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John Smith
09-13-2013, 08:27 AM
Many got on Obama for the "red line" comment, which really referenced a "red line" the world had established.

I have a problem with him referring to "American exceptionalism" or that America is an "exceptional country" because it is arrogant and egotistical, and in many ways it is simply not true.

Put another way, "Who the hell do we think we are?" Where do we get the gall to say we are a better country than any of the others?

I think we used to be an exceptional country; one we could point to and expect much of the world to want to be like us. Those days, if they ever existed, are history.

We boast about our ideals, but we can't live by them. We spend more on healthcare, by a lot, than any other country, yet we rank 38th or so. We have a larger percentage of our population in prison. We have a huge percentage living below the poverty line.

I could go on, but we all know the list.

We also know how we've fared in the America's Cup races since Australia won.

Americans, as a whole, seem to have a problem in viewing us from the outside, but this is a question we need, IMO, to consider. Aren't we insulting the entire world when we call ourselves exceptional?

S.V. Airlie
09-13-2013, 08:32 AM
You sound pissed at Obama. Quite a surprise.:)

varadero
09-13-2013, 08:35 AM
Many got on Obama for the "red line" comment, which really referenced a "red line" the world had established.

I have a problem with him referring to "American exceptionalism" or that America is an "exceptional country" because it is arrogant and egotistical, and in many ways it is simply not true.

Put another way, "Who the hell do we think we are?" Where do we get the gall to say we are a better country than any of the others?

I think we used to be an exceptional country; one we could point to and expect much of the world to want to be like us. Those days, if they ever existed, are history.

We boast about our ideals, but we can't live by them. We spend more on healthcare, by a lot, than any other country, yet we rank 38th or so. We have a larger percentage of our population in prison. We have a huge percentage living below the poverty line.

I could go on, but we all know the list.

We also know how we've fared in the America's Cup races since Australia won.

Americans, as a whole, seem to have a problem in viewing us from the outside, but this is a question we need, IMO, to consider. Aren't we insulting the entire world when we call ourselves exceptional?

Look no further than your question...

Keith Wilson
09-13-2013, 08:39 AM
Sure, the US is an exceptional country. So is China, Australia, Chile, Russia, Brazil, France, Japan, Malawi, Costa Rica, Dubai, Vanuatu . . .

John Smith
09-13-2013, 08:39 AM
You sound pissed at Obama. Quite a surprise.:)

If you actually read my many posts, I am often pissed at Obama. I believe there was a thread somewhere showing how us "lefties" are capable of criticizing Obama, and how the righties have been incapable of criticizing Bush, or giving Obama credit when he does something good.

I have always been pissed at any president who ends the speech with "God bless America". It egotistic to think that God would favor us among all the people we believe he created equal. Are we created more equal.

Further, when the enemy is telling people they are in a religious war, saying "God Bless the United States" likely helps them make their case.

S.V. Airlie
09-13-2013, 08:40 AM
You rarely are John...Get real.

Arizona Bay
09-13-2013, 08:41 AM
For one thing, it invites everyone to try and nock us down.
In general, the US people cant see themselves, and don't care to look.

Keith Wilson
09-13-2013, 08:47 AM
I'm not sure that citizens of any country are very good at seeing themselves, but we're worse than most.

LeeG
09-13-2013, 08:50 AM
Who cares!

pefjr
09-13-2013, 08:50 AM
It must be playing good, otherwise we wouldn't need the thousands of Border Patrol agents, and Immigration could be reduced.

John Smith
09-13-2013, 08:54 AM
You rarely are John...Get real.

Just quickly coming to mind, I was upset with Obama when he denied single payer a seat at the table, and when he was so quick to drop the public option. I was upset that he kept us in Afghanistan. I was upset when he caved on trying terrorists in NYC.

Now, how about a list from you on when you were upset with Bush?

pkrone
09-13-2013, 09:02 AM
Maybe Gerard, in another thread, was truly onto something when he posted an article opinioning that Obama was orchestrating Machiavellian politics at the highest level. Everybody's pissed at him and the good old egotistical US, but guess what? It spurred Russia into indignation and finally doing something. And hey, I'm far from an Obama apologist. I just find this very interesting.

Full Tilt
09-13-2013, 09:03 AM
It must be playing good, otherwise we wouldn't need the thousands of Border Patrol agents, and Immigration could be reduced.


Proving that prospective immigrants want to move to the country that consumes and pollutes more than any other.

Is that supposed to be a good thing?

Mike

bogdog
09-13-2013, 09:21 AM
We have plenty of company in the arrogance department, there's the British, Russians, Chinese, Italians, Germans, Brazilians, French(of course), Indians, and Australians. We're all very well loved around the globe, not. For me it's the Canadians, that's because they all come down here and try to take over our beaches speaking their funny language. What the heck does "oot and aboot" mean? That's why I stopped going to the beach, that and the sharks.

Keith Wilson
09-13-2013, 09:32 AM
I think the Argentines are the champions, although the Chinese can sometimes give them a pretty good run for it. Americans are more ignorant than anything.

PhaseLockedLoop
09-13-2013, 09:42 AM
We have plenty of company in the arrogance department, there's the British, Russians, Chinese, Italians, Germans, Brazilians, French(of course), Indians, and Australians. We're all very well loved around the globe, not. For me it's the Canadians, that's because they all come down here and try to take over our beaches speaking their funny language. What the heck does "oot and aboot" mean? That's why I stopped going to the beach, that and the sharks.

Ain'ta hey.

Waddie
09-13-2013, 10:07 AM
A flurry of liberal self flagellation this morning. "Mea culpa, mea culpa"; the liberal motto. Always good to start the day off on a positive note......

regards,
Waddie

Flying Orca
09-13-2013, 10:10 AM
The usual thing in the Bilge seems to be a different flavour of exceptionalism - an excuse as to why $problem can't be fixed, whether the problem is political or economic or social. It smacks of fatalism, which is inevitably... fatal.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-13-2013, 10:14 AM
Telling the citizens of other nations that you are better than they are is seldom a good way to make them like you and want to help you.

hanleyclifford
09-13-2013, 11:20 AM
If you actually read my many posts, I am often pissed at Obama. I believe there was a thread somewhere showing how us "lefties" are capable of criticizing Obama, and how the righties have been incapable of criticizing Bush, or giving Obama credit when he does something good.

I have always been pissed at any president who ends the speech with "God bless America". It egotistic to think that God would favor us among all the people we believe he created equal. Are we created more equal.

Further, when the enemy is telling people they are in a religious war, saying "God Bless the United States" likely helps them make their case. You are absolutely correct on this post, John; God plays no favorites in the affairs of the nations, wishful thinking notwithstanding: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/military_photos/heer-buckles/26032d1233246492t-gott-mit-uns-belt-and-buckle-real-or-fake-m4_68-aluminium-nowa-dated-1939-front.jpg

Jim Bow
09-13-2013, 11:33 AM
Whenever I hear that phrase I wonder what Jeremy Clarkson's response would be.

bobbys
09-13-2013, 11:46 AM
JS swallowed the party line the World set a red line Our Dear Leader meant that of course.

Keith Wilson
09-13-2013, 11:47 AM
Self-flagellation? Not in the least. Every country has good and bad points. Americans do indeed tend to be unusually ignorant of the rest of the world on average; this is a demonstrable fact, not an opinion, so why deny it? It's a result of living in a very large powerful country where one can easily ignore the rest of the planet if one wishes.

bobbys
09-13-2013, 11:49 AM
Sure, the US is an exceptional country. So is China, Australia, Chile, Russia, Brazil, France, Japan, Malawi, Costa Rica, Dubai, Vanuatu . . ..

You have to admit the Australians tell us every day here how much better they are then us.......

S.V. Airlie
09-13-2013, 11:50 AM
Just quickly coming to mind, I was upset with Obama when he denied single payer a seat at the table, and when he was so quick to drop the public option. I was upset that he kept us in Afghanistan. I was upset when he caved on trying terrorists in NYC.

Now, how about a list from you on when you were upset with Bush?OKAY! Worth a thread or two. Overall, not many compared to the threads kissing his butt and spinning proObama BS every time he burp.(makes a blunder).

Arizona Bay
09-13-2013, 11:53 AM
Sure, Aus is a first world country... we ain't, however we are better armed, and have better shopping.

John of Phoenix
09-13-2013, 12:05 PM
I think the Argentines are the champions, although the Chinese can sometimes give them a pretty good run for it. Americans are more ignorant than anything.For ignorance and arrogance, my vote goes hands down to Iranians though US reds aren't far behind.

Full Tilt
09-13-2013, 12:08 PM
It's a result of living in a very large powerful country where one can easily ignore the rest of the planet if one wishes.

Makes as much sense as the reason dogs lick themselves.

Mike

bobbys
09-13-2013, 12:08 PM
For ignorance and arrogance, my vote goes hands down to Iranians though US reds aren't far behind..

Did you ever notice the only people Obama and liberals ever gets mad at are Conservatives...

bogdog
09-13-2013, 12:09 PM
For ignorance and arrogance, my vote goes hands down to Iranians though US reds aren't far behind.
There's the "pure" Bhutanese...

Full Tilt
09-13-2013, 12:09 PM
For ignorance and arrogance, my vote goes hands down to Iranians though US reds aren't far behind.

Parle vous Francais?

Mike :d

John of Phoenix
09-13-2013, 12:15 PM
I have no problem with intelligent conservatives but reds who are ignorant and proud of it are a danger to the world - very much like the Iranian government.

S.V. Airlie
09-13-2013, 12:16 PM
People should spend a little time in Europe and talk to the people there about the US. No, not as a tourist on a vacation with set organized schedules but, out on the street. Having worked in the UK (hence not a tourist as defined) and biking through roughly 14 counties, (own power) I got an earful.

Arizona Bay
09-13-2013, 12:18 PM
.

Did you ever notice the only people Obama and liberals ever gets mad at are Conservatives...

Nope, we don't get mad at real conservatives, there just aren't many around and most are democrats.

pefjr
09-13-2013, 01:05 PM
Hmmm... the dumbest people that I know are those that are constantly trying to convince themselves of the stupidity of others.

bobbys
09-13-2013, 01:21 PM
Hmmm... the dumbest people that I know are those that are constantly trying to convince themselves of the stupidity of others..

What is Stupid is to base ones idea of Stupidity along partisan political lines.

Osborne Russell
09-13-2013, 01:52 PM
Many got on Obama for the "red line" comment, which really referenced a "red line" the world had established.

I have a problem with him referring to "American exceptionalism" or that America is an "exceptional country". . .

Obama referred to American Exceptionalism?

Reynard38
09-13-2013, 01:59 PM
First you have to admit you have problems before you can fix them. Most folks here are too occupied patting themselves on the back and chanting USA, USA to do this.
Liberty and Freedom must be the two most abused words in this country. I keep hearing we've got them, and nobody else does. I'm just not buying that argument.

Captain Intrepid
09-13-2013, 02:04 PM
.

You have to admit the Australians tell us every day here how much better they are then us.......

Only at the things they're better at. ;)

bogdog
09-13-2013, 02:11 PM
.

What is Stupid is to base ones idea of Stupidity along partisan political lines.There some rather famous precedents for that. To quote John Stewart Mill,
I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it. There is certainly ample evidence to support such a contention in the US.

Waddie
09-13-2013, 02:16 PM
Self-flagellation? Not in the least. Every country has good and bad points. Americans do indeed tend to be unusually ignorant of the rest of the world on average; this is a demonstrable fact, not an opinion, so why deny it? It's a result of living in a very large powerful country where one can easily ignore the rest of the planet if one wishes.

I haven't read any of those "good" points on this thread...... So it still looks like self flagellation.

regards,
Waddie

bobbys
09-13-2013, 02:22 PM
There some rather famous precedents for that. To quote John Stewart Mill, There is certainly ample evidence to support such a contention in the US..

Im sure you have a former army psychiatrist somewhere ready with a "teachable moment".

bobbys
09-13-2013, 02:24 PM
Only at the things they're better at. ;).

Crocodile Dundee DID come to NY and LA and kicked azz!

Tom Montgomery
09-13-2013, 02:56 PM
Jingoism is patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy. In practice, it is a country's advocation of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests.

Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism.

Peerie Maa
09-13-2013, 03:40 PM
First you have to admit you have problems before you can fix them. Most folks here are too occupied patting themselves on the back and chanting USA, USA to do this.
Liberty and Freedom must be the two most abused words in this country. I keep hearing we've got them, and nobody else does. I'm just not buying that argument.

I started a thread on liberty and freedom. No one could define what the words actually mean in real terms, and the consensus was that the words were effectively meaningless.

RodB
09-13-2013, 04:00 PM
Anything of an exceptional nature has certainly subsided since Obama got in office. The country is viewed as weak with weak and inept leadership. The economy recently is slightly improving despite Obama's policies. The Obama administration's record on job creation is dismal. Obamacare's problems are becoming evident with more to come. The current administration is mostly viewed as dishonest, deceitful, and down right tyrannical in pushing their ideology... especially the DOJ. As long as all the lefties here in the bilge think the last 5.5 years have been great... I know us conservatives are on the right track.

This came up about our exceptionalism... kinda interesting.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2013/09/12/american-exceptionalism/

Sorry, President Putin, But Data Shows America Actually Is Exceptional



...
The question then is: if people were free to move anywhere, where would they want to live?
Gallup’s 2013 poll (http://www.gallup.com/poll/161435/100-million-worldwide-dream-life.aspx)
on this shows that more than anywhere else, people want to move to the U.S. ...




http://b-i.forbesimg.com/modeledbehavior/files/2013/09/galluppoll.gif (http://b-i.forbesimg.com/modeledbehavior/files/2013/09/galluppoll.gif)

While people may (and should) argue all they want about whether income inequality is too high, economic freedom is too low, the healthcare and public school systems are too expensive and low productivity, and whatever else they do or don’t like about America, the fact remains that 138 million people want to move here. That’s more than triple the next most popular destination, the U.K. So whatever pundits think about America, it still looks pretty exceptional according to the individual preferences of people all over the world.





