The Fault of Us All - Return to American Exceptionalism

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Very large number of small value cash transactions through banking channels known as "FLURFING" is rivalled by small value large volume internet transactions. Any organisation, and wikileak is one, whose main funding emanates out of large volume small value internet transactions obviously falls under the pen-umbra of suspicion. Sources of funds, stolen cables, and attacks on websites of paypal,Master card and Visa, who denied their services to wikileaks do not add to the image of Knight in shining armour that wikileaks founders wish world at-large to believe.

Americans consider the outside world as little as possible. Sweden might as well be Alpha Centauri. For much of the world televised news reports, weather forecasts and "World Championships" tend to involve other countries. Not so in the United States, unless it involves dramatic scenes of unwashed masses dying spectacularly wretched deaths, with the worried proviso "can it happen here?

An educated Briton or Canadian will likely know more about US geopolitics than an American of equivalent background.

The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Such knowledge is to be expected, but is never reciprocated. The hypocrisy of American exceptionalism is so culturally pervasive that a national champion is by definition considered a world champion, without any hint of irony. They're serious. In the American psyche alternatives are not possible. Other countries are not ill considered. In the American mindset other countries don't exist at all. The author of this article, as well as many of the posters, doesn't have a clue what the American people think about the Wikileaks issue. It's no secret that we are a very proud people, and deservedly so.

Most of us know our faults. Some of us ignore them. Others promote them. America is not a nation of one opinion and this author seems to think we are. Very many Americans are supportive of WikiLeaks releasing the cables that they have released. Most Americans support exposing the kinds of things that WikiLeaks is responsible for exposing. Most Americans don't trust our foreign service agents, our spy agencies, our politicians.

The author made no real attempt at finding out what most Americans think about our reputation in the world, about the release of these documents. He only reads the responses and statements of the government and other factions of the political society. This was a poorly written article. Very negligent. Most Americans are fed up with BS that our government has gotten into and is responsible for throughout the rest of the world. This is just another example of a "journalist" so-called who didn't do their research very well before exposing his own opinions that aren't based on facts.

Actually, I find Wikileaks refreshing only because, in government, transparency is generally good. Um, sure as an ignorant and warlike people, we were hypocritical and naive to think that we could just occupy Western Europe and stop such ancient civilizations from gleefully turning each other into hackfleish, as they had been doing for fun and profit and really just out of habit for, oh, 30, years. It worked, so far anyway, or anyway outside of the Balkans we all remember the response there "ahem, uh, pardon, mais, ce serai sympa si vous pouvez arretez, svp, bon quand vous voulez, bien sure But at what cost, as I gaze out my window on the Cher River Valley, I tell myself, gee whillikers, looks just like Peoria, and all the people running round waving dollars and speaking funny English.

What a shame. Though the same thing living in Koeln. Um the English were in on that too, until they became total lapdogs, and the French were too busy marching their Foreign Legion into valley camps to be involved, but sulked in a corner because we didn't do it their way. Unfortunate, for sure, but it pays to remember that our involvement there was a couple of ex frat boys from Yale sporting a check book. On the other hand Spain had been running the place for what, years with administrators that made Torquemada look like Mother Theresa, and then there were all those dudes who turned up in the 40s with Italian and German accents and lets say some remarkably conservative ideas when it came to human rights It was their upbringing, I'm sure.

Backing dictators? Sure, except when we acknowledge our mistakes and try to fix them it worked in Europe, remember concerned, right thinking people squeak even louder. And, bon, if a psychopathic, thieving cannibal wants to finish his days on the Cote d'Azure, bienvenue! That's not coddling dictators, that's tourism, and we don't screw around in Africa anymore, except in countries, Benin, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, etc Rwanda that we still feel our colonial burdens in, and know from long experience of having our foot on their throats that they can't be trusted to govern themselves.

I was so pleased and gratified at the moral courage of my adopted country in the case of Maurice Papon, just for instance -- eagerly send a bunch of Jews off to be turned into soap? Legion of Honor and Resistance Medal. Fill the Seine in the middle of Paris with corpses? Didn't have to spy on them, they were marching quietly down the middle of the road armed with deadly sticks with signs attached to them.

