom of expression in these areas and take great pains to limit the ability of ANYTHING to gain too much power and influence without the consent of the governed. I defy anyone to find a founding document that is its equal.

    You ask, who cares how someone published by Princeton defines the term “American exceptionalism”? Well, Rosenbaum has written a blog post about a set of views, for which he has used (and others have used) that term as a shorthand name. If you are talking about the same set of views he is talking about, then the name shouldn’t bother you. If you are not talking about those views, then why are you posting at all? Because then you’re not engaging in the conversation that he is hosting — you’re talking about something else.

    Also, you seem to have misunderstood the Princeton University Press definition you quote. When it refers to “religious institutions,” it is not refering solely to the Bill of Rights’ treatment of religion. It’s speaking much more broadly.

    More generally, I apparently agree with you that our Constitution is excellent in a number of ways. At the same time, I would disagree with you if you were to suggest — a la “American exceptionalism” — that there is nothing to criticize in our Constitution. To take an obvious example, there is the framers’ treatment of slavery. Less obviously, the freedom of expression that we now enjoy is not spelled out in the Constitution, and developed only in the last century. And the framers’ decision to place the power to declare war in the legislative branch has not worked well recently, as Congress has tended to duck that responsibility and allow the executive branch to take its war powers.

    Which is to say that the Constitution is imperfect, and that we can strive to make it better.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  78. @75 robotech master, Dec 29 – 12:33 pm,
    Responding to my observation that Rosenbaum is talking about a specific sense of the term, “American exceptionalism,” you say:
    “Their can be no doubt about that… he is blatantly trying to narrow down the debate so that he can use his twisted logic to win any argument. Old ron has no intend in trying to argue anything at all since he refuses to debate or even counter any arguments expect with a classic elitist attitude of “I’m better then you blah blah blah cheap shot”.

    He’s not “narrowing” the debate at all. He wrote a post in which he was talking about people with a specific set of views. If you or others have different views, then that’s not what he was talking about, just as his post also was not about the French Impressionists or which new car to buy. If you’re hell bent on disagreeing with him, you should try to disagree with things that he’s actually said.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  79. To 78. Tyrone Slothrop

    “He’s not “narrowing” the debate at all. He wrote a post in which he was talking about people with a specific set of views.”

    “If you’re hell bent on disagreeing with him, you should try to disagree with things that he’s actually said.”

    These are to opposing view points here. First you say he isn’t narrowing the debate then you say we should keep our response strictly to the narrow views of ron and ron belief that these set of views are correct… which is it?

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 12:57 pm | Reply

  80. He’s criticizing about a specific set of views that he and other people have called “American exceptionalism.” And he doesn’t think those views are correct (did you bother to read his post?). The people who think that they’re responding to him by pointing to ways that American is exceptional — in a dictionary definition sense — are missing the point. He says (and I generally agree): “I think we are far superior to many nations, but that superiority comes from a recognition of flaws and a willingness to mend them.” He’s not saying that we’re not flawed. He’s not saying that we don’t have a lot to offer the world. He’s saying we are not above self-criticism, and that we can be better.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  81. To Mr. Slothrop,
    Perhaps you are right, Ron is not talking at all about the political term “American Exceptionalism”. He is speaking of over zealous patriotism or maybe just outright bragging but he is not talking about the defined political term that he used. If he hates people that brag too much or wave the flag too much or are not humble enough for good taste, then say that. But trying to redefine a specific term so you can broad brush all things American IS again a particular progressive (or whatever you want to call it today) tactic. I think we have already had enough terms and words redefined in my lifetime.

    Comment by Ione — December 29, 2009 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  82. To 80. Tyrone Slothrop

    ““I think we are far superior to many nations, but that superiority comes from a recognition of flaws and a willingness to mend them.””

    Thats not the jist of what he’s talking about in the piece… that line there to me is his way of trying to deflect criticism by trying to argue in one line some kind of abstract ideal that he supposedly believes in.

    The vast majority of his piece is directed at often fake or misleading arguments written in a way that takes no rational world view.

    The first section of the pieces is very much in tune with your arguments… expect of course old ron is trying to paint a huge section of the population with a huge brush and also taking many things out of context to reinforce his POV. He also while talking about ppl like rush and hannity completely neglects to explain the reasoning behind much of their recent and past blathers which is a direct result of the far more common and far louder voice of anti-americanism and hating the US.

