National Review has an interesting piece on the“American exceptionalism” issue. They argue:
“The liberal case begins by confusing exceptionalism for jingoism…. It is true that most Americans, and a disproportionate number of conservative Americans, consider this country to be the greatest nation in human history. But what believers in American exceptionalism affirm is a different proposition: that there are distinctive features of American society and governance — of our creed and our culture — that have contributed to our success. That view does not entail any obligation on the part of our leaders to believe in our country’s superiority to other nations, let alone to proclaim it constantly, as the liberal caricature of our view would have it.”
Pardon me, but that view seems to me to be a distinction without a difference. If, because our “creed and culture” are different we are more successful, then it is implied that we are better than other countries.
And if American exceptionalism does not mean we are better than other countries, then what is the point of constantly worrying that Obama is ruining our exceptionalism? There’s no reason to complain that Obama wants to make us more like “social democracies” of Europe unless you think that being more like the “social democracies” of Europe makes us worse off.
They are trying to get out of the “jingoism” charge, but in so doing they are effectively rendering their original complaint meaningless.