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  • “… a uniquely malignant threat to American exceptionalism”: Sen. Mike Lee Nails It

    Posted by Lexington Green on May 13th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Government of course remains the problem, but the nature of that problem has evolved dramatically since Reagan’s first inaugural. If Republicans want to grow their party into a national majority, we must begin, as Reagan did in 1981, by confronting our present crisis: America’s large and growing Opportunity Deficit, namely, immobility among the poor and insecurity in the middle class.
     
    Compounding the shortage of opportunities among the poor and middle class is an unholy union of big government, big business, and big special interests that twists public policy to benefit Washington insiders unfairly at the expense of everyone else.
     
    This is America’s growing crisis of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and policy privilege, and it represents a uniquely malignant threat to American exceptionalism.

    RTWT

     

    51 Responses to ““… a uniquely malignant threat to American exceptionalism”: Sen. Mike Lee Nails It”

    1. newrouter Says:

      yep

    2. Whitehall Says:

      U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we’re coming after you!

      Your strong-arm tactics to flood the US market with imported labor with rebound against you.

    3. Knucklehead Says:

      The Unholy Alliance also includes labor unions, particularly government and quasi-government workers.

    4. Will Says:

      “A uniquely malignant threat”

      My, and how that applies to so many things of late…

    5. PenGun Says:

      A threat to your exceptionalism. You ain’t exceptional so there is none.

      ROTFLMFAO

    6. Lexington Green Says:

      “You ain’t exceptional”

      Demonstrably false.

      The English speaking world has unique characteristics and they are most extreme in the USA.

      This is too obvious to require citation.

      Go do your own homework on Google.

      But you would have trouble with the cognitive dissonance.

    7. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      If we stipulate America is exceptional, we’re still left to explain why that should matter much.
      For example, does anyone believe that America is thereby exempt from any moral, economic or geopolitical constraint that should apply elsewhere? Or if America’s extraordinary status doesn’t give it extraordinary rights, does it invoke extraordinary responsibilities?
      I don’t understand why this should be a big deal.

    8. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Being exceptional per se is not a big deal.

      It is the qualities that make us exceptional and the threats to those qualities that are a big deal.

    9. Lexington Green Says:

      If you read my book you will see what exactly makes America exceptional and why it matters for the future.

      Every child is a special snowflake, and every country is exceptional, in its own way.

      That is trivially true, and we don’t mean that.

      We mean materially, substantively exceptional, in ways that implicate our likely future, in particular our capacity to not only survive but massively benefit from the technological changes which are coming along now and which will accelerate in the years ahead.

    10. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      I still don’t understand what is meant by “exceptional” in this context and why, for example, the word would be more accurate than “extraordinary,” “unique” or, even, “different.”
      The latter terms would fully encompass traits that benefit from change, etc., without the clear connotation of exception. z
      The primary definition of exceptional is: “constituting, or occurring as, an exception,” which brings us to:
      exception [n.]
      an excepting or being excepted; omission; exclusion
      anything that is excepted; specif.,
      -a case to which a rule, general principle, etc. does not apply
      -a person or thing different from or treated differently from others of the same class
      objection or opposition a formal objection or reservation to court action or opinion in the course of a trial.

      So what would America be excepted or excluded from?
      And is this exceptionalism related only to America’s economic and social development? How is it relevant, if at all, to geopolitics?
      I glimpsed at the Amazon entry for your book, but couldn’t glean anything concrete from there about what is intended by the word “exceptional” in this context. I did note the claim that America’s development was based on Anglo roots, which seems to suggest the opposite: that it’s roots are common to the empire, rather than exceptional…

    11. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      In what way is the United States of America exceptional?

      It’s the only place where people are united, not by historic tie to a land, or by tribal or ethnic association, people become American to partake in an idea. That idea is encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We are people from all over the planet, different races, religions, ethnic backgrounds and social classes bound together by an idea. That’s exceptional.

      As Lex will tell you, those who wish to make us less exceptional, more like Europe, more like the rest of the world, really have in mind to make us less free. It’s that simple. They want more control over the populace, as is common elsewhere. They will decide what you will and won’t think, what income you will and won’t make, what thoughts you will and won’t have, what you will or won’t read, what you and won’t write, what will or won’t smoke or drink, where you will or won’t school your children, and on and on and on. That’s the norm. We’ve been the exception. They want to change that.

      We should not allow that.