    Instead of talking about such things ron goes on a fake history lesson to try to justify those who hate the US while at the same time trying to say that o “hannity and rush have no humility”.

    If he had spent the 2nd half of the piece going after the ppl who are just like hannity on the other side and who are why hannity and rush keep pushing further into these areas I would tend to see your argument as correct. He didn’t do that… his argument amounts to saying how evil a person is for shooting some poor homeless guy… of course leaving out that the poor homeless guy was part of a gang thats being harassing and stealing from him for weeks… and leaving out the only reason why he got the gun was because of the near constant attacks… but yet the home owner is the evil one because he was simply responding to the actions presented to him.

    This is much the same as with hannity, rush and others. They are responding to a near endless series of attacks and of course they aren’t alone in that response… thus they are becoming more embolden as more ppl response and also by the fact that not only do the attacks keep coming but they are becoming more and more outrageous and dangerous.

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  83. You only quote one sentence of something Rosenbaum actually wrote, but that’s the sentence you think doesn’t reflect his views? Give me a break. If you’re going to argue with him, argue with what he said. The post opens with him saying he loves the country. If you think his mission is to provide cover for people who hate the country, you are misreading him.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  84. To 83. Tyrone Slothrop

    Saying you love your country and really meaning it are to hugely different things… Its like when hitler said he believe in equal rights for everyone… he meant it and he believed it… even later while he was marching ppl into ovens he still meant it and believed it.

    One of the key lines you can see that he argument is a joke is this.

    “Here’s a recent neutral definition from a Princeton University Press anthology on the question”

    Theirs nothing neutral about that definition… in fact one could argue its a classic far left nutter definition.

    The definition is by defacto saying the US never was nor is a world power and that we are somehow have over inflated egos because we believe we are a world power.

    Their is doubt that the US is by far the greatest country in history that we know of today… now you could argue that maybe we were as great as Rome or Egypt in their high times… and that would be a valid argument… however to try to paint reality as fantasy in statement such as

    “American exceptionalism “is based on a self-perception that America ‘differs qualitatively from other developed nations because of its unique origins, national credo, historical evolution and distinctive political and religious institutions.”

    is a complete joke. Their are countless empirical ways to judge countries past and present and by far the US leads or is near the top in all categories… this shows once again ron is more talking out his @ss then basing his views on facts.

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  85. Accusing someone who says that they love their country of lying is pretty low, and it’s not something I would do unless I could back it up. You can’t, or at least haven’t. Obviously you have lower standards.

    In any event, you seem to have completely misunderstood the definition, so perhaps you are just confused. No one disagrees that the U.S. is a world power. As Rosenbaum says, “America is great in many, many ways.” Did you learn to read in America? Apparently our schooling wasn’t so great then.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  86. To 85. Tyrone Slothrop

    I’m not confusing anything I think your confused… I like many ppl commenting are pointing out that ron is talking out both sides of his mouth and thats pretty hypocritical… I also think your jumping to and from arguments that aren’t connected…

    You keep talking about how ron is using these “definition”… the definition is well beyond flawed and no sane person could look at it and think otherwise.

    As for “Accusing someone who says that they love their country of lying is pretty low,”

    Ron has a long history from what I’ve read of being left wing… now I’ll fully admit that I neither know ron very well nor know if what he says is the truth or a lie…

    However what I do know is that left wingers ALWAYS claims to love their country and the troops… code pinko makes that claim all the time as do hundreds of other leftwing groups… groups like them love the troops as much as hitler loved the jews or the kkk loved blacks…

    I point out a simple fact… leftwingers have a long history of claiming all kinds of things and meaning them truthfully in their own personally demented world views. Ron could very well mean and even believe what he says that doesn’t however mean that its correct… I believe in action… when ron shows some action that he’s means those things then I’ll believe it… however I have seen no such action however I have seen a long list of actions that always put me on guard to when someone states something.

    I’ll also point out that you were the one trying to argue those statements as some kind of proof of something… not ron thus by me pointing at a statement is meaningless is just that… me pointing out the statement is meaningless… not so much that i’m arguing ron is lying.

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  87. robotech master and Kipling

    (From robotech master)

    “* The highest rates of crime and incarceration outside the third world”

    A classic sleight of hand argument. First the US takes in more 3rd worlders then any other country… legally and illegally. Lets not also over look the fact that roughly 33% of fed prisoners are Non-US citizens and roughly 10-20% of state prisoners depending state are non-us citizens. We also happen to be the largest first world country far and again larger then many first world countries put together.