The following may be accurate more or less. I think it is biased towards the negative. The country today is certainly not the country I grew up in.
Perhaps our exceptionalism is mostly in the past, and many nations have progressed to offer quality of life similar to here in America. I would think the opportunity to excel in all ways is still the best in our country ... with hard work and focus. The truth is , you can have the kind of life you are willing to work for with no limits.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism

American exceptionalism is a belief that the United States (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/United_States) is unique, or exceptional, when compared with the historical development of other countries. It would be easy to pigeon-hole as nationalism (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Nationalism), but it is more expansive and more concentrated than that. It is a popular ideal held by many American conservatives (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Conservatives),[1] (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-0)though the temptation is not entirely limited to the Right. Several liberal (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Liberal) historians and politicians have embraced certain aspects of American exceptionalism, in particular in the "vital center (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Centrism)" and "end of ideology" views popular among American liberals in the mid 20th century following World War II (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/World_War_II). American exceptionalism is also a core belief within neoconservatism (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Neoconservatism).
One major characteristic of American exceptionalism from a historiographical viewpoint is its tendency to gloss over (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Negationism) what it would consider "bad" history,[2] (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-1) and emphasise and in many cases mythologize (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Mythology) the founding struggles[3] (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-2) and subsequent consolidation[4] (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-3) of what is the modern United States.
American exceptionalism may view the United States through the lens of a special historical determinism (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Historical_determinism) for the United States, separate from broad historical trends in the rest of the world. It may, for a variety of reasons, view the U.S. as a nation that is immune (or should be immune) from things like terrorism (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Terrorism) anddictatorship (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dictatorship) — "It can't happen here (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/9/11)". The U.S. in turn is supposed to assume an activist role around the world in promoting "freedom (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Freedom)" or being a "shining example" to the world (the "City on a Hill"). This sort of presumptive moral (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Moral) superiority isn't always is virtually never welcomed by other nations, and is oftenalmost always resented, particularly when the U.S. has a long history of engaging in gunboat diplomacy (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gunboat_diplomacy) itself.
The belief by Americans in American exceptionalism is one of the reasons for worldwide resentment or dislike of the USA.[5] (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-4)




I wonder how many more examples like this can be added across a wide array of technological advances over the past 25 years.
http://ricochet.com/member-feed/American-Exceptionalism-Concrete-Examples


American Exceptionalism - Concrete Examples

(http://ricochet.com/member-feed/American-Exceptionalism-Concrete-Examples)notofberkeley (http://ricochet.com/Profile/158417) · July 2, 2011 at 9:15pm


There have been loads of comments on Ricochet regarding American Exceptionalism. However, most of these comments have been philosophical in nature and have to do with character and motivation. Besides being autistic, I am also an engineer so I am more comfortable with concrete examples of exceptionalism. To that end, I have crafted a list of innovations that cover the length of my lifespan (66 years) during which American productivity and inventiveness is unsurpassed in all of history. The time span covers the period between 1843 and 1908. Coincidentally, this period is bracketed by the year America's per capita income surpassed that of Great Britain and the start of the 'Progressive Era' of government. The list is as follows:


1843 – Screw Propeller – J. Erickson
1848 – Telegraph – S. Morse
1848 – Morse Code – S. Morse
1851 – Interchangeable Parts – Connecticut River Valley Engineers
1852 – Safety-Hoist Elevator – E. Otis
1862 – The Monitor – J. Erickson
1862 – The Rotating Turret – J. Erickson
1862 – Repeating Rifle – B. Henry
1862 – The Land Grant Act – A. Lincoln
1862 – The Homestead Act – A. Lincoln
1867 – First Mass Produced Consumer Product: Singer Sewing Machine - I. Singer
1867 – Barbed Wire – L. Smith
1869 – Railway Airbrake – G. Westinghouse
1869 – Transcontinental Railroad
1870 – Industrial Farming
1872 – The Mail Order Catalog – M. Ward
1875 – Telephone – A. Bell
1875 – First International Brand – Standard Oil
1878 – Refrigerated Boxcar – A. Chase
1878 – The Disassembly Line – Swift & Company
1878 – Industrial Meat Packing – Swift & Company
1876 – Industrial Research Lab – T. Edison
1877 – Phonograph – T. Edison
1879 – Electric Light – T. Edison
1880 – Electric Power Distribution Grid – T. Edison
1883 – Time Zones – U.S. Railroads
1884 – Roll Film – G. Eastman
1885 – Family planning (birth control) in the middle class – C.D. Mosher MD
1887 – Electronic Production Of X-rays – N. Tesla
1888 – Philanthropic Foundation – J. D. Rockefeller
1892 – Alternating Current – N. Tesla
1896 – Motion Pictures – T. Edison
1896 – The modern submarine – J. Holland
1903 – Controlled powered flight – O. & W. Wright
1903 – The airplane propeller – O. & W. Wright
1903 – Fluoroscopy – T. Edison
1907 – Triode Vacuum Tube – L. DeForest
1908 – Assembly Line – H. Ford

If any one has any additions please post them. The above came of the top of my head and I probably missed some.







RodB

Glen Longino
09-13-2013, 04:10 PM
Hmmm... the dumbest people that I know are those that are constantly trying to convince themselves of the stupidity of others.

Ah, the Webster's definition of a pefjr!:DLMAO
Peffer spends part of every day doing just that!:D

BrianW
09-13-2013, 04:26 PM
I'm going to vote for North Korea as the county with the most ignorant population in the area of foreigners and other countries.

;)

pefjr
09-13-2013, 05:59 PM
I started a thread on liberty and freedom. No one could define what the words actually mean in real terms, and the consensus was that the words were effectively meaningless.Where is this thread?

PeterSibley
09-13-2013, 06:20 PM
A flurry of liberal self flagellation this morning. "Mea culpa, mea culpa"; the liberal motto. Always good to start the day off on a positive note......

regards,
Waddie

Yes a difference, the Right really believes in American exceptionalism, actually belief in the exceptionalism of your country is a characteristic of the Right anywhere.

hanleyclifford
09-13-2013, 07:38 PM
Yes a difference, the Right really believes in American exceptionalism, actually belief in the exceptionalism of your country is a characteristic of the Right anywhere. Exceptionalism is not necessarily a good or bad thing (and America can be really bad from time to time)- to deny American exceptionalism is to deny reality.

Garret
09-13-2013, 07:57 PM
The prize goes to RodB - 'cause he knows the truth. It's all Obama's fault!

Phew. Glad we got that cleared up & we can all move on.

Garret
09-13-2013, 07:58 PM
Exceptionalism is not necessarily a good or bad thing (and America can be really bad from time to time)- to deny American exceptionalism is to deny reality.

I think most people touting our exceptionalism are thinking that it's meant in a good way. You are correct that we are exceptionally bad at some things...

PeterSibley
09-13-2013, 08:34 PM
Exceptionalism is not necessarily a good or bad thing (and America can be really bad from time to time)- to deny American exceptionalism is to deny reality.

um, Hanley, EVERY country is exceptional in it's own way ... that is what you're trying to say isn't it ? ;)

Tom Montgomery
09-13-2013, 08:38 PM
If every country is exceptional in its own way, what is the point of any country claiming to be exceptional?

Apart from pandering to their domestic unwashed....

PeterSibley
09-13-2013, 08:43 PM
precisely.

Chris Coose
09-13-2013, 08:56 PM
We are way way above and beyond all those who would claim they are good at prisoning.

hanleyclifford
09-13-2013, 08:57 PM
um, Hanley, EVERY country is exceptional in it's own way ... that is what you're trying to say isn't it ? ;) Not quite. Due to our military and economic power we have much greater ability to impact world affairs than most, but not always for the good. Smaller countries can also be exceptional in more subtle and esoteric ways (ie Switzerland - chocolate).

McMike
09-13-2013, 09:08 PM
"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."

America is filled with "good" men . . . .

Waddie
09-13-2013, 09:17 PM
Yes a difference, the Right really believes in American exceptionalism, actually belief in the exceptionalism of your country is a characteristic of the Right anywhere.

And self hatred seems to be a characteristic of the Left. Mea culpa, mea culpa...... self flagellation.......

regards,
Waddie

Garret
09-13-2013, 09:19 PM
And self hatred seems to be a characteristic of the Left. Mea culpa, mea culpa...... self flagellation.......

regards,
Waddie

Self hatred? Hardly. More like a realistic view of the world - aka we are not alone on this planet.

You think the US is perfect & always correct?

McMike
09-13-2013, 09:26 PM
Self hatred? Hardly. More like a realistic view of the world - aka we are not alone on this planet.

You think the US is perfect & always correct?

He doesn't care.

Waddie
09-13-2013, 09:39 PM
Self hatred? Hardly. More like a realistic view of the world - aka we are not alone on this planet.

You think the US is perfect & always correct?

Of course not. I'm just looking for some balance. All I've read on this thread is negatives and negative opinions and negative assumptions. It reflects a twisted masochistic tendency in the Bilge. Some people get off on whipping on themselves, and/or their country. But it's not just self flagellation; we have several foreigners more than willing to lay the whip to us. They enjoy it, too, the weird bass turds..........

regards,
Waddie

Garret
09-13-2013, 09:47 PM
Of course not. I'm just looking for some balance. All I've read on this thread is negatives and negative opinions and negative assumptions. It reflects a twisted masochistic tendency in the Bilge. Some people get off on whipping on themselves, and/or their country. But it's not just self flagellation; we have several foreigners more than willing to lay the whip to us. They enjoy it, too, the weird bass turds..........

regards,
Waddie

Twisted masochistic tendency? Try realistic. Do US private citizens & groups do some good in the world? You bet. Problem is out gov't has done damn little good for a long time. I'm not talking Dem vs. Rep - as neither has done much good for the world. Oh we give a few bucks to 3rd world countries here & there - but real good? I'd love to hear some examples.

Waddie
09-13-2013, 09:55 PM
He doesn't care.

You're right. Most of the time I don't care what gets posted down here. For the most part, it's drivel, including much of the stuff I post. I seldom take it seriously. There are a few people down here whose opinions I do respect, and you'd be very surprised at who they are. However, you ain't one of 'em.......... and I doubt that you think much of my posts.

regards,
Waddie

Waddie
09-13-2013, 10:03 PM
Twisted masochistic tendency? Try realistic. Do US private citizens & groups do some good in the world? You bet. Problem is out gov't has done damn little good for a long time. I'm not talking Dem vs. Rep - as neither has done much good for the world. Oh we give a few bucks to 3rd world countries here & there - but real good? I'd love to hear some examples.

The amount we have given in aid over the years doesn't meet your definition of a "real good". Define "real good". Please be specific. What scale of action is required for you to consider something our government has done to be a "real good"?

regards,
Waddie

Garret
09-13-2013, 10:05 PM
The amount we have given in aid over the years doesn't meet your definition of a "real good". Define "real good". Please be specific. What scale of action is required for you to consider something our government has done to be a "real good"?

regards,
Waddie

You brought up balance. Balance our foreign aid with what we spend destroying other countries.

Waddie
09-13-2013, 10:16 PM
You brought up balance. Balance our foreign aid with what we spend destroying other countries.

You're avoiding the question. But prevaricate away.... :)

regards,
Waddie

Garret
09-13-2013, 10:30 PM
You're avoiding the question. But prevaricate away.... :)

regards,
Waddie

I don't think so. As I said above, we send dribs & drabs overseas (except to Israel - they're "special" & a few other countries) - but compared to what we spend for the military? It's over 19-1. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2012/02/how-much-does-uncle-sam-spend.html

Also as I said above, there is private $ doing good (Gates, etc.) & even some gov't stuff. The Peace corp gets a whole 2 million more than the Junior Reserve Office Corp. A whopping 355 million. Compare that to the military. http://federal-government-ratings.findthedata.org/

None of those include the covert $ being spent destabilizing foreign gov'ts and all the other fun stuff they do.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
09-14-2013, 02:40 AM
America exceptional? - not really, it's exactly like England but one hundred and thirty years behind.


To be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life

Peerie Maa
09-14-2013, 05:39 AM
Where is this thread?

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?157737-What-is-quot-Liberty-quot-what-are-your-quot-Freedoms-quot

Guess what, you were the first to post :D

bogdog
09-14-2013, 07:11 AM
To be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life

Jeepers! I'd shoot myself, how depressing.

pefjr
09-14-2013, 07:59 AM
http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?157737-What-is-quot-Liberty-quot-what-are-your-quot-Freedoms-quot

Guess what, you were the first to post :Dyeah, I vaguely remember, and now that I look it is far from this conclusion:

I started a thread on liberty and freedom. No one could define what the words actually mean in real terms, and the consensus was that the words were effectively meaningless.
Real terms? The first was a bicycle restriction my father put on me at age 6 or 7.

Full Tilt
09-14-2013, 08:03 AM
Jeepers! I'd shoot myself, how depressing.

If you were able to buy a gun.

Mike

Keith Wilson
09-14-2013, 08:08 AM
it's exactly like England but one hundred and thirty years behind.Um . . . no.

bogdog
09-14-2013, 08:11 AM
If you were able to buy a gun.

MikeThis is Virginia, everybody gets their guns here legal or not.

hanleyclifford
09-14-2013, 08:11 AM
Um . . . no. The English drive on the wrong side of the road.

Garret
09-14-2013, 08:19 AM
The English drive on the wrong side of the road.

But - so do the Virgin Islands - so, can a US resident really say they drive on the wrong side? At least they do it in cars with the wheel on the correct side for where they drive!

Oh yeah, Japan drives on that other side too....

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:19 AM
Proving that prospective immigrants want to move to the country that consumes and pollutes more than any other.

Is that supposed to be a good thing?

Mike

Actually, we are not seeing all that many people coming here from ALL other countries. I've know a few who were born here and have moved to other countries.

We seem to have great concern about our southern border. Period.

bogdog
09-14-2013, 08:22 AM
The English drive on the wrong side of the road.Good gosh! That is correct!

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:23 AM
The usual thing in the Bilge seems to be a different flavour of exceptionalism - an excuse as to why $problem can't be fixed, whether the problem is political or economic or social. It smacks of fatalism, which is inevitably... fatal.

I'm not sure I get your point. We are the country that put men on the moon. We are now the country that has to buy a ticket from Russia to get to the space station. We were the country that held the America's Cup for many, many years. That changed. We were the country with an infrastructure that was the envy of the world; no more. This list can go on for many words, but I think I've made the point.

