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Myth of "American Exceptionalism" - The Ultimate, Pernicious Howler

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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God's mysterious sense of humor strikes again, afflicting the lunatic fringe with this especially ludicrous zinger: the delusion of infallibility.  From "50's jingoism of "America, right or wrong," the rightwing has advanced to "America, never wrong."  We must be special, the chosen elect, morally superior to every other country.  Why else would an omnipotent God put us in charge?   End of discussion.

Frankly, the Roman Empire was more culturally tolerant. 


Who else but the divine jokester, with his penchant for puncturing empires, would bestow absolutist delusions of grandeur on our most insular, willfully blind know-nothings?  Remember the last time Sarah Palin or W. expressed doubt, admitted error, even a touch of humility?  For sure, America is "exceptional," more so every month by majoring in fumbling, blundering, and dead-ends. 


Compared to western allies, our health care is bad and getting worse, with shorter life spans, more disease (and infant mortality), woeful urban public education, depleted resources and dangerously gapping income levels.  Oh yeah, throw in a total leadership quagmire.  God's green acre, except for the poisoned Gulf, or what?  Isn't there an old Borscht Belt joke about discouraging too many more of God's special blessings?


The painful joke (oblivious to the mass media) is on all of us: 50 years of preposterous "America can do no wrong" groupthink and behold! -- a nearly unparalleled spectacle of costly fiascos, especially on the big issues.  Take war: what rational risk-cost-reward measure could justify any one of our opportunistic, ideological, harshly geopolitical invasions, from Korea through Afghanistan?  Risks and costs were (are) astronomical, benefits (beyond arrogance) invisible even years later.  Half our federal budget feeds direct aggression -- with 1000 overseas military outposts -- or fending off resulting anti-imperial insurgencies. 


A Dismal Fringe Scorecard


Likewise, today's payoff from rightwing economics -- a nasty brew of crony capitalism (subsidies, incentives, and bailouts), regulatory favoritism, and iniquitous taxation -- is the brink of national bankruptcy.  An array of Constitutional and legal bombshells are erasing 100 years of progress, turning our marginal democracy into a free-for-all jungle of corruption -- in elections, policies, broken treaties, and heads-in-the-sand defiance, bypassing looming calamities (fiscal, energy, environmental, climate).    


Behind this sense of infallibility is the greatest crockery of all -- that America, thanks to military prowess, a notable history, and high-sounding founding documents, must be specially blessed by God.  By this logic, Tea Party Americans are today's chosen people, confirmed by their infantile belief any fairy tale they repeat often enough must be true -- just squeeze in God, guns, freedom, liberty, and the 2nd Amendment.


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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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