    (Sorry, but the argument holds fine. Even without the immigrants, you are still locking up way more than your share. And the ‘big country’ red herring is meaningless – I’m talking about proportion, not totals)

    “* The continuation of cruel and unusual capital punishment”

    Your opinion is noted and borderline meaningless… you likely live in a complete bubble from reality to believe this crap.

    (no answer at all – so all you can do is waffle about me)

    “* An incredibly rich country that still allows 5% of the population to control 95% of the wealth and has vast numbers living in abject poverty”

    Once again another meaningless socialist ideology argument… if ppl don’t like living in the US THEY CAN MOVE. You also live out the fact that the poorest ppl in the US are only about 100x better off then 95% of the rest of the world.

    (In the rest of the world, socialism is not such a nasty word – you may think that pampering the rich is just looking after your own people is sick, but that’s between you and your conscience. As far as your poor being better off than 99% of the world, you are utterly dreaming)

    “* The highest rates of drug use and addiction in the Western world”

    Once again a sleight of hand argument… we are far bigger then any other country in the western world… we also have a major drug cartels sitting right on our border… of which ppl like you would likely scream “cruel and unusual punishment” should we got and kill them off…o wait you did already…

    (Once again, I’m talking about the proportion of drug freaks, not the total numbers. I never mentioned how you treat drug dealers, so please try and stop embroidering. The more you go off on tangents, the less convincing your arguments)

    “* A country where incitement to hate and calling for vigilante action and even armed insurrection is regarded as a sacred right”

    Well I’m glad to know that you would happily walk into an oven when the guards asked you to… btw are you french? You seem to have quiet the surrender complex…

    (WTF? Off with the fairies again. The rest of the civilised world manages to maintain a decent society without hate speech – but then again, you didn’t even mention hate speech in your moronic reply)

    (From Kipling)

    The first is called the right to free speech. Not every one uses it well but we do like to use it. I believe the Islamic immigrants in civilized Europe are the only ones allowed by your government to exercise such freedoms. Western Europeans have largely been cowered into silence by hate laws and fear of their own government’s soft despotism.

    (Nonsense. I guess your information is only as good as your sources. Try extending your viewing and reading beyond Fox and the Weakly Standard)

    The second is called the right to bear arms. It has kept us from having to kowtow to vicious dictators, local thugs, and various criminal organizations. One cannot say the same of civilized – in some cases feminized – Europe.

    (Sure, the right to bear arms has done you proud. America has no Mafia, no street gangs, no school or mall massacres, no dead paperboys, no drive-bys. And you don’t have something like 100 times as many gun murders per million as Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand (where I come from)…)

    The third is called personal responsibility. Europe, with only a few exceptions, have not tried it since WWII. Our system of free enterprise and personal responsiblity has produced a health care system that is second to none in the world. All of the exceptions you provided to our allowance of government control only goes to prove our point that government is a poor manager. The postal service, the Veterans Administration, etc are hardly shining examples of efficiency and honesty.

    (The best of your health care is very good, yes, but it costs twice or three times as much as the best elsewhere. What on earth good do you imagine channeling untold billions into insurers’ pockets does to help? And the proof of the overall quality of the system has to be in the health outcomes of your people. Ever seen the comparative longevity rates between the US, Canada, Japan and Europe? I guess if you just let your poor people die instead of treating their diabetes, cancers etc it must make a difference)

    The fourth assumption is completely false. Although money does play a role in politics. We spend more on Halloween candy than we do on Presidential campaigns. If your example was true then Romney would have been the nominee and not McCain. The party system here is weaker because we do not have a representative system but a winner take all approach.

    (Money plays a part in every level of your politics – probably least corruptly in the Presidential races. Together with your idiotic party organizations that allow every representative to make up his or her mind on every issue – the ideal scenario for a would-be briber, it means voters are far less influential than corporate donors)

    I will agree that our elites have sold us to China and other debt collectors. The problem is the debt is incurred becoming more like socialist Europe.

    (Sorry, that last comment just doesn’t make sense.)

