…More Thoughts on the Myth of American Exceptionalism

So in following up the earlier post on the pathology of patriotism, I figured it might be worth re-posting links to a few additional older essays, all of which addressed this subject of “American Exceptionalism.” It is that, after all, which Rudy Giuliani and other right wingers accuse President Obama of failing to endorse (when actually he does, problematically, endorse a liberal but still false version of it). I think it’s important for progressives and leftists and radicals to reject the notion of exceptionalism. It’s a dangerous concept, for our own country and the world. Not to mention, it is simply a lie. Is the U.S. a great place with great people? Sure. Are there many things to love about the country, its institutions and its people? Undoubtedly. But is it exceptional in this regard when compared to other nations? Of course not. Or rather, I should probably say I have no idea because like most people, I haven’t traveled widely enough to make that judgment. But neither have most people who insist upon it. I’ve been enough places to know, however — and know enough about the quality of life elsewhere to know — that in many categories we are positively worse than other countries. without question. And when it comes to things like brutality and terror, we are certainly no better in most cases.

So anyway, and because these pieces are old (and were published before this website went live in its current form, and thus, may have been missed by most of my current readers), here are three links to pieces addressing one or another version of the American exceptionalism mythology…

The Same Only Different: Reflections on the Myth of American Exceptionalism

Selective Indignation: Bin Laden’s Inhumanity, and Ours

Anywhere but Here: Examining the Crimes of Thee, But Not of Me


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