Disregard naysayers; America is exceptional
American exceptionalism is a fact. Those who try to deny it are either ignorant of our nation’s history and the history of mankind, or simply unwilling to admit an established fact because doing so would run counter to their ideology. Richard Cohen’s column from May 10, “We look great only in the mirror,” is an example of the latter.
Mr. Cohen cites a high murder rate, flaws in our healthcare system and a dysfunctional political system as evidence that American exceptionalism is a myth, while mocking the idea that our nation was divinely inspired. Those criticisms, and our $14 trillion dollar national debt, are not evidence against American exceptionalism, but rather evidence that 50 years worth of the ideology to which Mr. Cohen subscribes—an ideology that has exploded the size of our government and led us down the road to mediocrity and servitude—has taken its toll.
Ideologues like Mr. Cohen want you to believe that American exceptionalism is simply some self-serving extreme notion propagated by Bible-thumping crazies. That is a lie.
It is clear from the record that this great nation was founded (thankfully) on Judeo-Christian values and ethics. This fact comprises a portion of American exceptionalism. But, other factors do even more so. Together, these facts squarely act to bust the myth that the statists—those who believe in placing extensive power in the government at the expense of individual liberty—want you to believe.
Each of us who calls ourselves an American has been given a very special gift and a very dear responsibility. Americans are citizens of what our greatest President, and Hoosier, Abraham Lincoln said, “was the last, best hope on earth.”
We are members of the greatest, most free nation the world has ever known. The fact of the matter is that, as a nation, we are different. While not perfect, our nation is still perhaps the best vehicle ever devised for raising the condition of all men. It does not mean we are smug or overprideful as Mr. Cohen alleges, although we are very proud. And we have every right to be.
For example, we should be very proud of our Constitution. It, among the world’s most critical documents, proves we are exceptional. The creation of this document, one I personally believe was divinely inspired, was the first time that the most successful ideas for the self-governance of people all came together at the same time, in the same place.
While this fact is more or less taken for granted today, that had not happened successfully before 1789. And today it is still not a universally held practice despite our proven success with self-government. Every day around the world and in this country, statists endeavor to destroy this idea and practice.
But perhaps the best reason we can be proud of our American exceptionalism is that we believe that our rights are natural; that they come from our Creator, who or whatever we believe that supreme entity is. And just as much, we believe that our rights do not come from any man or any government. As such, they cannot depend on, nor can they be changed or taken away by any government, politician or ideologue. This is what our Founders organized for us. This is what God gave man. This is what our nation was the first to practice successfully. Quite exceptional indeed.
For those who believe that a large, unlimited, and all-powerful federal government will make better decisions for us than we can make for ourselves, ideas like natural rights, self-government, economic freedom, and a hard-to-change charter document that protects all of us are a huge threat. And that is the reason why Mr. Cohen, and the many like him, really do wish American exceptionalism was a myth.