    Comment by John McKee — December 29, 2009 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  88. robotech master:

    I like many ppl commenting are pointing out that ron is talking out both sides of his mouth and thats pretty hypocritical…

    He says one thing clearly and you say he thinks the opposite. The contradiction is pretty obvious, but the issue is your reading comprehension, not anything his said. Please, try to find two statements from him that show this hypocrisy. Quote them.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 29, 2009 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  89. Looks like the forces of sanity and truth have won, Tyrone! They seem to having nothing left to say 🙂

    Comment by John McKee — December 29, 2009 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

  90. To 87. John McKee

    “(Sorry, but the argument holds fine. Even without the immigrants, you are still locking up way more than your share. And the ‘big country’ red herring is meaningless – I’m talking about proportion, not totals)”

    When you remove the non-us citizens and then adjust for population your only looking at about 2x as many prisoners as compared to places like italy, germany ,france and the UK. When you remove immigrants all together that number drops to roughly 1.5x… ratioed to say england which has about 75k that would put the US at roughly 115k… hardly a massive difference when you take into account population size…. and if you account for the fact we don’t just slap our criminals on the wrist most of the ppl in jail are long term ppl… which if it wasn’t for ppl like you we’d just execute them… which would greatly reduce our prison population.

    “(In the rest of the world, socialism is not such a nasty word – ”

    O I know very well that socialism isn’t a dirty word… nor is nazism, communism, marxism, stalinism, fascism to name some other words that we evil americans tend to think are dirty and that ppl like you tend to think are great. You enjoy your slave culture of socialism… and whatever brand of socialism you ascribe too… I’ll take my freedom thank you… funny once again the great irony is that we protect you socialists @sses because you refuse to and we also tend to leave you alone to enjoy your slave culture… why is it that you can’t just sit in your slave culture and leave us alone… ppl you always have to demand that everyone become more socialist… I also find great irony in this statement

    “(Once again, I’m talking about the proportion of drug freaks, not the total numbers. I never mentioned how you treat drug dealers, so please try and stop embroidering. The more you go off on tangents, the less convincing your arguments)”

    Being that socialism may as well be a drug… we have far less.. I would also suggest you bother to read the response again because clearly you don’t seem to understand it.

    “you may think that pampering the rich is just looking after your own people is sick, but that’s between you and your conscience.”

    In the US we don’t pamper the rich… unlike in socialist countries like say in europe… which do nothing but keep the rich high on the hog and keep the slave labor blissfully ignorant of reality.

    ” As far as your poor being better off than 99% of the world, you are utterly dreaming)”

    Maybe you should look at what the poor ppl in the US have compared to poor ppl across the world… you clearly seem to have lived in a bubble your whole life so maybe nows the time to do some real traveling. The US’s poorest ppl are considered middle case or better by the standards of the vast majority of countries.

    “(WTF? Off with the fairies again. The rest of the civilised world manages to maintain a decent society without hate speech – but then again, you didn’t even mention hate speech in your moronic reply)”

    Hate speech is your opinion view of speech… you see hitler banned hate speech as well… so did stalin… so does china… how’d that work out? Once again you clearly have lived in a bubble with very little culture and travel in your life.

    “(The best of your health care is very good, yes, but it costs twice or three times as much as the best elsewhere. What on earth good do you imagine channeling untold billions into insurers’ pockets does to help? And the proof of the overall quality of the system has to be in the health outcomes of your people. Ever seen the comparative longevity rates between the US, Canada, Japan and Europe?”

    I find this argument funny as you seem to not understand socialism or how it works… you see the US is taxed to pay for socialist medical system in europe and other places. Europe and many other countries openly steal medical tech from the US and break patents… theirs a reason why the euros produce very little in the way of new drugs… its because their is no money in research to be made in europe markets. All that drug research money comes from the US taxpayer/consumer. We could very easily lower our costs to most socialist countries levels if we simply kicked out the drug companies… of course then no need drugs would be researched…

    Socialist healthcare systems only work because they can steal tech from the US… if the US turns towards a socialist medical system most medical research will grind to a halt… lets also not forget that most of the europes socialist system are in pretty big trouble and keep going into debt… its really only a matter of time before they fail.

    ” I guess if you just let your poor people die instead of treating their diabetes, cancers etc it must make a difference)”

    I also find this argument amusing since rates for cancer survival are way higher in the US then any socialist system… even for the poor.

    To 88. Tyrone Slothrop

    “Don’t get me wrong, I love America.”

