Sunday, December 18, 2011

American Exceptionalism

Living as an American abroad for me has reinforced my belief in American exceptionalism.  I can appreciate all that the US has to offer much more when viewed from the distance of foreign shores.

Americans are not racially, ethnically, religiously or ideologically homogeneous.  We are the proverbial melting pot.  As a group, we are not superior intellectually or in terms of personal virtue.  We have many problems in our country over which we are happy to bicker and complain of.  We disagree loudly about the solutions to our manifold problems.

What then is it that unites the restless people of these 50 states?

We all share a constitution and a bill of rights given to us by our founding fathers.  This constitution enjoins us to pursue our own individual happiness as opposed to forcing our vision of happiness onto other peoples.  We are free to worship as we see fit, or not at all, if we so choose.  We have to right to speak our minds and to publish our thoughts and expressions to others.  We live in a government of laws rather than men--need not bow to King or dictator.  Our government was constructed very deliberately to limit the authority of itself and its constituent parts.  We are a freedom-loving people who know in our hearts that all men deserve to be free.

Immigrants still flock to our shores longing for greater freedom.  The immortal words of Jefferson continue to give hope to those who suffer under the yoke of tyranny in foreign lands.   Smart young people around the world flock to American Universities.

Karl Marx still dead (Photo James Hooper)
America continues to be a land of economic opportunity.  After Steve Jobs death, many Syrians took pride in their connection to his biological Syrian father (who he never really met).  In an interview in the IHT, one Syrian lamented the undeniable fact that Steve Jobs could never have become Steve Jobs had he been born in Damascus.

An American in London can easily seek out Karl Marx's gave site in London.  There he will find where the founder of international communism is buried.  The good news from a conservative perspective is that he is dead and remains buried in Highgate cemetery.  To echo SNL's take on Franco, Karl Marx is still dead!  The specter of international communism has beed swept away around the globe.  Marxism truly remains dead and buried throughout the world with the conspicuous exception of the faculty lounges of American Universities!

As the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens (another proud immigrant) said, "it is only the American Revolution that lives on."

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