Friday, April 8, 2016

American Exceptionalism Is Our Nation's Violent Jihad

Next week, we'll dive into the details. But I want to hurl this accusation out there, so you can think about it. Here's a sketch of the argument:

1. American Exceptionalism is absolutely a religious ideology. Religious in its original conception, and in its history. Religious to the core. And therefore it's not quite susceptible to reason. Americans believe in it.

2. American Exceptionalism shares this crucial, poisonous trait with the great murderous extremisms of our species: A belief that a particular group of people have sole and special access to the universal God. My God makes the rules for both me and for you. But only I can tell you whether you're following the rules. It is our purpose - given to us by God - to spread freedom. What determines a free (and therefore legitimate) government? Who determines which group of people are listened to, and which are ignored? We do. We always have. It's our version of takfir, carried out on an industrial scale.

3. American Exceptionalism has a gruesome and sickening butcher's bill associated with it.

4. American Exceptionalism, in its willful blindness and viciousness, absolutely threatens the existence of the human species. A large portion of the people who will, in the end, exterminate mankind will be wearing little American flag patches on their shoulders. They will do it as part of their duty to this nation, and its ideals. Know this now. Know what we've all signed up for.

Have a great weekend, guys!

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2 comments:

  1. Don't accept the definition of "American exceptionalism" that the crazies prefer. Traditionally, "American exceptionalism" meant something very different than the way it has been redefined recently. Check out the following:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-what-americans-have-to-say-to-putin/2013/09/12/e6952c36-1be9-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

    Anyway, I suggest we attempt to reclaim this term. Understood correctly, it provides an opportunity for us to acknowledge that our national experience is fundamentally different from that of almost every other nation -- and that maybe we should pause and take that into account when we think about imposing our model elsewhere.

    Just a thought.

    Rev. Jim-Bob

    ReplyDelete
  2. The aspect of religious belief in American Exceptionalism is the way it defines American things as superior (holy?) solely because of their Americanness. America has a giant wage gap and unsustainable economic model? That's great, because it's American! America insists on keeping the death penalty? It must be the best way, because it's how America does things! I'd like to imagine that there was a time where America did amazing things, and became exceptional as a result, but now the equation is reversed, and Americans just assume everything they do is amazing, because they started out exceptional.

    Of course, any critical reading of history would show that my belief is naive, and that America has always used the exceptionalism ideology to paper over its sins and avoid moral culpability for its actions. It's just that as everything good about America has crumbled away revealing the skeletal plutocracy underneath, the concept of an exceptional America seems like something between an obvious delusion and a cruel joke.

    So yeah, enjoy Kimmy Schmidt over the next couple of days!

    ReplyDelete

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