National Journal: Oinion: Peter Beinart: The End of American Exceptionalism
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
American exceptionalism is an interesting difficult thing to talk about because it is hard to define. And the fact that exceptional is by itself neither good or bad, it is just different. You could have an exceptionally bad or good football team. The positive being the good which is why American Exceptionalism might not be the right discussion or debate for America. But perhaps the way to talk about America in a positive sense would be American Greatness. Or for people who like to speak a lot about the weakness’ of America especially the far-left and Libertarian-Right, would be to talk about American Weakness.
What makes America exceptional not necessarily for bad or for good, but when used right from a positive aspect would be our individualism. Which I believe comes from our Constitution. The First and Fourth Amendments the ability for Americans to be themselves and our racial and ethnic diversity. And our cultural diversity just highlights these aspects about America. We are so much different from the rest of the world because the whole world lives here. And brings their way of life and being with them and these things makes us so much different from the rest of the world.
So again I do not believe that it is so much that America is so much better than the rest of the world. And we could debate even if we are or are we not. That makes us exceptional, but what makes us exceptional is our diversity the freedom for Americans to be Americans. Which is individuals where I believe Europeans because they are not as diverse and tend to live in countries where culturally and ethnically one group makes up most of the country, they are less individualistic. And more collectivist not just from an economic point of view, but how they live their lives as well.
Our constitutional rights and our individualism is what makes America better than anyone else. And why I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but that alone doesn’t make a country the best place in the world. It is just that these aspects work for me and a lot of other Americans, but perhaps not others who take a traditional mostly religiously based way of what it means to be an American. Or people who want to make America more like Europe and where Americans are less individualistic. And more dependent on the state for their well-being.
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