Saturday, July 10, 2010

190 / Exceptionalism

Read this in the original at

An opinion column by Charles Krauthammer, which appeared in my morning newspaper on Friday, July 9th, got me to thinking about what is often called "American Exceptionalism." Those truly sensitive to the use of language wouldn't actually name the phenomenon as "American" exceptionalism, since "America" does include both North and South America, and all the nations located therein. What's really at issue is "United States Exceptionalism." Are we, truly, "exceptional," above and beyond all other nations? Read the Krauthammer column to get the "yes" perspective. Hey, Americans have "won more Nobel Prizes than any other nation by far," seeming to make recognition provided to individual efforts a "national" accomplishment. And who got to the moon?

If I am right in my analysis of the "state of the world," the citizens and residents of the United States should be trying to disabuse themselves of the notion that "we're different (and better)."

Our togetherness on an imperiled planet, not our presumed national superiority, needs to guide our efforts, if this nation is planning to survive. It looks like, from Krauthammer's column, that our President, at least, seems to get this message.

Even discussing this topic gives rise to controversy. Wikipedia's current thought is that their article on "American Exceptionalism" is lacking in "NPOV," a "neutral point of view."

The image I have posted with today's entry, incidentally, is called "Progress of America," painted in 1875 by Domenico Tojetti (who was born in Italy). Note the angel!

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