American exceptionalism under attack | TheHill

Course, in Algeria, torture? When we helped them suppress with torture and mass murder to the tune of hundreds of thousands the democratic elections that would have installed those charmers who think the world went wrong in , well that was just smart, not stupid and naive like the Anglo Saxons Where you from anyway, Tigerchaser? We all got a powerful big pile of bones in our closets, unless we have been too small and insignificant to matter By definition, US warmongers and soldiers cannot be war criminals, so they cannot be tried by the international court on war criminals in den Haag.

How many Vietnamese were killed by the US military machine? Answer: Approximately 2 million humans. How many American war criminals were brought before international courts and tried for their criminal activity? Was Nixon tried, or Johnson? I often wonder who is going to pay for all the new techniques, equipment, drug, etc development if every country started choking off the funding? Not so many years ago, Germany, France to some extent and Britain for awhile were global pharmaceutical industry leaders. Today, U.

Even if we did have civil war after we were freed and many people died. Would we prefer the freedom or the Dictator? I am thinking we would prefer to die free rather than live as powerless pawns. On second thought I am pretty sure of it. Who, with what authority or standing, asked the US to invade Iraq in ?

Even the UN opposed it. Insisting on some fictitious motivation for the US invasion of Iraq such as concern for the Iraqi people is really just digging your rhetorical hole that much deeper. If not to help the Iraqi people and giving them a chance at peaceful self rule, why again do you think the USA did what they did? The next natural step was to remove their oppressor at the request of the Kurds and Shias, and hope they could cooperate with each other.

The idea that financial incentives are or should be the primary driver of individual health care, safety, or lifestyle decisions is simply daft. Nor do people seek to avoid injury for financial reasons… pain avoidance and fear of death are basic biological mechanisms. No system is perfect, however I think ours is best.

Pretty much everyone gets some care, but the most responsible citizens get the best care. The Liberal view that citizens have a right to food, housing and healthcare just because they are standing on American soil is also flawed and doomed to cause disaster. I am actually living proof that money can be a good incentive to living healthier. Therefore I am changing my diet somewhat. Now I wish more programs would do this, I mean why should my co-workers need to pay more for my bad choices?

Why should our society have to pay the huge healthcare costs in part created because of sky rocketing obesity, etc? Obesity is considered one of the very serious threats to good health, leading to poor health. Some reasons are related to situation, most to self-determination. Living on pizza is a satisfying way to gain unsatisfactory weight. The delivery market proliferates. Though I was frustrated at first that I may need to pay more because some blood tests indicate I make poor life choices.

After awhile it occurred to me that it is wrong for my healthy co-workers to pay more just because I like my couch and my pizza. Being one of the lucky ones, never had a medical issue since … but many be they rich, middle class or poor, have not been so lucky. Call it the selfie factor in this society? Let all be part of the picture. This one certainty I do advocate. People who suggest schemes like this always imagine themselves safely beyond the perimeter of personal responsibility… until they or someone they care about get sick or injured.

You are absolutely correct that there are many rewards to be gained by going to school, learning, working, staying married, saving, investing, etc. One of which is I can easily afford the higher premiums they are going to charge me for making bad choices. This is one of the strengths of America. I guess I see taking money from one citizen to pay for the poor choices of another is also immoral. Trade offs….

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Further punishing those whose lot in life enables a meager existence fraught with the constant peril of physical and financial collapse. I have 3 children, two are savers and one is a spender. When the spender can not afford to go out with her friends and I refuse to give her additional money to do so, am I punishing her? When my other 2 kids go out and the spender is stuck at home with Mom and me, am I rewarding them unfairly?

All Americans are given the opportunity to attend free public schooling, what they do with that societal investment in them is up to them and their Parents. There are natural consequences if one squanders that incredible opportunity. No punishment or judgment required. Would you they receive care at the expense of us all, or forgo it to satisfy your principles? Equating life and death matters with silly family foibles is both patronizing and disingenuous.

One has nothing to do with the other. Should you have to pay more for cable so others can get it at steep discount or free? Should you pay more for your property insurance so others can get it at steep discount or free? Should you have to pay more for a new car so others can get it at steep discount or free? How does this work out in your view? Every person who stands on American soil deserves healthcare, housing, food, childcare, an income, etc whether they learn, work, make good choices, etc or not?