    “Here’s a recent neutral definition from a Princeton University Press anthology on the question

    A nation founded on the genocide of the native population (using biological warfare–smallpox-infected blankets), whose initial prosperity was based on the cruel and murderous and arguably genocidal practice of slavery, blessed by our Constitution, which made women voteless, second-class citizens for most of its history — hey, we’re number one!

    Again, don’t get me wrong. I think America’s great strength has been its admirable ability to evolve democratically (with the help of an “activist” Supreme Court) into a far more just and beneficent society at home. And one that — while often serving corporate imperialism abroad (viz. virtually the entire history of our involvement in South and Central America which put us on the side of torturers and murderous neofascist dictators) — nonetheless showed itself bravely willing to sacrifice to defeat fascism and communism.”

    Just a little hypocritical to spread borderline lies about your countries history when they are well known to be BS…

    more so when you go about using lines such as

    “Because let’s look at the definition of American exceptionalism and see if it’s a doctrine anyone who has studied history can take seriously as anything but jingoistic boasting.”

    Comment by robotech master — December 29, 2009 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  91. I’m not seeing borderline lies in what you’ve quoted, so perhaps you should explain what you’re talking about. E.g., the bit about smallpox-infested blankets may not be correct, but the larger point about the genocide of Native Americans is solid. As initially written, our Constitution did nothing about slavery and the disenfranchisement of women. And if you think we haven’t supported dictators and torturers in this hemisphere, you haven’t been paying attention.

    One can quibble about the details. But you seem to think that the willingness to engage in a real conversation in which America is criticized is evidence that one hates the country — exactly the pathology the post is about. Are you trying to prove his point now?

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 30, 2009 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  92. Let’s try to break 100 and catapult the newly popular RR blog into the new decade. Anagram for “Tyrone Slothrop”: “The Loony Sporter”

    Comment by charlie finch — December 30, 2009 @ 8:03 am | Reply

  93. To 91. Tyrone Slothrop

    “But you seem to think that the willingness to engage in a real conversation in which America is criticized is evidence that one hates the country — exactly the pathology the post is about.”

    Lol thats pretty funny and ironic since its the complete opposite of what I’m stating. Of all the things to whine about ron love some of the most ghastly and horrifying mistakes we’ve made.

    “I think America’s great strength has been its admirable ability to evolve democratically (with the help of an “activist” Supreme Court) into a far more just and beneficent society at home.”

    Ron tries desperately to weave muti-thought lines together to push an agenda… once again ron tries to take some moral high ground when its ppl like him that love to play the other side of the field… in the same manner that he’s whining about.

    Comment by robotech master — December 30, 2009 @ 9:16 am | Reply

  94. all nations are formed on genocide. Every geographic area occupied by any one was wrested from another group that was either killed or chased away.

    Let Mr. Slothrop attack another part of the world and make it perfect. Then he can talk about the US.

    Comment by Minda — December 30, 2009 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  95. Response to John McKee @88: I’m not sure how quite to respond to your response as all you did is restate your original points without dealing with any of the points I raised. So, let me just make a few overall statements.

    First, I have lived and worked in both Europe and Asia for a number of years so your accusation about my limited perspective is simply without merit.

    Second, European culture, once the center of western civilizaiton, is now a society in decay. Their problems are numerous: low native birth rates, socialized and thus rationed medicine, high unemployment, low civic pride and participation, toleration of crime, inability to control their own borders, and a growing Islamic menance in their midst. Demographically, many European nations will no longer be European if current trends continue. These countries are hardly role models for any nation to follow.

    Third, health care by law is open to everyone here who comes to an emergency room. Even illegal immigrants are not turned away. So, your contention about letting the poor die is mere rhetoric.

    Fourth, our “idiotic” political system has, until recent years, been the envy of the world. The problem is not our party system but rather the rigged system erected by incumbants to keep themselves in power. I have worked with governments in Europe and Asia. The idea that our system is more corrupt than theirs is laughable. Have you ever worked with Italian contractors or tried to advance a project in China without having to grease a few palms? What about the Japanese banking scandals or the European climate shakedown based on fradulent data?

    Fifty, much of our national debt goes to growing entitlement programs similar to the European models. These entitlement programs never really help the people they are intended to help. All they have done is provide an opportunity for graft and corruption, enable dependency, and destroy the family. By some estimates, Medicare fraud consumes 35 to 45 % of the funds. Socialism does not end corrupt or inequality, it enable it and just spread misery around.

