Exceptional

Can American exceptionalism be revived?  At City Journal, Alan C. Guelzo gives a cogent reasons why we can, after a look at our history and the three legs of its foundation:  political, economic and diplomatic.

I believe that the American experiment, based on the Declaration and embodied in the Constitution, belongs to an exceptional moment in human history, and remains exceptional. I believe that the U.S. economy is flexible enough to recover its mobility and astonish the world with its capacity to disrupt artificial barriers. And I believe that we can repair the deviations we have sustained from an overconfident mission-mentality without needing to accommodate ourselves to the mores of globalization.

Read it all (it’s long, but very worthwhile).  However, there’s a whole ‘nother essay brewing in his final analysis:

Can this, realistically, be done? Can we disentangle our public life from the grasp of the new hierarchy of bureaucrats and, overseas, pull back from foreign-policy crusades? Can we, in short, recur successfully to our first principles?
Well, we did it once before[emphasis added]

And it’s getting to the point, I think, where we may have to do it the same way as the Founders did it.  As the man said:

3 comments

  1. America is exceptional for the reasons stated. However, to have exceptionalism, people have to believe it. Half the country doesn’t, won’t and hates the very idea. So in order to revive exceptionalism, you have to split the country and then revive it in the healthy half.

  2. I don’t hold out an optimistic hope that America can reclaim its exceptionalism. Part of our exceptionalism was the inherently competitive nature of our society. Not a malicious competition but more of an iron sharpening iron competition. Granted, some of it formed a kind of destructive “keeping up with the Jonses” mentality, but some of it formed a sense that we’re all better off if we’re competing with others to bring out the best in ourselves.

    Today, such competition is seen as inherently destructive. Thus huge parts of our culture are now obsessed with insuring equality of outcomes and a race to mediocrity. We don’t dream big much anymore and when we do, it is often dreaming in the direction of some partisan notion of utopia. We don’t challenge one another anymore to be the best version of ourselves. Instead, we virtue signal on social media.

  3. Actually, I think it’s partially possible, assuming enough people want it to happen.

    Some segments – many (but not all) of the Coastal Communities have been so corrupted by RightThink they’re lost forever, some “cultural segments” are so divorced from the concept of achievement and excelling that wherever they are they will be an impediment – but the majority of the country would, I think, be on board with the idea.

    Will it happen? I think it will; no idea when, to what degree or amount of success, but I’m convinced there’s a reckoning coming. As Herb Stein said, “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

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