Friday 22nd March 2019

American Exceptionalism

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Donald Trump may be the master of lying directly into the face of contrary established fact, but he didn’t invent it.

Since the Vietnam war, reactionaries have peddled the myth of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is the theory, that our founders were divinely guided, and that America is …….

……………………………………..  God’s instrument for imposing his will on our entire planet. That is a huge lie.And an intentional self serving fascist lie. American exceptionalism is blood kin to American nativism, and both are the offspring of nascent American fascism.

There are lots of logical and historic problems with the theory of American exceptionalism. Not the least of which is that the founders clearly believed that getting entangled with the politics and wars of  the rest of the earth was a bad idea to be avoided at all costs.

But the really big weak spot in American exceptionalism theory is that the founders explicitly described our republic as an experiment in republican government, that would need tweaking, not as a perfected system. 

The message of the founders was, that our republic is not exceptional, but rather bound by the same laws of nature as all other nations and governments; totally ordinary and needing to take cautious care

In order that we learn how to follow the laws of nature in our governing, the founders referred us to history, and tried to use the mistakes of the Greek and Roman republics, long since perished,  as guidelines on how to do some things and how NOT to do others.

The founders understood that survival of a republican government went against historical precedent, and that if the American republic was to be long standing, it would require a lot of work, much attention to historic precedent, and unusual virtue on the part of our citizens, work attention and virtue such as the world had never seen before.

All of the founders talked a lot about virtue, and they were serious about it, in the precise sense of virtue being the exact opposite of corruption.

The founders didn’t  think lying or greed were smart or sophisticated, or shrewd business practices. The founders thought lying and greed were stupid, impractical, and antithetical to human dignity. liberty and republican government.  I agree with all of that. But, I also understand, that my own virtue or corruption are the only ones under my control, except for my example to others and my ballot in elections.   So, I try to be good and vote responsibly.

Ron Nesler posting from New Harmony, Indiana

 

 

 

 

 

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