    Comment by Kipling — December 30, 2009 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  96. America: It may not be perfect, but it’s sure as hell better than anywhere else. (Did illegal aliens try sneak into the Soviet Union? Are there lots of people wanting to emigrate to Zimbabwe? If it’s not, why do everybody want to come here and be like us?)

    Comment by Anonymous — December 30, 2009 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  97. Minda @94:
    Let Mr. Slothrop attack another part of the world and make it perfect. Then he can talk about the US.

    WTF? This is my country, and I want it to be better. I have to wait until Zimbabwe is perfect before I can even talk about it? I expect better from the U.S. Whereas you apparently think the U.S. is so weak that it can’t take a little criticism.

    Comment by Tyrone Slothrop — December 31, 2009 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  98. To 94. John McKee:

    You say:

    “Looks like the forces of sanity and truth have won, Tyrone! They seem to having nothing left to say.”

    This is juvenile. What are you, 12? This is a good debate for the most part. Lots of thoughtful dialogue. But you are all about destroying the enemy, right? Like most people on the left, when there is dissent against the leftist point of view, it’s not enough for them to simply debate it, it becomes necessary for them to destroy their opponents. Not unlike the mainstream media in our country with its vastly left-leaning propensities. I urge you to read an article called Masters of the Language by John Dietrich in The American Thinker.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/masters_of_the_language.html

    It actually can give some insight into the frustrations of our more right-leaning contributors to this debate. It seems we cannot have a reasonable (not to mention fruitful or conclusive) debate anymore because we cannot even agree on the same set of facts and definitions. One of the main reasons for this is that our media in this country support the leftist agenda and they control(and manipulate)the national vocabulary. This is the thing that is so infuriating about Mr. Rosenbaum’s article. It is so full of leftist cliche that is hard to know where to start to address it. AND we know that these people like Ron don’t care to listen to dissenters because he and his ilk are not really journalists. They are leftist idealogues. They need to be recognized as such. The problem with our debate here is that the opposing viewpoints cannot agree on premise.

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 31, 2009 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  99. To #82 Tyrone,

    You say: “Because then you’re not engaging in the conversation that he is hosting — you’re talking about something else.”

    I don’t see a post from Ron anywhere in this discussion, do you? He is not “hosting” anything. He is probably sitting back (if he even reads this site) laughing and measuring his success – as I’ve said before – by how much we are talking about him and how tweeked we are by what he says. I’ll bet it’s as simple as that. Ego. Although I don’t know the man but for what he writes.

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 31, 2009 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  100. I think Ron’s whole premise is compromised in his 4th paragraph. He says, among other things that we must not promote the idea of American Exceptionalism because it is prideful and that Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. This is such a superficial indictment that it is annoying to have to address it. Because he’s written a book, we are to agree that he knows what we mean by the term American Exceptionalism and he doesn’t.

    “…everyone is called upon to pledge allegiance to the doctrine of “American exceptionalism.” [REALLY?] …I don’t think many of the callers…know what they’re talking about when they use the word “exceptionalism.”…I’ve given considerable thought — and study — …in both my book on Hitler… Was Hitler on the continuum of evil-doers, just at the far outer edge? Or was he off the grid, off the charts, in a realm of “radical evil,” as the exceptionalists argue? [Do they? If so, who?] It’s not an easy question. Nor is the one about Shakespeare: was he just a very, very great writer or was he off in some realm of sublimity all his own beyond all other great writers, as some exceptionalists argue?”

    {WHY IS HIS PREMISE (question) HERE RELEVENT?}
    He’s decided with this crappy statement to define “exceptionalists” on his own terms, by fiat. So-called journalists do this all the time. They assume an authority they do not have with the time to putter around with words that most of the rest of do not have and come up with terminologies that none of us have in common. No respect for their readers and no humility. Which by the way, is prideful.

    We allow these people to have relevance, by reading and debating their arguments. And when we decide to bestow this relevance on a writer, the writer either ignores the conversation when it’s negative or basks in the glow of his own brilliance when its positive. It’s all ego driven though. Prideful. Ron lives in a huge glass house and ought to know better. But since he actually wrote this article, and probably got paid for it by a publisher, it seems apparent that he doesn’t know better. That he is ignorant of his own myopia.

    Comment by Thomas Cambridge — December 31, 2009 @ 1:54 pm | Reply


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