We simply are not the country we once were, and it is dishonest to think we are, and we likely let our ego drive us at our peril.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:27 AM
You are absolutely correct on this post, John; God plays no favorites in the affairs of the nations, wishful thinking notwithstanding: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/military_photos/heer-buckles/26032d1233246492t-gott-mit-uns-belt-and-buckle-real-or-fake-m4_68-aluminium-nowa-dated-1939-front.jpg

You might want to tell Michelle Bachmann http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45755822/ns/msnbc_tv-the_ed_show/#53004396

I am not a religious man, as I'm sure you've noticed, but if I was one, I'd be really pissed at people who belittle God by thinking he cares about our elections or who wins football games, etc. As one who doesn't believe in God, I get a laugh out of these people for a few moments; then I am afraid of them. They scare me.

Full Tilt
09-14-2013, 08:27 AM
This is Virginia, everybody gets their guns here legal or not.

Are a lot of Englishmen born in Virginia?

Mike :confused:

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:29 AM
JS swallowed the party line the World set a red line Our Dear Leader meant that of course.

Perhaps you can enlighten me. I'm of the belief that virtually the entire world agreed to ban chemical weapons, that this was a standard set by the world, not the USA.

Then, perhaps someone can explain to me why we have stockpiles of banned chemical weapons.

Why is it okay for us to have weapons we deny other countries from having?

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:31 AM
Self-flagellation? Not in the least. Every country has good and bad points. Americans do indeed tend to be unusually ignorant of the rest of the world on average; this is a demonstrable fact, not an opinion, so why deny it? It's a result of living in a very large powerful country where one can easily ignore the rest of the planet if one wishes.

I had a conversation with a guy from Holland. I told him we were one of the only countries in the world where we can criticize our president without fear of repercussions. He advised me people can criticize our president anywhere in the world without consequence.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:32 AM
OKAY! Worth a thread or two. Overall, not many compared to the threads kissing his butt and spinning proObama BS every time he burp.(makes a blunder).

How about a list of times you've disagreed with Bush or Reagan?

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:34 AM
.

Did you ever notice the only people Obama and liberals ever gets mad at are Conservatives...

You might read my responses to Arlie. I've been upset with Obama many times. We've also posted clips from "liberal" show hosts criticizing Obama. What I cannot find is FOX news et al ever criticizing Bush or Reagan.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:35 AM
People should spend a little time in Europe and talk to the people there about the US. No, not as a tourist on a vacation with set organized schedules but, out on the street. Having worked in the UK (hence not a tourist as defined) and biking through roughly 14 counties, (own power) I got an earful.

That's nice, but what did they say?

ccmanuals
09-14-2013, 08:35 AM
Perhaps you can enlighten me. I'm of the belief that virtually the entire world agreed to ban chemical weapons, that this was a standard set by the world, not the USA.

Then, perhaps someone can explain to me why we have stockpiles of banned chemical weapons.

Why is it okay for us to have weapons we deny other countries from having?

the U.S. has made significant progress eradicating 90 percent of the 31,500 tons it once possessed, the military doesn't expect to complete destruction until 2023

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:41 AM
Obama referred to American Exceptionalism?

Yes, he did.

One of the things that truly puzzles me is he, and so many others, claim to be Christians. Many, many people tell me this is a Christian nation.

I don't believe or agree with them, but my understanding of Christianity is it says something about humility. I just don't see any of that from any of these people.

I believe, quite sincerely, that when our president makes a speech and refers to America as "exceptional" he is insulting all other countries.

I think this goes further, in other ways. Many people tell me they are "proud" to be Americans. That annoys me. If one has to live somewhere, be born somewhere, this is certainly among the better places to do so, but unless one is an American by something other than an accident of birth, it is hardly something worthy of pride. One can be "happy" he was born here, but when one says he is "proud" to have been born here there's an implication that those born elsewhere should be ashamed.

Words matter. Americans like to think we always wear the "white hats". Many people around the world know that's simply not true.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:44 AM
First you have to admit you have problems before you can fix them. Most folks here are too occupied patting themselves on the back and chanting USA, USA to do this.
Liberty and Freedom must be the two most abused words in this country. I keep hearing we've got them, and nobody else does. I'm just not buying that argument.

Agreed. It's hard to believe we are number one in every area and admit we have problems in any area. One of the facts of history is that people moved to Japanese cars for better gas mileage in the 70's and found higher quality cars. By comparison, our companies were making junk.

I remember Chevy dealers snickering at Honda and Toyota. A few brief years ago I was at a Ford dealership, and they were snickering at Hyundai. Do we ever learn?

Peerie Maa
09-14-2013, 08:44 AM
yeah, i vaguely remember, and now that i look it is far from this conclusion:
Real terms? The first was a bicycle restriction my father put on me at age 6 or 7.

q. E. D. :d

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:47 AM
Anything of an exceptional nature has certainly subsided since Obama got in office. The country is viewed as weak with weak and inept leadership. The economy recently is slightly improving despite Obama's policies. The Obama administration's record on job creation is dismal. Obamacare's problems are becoming evident with more to come. The current administration is mostly viewed as dishonest, deceitful, and down right tyrannical in pushing their ideology... especially the DOJ. As long as all the lefties here in the bilge think the last 5.5 years have been great... I know us conservatives are on the right track.

This came up about our exceptionalism... kinda interesting.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2013/09/12/american-exceptionalism/







The following may be accurate more or less. I think it is biased towards the negative. The country today is certainly not the country I grew up in.
Perhaps our exceptionalism is mostly in the past, and many nations have progressed to offer quality of life similar to here in America. I would think the opportunity to excel in all ways is still the best in our country ... with hard work and focus. The truth is , you can have the kind of life you are willing to work for with no limits.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism




I wonder how many more examples like this can be added across a wide array of technological advances over the past 25 years.
http://ricochet.com/member-feed/American-Exceptionalism-Concrete-Examples




RodB

This country has been losing its "exceptionalism" long before Obama entered the picture. When did Australia win the America's Cup?

John Smith
09-14-2013, 08:55 AM
And self hatred seems to be a characteristic of the Left. Mea culpa, mea culpa...... self flagellation.......

regards,
Waddie

I don't think that's fair. I'm simply asking how it helps a country who believes it's job is to lead the world when we so often insult that world.

I think that's a fair question.

Ian McColgin
09-14-2013, 09:04 AM
Like most "lefties" - really for economic and political democracy - I see American exceptionalism as most often expressed as a sort of Elmer Gantry self-deception.

But there is an American exceptionalism that's totally wonderful:

The exceptionalism of profound disrespect for authority and self-starting self-reliance.

In our history we see these in the civilization of the frontier with the spread of organizations like the Non-Partisan League and the Grange. We see it in WPA projects, like the real story of how Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood was built but a bunch of guys simply exceeding orders and getting way ahead of any supervising architects sent to rein them in. We see it in free speech and civil rights demonstrations.

http://store.trollart.com/image.php?type=P&id=423

S.V. Airlie
09-14-2013, 09:07 AM
That's nice, but what did they say?Percentage wise 70% but, to clarfy, it wasn't the common man that pissed most off but, our government.I propose you go and see for yourself John.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 09:09 AM
Maybe I should put my question in simpler terms.

Is boasting ever well received?

varadero
09-14-2013, 09:15 AM
I posted this on the Putin thread, read to the end for his take on exceptionalism....

What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria

By Vladimir V. Putin

September 12, 2013 "Information Clearing House (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/) - "New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/)" - Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multi-religious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.

Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.

From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.

The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.

We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.

I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.

If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.

© 2013 The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

"

John Smith
09-14-2013, 09:23 AM
Percentage wise 70% but, to clarfy, it wasn't the common man that pissed most off but, our government.I propose you go and see for yourself John.

I'm sure they've been pissed off only after Obama took office?

Our government has been pissing off a lot of the world for a long time. If you bother to read Bin Laden's writing, this was what drove him to the 9/11 attack; he was pissed off at us.

We have been meddling in the world for years. Sometimes for the good, often not.

We keep telling the world we are "better than them" and I don't think it wins us any friends. Certainly it doesn't win friends to imply we are God's chosen people.

If I go back far enough, I must rely on history books, but within my lifetime, I've seen the Vietnam war and how we got so deep into it behind lies of a Democrat presidentI remember Agent Orange. I remember the problems those returning from that "police action" had getting veteran benefits, because no official war had been declared.

I remember how poorly the public treated the returning soldiers.

And how long it took for us to build a memorial to them.

There was a time when we were the country we like to think we were, maybe. Today we are not even a shadow of that country. I get frequent emails longing for the good old days of the 1950's. That's when the upper income tax rate was 90%. Life was good. A man could support his family with ONE job. The wealthy, the ones paying that 90% rate, had their summer homes, their yachts, and their big cars.

At one point we were the envy of the world in many areas. No more.

This country started on its downward spiral under Reagan. Clinton turned it around a bit, but all his good was quickly undone by the Bush tax cuts.

Our infrastructure is deteriorating, and the right is more concerned with gun rights. Our priorities are all screwed up, and I cannot see a single area today where we would be the envy of the world.

Boasting is never well received. Even less so when there is nothing to boast about.

IMO, we need to go past the ACA and get to a single payer healthcare system that separates your healthcare from your job, takes this burden off the backs of employers, and we have to create some industries that build things, and we have to rebuild/modernize our infrastructure so we can again have one that is the best in the world.

We're going downhill. Have been for decades, yet we expect the world to follow us down that hill.

delecta
09-14-2013, 09:25 AM
Putin did not write that. BO doesn't write anything either, the whole thing is BS, all carefully crafted crap.

Russia needs Syria that we know, why BO wanted to blow it up is the mystery.

Full Tilt
09-14-2013, 09:30 AM
+1^

Waddie
09-14-2013, 09:41 AM
I don't think that's fair. I'm simply asking how it helps a country who believes it's job is to lead the world when we so often insult that world.
I think that's a fair question.

I'll not quibble over whether the question itself is appropriate. But what I read on this thread was not a discussion of "exceptional", which would of course included reasons why we are not exceptional, but also ways we just may be exceptional, therefore producing some balance. What I see is a laundry list of negative assumptions, opinions, and attitudes.

However, to address the actual question. Most Americans probably think we're "exceptional" in some way or another. Maybe we are, maybe we're not. Many define "exceptional" as just different, not necessarily superior. In any case, I doubt we're the only people who may dwell under the illusion that they're exceptional. I suspect the French believe themselves to be exceptional in several ways, as do the Italians, the Chinese, and of course the British. I think even Putin's Russians, being so justly proud of their history fighting Nazism, consider themselves somewhat exceptional people. And of course the Israelis believe they are God's "chosen people". Can't get any more exceptional than that.

Is it an insult to the rest of the world and does it hurt us? Those are two different questions. I guess it could be interpreted by foreigners as an insult but if they disagree with it I doubt they waste much time even considering the idea, and probably dismiss it out of hand as just more pointless rhetoric. If they're smart, they dismiss that kind of talk coming from their own leadership as well.

Does it hurt us? That's the important question. There's a reason we should dismiss that kind of talk when it comes from our own leaders, whether it's true or not, (and that could be an endless debate). It's not whether the general public believes the US to be exceptional, it's whether our leadership really believes it. They make the decisions. Believing your country to be "exceptional" can lead to decisions that are not, as they play out, in your best interests. Hubris before the fall, as they say. This type of thinking clouds judgement and promotes isolation. It denigrates the opinions of other countries, and some of those opinions, often in the form of warnings to be more diplomatic, are ignored because the choice of military action is so readily available. But military action, (since Korea) is usually only a short term benefit. Most things in the modern world are going to be settled by diplomacy. Military action just doesn't work like it used to. We're too interdependent. That in itself is a move toward democracy, which is simply the art of the compromise. So every one should tone down the rhetoric. It doesn't help, it hurts in the search for compromise.

regards,
Waddie

John Smith
09-14-2013, 10:19 AM
I'll not quibble over whether the question itself is appropriate. But what I read on this thread was not a discussion of "exceptional", which would of course included reasons why we are not exceptional, but also ways we just may be exceptional, therefore producing some balance. What I see is a laundry list of negative assumptions, opinions, and attitudes.

However, to address the actual question. Most Americans probably think we're "exceptional" in some way or another. Maybe we are, maybe we're not. Many define "exceptional" as just different, not necessarily superior. In any case, I doubt we're the only people who may dwell under the illusion that they're exceptional. I suspect the French believe themselves to be exceptional in several ways, as do the Italians, the Chinese, and of course the British. I think even Putin's Russians, being so justly proud of their history fighting Nazism, consider themselves somewhat exceptional people. And of course the Israelis believe they are God's "chosen people". Can't get any more exceptional than that.

Is it an insult to the rest of the world and does it hurt us? Those are two different questions. I guess it could be interpreted by foreigners as an insult but if they disagree with it I doubt they waste much time even considering the idea, and probably dismiss it out of hand as just more pointless rhetoric. If they're smart, they dismiss that kind of talk coming from their own leadership as well.

Does it hurt us? That's the important question. There's a reason we should dismiss that kind of talk when it comes from our own leaders, whether it's true or not, (and that could be an endless debate). It's not whether the general public believes the US to be exceptional, it's whether our leadership really believes it. They make the decisions. Believing your country to be "exceptional" can lead to decisions that are not, as they play out, in your best interests. Hubris before the fall, as they say. This type of thinking clouds judgement and promotes isolation. It denigrates the opinions of other countries, and some of those opinions, often in the form of warnings to be more diplomatic, are ignored because the choice of military action is so readily available. But military action, (since Korea) is usually only a short term benefit. Most things in the modern world are going to be settled by diplomacy. Military action just doesn't work like it used to. We're too interdependent. That in itself is a move toward democracy, which is simply the art of the compromise. So every one should tone down the rhetoric. It doesn't help, it hurts in the search for compromise.

regards,
Waddie

Thanks muchly for a well thought out post.

I think our president, or similar, speak to at least two audiences when they stand behind a microphone.

Of course the American people are listening. So are people in other countries. This can be a fine line to walk.

Obviously he doesn't wish to anger anyone in the US, but if we wish to win the hearts and minds of those elsewhere, we need to take some care in our choice of words.

There is a division among us as to whether, or why, we seem to be looked at as the world's police force. One could make a case this comes as a result of how much we spend on our military.

I think we have to be cautious. I post much negative thoughts about the US, because the image we like to think we present to the world is false. When we are viewed by others, I have little doubt that they are aware we don't live up to those principles that make us "exceptional".

