One of the most vociferous on the part of Democrats, the media, and the Establishment types of late seems to be the liberal rant against what is known as American exceptionalism.
Progressives discussing American exceptionalism seem to regard it as some sort of proof that those espousing it are jingoistic, rabidly nationalistic, far right radicals who are racist, homophobic, islamophobic, blah, blah, and blah. It is clearly a pejorative term to the multicultural left as they insist that ‘We’re not better than anyone else,’ with great egalitarian aplomb. To them, the United States of America is just another country on the UN roster of nations, somewhere in between Uganda and Zimbabwe.
What the left refuses, or is incapable of comprehending, is that American exceptionalism is not a conceptual term; it is an historical term.
What it means, quite simply, is that we are the only such experiment that worked.
Many throughout world history have rebelled against their rulers, presumably to find a better way of being, or provide a better life for themselves and those others who lived under their present oppressive rulers. Extreme examples would include the tragic paroxysms of revolution in Russia, whose revolt against the reign of the Czar was replaced with the greater tyranny of Bolshevism, then the even more deadly Communism. Then there was the nation of France, whose American Revolutionary War-inspired revolution against the rule of the Bourbon Kings resulted in the greater tyranny of the Terror followed by that of Emperor Napoleon. For time immemorial, nations’ peoples have given up everything to try to achieve greater freedoms, to try to better lives for themselves and their fellow citizens, or simply to try to garnish more power. Smaller nations, like Poland, Italy, and numerous South and Central American countries, have made the same attempts, all with the same result; the opposite of what was achieved in the American Revolution.
There were many reasons for our success, and for the eventual failure of every other such experiment. The unique success of the American Revolution was due perhaps to the confluence of the great men at the time of our Founding, something that was not present in any similar recorded history. It was perhaps due to the remarkable leadership of our first and greatest leader, George Washington, who guided America brilliantly not only through the Revolutionary War, but also through the difficult birth of the new United States of America. This experiment’s success could also have been due to the unique spirit of independence and self-determination that seems to have been instilled in Americans even before we were a country.
Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, the American experiment that meant fighting a war to achieve true freedom, and actually accomplishing this, was the only one that has ever worked; thus, American exceptionalism. Not opinion; not jingoism; not spin; not overweening pride; simply historical fact. And it is a fact of which Americans should be justifiably—no, fiercely—proud.America-haters need to learn to deal with this. America is an exceptional nation; Americans are an exceptional people. There is nothing, no matter how repellent, you can do or say to change that. American exceptionalism exists, and it is simply the way it is.
It exists in yet other ways, as well. Again historically, America is exceptional in that our nation was the first in which the people who founded the nation arranged to put the people of their new country in control rather than they, themselves, or royalty. This was unheard of in the rest of the world at the time of our Founding.
These remarkable men also, and this was perhaps the most remarkable of its kind at the time, ‘grounded the rights of the people in God while still guaranteeing religious freedom and avoiding religious persecution.’
That was not only exceptional, it was the first and only time in the history of nations that something so remarkable was ever achieved.
The Founding Fathers who achieved this multi-faceted miracle were an extraordinary group of men, and they were equally remarkable individually. They were not of an equally philosophical bent, however. George Washington, for example, was the ultimate pragmatist, while Thomas Jefferson was much more cerebral. Dr. Franklin was a man of so many talents and bents that he was always an original, and John Adams was always the brilliant and irascible curmudgeon. The wonder that was Alexander Hamilton was also brilliant, and flamboyant in his behavior, and an equally flamboyant, though in a different way, Gouvernor Morris was always the great wit, bon vivant, writer, and patriot.
In one thing they all agreed, however, and that was in the significance of what they were doing.
They each comprehended that what they were doing in creating the United States of America to provide for the first time in history the true freedom of man, based not only on the revolutionary ideas of 17th and 18th Century British philosophers and writers, along with the great 18th Century French philosophers, but also on the deep longing of each of these great men to live as free men, and to provide that freedom in perpetuity for their descendents. In so doing, America would become a great country, and unique in the freedoms it would provide.
As George Washington said in his Farewell Speech in September, 1796:
It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no great distant period a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.
That is what was achieved at our Founding, and what the left is working so hard to destroy by rejecting the historical fact of American exceptionalism.