"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation."--Vladimir Putin
The left, as well as some presumed conservatives on the right, such as Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump are lauding the opinion piece penned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and published in the New York Times. Many are saying that he comes across as more presidential than President Obama, more reasoned, statesmanlike. There is no doubt that the Russian leader has completely schooled Obama in foreign policy and in what used to be known as "geo-politik", but this uncritical acceptance of such a statement, much less it's approbation, is unprecedented.
American Progressives and Liberals have long detested the very idea of "American exceptionalism", believing it to be nothing more than unwarranted braggadocio, an offense to the sensibilities of other country's citizens. That we were saying that we, personally, were inherently better people than others. This goes hand-in-hand with the oft-repeated refrain that America is an unjust country, that we "steal" the world's resources and give little or nothing in return, that we oppress weaker nations, that we seek to "impose democracy" (an oxymoron) on others.
The proof of the superiority of the American system of government and capitalism shown in the greater freedoms and higher standard of living afforded to it's citizens notwithstanding, the American Left has continually maintained that we need to be more like Europe and shouldn't have it so much better than so many. "It's not fair."
It's exactly fair. In fact, America IS exceptional.
The vast majority of human history is one of abject poverty. Of rule by various dictators using degrees of violence, oppression, intimidation, and confiscation to keep the "commons" in line and producing for the aristocracy. A history of slavery. America came into being as the first society purposefully created on a philosophic axiom of the supremacy of the individual's right to conduct his own life. The first society to declare that "all men are created equal". No matter how far we were from the full realization of that goal, the very proposition was 180 degrees from the norm. America was the first country to specifically declare slavery illegal, (hundreds of thousands of Americans fought and died to make it so) something many other countries have failed to do to this day.
Rush Limbaugh had a great monologue on Thursday pointing out the error made by most of those who are critical of the idea of American exceptionalism. I'm just going to quote a few passages here. You will be able to access the whole thing through the link at the end of this post:
".....what American exceptionalism is not: It is not that we are better people. It is not that we are superior people. It is not that we are smarter people. It is not that God loves us and hates everybody else. It is not that God prefers us. It is not that God doesn't prefer anybody else."
"The vast majority of the people of this world since the beginning of time have never known the kind of liberty and freedom that's taken for granted every day in this country. Most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders. Most people have lived in abject fear of whoever held power over them. Most people in the world have not had plentiful access to food and clean water. It was a major daily undertaking for most people to come up with just those two basic things. Just surviving was the primary occupation of most people in the world. The history of the world is dictatorship, tyranny, subjugation, whatever you want to call it of populations -- and then along came the United States of America. Pilgrims were the first to come here seeking freedom from all of that."
"For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population. This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION -- e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American exceptionalism is."
"The US is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the US becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That's American exceptionalism."
The left doesn't hold the founding principles of this country in the same regard. Obama certainly doesn't. When he was once asked whether he holds the same attitude of American exceptionalism as the majority of past Presidents, he demurred, saying that he had an opinion of American exceptionalism that was the same as people in other countries believe themselves to be exceptional. In other words, America is no different, no better, than any other country. That's part of what his plan to "fundamentally transform America" was all about. His intent was to begin to level the playing field by bringing America down to the level of other countries. He is uncomfortable with the notion of America being the sole superpower, preferring that America be simply "one of many" when it comes to world and international relations. He has succeeded beyond his wildest imaginations. This week may very well have seen the end of America as a superpower, with Russia emerging as the world's leading influence.
Barack Hussein Obama may go down in history as the American President who succeeded in accomplishing what no foreign power ever could: the dismantling of the only country ever to guarantee the individual rights and freedom of it's citizens and a reversion to command and control totalitarianism.
You can access a transcript of Rush's monologue here.