Remember, please, my comments come from one who believes "God bless America" is an arrogant position to take.

I would love for us to be rebuilding our infrastructure so it is again the best on earth. I would love to see more factories building more things paying good wages, and having a truly thriving middle class that we could take pride in. G.W. thought it was great that one woman he interviewed was holding down three jobs to make ends meet. The fact that she needed three jobs to make ends meet is not something I think we should be proud of or boast about.

We also live in a strange time. I can't remember a time in my life where there were Americans who hoped their president failed. Past just hoping, they actively do what they can to make him fail (Obamacare is a good example; give it an honest chance and if it fails it fails). Given the incredible divide in this nation, and how the right is going to decide our president is wrong no matter what he does, the thin line gets even thinner.

To my mind it is a detriment to making progress if we tell the rest of the world we are better than them.

Waddie
09-14-2013, 10:50 AM
For better or worse, we are the world's policeman. I wish it could be otherwise, but it seems to come with the territory. However, while the world needs policemen and often calls them to the scene, it usually doesn't like them very much. This also seems to come with the territory. I doubt that our rhetoric changes this much.

How is "God bless America" any different than "God save the Queen" or "There is no God but Allah", or any number of quaint nationalistic sayings? I doubt anyone gives a rat's arse that we ask God for a blessing. They probably do, too, from time to time.

We do rebuild infrastructure, just not at a pace you would like to see. How would you fund it? Do you really want to rebuild a roadway system that only encourages more use of fossil fuel vehicles? Part of the reason we don't do more now is that there's no shared vision of what our transportation system should look like. And that's because we really don't know what that future will look like. Do we build rail and risk that electric cars take off and therefore no rail needed? Will air travel be viable in 20 years? Lots of unanswerable questions. So infrastructure is a crap shoot, and we can't afford to get it wrong. And that's why we need an actual, real energy policy. Alternatives have worked in other countries, but only if they have an actual energy policy in place. Without an energy policy we don't have a road map for rebuilding that infrastructure.

BTW; there is one part of the infrastructure which could be rebuilt now; the electric grid. We lose almost half of our electric production due to antiquated transmission. Building a state of the art national electric grid would actually turn a profit immediately.

regards,
Waddie

Keith Wilson
09-14-2013, 11:18 AM
BTW; there is one part of the infrastructure which could be rebuilt now; the electric grid.We can agree on that. Good point.

Full Tilt
09-14-2013, 12:17 PM
For better or worse, we are the world's policeman. I wish it could be otherwise, but it seems to come with the territory.
regards,
Waddie

If the subject wasn't so critical your opinion would be laughable.

The only reason the US is the worlds "policeman" is so it can dictate terms to everyone else.

The "territory" you refer to is the 'top of the hill'.

The sum total of your typing only proves the ego-centricity of the American "patriot".

But don't let me detract from your prolificity, it apparently gives you much pleasure.

Mike

peb
09-14-2013, 12:33 PM
If the subject wasn't so critical your opinion would be laughable.

The only reason the US is the worlds "policeman" is so it can dictate terms to everyone else.

The "territory" you refer to is the 'top of the hill'.

The sum total of your typing only proves the ego-centricity of the American "patriot".

But don't let me detract from your prolificity, it apparently gives you much pleasure.

Mike

No, that is not the reason we are the world's policeman. We are, because it is the best alternative available for us and the world.

If we are not, then what are the alternatives: I see only three:

1) another country(s) assert themselves: there are two alternatives China and Russia. Would someone please explain to me how the world would be better off in this scenario?

2) The UN: ideally this should be better. But because a large number of countries are not truly interested in the world at large, the general assembly is worthless. Because if the veto structure of the security council, it is unreliable.

3) no one: fine, the wealthy countries have no obligations to the world at large. A people being horribly oppressed by the government, or a weak country being taken over by a more powerful neighbor have no right to expect outside help.

None of the options seem appealing. So we are left with the best alternative, for both us and the world

Full Tilt
09-14-2013, 12:43 PM
We are, because it is the best alternative available for us and the world.

In your self-centered opinion.

You guys can't see the forest for the trees.

Ego-maniacs.

Mike

peb
09-14-2013, 12:57 PM
In your self-centered opinion.

You guys can't see the forest for the trees.

Ego-maniacs.

Mike

Please, give me your answer to the alternatives I presented.

I am not saying the US should act unilaterally, nor that we should not seek cooperation with the UN, nor that military might should be the primary means of acting.

Full Tilt
09-14-2013, 01:10 PM
The alternatives are not limited to the three you presented.

We began this journey centuries ago.

Many countries have been "King of the Castle" in that time.

Who's to say that the Dutch or the British or Germany or myriad others wouldn't have done a better job?

In case you haven't noticed the world has gone to h&ll in a handbasket and the only thing that will be left to "police" will be underground bunkers before long.

Mike

peb
09-14-2013, 01:17 PM
The alternatives are not limited to the three you presented.

We began this journey centuries ago.

Many countries have been "King of the Castle" in that time.

Who's to say that the Dutch or the British or Germany or myriad others wouldn't have done a better job?

In case you haven't noticed the world has gone to h&ll in a handbasket and the only thing that will be left to "police" will be underground bunkers before long.

Mike

Please explain the alternative I missed.

johnw
09-14-2013, 01:33 PM
Exceptionalism is not necessarily a good or bad thing (and America can be really bad from time to time)- to deny American exceptionalism is to deny reality.

Joseph Stalin, who invented the phrase (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/how-joseph-stalin-invented-american-exceptionalism/254534/), thought it was definitely a bad thing, and didn't believe it existed. What he was referring to was the American Communist's claim that the American working class wasn't interested in revolt against the capitalists after WW II, which was a period when inequity was at a historic low, the New Deal was giving people greater security, and unions were negotiating better wages and working conditions.

In the wake of the failure of Communism, America is less exceptional, because hardly anywhere in the world is interested in overthrowing capitalism, even in China. America is less exceptional than in the past, because our ideas have won.

Waddie
09-14-2013, 02:19 PM
johnw; In the wake of the failure of Communism, America is less exceptional, because hardly anywhere in the world is interested in overthrowing capitalism, even in China. America is less exceptional than in the past, because our ideas have won.

That statement could also be interpreted as support for the idea of American exceptionalism. As the leading proponent of capitalism, which is now apparently universally accepted, it appears the entire world has followed our economic roadmap. "Our ideas have won". That's exceptional by any standard.

regards,
Waddie

Peerie Maa
09-14-2013, 04:23 PM
In the wake of the failure of Communism, America is less exceptional, because hardly anywhere in the world is interested in overthrowing capitalism, even in China. America is less exceptional than in the past, because our ideas have won.

John, are you channelling the ghost of McCarthy?

Peerie Maa
09-14-2013, 04:28 PM
That statement could also be interpreted as support for the idea of American exceptionalism. As the leading proponent of capitalism, which is now apparently universally accepted, it appears the entire world has followed our economic roadmap. "Our ideas have won". That's exceptional by any standard.

regards,
Waddie

Now that is "American exceptionalism" of the form that gets up everyone's nose. Your economic road map my arse, capitalism was invented when the iron age society began trading iron bars as currency.

skuthorp
09-14-2013, 04:32 PM
Waddie,
"How is "God bless America" any different than "God save the Queen" or "There is no God but Allah", or any number of quaint nationalistic sayings? I doubt anyone gives a rat's arse that we ask God for a blessing. They probably do, too, from time to time."
All national anthems are jingoistic, the tunes of some are just better than others at raising the level of nationalism.

And despatching armed forces OS at the drop of a hat for sometimes dubious reasons is not the only way for the US to retain it's self belief. And self belief is very important for national morale.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 06:19 PM
For better or worse, we are the world's policeman. I wish it could be otherwise, but it seems to come with the territory. However, while the world needs policemen and often calls them to the scene, it usually doesn't like them very much. This also seems to come with the territory. I doubt that our rhetoric changes this much.

How is "God bless America" any different than "God save the Queen" or "There is no God but Allah", or any number of quaint nationalistic sayings? I doubt anyone gives a rat's arse that we ask God for a blessing. They probably do, too, from time to time.They are just as arrogant, IMO

We do rebuild infrastructure, just not at a pace you would like to see. How would you fund it? Do you really want to rebuild a roadway system that only encourages more use of fossil fuel vehicles? Part of the reason we don't do more now is that there's no shared vision of what our transportation system should look like. And that's because we really don't know what that future will look like. Do we build rail and risk that electric cars take off and therefore no rail needed? Will air travel be viable in 20 years? Lots of unanswerable questions. So infrastructure is a crap shoot, and we can't afford to get it wrong. And that's why we need an actual, real energy policy. Alternatives have worked in other countries, but only if they have an actual energy policy in place. Without an energy policy we don't have a road map for rebuilding that infrastructure.
My plan would be multi-pronged. We will be driving cars that use fossil fuels for a very long time, no matter what else is researched. Money is cheap today. It will be more expensive later. It will cost more to wait. I'D ALSO PUT HEALTHCARE UNDER THE INFRASTRUCTURE UMBRELLA
BTW; there is one part of the infrastructure which could be rebuilt now; the electric grid. We lose almost half of our electric production due to antiquated transmission. Building a state of the art national electric grid would actually turn a profit immediately.

regards,
Waddie

I agree with your comments on the electric grid. I'd like to see cities have monorails.

I support the concept of rebuilding/modernizing our infrastructure as a priority, and using US made "ingredients". This would create many jobs and would lead to a much improve economy.

To pay for this, I would raise taxes. I'd do something similar to what California just did and they seem to be doing well. They raised taxes by 1% then 2%, then 3% of higher incomes, progressively.

I think we are under taxed. We have already made commitments, and we need to tax enough to cover them. THEN we can look at areas where we can cut spending, and cut some taxes as we do.

We need JOBS; good ones. I'm just a retired postal clerk, but it seems pretty obvious that money ends up in the country of manufacture.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 06:28 PM
If the subject wasn't so critical your opinion would be laughable.

The only reason the US is the worlds "policeman" is so it can dictate terms to everyone else.

The "territory" you refer to is the 'top of the hill'.

The sum total of your typing only proves the ego-centricity of the American "patriot".

But don't let me detract from your prolificity, it apparently gives you much pleasure.

Mike

Waddie has been kind enough to enter into some serious posts. I appreciate it. I don't expect Waddie and I to agree on a great deal, but it seems we can agree to disagree in a civil manner and attempt to find some common ground.

One of the problems I see in this country is too many people have been entirely too indoctrinated that the government can't do anything right that it's hard to convince them this isn't necessarily true. My brother was a reasonably intelligent person. However, he was among those who LOVED his Medicare, but did not want government involved in healthcare.

If I had the financial resources, I'd put out an ad listing as many things as I can think of that our government does so well we take them for granted. Our food is about as safe to eat as food can be. We have running tap water that is fit to drink. We have public schools and lovely public parks. Businesses could not function very well without the part of the infrastructure they use to ship and/or customers use to find their stores/products. Business would have a problem if there were no patent or contract laws, or no means to enforce them.

I also have thought for many years that just as we have language interpreters we need culture interpreters.

I am all for holding out a helping hand to those in need, but I think doing it without arrogance or boasting is better.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 06:39 PM
No, that is not the reason we are the world's policeman. We are, because it is the best alternative available for us and the world.

If we are not, then what are the alternatives: I see only three:

1) another country(s) assert themselves: there are two alternatives China and Russia. Would someone please explain to me how the world would be better off in this scenario?

2) The UN: ideally this should be better. But because a large number of countries are not truly interested in the world at large, the general assembly is worthless. Because if the veto structure of the security council, it is unreliable.

3) no one: fine, the wealthy countries have no obligations to the world at large. A people being horribly oppressed by the government, or a weak country being taken over by a more powerful neighbor have no right to expect outside help.

None of the options seem appealing. So we are left with the best alternative, for both us and the world

Truly an American's list of options. Kind of if everyone does it our way the world would be better.

We stray a bit. It might be good to help in places where we are asked to help. Forcing our "help" may be less productive. Either way, saying things that are likely insulting to other countries is not very helpful.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 06:44 PM
The alternatives are not limited to the three you presented.

We began this journey centuries ago.

Many countries have been "King of the Castle" in that time.

Who's to say that the Dutch or the British or Germany or myriad others wouldn't have done a better job?

In case you haven't noticed the world has gone to h&ll in a handbasket and the only thing that will be left to "police" will be underground bunkers before long.

Mike

One question we might ask, "If we reach out and save you, do you owe us?" Or, "If we use our military for the betterment of mankind, does all of mankind owe us?" Or do we simply do what we think is right and not expect anything in return?

How do we side with one group and not side against another?

I hear our leaders talk as if we are the beacon of equality and fairness, but that image of America has long been debunked; we simply failed to live up to it and the world knows it.

It is hard to lead when one cannot lead by example. It's hard to lead when the people you want to follow know you're not being honest with them, or when you simply insult them.

John Smith
09-14-2013, 06:46 PM
That statement could also be interpreted as support for the idea of American exceptionalism. As the leading proponent of capitalism, which is now apparently universally accepted, it appears the entire world has followed our economic roadmap. "Our ideas have won". That's exceptional by any standard.

regards,
Waddie

Our ideas may have "won", though I'm not sure what. The question is one of whether or not we still believe in those ideas. It seems to me not.

Osborne Russell
09-14-2013, 09:24 PM
Is this what we're talking about?


It was a reference to President Barack Obama's address on Tuesday night, in which he said that while America can't be a global cop, it ought to act when in certain situations.

"That's what makes us exceptional," Obama said.

That isn't a statement about American exceptionalism. This is:


“Our president doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do,” Romney said at a campaign stop this year.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/30/despite-fights-about-its-merits-idea-of-american-exceptionalism-a-powerful-force-through-history/?iid=article_sidebar

America could be exceptional in any number of things. Number of species of nematodes. American exceptionalism is a quasi-religious belief about the nature of the American nation. Originally, and for many even today, an overtly religious belief.

It was a dumb thing for Obama to say because it causes confusion. I don't see why he would think that would be to his advantage. Surely he doesn't think it's a chance to give the Reds a free stroke.

You could say it's an inducement for people for people to learn the difference between exceptional and exceptionalism, and thereby learn how evil American exceptionalism is. But that only applies to liberals. Reds are explicit American exceptionalists already.