And this must be paid for by those who do learn, work, make good choices, etc because they have the money? Like if I gave my spender more every time she runs out, how could this ever have a happy ending for either group? And yet you seem to be encouraging this behavior in the area of healthcare. As for the little girl topic, thank heavens that is where charities come in.

Absolute nonsense. The idea that we are all starting at the same place in life, and that our opportunities or choices are all equal. They are not. To pretend that they are is, at best, patronizing. The idea that children are somehow responsible for the choices made by their parents does nothing more than reinforce classism. If one eliminates the negative consequences of taking the easy path and making poor choices, there will be more people taking that path.

By the way, you are correct that I was lucky. I had a Father and Mother who were adamant and dedicated to my becoming an academic success, and were willing to straighten me out if I got distracted. Or are you with Conservatives in believing that this is a Public School systemic failure?

You are assuming that bad outcomes are always the result of bad choices. As you correctly recognize, it was a matter of luck—nothing to do with your laudable choices. You can dismiss the idea all you like, but the inescapable fact is that race, class, and ethnicity matter very much in America. Try reading Horatio Alger sometime—there is always achance encounter with a wealthy man to set our ragged hero on his way.

Can bad outcomes accrue to those, as well? I agree that luck has much to do with many outcomes, often not. Does the radium discovery result from some luck, or from backbreaking, mind numbing persistence? Does luck come to those without a plan? Yes, roulette is a proper metaphor, although perhaps a little less cheery than you may have intended. You may win on your first spin. Again, both. Marie Curie got her initial instruction in science from her father.

Later, family connections enabled her to take advantage of rare educational opportunities. Pierre also got his initial instruction from his father. What if they had been born to different parents, or born iton different cultures? I believe that bad outcomes are more often than not the result of bad choices. You are correct that some people truly have bad luck and that is why we have disability insurance, charity, etc….

Failing in school, being a single Parent, not continual learning, communicating poorly, being addicted, being particular about your job, working less than 40 hours, etc have a lot more to do with poor choices than poor luck. A wealthy young person from, say, Wayzata could certainly choose to go to a trade school and learn auto detailing after he got out of Blake.

The odds of that happening are, however, awfully slim. Similarly, a young person who grows up in a depressed rural community with parents who move from menial job to menial job can choose to go to college and have a productive career, but the odds are against him. This is where ideology become incoherent as well as immoral.

The horror. One way or another we all pay for each others health care whether your in a private or public system. You correct. Insurance is a pool of money to spread the risk. And by the way, in case no one has already mentioned this, single payer is the most efficient way of collecting premiums and ensuring the greatest level of participation. Single payer would have advantages and it would have severe disadvantages, as mentioned above. I think we should have learned long ago that government mandated price controls cause a lot of pain.

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The primary objective of single payer is universal and unrestricted availability for everyone; cost containment is just a natural feature of single payer. Quality also improves because resources and priorities are directed and driven by best practices rather than ability to pay or marketing. The US ranks at the bottom of every health care metric i. Medicare for all would be the simplest, best, and easiest way to bring our system up to par. The goals for the Public School System is to ensure unrestricted availability for everyone; cost containment is just a natural feature of single payer.

And yet a large portion of our young adults can not pass a basic academic test… And continue the cycle of generational poverty… Even though we have one of the most expensive education systems in the world…. There are many causal factors that have nothing to do with the Healthcare systems that one needs to take into account. Checkout this regarding single parent household differences between here and the OECD countries.

Or obesity. I have learned from and enjoyed Mr. Blacks reporting and editorializing since his Strib days. His move to Minnpost- and Doug Grow too — drew me to be a member here. He is one of the best in the business. I look forward to more of his reporting, musings and opinion. You must be logged in to post a comment. Real, high-quality journalism costs money to produce.

Will you donate now to ensure that MinnPost remains a free and accessible community resource? Eric Black Ink.


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The ideas that created the American revolution were derived from a tradition of republicanism that had been repudiated by the British mainstream. Thomas Paine 's Common Sense for the first time expressed the belief that America was not just an extension of Europe but a new land, a country of nearly unlimited potential and opportunity that had outgrown the British mother country.