Osborne Russell
09-14-2013, 09:38 PM
That statement could also be interpreted as support for the idea of American exceptionalism. As the leading proponent of capitalism, which is now apparently universally accepted, it appears the entire world has followed our economic roadmap. "Our ideas have won". That's exceptional by any standard.

regards,
Waddie

The American exceptionalist interpretation is that America is right about capitalism or whatever because America is right because God says so.

The current American right is wedded to the American religious right. Get to know your wife.

johnw
09-14-2013, 09:50 PM
John, are you channelling the ghost of McCarthy?

Obviously not. McCarthy was worried that America wasn't exceptional, and could easily be overthrown by the Communists.

johnw
09-14-2013, 10:13 PM
Now that is "American exceptionalism" of the form that gets up everyone's nose. Your economic road map my arse, capitalism was invented when the iron age society began trading iron bars as currency.

No.

First of all, I'm sure trade is much older than the smelting of iron. Second, capitalism is much more than markets (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2013/05/capitalismso-much-more-than-markets.html). The term wasn't even invented util about 1850, and in my view capitalism was not "invented" in its current form until the marginal revolution of the 1870s. The founding fathers were not capitalists. They were either physiocrats -- as were most of the Southern planters -- or mercantilists (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2012/12/physiocrats-mercantilists-economic.html).

But American exceptionalism as conceived of by Stalin was not capitalism, which existed in Europe as well. It was a working class that did not want to overthrow the system of private property and markets. This has become less exceptional largely because the main alternative, communism, is now so unattractive. Marx, by the way, stopped writing about the time he would have learned about the marginal revolution. It may be that he realized he'd devoted his life to a dead end, and knew that his theory of value was junk compared to that of the marginalists.

Osborne Russell
09-14-2013, 10:33 PM
But American exceptionalism as conceived of by Stalin . . .

. . . is a sideshow. The real thing pre-dates him by centuries.

johnw
09-15-2013, 01:47 AM
. . . is a sideshow. The real thing pre-dates him by centuries.

The term "American exceptionalism" does not. Yes, there have been people arguing that America is better or worse than other countries for a long time. I believe most countries have Chauvinists who argue that their country is better than others. Yet we do not hear talk of British exceptionalism, or French exceptionalism, or for that matter, German or Japanese exceptionalism, although they certainly argued that they were superior. American exceptionalism might mean merely that America is better to some conservatives like Gingrich, but then, he didn't get tenure as a history professor precisely because he was more interested in making it up than in knowing and teaching history. Exceptionalism doesn't just mean America is better. It means America is different. In Stalin's view, it was not, in fact, better. Yes, America did try to be different. The Federalist Papers represent thinking through the application of thousands of years of thinking about government, and hundreds of years of the enlightenment. But at that point, making America exceptional was an aspiration, not yet an achievement.

If the term means anything, it means something like what Stalin meant; an abandonment of the traditional ways of life based on what position you were born to. Stalin worried that this meant American workers could not be organized on class lines.

PeterSibley
09-15-2013, 02:43 AM
Deutschland uber alles ? :d

USA uber alles ?

Peerie Maa
09-15-2013, 03:48 AM
No.

First of all, I'm sure trade is much older than the smelting of iron. Second, capitalism is much more than markets (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2013/05/capitalismso-much-more-than-markets.html). The term wasn't even invented util about 1850, and in my view capitalism was not "invented" in its current form until the marginal revolution of the 1870s. The founding fathers were not capitalists. They were either physiocrats -- as were most of the Southern planters -- or mercantilists (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2012/12/physiocrats-mercantilists-economic.html).

But American exceptionalism as conceived of by Stalin was not capitalism, which existed in Europe as well. It was a working class that did not want to overthrow the system of private property and markets. This has become less exceptional largely because the main alternative, communism, is now so unattractive. Marx, by the way, stopped writing about the time he would have learned about the marginal revolution. It may be that he realized he'd devoted his life to a dead end, and knew that his theory of value was junk compared to that of the marginalists.

I'll not die in a ditch over it, but I do believe that the trade that occurred before iron was barter. With iron came trade that used iron bars with an agreed value, but like our copper coins could not be used for anything else without being reworked. That was the the beginning of the use of capital (money).
However that is a side issue. I was challenging waddies claiming credit for the of the development across the world of their different economic systems on Americas behalf. That is an example of "exeptionalism" today, rather than in history.

PeterSibley
09-15-2013, 04:42 AM
I'll lay the start of capitalism , almost as we know it, to the Medicis, the first ones to wheedle their way past the Church's usury laws.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medici_Bank

WX
09-15-2013, 05:21 AM
.

You have to admit the Australians tell us every day here how much better they are then us.......

Yeah well you can't argue with the facts mate.:D
My daughter now lives in Palm Springs and I hope one day to visit and check out the US for myself. After all it can't be too bad my daughter married a Yank and he's an okay sort of bloke in my book.

doorstop
09-15-2013, 05:55 AM
How blind must someone be to say "We are the worlds policeman" when it is patently obvious to the rest of the world that US is actually the worlds' BULLY!
Egostical wally!

doorstop
09-15-2013, 05:56 AM
Hmmmm... I wonder who will threaten to shoot me first?

LeeG
09-15-2013, 07:02 AM
Deutschland uber alles ? :d

USA uber alles ?

For The Homeland!

PeterSibley
09-15-2013, 07:38 AM
Homeland Security ! Ja !

Full Tilt
09-15-2013, 07:56 AM
Hmmmm... I wonder who will threaten to shoot me first?

Pretty sad state of affairs when tyrants dictate.

John Smith
09-15-2013, 08:00 AM
Lots of interesting responses here. Let me try to put my question in a better context. When we claim to be the greatest country on earth, how does this play in other countries? When we are told our rights come from God, I find those making this statement short on facts, as wherever one lives his rights are those his government allows him to have.

When we say we are exceptional, or that we're the best country on the planet, are we trying to convince the people living in other countries or our citizens?

I think it hurts our image in the rest of the world, and it makes it difficult to change things, such as healthcare, here. I'm sure we've all had conversations with fellow citizens that truly believe that we do it best, whatever it is, and there are many of us who accept the fact this is simply not true.

One reason, I believe, we say this words is because they are not true. We are trying to prop up an image that we don't actually live up to. Maybe we did once, but those days are history.

I don't know if this helps make my point or not, but let us remember "freedom fries". America was quite put off by the French and other friends in the UN when they did not support removing Saddam. Our collective nose was quite out of joint. We did not feel France had the right to vote in her best interest rather than the way we wanted her to vote.

At the time I made the analogy that France was a friend trying to prevent a friend (US) from driving drunk. Most of America today sees the invasion of Iraq as a mistake. Many who supported it because they believed the WMD line continued to support it after no WMD's were found. These are the people, IMO, who cannot admit this country does wrong, or, at least, a Republican president can do no wrong.

More than ever in today's global world, the actions of one country are known by the people in other countries. The words of leaders are heard by more people in more places. Words matter.

Maybe because we spend so much on our military we feel some compulsion to use it. Perhaps that's why many countries see us as the bully mentioned above rather than the police we see ourselves as.

The world is made up of a large number of sovereign countries. How they run their internal affairs may not be any of our business. One CAN make a case that had we recognized that years ago, those two tall buildings in NYC would still be standing.

Captain Intrepid
09-15-2013, 08:06 AM
When we claim to be the greatest country on earth, how does this play in other countries?

Sad laughter with a slight shaking of the head, followed by a slow sigh and then a facepalm.

Full Tilt
09-15-2013, 08:12 AM
I don't know why you bother.

A person would be a fool to criticize a homicidal bully.

You're not going to get the truth with a trillion dollar domestic spy service filtering out every word of dissatisfaction.

Mike

John Smith
09-15-2013, 08:27 AM
While Jon Stewart was on vacation and John Oliver was filling in, he had an interview with a guest who's name I forget, but they had a conversation about Oliver moving here from Britain. The guest assumed Oliver found everything in America better and made a comment on healthcare. Oliver was quick to point out that, if he got sick, he'd be on his way back to Britain, as he'd get better care there.

My view is that we are a country that does things our way. Sometimes that way is better than the way other countries do it, and sometimes other countries have found a better way. There was a time when a family could live nicely in this country with dad holding down one decent paying job. Those days are gone. I'm just a retired postal clerk, but I think you can measure the general quality of life by our trade deficit. We export money. No sane person, IMO, can think this is good for the country.

Certainly having so many people without health insurance cant' be seen as "exceptional" by those countries who actually cover all their citizens.

Maybe if we spent less on military and more in other areas we could become the envy of the world someplace other than in our imagination.

Full Tilt
09-15-2013, 08:33 AM
What did you have for breakfast John, mushrooms?

Mike

peb
09-15-2013, 08:43 AM
Truly an American's list of options. Kind of if everyone does it our way the world would be better.

We stray a bit. It might be good to help in places where we are asked to help. Forcing our "help" may be less productive. Either way, saying things that are likely insulting to other countries is not very helpful.

Well, I have asked for what other option is available or where I was wrong in the analysis of the three options I presented. No one wants to present any real counter argument.

Just as a local police cannot prevent all crime, nor provide justice in response to all crimes that have been committed, nor always act properly, America will not be the perfect world police.

As to just acting when requested, that would not really solve anything. And I doubt you would be satisfied with the results. Certainly South Vietnam requested our help ( to give one example).

Again, what are the alternatives that I missed
1) some other country(s) else
2) the UN
3) no one

Simple logic seems to make it complete, so then provide an analysis of which one works.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-15-2013, 08:57 AM
Look closely here and you will see the United States' best qualification for the role of global policeman:

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/factbook-2011-en/04/01/01/index.html?itemId=/content/chapter/factbook-2011-33-en

The share of international trade in the USA's GDP is remarkably small - in fact, almost every other nation is more dependent on international trade.

The USA does not need anything from other nations - even its oil imports are steadily being substituted by fracking. America has no real axe to grind, few special interests to protect, and is therefore more likely to be reasonbly honest and impartial.

John Smith
09-15-2013, 09:05 AM
Well, I have asked for what other option is available or where I was wrong in the analysis of the three options I presented. No one wants to present any real counter argument.

Just as a local police cannot prevent all crime, nor provide justice in response to all crimes that have been committed, nor always act properly, America will not be the perfect world police.

As to just acting when requested, that would not really solve anything. And I doubt you would be satisfied with the results. Certainly South Vietnam requested our help ( to give one example).

Again, what are the alternatives that I missed
1) some other country(s) else
2) the UN
3) no one

Simple logic seems to make it complete, so then provide an analysis of which one works.

You failed to list NATO, which if I remember correctly was the guiding force in Libya.

I think your list is well thought out, but is self limiting. The first question we need to ask is whether or not we can do something positive. I listed in the drone thread options in a situation where we KNEW people were plotting against us and whether we should do something or do nothing. If we did nothing and we were attacked, the president would take the blame.

If we do something, of the options available the drones were the best choice to limit collateral damage or risk American lives.

My question in this thread isn't so much about whether or not we should do something, but about our boasting about how great we are and how that plays in other countries. I don't think it's a good way of picking up allies to help in any effort, or gaining support at the UN.

If we take your options and apply them to Syria, IMO, none of them work.

You cite Vietnam. What did we achieve by that effort? What did those young men die for?

I do think we suffered a dear in the headlights syndrome: we didn't want another Hitler or another Vietnam.

But, again, the thread question is how our words play in other parts of the world, or how our deeds play. How, for example, does the rest of the world view our invasion of Iraq and the Shock and Awe it began with?

We speak as if we are superior in all ways. Much of the world knows we are not. Can we not offer assistance without bragging?

johnw
09-15-2013, 01:46 PM
I'll not die in a ditch over it, but I do believe that the trade that occurred before iron was barter. With iron came trade that used iron bars with an agreed value, but like our copper coins could not be used for anything else without being reworked. That was the the beginning of the use of capital (money).
However that is a side issue. I was challenging waddies claiming credit for the of the development across the world of their different economic systems on Americas behalf. That is an example of "exeptionalism" today, rather than in history.

Money predates iron, and is even used in neolithic societies. Cowry shell currency goes back much further than iron. But there is a lot more to capitalism than money or, for that matter, banking. Remember, it was Marx that invented the term "capitalism," and he did not confuse it with other forms of market economies. Capitalism involves concentrating the ownership of the means of production in the hands of the owners of capital, rather than in the hands of peasant farmers or artisans. It also involves increasing the productivity of the workers in ways that aristocratic landowners never did. Britain, and specifically England, was in the forefront of developing capitalism, Americans were relative latecomers.

johnw
09-15-2013, 01:53 PM
Look closely here and you will see the United States' best qualification for the role of global policeman:

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/factbook-2011-en/04/01/01/index.html?itemId=/content/chapter/factbook-2011-33-en

The share of international trade in the USA's GDP is remarkably small - in fact, almost every other nation is more dependent on international trade.

The USA does not need anything from other nations - even its oil imports are steadily being substituted by fracking. America has no real axe to grind, few special interests to protect, and is therefore more likely to be reasonbly honest and impartial.

The problem with this is that America, unlike the British Empire at its peak, has less of a stake in things like the freedom of the seas as it becomes more self-reliant. And with the rise of stateless income (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2013/04/stateless-income-global-capital-and.html), the corporations are not paying their taxes to the nations that provide the peace, so it's hard to see where the incentives will be to do so if current trends persist.

Currently, America spends nearly half the world's defense budget, but its economy is closer to 20% of world GDP. This is not sustainable, and eventually, China will have the largest economy in the world. I wonder how well they will maintain the international system.

Boater14
09-15-2013, 03:16 PM
this may sound crazy but you will not find another national anthem that comes close to our self congratulatory "land of the free and home of the brave." we are so certain in our incompetence. (Iraq). on an individual basis we're incapable of admitting we're wrong. our love of hatred and ignorance has caught up with us.

Captain Intrepid
09-15-2013, 03:43 PM
this may sound crazy but you will not find another national anthem that comes close to our self congratulatory "land of the free and home of the brave." we are so certain in our incompetence. (Iraq). on an individual basis we're incapable of admitting we're wrong. our love of hatred and ignorance has caught up with us.

I dunno. The USSR anthem was pretty full of itself. Terrific song though.

"United forever in friendship and labour,
Our mighty republics will ever endure.
The Great Soviet Union will live through the ages.
The dream of a people their fortress secure."

Full Tilt
09-15-2013, 03:48 PM
Boater 14,

I was going to say "I think you're right" but realize you couldn't be, as long as people of conscience, like yourself, speak up.

You are not responsible for the lowest common denominator.

Mike |:)

Peerie Maa
09-15-2013, 04:39 PM
Money predates iron, and is even used in neolithic societies. Cowry shell currency goes back much further than iron. But there is a lot more to capitalism than money or, for that matter, banking. Remember, it was Marx that invented the term "capitalism," and he did not confuse it with other forms of market economies. Capitalism involves concentrating the ownership of the means of production in the hands of the owners of capital, rather than in the hands of peasant farmers or artisans. It also involves increasing the productivity of the workers in ways that aristocratic landowners never did. Britain, and specifically England, was in the forefront of developing capitalism, Americans were relative latecomers.

It seems that we are in agreement then.

Boater14
09-15-2013, 07:44 PM
Captain Intrepid, nice try. no comparison. sounds like they love their country....not themselves.

Osborne Russell
09-15-2013, 09:19 PM
The term "American exceptionalism" does not. Yes, there have been people arguing that America is better or worse than other countries for a long time.

That isn't American exceptionalism, and what Stalin meant by it is of little importance compared to the real thing.


I believe most countries have Chauvinists who argue that their country is better than others. Yet we do not hear talk of British exceptionalism, or French exceptionalism, or for that matter, German or Japanese exceptionalism, although they certainly argued that they were superior.

Yep.


Exceptionalism doesn't just mean America is better. It means America is different.

Yep.


In Stalin's view, it was not, in fact, better.

But he wasn't talking about the same thing.


If the term means anything, it means something like what Stalin meant . . .

What he meant may be important in the history of Stalin; I wouldn't know. It has little to with the history of America.

What the term does mean is fundamental to the history of America.

johnw
09-15-2013, 11:40 PM
That isn't American exceptionalism, and what Stalin meant by it is of little importance compared to the real thing.



Yep.



Yep.



But he wasn't talking about the same thing.



What he meant may be important in the history of Stalin; I wouldn't know. It has little to with the history of America.

What the term does mean is fundamental to the history of America.

Sorry, this is not in any way informative. You have yet to say what you regard as the "real thing." Perhaps you don't think that America left behind the class structure Communism says we are supposed to rebel against; in any case, that appears to be what you are saying. I happen to think that's an important aspect of American history, and would like to know why you don't think it is. I believe this is "fundamental to the history of America."

But you have yet to say what you think American exceptionalism is. Out with it, man, stop being so coy.

PeterSibley
09-16-2013, 12:08 AM
What the term does mean is fundamental to the history of America.

It's what America thinks that is important, the crux being it think it is just one amongst a multitude of exceptional nations ... all being different or is it an implication of One of Kind Exceptionalism ?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
09-16-2013, 04:18 AM
The problem with this is that America, unlike the British Empire at its peak, has less of a stake in things like the freedom of the seas as it becomes more self-reliant. And with the rise of stateless income (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2013/04/stateless-income-global-capital-and.html), the corporations are not paying their taxes to the nations that provide the peace, so it's hard to see where the incentives will be to do so if current trends persist.

Currently, America spends nearly half the world's defense budget, but its economy is closer to 20% of world GDP. This is not sustainable, and eventually, China will have the largest economy in the world. I wonder how well they will maintain the international system.

That's true. I have remarked here before that according to a friend who attended the Chinese Foreign Service College, Paul Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" is a set book there.

PeterSibley
09-16-2013, 04:30 AM
My standard reference.

John Smith
09-16-2013, 06:54 AM
The problem with this is that America, unlike the British Empire at its peak, has less of a stake in things like the freedom of the seas as it becomes more self-reliant. And with the rise of stateless income (http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blogspot.com/2013/04/stateless-income-global-capital-and.html), the corporations are not paying their taxes to the nations that provide the peace, so it's hard to see where the incentives will be to do so if current trends persist.

Currently, America spends nearly half the world's defense budget, but its economy is closer to 20% of world GDP. This is not sustainable, and eventually, China will have the largest economy in the world. I wonder how well they will maintain the international system.

One can make a good case that the amount of money we spend on defense severely inhibits our spending in other areas that need more spending. I'm going to assume all here have seen the very expensive tanks the military wants no more of, can't use the ones they've got, but we can't stop building them because they are jobs for people. I would submit that any job for any company that is building a product expressly for our government is a government job.

It's also a waste of taxpayer money when it is spent building equipment that is obsolete.

The building of these tanks is information available not only to American citizens, but to other citizens in other countries. Our great healthcare debate is seen in other countries. We ARE exceptional in that we are the only developed country that fails to provide healthcare for all its citizens.

I would feel far more patriotic if we had tried suspected/accused terrorists in our civilian courts. I'd feel better if Gitmo was not there. I'd feel better if our country was more receptive of a black president. At the moment I suspect most people in the world view us very much as we viewed Archie Bunker. Deep down there may be a good heart, but there's a lot of prejudices and erroneous facts one must dig through to find it.

John Smith
09-16-2013, 07:02 AM
this may sound crazy but you will not find another national anthem that comes close to our self congratulatory "land of the free and home of the brave." we are so certain in our incompetence. (Iraq). on an individual basis we're incapable of admitting we're wrong. our love of hatred and ignorance has caught up with us.

Doesn't sound crazy to me. My in-law's got extremely angry with me when they asked what I felt about the then pending invasion of Iraq and I told them I didn't believe Saddam had any WMD's and posed no threat to anyone outside a small area in his country. That really pissed them off.

Over time, while that moment bothered me, something happened, or didn't happen, that bothered me even more. They NEVER said anything in the nature of, "Gee, you were right." Of the many Republicans I know who supported that war solely because of the WMD's, I only know one who changed his mind when no weapons were found. The others rationalize other acceptable reasons.

This is another case where the world we are talking to KNOWS we found no weapons. They know we killed far more innocent people than Al Qaeda did on 9/11. Many of them view us as the Satan. Far to few of us ask why that is, because we don't think it's possible for anyone to view us in that way.

I've posted before we should take "land of the free and home of the brave" out of our anthem. The reason the Muslim center wasn't built near ground zero, the reason Gitmo is still open, and the reason we haven't tried them in NYC is because the American people were afraid. Fear gave us the Patriot Act and cost us freedoms.

Michael D. Storey
09-16-2013, 07:10 AM
I have not seen the words perfect, better than the rest, superior, etc mentioned. It is important to have a defined ego. It is a great source of courage and energy. Anyone who does not think that the United States is exceptional is no more perceptive than a clam. There is nothing wrong in asking for a divine blessing. I personally think of the continent as America, and the country as the United States, but that is my personal slant, is all.
This entire song and dance is about taking a statement and supposing that it means something else, and right vs left vs right vs left bickering. Not exactly exceptional or worthy of divine blessing, in my unsolicited opinion.
So, who here does not feel that their spouse, or their mother is or was exceptional, or feel that their children are unique? To go through life without relating to these peeps as if they are shortchanges the life experience considerably.
It's Monday morning. Tomorrow, I will be married to Judith for two years. I want, I deserve, more inspiration here.

John Smith
09-16-2013, 07:17 AM
If I may use Archie Bunker again, I recall him telling "Meathead", "What's good for General Motors is good for the country."

I think that was a very popular belief for some years. I argued, "What's good for General Motors' employees is good for that nation."

There's a distinct difference. If we go back to WWII and see how quickly we turned our great industry into making machines for war, it was truly a marvel. I once read Hitler commented that it seemed every GI came with his own jeep. After the war we were the only country left that really had an intact manufacturing base and infrastructure.

With a top income tax rate of 90% we paid our war debt, built the interstate highway system, and funded the GI bill. Home building was seen everywhere.

I continue to get emails longing for the 1950's when dad had one job, mom stayed home and raised the kids, and the American dream was actually attainable for most people, if you were not black living in the south.

All the stuff we bought was made in America. We had lots of car brands to chose from. Televisions came along and were made here, as were the radios they replaced. Stereos and record players came along; all made here.

One can make a case that America was truly exceptional for a period of time. Our infrastructure was the envy of the world. "Made in Japan" meant very poor quality.

Slowly but steadily this all changed. "Made in America" came to mean very poor quality. Outsourcing was extremely common during the 1980's. Seems that every night the news told us of another company moving: Olympia, Zenith, and on and on. All these major employers leaving left behind the same mess GM left when they left Flint and Detroit, only in a smaller scale.

We have collapsing bridges. We import most everything we use. We export money. This may be good for stockholders and CEO's, but it's not good for the working class.

Osborne Russell
09-16-2013, 12:42 PM
Sorry, this is not in any way informative. You have yet to say what you regard as the "real thing." Perhaps you don't think that America left behind the class structure Communism says we are supposed to rebel against; in any case, that appears to be what you are saying. I happen to think that's an important aspect of American history, and would like to know why you don't think it is. I believe this is "fundamental to the history of America."

But you have yet to say what you think American exceptionalism is. Out with it, man, stop being so coy.

I thought you knew, because I agreed with you when you said :


Exceptionalism doesn't just mean America is better. It means America is different.

Different how, I guess is the question. So here's what I mean, as I said in # 122:


American exceptionalism is a quasi-religious belief about the nature of the American nation. Originally, and for many even today, an overtly religious belief.

As for the Marxist angle, I think there's truth on both sides, i.e. America is the same in some respects and different in others, relative to the Marxist perspective.

But I'm not talking about the Marxist perspective. If there is some obligation to acknowledge that that's what the term "American exceptionalism" has come to mean, I'd like to know where that obligation comes from. Just because some American commies and Stalin used the term that way, for their purposes, doesn't mean they own it. They don't believe in property in the first place, I thought.

johnw
09-16-2013, 01:42 PM
I thought you knew, because I agreed with you when you said :



Different how, I guess is the question. So here's what I mean, as I said in # 122:



As for the Marxist angle, I think there's truth on both sides, i.e. America is the same in some respects and different in others, relative to the Marxist perspective.

But I'm not talking about the Marxist perspective. If there is some obligation to acknowledge that that's what the term "American exceptionalism" has come to mean, I'd like to know where that obligation comes from. Just because some American commies and Stalin used the term that way, for their purposes, doesn't mean they own it. They don't believe in property in the first place, I thought.

Well, if it's a quasi-religious belief about the American nation, there must be some content to that belief. You still haven't told us what that is. Telling me it's a belief is stating the obvious without saying what that belief is.

As you know, I haven't said Stalin owned the term, only that he originated it. He was reacting to what Americans said about themselves, and denying that it was true, as you also know if you read the link. So what's your actual problem with it? Do you think the American he was talking to didn't know America? Are you just offended that it turns out Stalin invented the term? You've done a lot of hand waving and blustering, but you have yet to tell me what's actually wrong with the concept he was reacting to.

Osborne Russell
09-16-2013, 03:47 PM
You've done a lot of hand waving and blustering . . .

Beg your pardon?

johnw
09-16-2013, 04:41 PM
Beg your pardon?

Granted.

Osborne Russell
09-17-2013, 10:47 AM
Granted.

Did I say something to offend you?

johnw
09-17-2013, 02:50 PM
Did I say something to offend you?

Well, I'm getting a little impatient for some answers to my questions. When I asked you what the belief in American exceptionalism consists of, you referred to a post that simply said it was a belief. You can do better than that.

Osborne Russell
09-18-2013, 11:23 AM
Well, I'm getting a little impatient for some answers to my questions. When I asked you what the belief in American exceptionalism consists of, you referred to a post that simply said it was a belief. You can do better than that.

Well, it's a big topic with a long history and I don't know how much of it you know. I don't know if you take issue with what I've said, or are asking for more information. Anyway, here's a sketch of the religious roots.

It starts with MEM, narrows down to the Pilgrims in America, widens up to include the rest of Christian America, or the Protestants anyway, and stops.

In Genesis, God gives humans dominion over all life. Later, He gives the promised land to the chosen people.

Then God gives Jesus to the world. Then the Church of Jesus seems unable to withstand tendencies to corruption. The solution is found: there are those who know the truth and those who don't. The truth is that some are chosen for salvation and the rest are going to hell.

This is the basic setup - the elect or select vs. the rest. For the elect, everything they do is by a right superior to anything anyone else does. But it is possible to fall from grace, especially by slow corruption of the surrounding majority of the un-elect. Solution? To go to a separate place to do God's work, i.e. America.

Therefore explicitly a social movement as well as a religious movement, tied to a locale, explaining and justifying what is done there, and why.

But a religious movement whose doctrinal authority is limited to the members of its own factions. Protestants can invent whatever doctrine they want, and they do, with gusto. So other denominations -- and authors and politicians and businessmen -- can take what they like from the Puritans and leave the rest. Voila, American exceptionalism, partly explicitly Puritan; the rest, strongly Puritan-flavored.


IT is well knowne unto the godly and judicious, how ever since the first breaking out of the lighte of the gospell in our Honourable Nation of England, (which was the first of nations whom the Lord adorned ther with, affter that grosse darknes of popery which had covered and overspred the Christian worled,) what warrs and opposissions ever since, Satan hath raised, maintained, and continued against the Saincts, from time to time, in one sorte or other.

Lastly, (and which was not least), a great hope and inward zeall they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way therunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospell of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.

These, and some other like reasons, moved them to undertake this resolution of their removall; the which they afterward prosecuted with so great difficulties, as by the sequell will appeare.

The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast and unpeopled countries of America, which are frutfull and fitt for habitation, being devoyd of all civill inhabitants, wherther are only salvage and brutish men, which range up and downe, litle otherwise then the wild beasts of the same.

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1647)

http://mith.umd.edu//eada/html/display.php?docs=bradford_history.xml

The Puritan settlment went through great difficulties, and so the fact that it survived is proof of God's intervention. Later generations continue the interpretation, e.g. Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (subtitled "So Mighty Was The Work To Find Christ's Empire Here").


Mather uses historical and theological reasoning to argue that England will come to dominate North America due to its earliest territorial claims in the western hemisphere and, more significantly, to God’s will that New England will be the “New Jerusalem” after the second coming of Christ.

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/permanence/text3/MatherNewEngland.pdf

From the Mayflower Compact to JFK . . .