Alexis de Tocqueville stressed the advanced nature of democracy in America, arguing that it infused every aspect of society and culture, at a time s when democracy was not in fashion anywhere else. A core argument of exceptionalism is that America is unusually attractive to immigrants from all parts of the world for two reasons.

First, advocates of American exceptionalism say that economic and political opportunities are unlimited, that the United States possesses an unusually high degree of social mobility.

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Since the late nineteenth century days of Andrew Carnegie and Carl Schurz, immigrants have risen to the top of the economy and the political system. The "American Dream" describes the perceived abundance of opportunities in the American system. Secondly, immigrants can become Americans by accepting American values. Critics point out that America is hardly unique in its appeal to immigrants, and that countries like Australia , Canada , and New Zealand are equally popular and welcoming destinations.

American exceptionalism during the Cold War was often cast by the mass media as the American Way of Life personifying liberty engaged in a battle with tyranny as represented by communism. These attributions made use of the residual sentiment that had originally formed to differentiate the United States from the nineteenth century European powers and had been applied multiple times in multiple contexts before it was used to differentiate capitalist democracies with the United States as a leader from communist nations.

American exceptionalism during this period also manifested itself in an anti-internationalist streak as part of which the United States rejected participation in international institutions which it could not control. The Bricker Amendment movement, for instance, rejected the adoption of international human rights conventions by the United States. Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite.

In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address , America is a nation "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. It is claimed that America has often acted to promote these ideals abroad, most notably in the First and Second , in the Cold War and today in the Iraq War.

Critics argue that American policy in these conflicts was more motivated by economic or military self-interest than an actual desire to spread these ideals, and point to an extensive history of using South American nations as slave economies, suppressing democratic revolutions against U.

The United States' policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances , which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful. Some American exceptionalists argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a "tyranny of the majority," and also that it allows citizens to live in a locality whose laws reflect that citizen's values.

A consequence of this political system is that laws can vary greatly across the country. Critics of American exceptionalism maintain that this system merely replaces the power of the national majority over states with power by the states over local entities. On balance, the American political system arguably allows more local dominance but prevents more national dominance than does a more unitary system.

Proponents of American exceptionalism often claim that the "American spirit" or the "American identity" was created at the frontier following Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis , where rugged and untamed conditions gave birth to American national vitality.

In this view, "American history and society" is best "understood when viewed in terms of a response to the unique conditions present in the New World" not as "a continuation of certain European ideas not the implementation of such ideas but an entirely new set of phenomenon deriving from the unique interaction between the white man and the 'Virgin Lands. In fact, all of the British Imperial domains involved pioneering work. Although each nation had slightly different frontier experiences for example, in Australia "mateship" and working together was valued more than individualism was in the United States , the characteristics arising from British attempting to "tame" a wild and often hostile landscape against the will of the original population remained common to many such nations.

Of course, at the limit, all of humankind has been involved, at one time or another, in extending the boundaries of their territory. For most of its history, especially from the midth to early 20th centuries, the United States was exceptional in its occupational and physical mobility. America is known as the "land of opportunity" and in this sense, it prided and promoted itself on providing individuals with the opportunity to escape from the contexts of their class and family background.

Examples of this social mobility include:. The United States still has remarkable class mobility, however, a study showed that children born into poverty in Europe and Canada were more likely to find prosperity than children born into poverty in the United States. The American Revolutionary War is the claimed ideological territory of "exceptionalists. Others counter that there is nothing unique about the revolution—the English " Glorious Revolution " was nearly a century prior to the American revolution and led to constitutional monarchy.

The French Revolution also arguably led to a form of modern democracy. The idea that the United States represented a new beginning, a new experiment in republicanism, of government by, for and of the people, has had an inspirational value in reminding Americans to live up to their highest principles and ideals, those on which the nation was founded.

However, until the Spanish-American War a policy of non-intervention overseas had dominated, itself based on the desire not to repeat the errors of the Europeans, where nations had spent centuries fighting each other. When the U. There is no doubt that American intervention in other nations has often served American interests.