"A City upon a Hill" is a phrase from the parable of Salt and Light in Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:14, he tells his listeners, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." It has become popular with American politicians.

The phrase entered the American lexicon early in its history, in the Puritan John Winthrop's 1630 sermon "A Model of Christian Charity". Still aboard the ship Arbella, Winthrop admonished the future Massachusetts Bay colonists that their new community would be a "city upon a hill", watched by the world---which became the ideal the New England colonists placed upon their hilly capital city, Boston.[1] Winthrop's sermon gave rise to the widespread belief in American folklore that the United States of America is God's country because metaphorically it is a Shining City upon a Hill, an early example of American exceptionalism.


[fast forward]




In the twentieth century, the image was used a number of times in American politics. On 9 January 1961, President-Elect John F. Kennedy returned the phrase to prominence during an address delivered to the General Court of Massachusetts:

...I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella three hundred and thirty-one years ago, as they, too, faced the task of building a new government on a perilous frontier. "We must always consider", he said, "that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us".

-- Wikipedia, City Upon A Hill

Then on to Reagan, and then to Obama. Then Putin, then this guy, from the Russian Council On Foreign Relations or something . . . everybody wants to get in on the American exceptionalism. A long way to come from Genesis, eh?

John Smith
09-18-2013, 11:48 AM
Well, it's a big topic with a long history and I don't know how much of it you know. I don't know if you take issue with what I've said, or are asking for more information. Anyway, here's a sketch of the religious roots.

It starts with MEM, narrows down to the Pilgrims in America, widens up to include the rest of Christian America, or the Protestants anyway, and stops.

In Genesis, God gives humans dominion over all life. Later, He gives the promised land to the chosen people.

Then God gives Jesus to the world. Then the Church of Jesus seems unable to withstand tendencies to corruption. The solution is found: there are those who know the truth and those who don't. The truth is that some are chosen for salvation and the rest are going to hell.

This is the basic setup - the elect or select vs. the rest. For the elect, everything they do is by a right superior to anything anyone else does. But it is possible to fall from grace, especially by slow corruption of the surrounding majority of the un-elect. Solution? To go to a separate place to do God's work, i.e. America.

Therefore explicitly a social movement as well as a religious movement, tied to a locale, explaining and justifying what is done there, and why.

But a religious movement whose doctrinal authority is limited to the members of its own factions. Protestants can invent whatever doctrine they want, and they do, with gusto. So other denominations -- and authors and politicians and businessmen -- can take what they like from the Puritans and leave the rest. Voila, American exceptionalism, partly explicitly Puritan; the rest, strongly Puritan-flavored.



The Puritan settlment went through great difficulties, and so the fact that it survived is proof of God's intervention. Later generations continue the interpretation, e.g. Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (subtitled "So Mighty Was The Work To Find Christ's Empire Here").



From the Mayflower Compact to JFK . . .




[fast forward]





Then on to Reagan, and then to Obama. Then Putin, then this guy, from the Russian Council On Foreign Relations or something . . . everybody wants to get in on the American exceptionalism. A long way to come from Genesis, eh?

You lost me. God made America exceptional?

I think one simple fact says everything. America put men on the moon and brought them back safely to earth, but now must buy a ticket from Russia to get an American to the space station.

Osborne Russell
09-18-2013, 11:53 AM
You lost me. God made America exceptional?

Big as all outdoors. You've not heard it before?

John Smith
09-18-2013, 11:59 AM
Big as all outdoors. You've not heard it before?

What, exactly, is the 'it' in that sentence?

Osborne Russell
09-18-2013, 01:38 PM
What, exactly, is the 'it' in that sentence?

That God made America exceptional.

johnw
09-18-2013, 01:48 PM
Well, it's a big topic with a long history and I don't know how much of it you know. I don't know if you take issue with what I've said, or are asking for more information. Anyway, here's a sketch of the religious roots.

It starts with MEM, narrows down to the Pilgrims in America, widens up to include the rest of Christian America, or the Protestants anyway, and stops.

In Genesis, God gives humans dominion over all life. Later, He gives the promised land to the chosen people.

Then God gives Jesus to the world. Then the Church of Jesus seems unable to withstand tendencies to corruption. The solution is found: there are those who know the truth and those who don't. The truth is that some are chosen for salvation and the rest are going to hell.

This is the basic setup - the elect or select vs. the rest. For the elect, everything they do is by a right superior to anything anyone else does. But it is possible to fall from grace, especially by slow corruption of the surrounding majority of the un-elect. Solution? To go to a separate place to do God's work, i.e. America.

Therefore explicitly a social movement as well as a religious movement, tied to a locale, explaining and justifying what is done there, and why.

But a religious movement whose doctrinal authority is limited to the members of its own factions. Protestants can invent whatever doctrine they want, and they do, with gusto. So other denominations -- and authors and politicians and businessmen -- can take what they like from the Puritans and leave the rest. Voila, American exceptionalism, partly explicitly Puritan; the rest, strongly Puritan-flavored.



The Puritan settlment went through great difficulties, and so the fact that it survived is proof of God's intervention. Later generations continue the interpretation, e.g. Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (subtitled "So Mighty Was The Work To Find Christ's Empire Here").



From the Mayflower Compact to JFK . . .




[fast forward]





Then on to Reagan, and then to Obama. Then Putin, then this guy, from the Russian Council On Foreign Relations or something . . . everybody wants to get in on the American exceptionalism. A long way to come from Genesis, eh?

I really was looking for information. Now that I have it, we have something to talk about.

I find your view revisionist. The term "American exceptionalism" did come into common use through the American Communist Party, although de Tocqueville had called America "exceptional." Neoconservatives have tried to tie it to the earlier concept of the "city on a hill," and tried to argue that it really is a out American superiority, but the original meaning of the term was that America was qualitatively different, a country that represented a historic break with Europe. A faction of American communists argued that America was an exception to the rules of Marxism because we had not imported the European concept of hereditary class.

Now, I do realize that terms change their meaning over time, but you seem to be arguing that the term has never meant anything other than what neoconservatives now wish it to mean. That's historically inaccurate, and outside the neoconservative bubble, that's not what the term means.

By the way, Wikipedia has a decent entry on this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalismAlthough the concept of American exceptionalism dates to the 1830s the term was first used in the 1920s. The phrase "American exceptionalism" originates from the American Communist Party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_USA). The term comes from an English translation of a condemnation made in 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin) criticizing Communist supporters of Jay Lovestone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Lovestone) for the heretical belief that America was independent of the Marxist laws of history "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions".[11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-11)[12] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-12) Early examples of the term's usage include a declaration made at the 1930 American Communist convention proclaiming that "the storm of the economic crisis in the United States blew down the house of cards of American exceptionalism".[13]
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-atl1-13)

The phrase fell into obscurity for half a century, until it was popularized by American newspapers in the 1980s to describe America's cultural and political uniqueness.[13] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-atl1-13) The phrase became an issue of contention between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in the 2008 presidential campaign (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008), with Republicans attacking Obama for allegedly not believing in it.[14] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism#cite_note-14)

Osborne Russell
09-18-2013, 05:08 PM
I find your view revisionist.

What am I revising?


The term "American exceptionalism" did come into common use through the American Communist Party, although de Tocqueville had called America "exceptional."

Yes.


Neoconservatives have tried to tie it to the earlier concept of the "city on a hill," and tried to argue that it really is a out American superiority, but the original meaning of the term was that America was qualitatively different, a country that represented a historic break with Europe.

They tried? They succeeded. The city on a hill business, applied to America, is 400 years old. America is different, and superior. That isn't a contradiction, it's the point. It is the original meaning.


Now, I do realize that terms change their meaning over time, but you seem to be arguing that the term has never meant anything other than what neoconservatives now wish it to mean.

What I'm saying is that Stalin used it to mean something different and much narrower, in a different and much different context. You seem to be saying that that gives him a copyright or something. First dibs. To hell with Stalin. Outside that context, it's of little use; while the wider sense of the term is fundamental to American history, from before the Pilgrims left Europe, to the current beef over Syria. Obama brought it up, Putin and some other people commented -- you really think they're all referring to Stalin's answer to the American communists?

The meaning changes over time only very slightly, as each generation adds its interpretation of its own history. Each new thing that happens adds to the inertia. So the story gets longer but the concepts are the same.

I suspect that the American communists, being Americans, were trying to hang onto American exceptionalism, which was the water in which they swam from childhood, because to surrender it would have been too great a loss of identity. So they tried to translate it into Marxist terms and pitch it to Stalin. Stalin wasn't buying it.

johnw
09-18-2013, 05:32 PM
What am I revising?



Yes.



They tried? They succeeded. The city on a hill business, applied to America, is 400 years old. America is different, and superior. That isn't a contradiction, it's the point. It is the original meaning.

You are revising the meaning of the term.

People saying America is superior is quite old, but the notion that America is qualitatively different is not the same idea. It is not a contradiction in terms, it is a different term.

As to whether the neoconservatives succeeded in redefining the term, the certainly succeeded in redefining it for you. They haven't done so for everyone.




What I'm saying is that Stalin used it to mean something different and much narrower, in a different and much different context. You seem to be saying that that gives him a copyright or something. First dibs. To hell with Stalin. Outside that context, it's of little use; while the wider sense of the term is fundamental to American history, from before the Pilgrims left Europe, to the current beef over Syria. Obama brought it up, Putin and some other people commented -- you really think they're all referring to Stalin's answer to the American communists?

The meaning changes over time only very slightly, as each generation adds its interpretation of its own history. Each new thing that happens adds to the inertia. So the story gets longer but the concepts are the same.

I suspect that the American communists, being Americans, were trying to hang onto American exceptionalism, which was the water in which they swam from childhood, because to surrender it would have been too great a loss of identity. So they tried to translate it into Marxist terms and pitch it to Stalin. Stalin wasn't buying it.

I'm not saying there is any sort of copyright on the phrase, that's just something you imagined. I am saying that the history of how the term has been used is important in knowing what it means. You seem to think the history of a completely different idea is important to knowing what it means.

Osborne Russell
09-19-2013, 12:09 PM
You've contradicted yourself several times, because, I hope, you want to avoid saying Stalin is the origin and the authority, now and forever. But that's the implication of your argument, which implies that Obama and Putin and everybody else who uses the phrase "American exceptionalism" in any sense but the American Communist/Stalinist sense is wrong. I have to ask, what do you think is at stake?

johnw
09-19-2013, 12:55 PM
You've contradicted yourself several times, because, I hope, you want to avoid saying Stalin is the origin and the authority, now and forever. But that's the implication of your argument, which implies that Obama and Putin and everybody else who uses the phrase "American exceptionalism" in any sense but the American Communist/Stalinist sense is wrong. I have to ask, what do you think is at stake?

You misrepresent what I say because, I expect, it is easier to argue against what you claim I've said than what I've actually said.

Look, I knew the term before the neocons got ahold of it, because in my misspent youth I did an MA in political science. Call me a linguistic conservative, but I think when a term is given a new meaning, it should at least be acknowledged. I'm still not sure you think "American exceptionalism" means anything more than "we're number one!" I can assure you that when I was studying this stuff, it meant a great deal more.

You seem deeply offended by the Marxist origin of the term, so set that aside. The meaning they assigned to it, that America had left behind the class structure of the old world, so that Marxist ideas of how the working class should act, is a worthwhile concept. And it didn't win out in Marxist theory, being replaced by the concept of false consciousness, that is, if you're a working class guy who isn't enraged in the way Marxists think you should be, you're just thinking about the matter wrong. They apparently found this more comforting than the notion that America was an exception to the rules of class struggle.

I certainly agree that many people who use the term have a shallow understanding of its meaning, but the original meaning is still a useful tool for those of us who care about political theory. Remaking the term as sort of a rah-rah rallying cry for conservatives is a corruption of the term which reduces its usefulness as an analytic tool.

Personally, I rather like the idea that America is different, and I find that merely claiming America is better diminishes that difference. I suspect that the idea that America left behind the class struggles of the old world would be quite acceptable to you if it had not come from a faction of American Communists. I suggest that you give up your obsession with denying the source of the term, and contemplate the actual meaning.

Osborne Russell
09-20-2013, 12:07 PM
You misrepresent what I say because, I expect, it is easier to argue against what you claim I've said than what I've actually said.

How so? You speak of "the" meaning of the term, as in, the only one. You have to, or you have no argument at all. The implication of that is that forevermore, anyone who uses it in another sense is wrong.


Look, I knew the term before the neocons got ahold of it, because in my misspent youth I did an MA in political science. Call me a linguistic conservative, but I think when a term is given a new meaning, it should at least be acknowledged.

Again with the single meaning. Marxists mean one thing by it; everyone else means something else. What's the problem?


I'm still not sure you think "American exceptionalism" means anything more than "we're number one!"

"Number one" means first among competitors. Exceptional -- in this context -- means qualitatively different. There is no competition, by definition.


I can assure you that when I was studying this stuff, it meant a great deal more. You seem deeply offended by the Marxist origin of the term, so set that aside.

No, I just think the idea that no one can use it any other way is highly questionable. What offends me is the way ideologues -- no one in history exemplifies it better than the Marxists -- will go to war over terminology. Even war with themselves. In fact, especially with themselves.


The meaning they assigned to it, that America had left behind the class structure of the old world, so that Marxist ideas of how the working class should act, is a worthwhile concept.

In the context in which it arose, for sure. Outside that context, not so much.


Remaking the term as sort of a rah-rah rallying cry for conservatives is a corruption of the term which reduces its usefulness as an analytic tool.

How?


Personally, I rather like the idea that America is different, and I find that merely claiming America is better diminishes that difference.

Different how?


I suspect that the idea that America left behind the class struggles of the old world would be quite acceptable to you if it had not come from a faction of American Communists. I suggest that you give up your obsession with denying the source of the term, and contemplate the actual meaning.

The source, the actual meaning. What do you want us to do, pay royalties?

johnw
09-20-2013, 02:23 PM
How so? You speak of "the" meaning of the term, as in, the only one. You have to, or you have no argument at all. The implication of that is that forevermore, anyone who uses it in another sense is wrong.



Again with the single meaning. Marxists mean one thing by it; everyone else means something else. What's the problem?



"Number one" means first among competitors. Exceptional -- in this context -- means qualitatively different. There is no competition, by definition.



No, I just think the idea that no one can use it any other way is highly questionable. What offends me is the way ideologues -- no one in history exemplifies it better than the Marxists -- will go to war over terminology. Even war with themselves. In fact, especially with themselves.



In the context in which it arose, for sure. Outside that context, not so much.



How?



Different how?



The source, the actual meaning. What do you want us to do, pay royalties?

This is getting boring. You continue to advance the idea, which you introduced, not me, that the Marxists have some kind of monopoly on the term. As I've pointed out to you, in Marxism it's been superseded. It still has currency in political theory.

I've no notion why you are asking "different how?" when I've been extremely clear on this point. Go back and read my posts more carefully and you'll know tha answer to that.

I haven't said no one can use the phrase in any other way. It's your contention that it can't be used in the way I and many others mean it. I ask that you acknowledge that the neoconservatives have redefined it. Although you claim it does not mean America is better, that is the way they use it.

They have made this redefinition based on the theories of Leo Strauss, who I think is one of the least coherent social theorists of the 20th century. He was preoccupied with concepts of excellence and virtue, and believed the central myth that America possessed these in spades was important for intellectual leaders to support, even if they don't believe it themselves. He took Plato as his guide to running a republic, which would make more sense if our republic were not based on democracy. If you've read The Laws, you know that the society he described in it relied on central myths, and those who questioned them could be killed. His Nocturnal Council could have been the inspiration for the Inquisition.

You finally have agreed with me that it does mean qualitatively different, though you seem to quote sources that meant it is better. Perhaps you haven't this through. For one thing, that's my stand, but it is not the opinion of the neoconservatives who have redefined the term. They have decided it refers to the excellence and virtue of America, because they are lead by people who studied under Strauss.

This ties in with the topic of the OP because neoconservative foreign policy is based on the idea that America is "exceptional" in the sense of being better, being the City on a Hill that is an example to all the world, with its free markets and constitutional government.They thought we should be willing to invade countries like Iraq and make them over in our own image. Their hubris has made the American people unwilling to go to war so easily again, backfiring in a big way, because their policies were a disaster.

What they missed was the American exceptionalism in its earlier sense, of being a country where the working class was not willing to rise up and overthrow the capitalist system, has already been exported, in large part because Communism was a disaster, and our way of life was more attractive. Rather than accept that America is less exceptional because the rest of the world is becoming more like it, they worry that we will lose our greatness because we might become less exceptional. If they cared more about American ideas and less about American greatness, they'd be a lot less harmful.

Osborne Russell
09-20-2013, 03:52 PM
This is getting boring. You continue to advance the idea, which you introduced, not me, that the Marxists have some kind of monopoly on the term.

False; further, it is the undeniable implication of your argument.


I've no notion why you are asking "different how?" when I've been extremely clear on this point. Go back and read my posts more carefully and you'll know tha answer to that.

You haven't said anything at all except that "better" and "different" are different, without explaining why the difference makes any difference.


I haven't said no one can use the phrase in any other way.

It is the undeniable implication of your argument.


It's your contention that it can't be used in the way I and many others mean it.

Utterly false without a shred of evidence.


I ask that you acknowledge that the neoconservatives have redefined it.

They didn't re-define it, they were talking about something different, and they weren't the first. Very likely they had no idea of Stalin's use of the term. Very doubtful that Mitt Romney did.


Although you claim it does not mean America is better, that is the way they use it.

A particularly absurd false statement of my position; and in any case it's a matter of what they think it means, not me.


You finally have agreed with me that it does mean qualitatively different, though you seem to quote sources that meant it is better.

False. They say, qualitatively different, and better. These are the sources of what American exceptionalism means in the world outside Marxism.


This ties in with the topic of the OP because neoconservative foreign policy is based on the idea that America is "exceptional" in the sense of being better, being the City on a Hill that is an example to all the world, with its free markets and constitutional government.They thought we should be willing to invade countries like Iraq and make them over in our own image. Their hubris has made the American people unwilling to go to war so easily again, backfiring in a big way, because their policies were a disaster.

Actually, I think they downplay the religious angle. They say America has become top dog no matter the reason, and so is obligated to act in a certain way. But they're happy to have the religious people support them. But as you say, their popularity is in the toilet, while the religious segment of their supporters rages on.


What they missed was the American exceptionalism in its earlier sense, of being a country where the working class was not willing to rise up and overthrow the capitalist system, has already been exported, in large part because Communism was a disaster, and our way of life was more attractive. .

I don't follow. What has already been exported? Are you still talking about the neo-cons?


Rather than accept that America is less exceptional because the rest of the world is becoming more like it, they worry that we will lose our greatness because we might become less exceptional.

Seems like much too fine a point to be of much use. Who cares if the neo-cons improve their doctrine? With what purpose, I would want to know.


If they cared more about American ideas and less about American greatness, they'd be a lot less harmful.

Yes, depending on how you define American ideas. To the city on a hill people, American exceptionalism is the most American idea there is. However, it is flatly contradicted by the constitution.

johnw
09-23-2013, 12:05 AM
False; further, it is the undeniable implication of your argument.



You haven't said anything at all except that "better" and "different" are different, without explaining why the difference makes any difference.



It is the undeniable implication of your argument.



Utterly false without a shred of evidence.



They didn't re-define it, they were talking about something different, and they weren't the first. Very likely they had no idea of Stalin's use of the term. Very doubtful that Mitt Romney did.



A particularly absurd false statement of my position; and in any case it's a matter of what they think it means, not me.



False. They say, qualitatively different, and better. These are the sources of what American exceptionalism means in the world outside Marxism.



Actually, I think they downplay the religious angle. They say America has become top dog no matter the reason, and so is obligated to act in a certain way. But they're happy to have the religious people support them. But as you say, their popularity is in the toilet, while the religious segment of their supporters rages on.



I don't follow. What has already been exported? Are you still talking about the neo-cons?



Seems like much too fine a point to be of much use. Who cares if the neo-cons improve their doctrine? With what purpose, I would want to know.



Yes, depending on how you define American ideas. To the city on a hill people, American exceptionalism is the most American idea there is. However, it is flatly contradicted by the constitution.

This is lame. It's like you haven't bothered to read a word I've posted, just decided to say whatever I said was wrong. You've brought no logic or evidence to bear in this post, just a bunch of assertions. I'm out of here. If you want to know what I think, you can actually read what I've already written.

PeterSibley
09-23-2013, 01:03 AM
How does saying America is an exceptional country play around the world?
To answer the original question, it makes the US look like a spoiled "look at me" teenager with lots of money in his pocket but a mounting credit card bill, lots of attitude but not the best education. He's got a gun.

Waddie
09-23-2013, 02:37 AM
How does saying America is an exceptional country play around the world?


To answer the original question, it makes the US look like a spoiled "look at me" teenager with lots of money in his pocket but a mounting credit card bill, lots of attitude but not the best education. He's got a gun.

But we are exceptional, just like every other country.......

regards,
Waddie

PeterSibley
09-23-2013, 03:31 AM
The question was... how does it play.

johnw
09-23-2013, 05:02 PM
How does saying America is an exceptional country play around the world?


To answer the original question, it makes the US look like a spoiled "look at me" teenager with lots of money in his pocket but a mounting credit card bill, lots of attitude but not the best education. He's got a gun.

If the only acceptable meaning of the term is the neoconservative/Straussian one, you're absolutely right. However, I do think it's worth debating the meaning of the term, rather than forfeiting it to the neoconservative revision of its meaning.

Osborne Russell
09-23-2013, 08:02 PM
The question was... how does it play.

First, it depends who's saying it, i.e. how broadly do they mean it. Second, on the frame of reference of the audience. Do they know the story of the Pilgrims, manifest destiny, etc? Is that what they understand by it? Do they know the story of Stalin's rejection of the American communists, and is that what they understand the speaker to mean when the speaker says "America is an exceptional country?" Did their frame of reference come from Mitt Romney and/or Newt Gingrich and/or Barack Obama and/or Josef Stalin? Or none of them?

It's a complicated term which nevertheless traces to a single root, i.e. the Puritan Pilgrims' self-identification as the builders of an exceptional society, from scratch. History has added layer upon layer but the foundation is the same. If other segments of the colonial population thought of themselves as American exceptionalists they either copped it from the Pilgrims, or drew it from the same source, i.e. MEM. As I said before, it was originally a religious idea, and for many still is.

Here's a good article on it:


AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM AND ITS IMPACT ON PRESIDENTS‘ FOREIGN POLICY.

Frederick Neikirk Department of Political Science Geneva College
May 2012

The debate over American exceptionalism is largely a definitional one. This amorphous concept is defined in innumerable ways. Some people think American exceptionalism is God‘s distinct blessing on the United States since the nation‘s beginning. Others think it is a superiority complex which informs conservative political ideology. Still others think it is nothing more than extreme nationalism or an excuse for imperialism.

Most often, however, American exceptionalism as a concept is left undefined altogether. Any preliminary study of American exceptionalism will demonstrate that those who discuss it mean various things. Therefore, my first task is to impress upon the reader the crucial task of examining each definition and eachview of American exceptionalism before diving into the concept‘s implications.

Broadly speaking, American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States is qualitatively different from all other nations. Though widely acknowledged, this idea has been wholly underestimated and its influence underrated. Some of the most fundamental arguments in the United States may well hinge on ideological beliefs grounded in a position on whether or not America is exceptional and if so, what does this mean?
------

. . . Undoubtedly a product of his time, Tocqueville effortlessly associated the success and culture of the United States with reliance upon God.

Stalin was unsurprisingly perturbed by the theory of American distinctiveness . . . and only used the term "American exceptionalism" derisively.

http://www.academia.edu/1841868/American_Exceptionalism_and_Its_Impact_on_Presiden ts_Foreign_Policy

Here's another. The author maintains that tracing the idea from Tocqueveille forward , especially if only from the one instance in which he actually uses the word "exceptional", has the problem that it for better or for worse it is only de Tocqueville's analysis of its practical effect, which is important but it doesn't attempt to explain the origins and development of the beliefs held by the people who assert themselves to be the builders of an exceptional nation. It wasn't necessary for his purpose. For him, it was enough to refer to "their belief in God." In support of his point, fine. But it covers a lot of ground. The people he's describing have their own idea of what they mean.

The idea goes back to the Pilgrims. Various customizations have been added over time, for various purposes. Stalin's is the only one in which the Puritan roots are irrelevant. Outside that context, they are central. Otherwise you may be talking about exceptionalism, but you're not talking about American exceptionalism.


What is American exceptionalism?
By James Ledbetter

January 23, 2012


Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, although they spend a lot of time these days at one another’s throat, appeared on the night of the South Carolina primary to agree on at least one thing: Each believes in “American exceptionalism,” and, they say, Barack Obama does not. Gingrich has already devoted an entire book to the topic, and in an interview with my colleague David Rohde, a top foreign policy adviser to Romney made it clear that American exceptionalism is a theme that Romney intends to stress throughout the campaign.

It’s easy to see that these candidates view their own ideas about American exceptionalism as a strong opportunity to contrast themselves with the incumbent. It’s harder, though, after sifting through the various ways the term is used, to establish what it actually means. Far from being a simple concept that one can easily endorse or reject, American exceptionalism is a loose skein that uneasily unites many different strands of thought, faith and ideology.

Like so much in the discussion of American history, the phrase is often traced to Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. But that doesn’t explain much, because when de Tocqueville wrote that “the position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional,” he was referring primarily to the development of a practical — as opposed to literary or artistic — worldview, stemming from the American landscape and the lack of an aristocracy. More to the point, Gingrich seeks to ground the term in the American Revolution: “The ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and the unique American identity that arose from an American civilization that honored them, form what we call today ‘American Exceptionalism’,” he wrote in A Nation Like No Other, published last year. But that explanation, too, is inadequate; after all, the authors of the Declaration of Independence went out of their way to universalize the values underpinning the American experience (“when, in the course of human events…”), not to cleave that experience off from the rest of the world.

Rather, the faith in the uniqueness of the American experience is best found in its Puritan heritage, the belief that God made a covenant with the founders of America and intended to use American civilization as an example for the rest of the world. In a much-cited speech, Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop referred in 1630 to his colony as “a city on a hill” that could serve as a beacon to the world. But grounding American exceptionalism in religion creates multiple conceptual minefields. For one, the early colonies were not really bastions of liberty; in addition to their slaveholdings, they were, as Gingrich acknowledges, governed like “a theocratic dictatorship.” For another, an appeal to the supernatural puts the idea of American exceptionalism on a similar plane with, say, the Jewish concept of being the Chosen People or the ancient Chinese idea that their country is at the center of the universe — which is to say, there is nothing exceptional about thinking that your civilization is exceptional. Nonetheless, the idea that the United States
occupies a privileged and arguably unique place in history is critical to understanding the phrase “American exceptionalism,” from the Manifest Destiny period to the present day.

In the 20th century, American exceptionalism took on a particular meaning in political theory. Typically, it was used to explain why the United States — unlike nearly all developed nations — had never developed a significant working-class political movement. Curiously, although Gingrich and Romney are principally using it in the context of American foreign policy, that usage is of fairly recent vintage. It is also where the meaning of the term is probably the muddiest and does not make as neat a litmus test as Gingrich and Romney seem to want. One can believe that the foundation of America in ideas of liberty and self-governance — rather than in ethnicity or royal domain — makes the United States “exceptional” and yet still be deeply skeptical about America’s use of force abroad. Instead, what Gingrich and Romney appear to be advocating under the name of exceptionalism is either American unilateralism — the idea that the United States has a right and/or obligation to act in the international sphere even if all other countries and multinational institutions don’t join in — or American infallibility — the idea that nothing the United States does in the international arena is ever morally unjustified.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/01/23/what-is-american-exceptionalism/


In short, the theological angle has gotten something of a bad name recently and therefore the American Right is split into two camps -- one wants to keep the religion angle under wraps-- because they find it expedient to do so, not because they reject the religious origin and heritage of American exceptionalism -- while the other wants to proclaim it as loudly as they can, because next to MEM itself it is the most fundamental element of their identity.. No wonder the various pronouncements conflict.

You want to know what non-Americans think? Putin is one. Obama made a really dumb statement . . "that's what makes us exceptional" obviously hoping to placate the troglodytes by using the magic words without the baggage. Putin caught him red-handed and made him eat it:


And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.