    12. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      In that context, “exceptional” is superfluous.
      If we’ve learned anything from the past century, it should be that the appeal of freedom is universal. There is no evidence supporting the notion that Americans are uniquely endowed with either the desire, or the means, to live free.
      To attempt to promote freedom on the basis of one of its pedigrees rather than its readily demonstrable appeal to reason and culturally broad record of success is to convey a lack of confidence or understanding of the idea itself. Same goes for America, as a concept.
      Indeed people from the widest variety of cultures, languages and political systems thrive in America. Some of them return to their country of birth determined to show how unexceptional American ideals are by grafting them onto/adapting them to ideals in their motherland. Some even succeed!
      There are indeed sharp differences and wide-ranging debate over how best to secure freedom and to align or balance the interests of the community with those of the individual. But pedigree is irrelevant there as well.
      The arguments against government intervention in the health care system, for example, surely are that it perverts incentives, discourages innovation, invites corruption and worsens outcomes. The argument that Americans shouldn’t tolerate such intervention because they are “exceptional” rings quite hollow by comparison and risibly suggests that government healthcare might be just fine for those benighted Europeans, Asians, Canadians and so on…

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>There is no evidence supporting the notion that Americans are uniquely endowed with either the desire, or the means, to live free.

      The means to live free is endowed in the Declaration and the Constitution. They are unique documents. No other people has ever been endowed with the levels of individual and group freedom as those documents grant, and no other government has its power so fundamentally limited.

      Listen to and think about the relentless attacks from the Left on the idea that people should be able to think and say what they will. Only the Bill of Rights of the Constitution stands between those people and making those controls law. Does Canada have that protection? I think their Human Rights tribunals are fairly stark reminders that they do not enjoy those fundamental protections. People are regularly persecuted and prosecuted for their writing and their speech. It’s worse in Europe. Far worse most in most of the world.

      Want to see that here? The Left does. We ARE exceptional in that we are (barely) protected from that by constitutional structure and the Bill of Rights. You may be ashamed or embarrassed to proclaim we are exceptional. If so, I feel you do not appreciate what has been given to you. I am not ashamed to say it. I believe it. I appreciate it. I want that exceptionalism protected and passed to our heirs.

      The Left, and part of the GOP as well, is intent on building a full-out police state. They are well on their way. You’re either part of the fight against that, or you’re going passively along because you’re embarrassed to be an exception to the world norm. I’d think you’d be proud.

    14. Grurray Says:

      >>There is no evidence supporting the notion that Americans are uniquely endowed with either the desire, or the means, to live free.

      There is. You should read Lex’s book to find out. Even if you don’t agree with the evidence, at least you could participate in an informed debate

    15. MikeK Says:

      “Does Canada have that protection? I think their Human Rights tribunals are fairly stark reminders that they do not enjoy those fundamental protections. People are regularly persecuted and prosecuted for their writing and their speech. It’s worse in Europe. Far worse most in most of the world.”

      I think this is a strong argument that this country is exceptional relative to others. Canada shares with us the English origins of the early settlers and the English precedent for our system of government and laws. It shares the almost unique circumstance of an almost empty continent to occupy and develop. It did begin with a sub set of English colonists that fled the Revolution and the Bill of Rights and all that entailed. No “Give me Liberty or Give Me Death” from the Tories who founded Canada. The post Revolution settlers like my great great grandparents headed west to new lands to farm and probably cared nothing about the government.

      Australia has a similar circumstance although their continent is less amenable to settling and agriculture.

      Australia has flirted with the administrative state, both in the period just before and after the Second World War and with the Labour rule in the recent past. They have been able to throw them out when the evidence showed the poor results. Canada has done something similar but it still has the unfortunate affection for restrictions on speech and behavior. Much of that is limited to certain provinces, especially French speaking Quebec.

      Europe has a history of war and repression, the worst of which was the Thirty Years War when some areas were nearly depopulated. The Thirty Years War has been compared to the First and Second World Wars as a similar period. Much of Europe’ willingness to suppress human freedom may be a reaction to those terrible periods, along with the Napoleonic Wars. England was largely spared the worst of it in all those wars and freedom has had a better opportunity to survive. The Labour Party’s policy of importing entire villages of Muslims to be Labour voters has had a serious impact that is growing every year and threatens to end that era of benign rule in England. I say England because the Scotch and Irish components of “Great Britain” seem to be heading in another direction.

      We are in a period of great threat to freedom as the political left has succeeded in taking over university education. These students are largely unexposed to economic reality until they are almost middle aged. Adolescence seems to end about 35.

    16. tyouth Says:

      nice sums MikeK

    17. MikeK Says:

      Interesting article about the role of the enviro left in Obama’s coalition .

      But then there’s Bill McKibben, orchestrator of numerous White House demonstrations, who is promising to keep the President awake every night for the next two years if he says “Yes.” There is Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, who is promising “civil disobedience” if it is approved. (McKibben is saying the same thing.) And there is Tom Steyer, the billionaire tech genius of Silicon Valley who proclaims, “We don’t need no stinking energy!” and wants to shut down everything in the economy that isn’t virtual. They are Obama’s last bastion of hope. If he disappoints them, the press will descend on him like wolves.

      So that’s where Obama and the whole country find themselves. It has now become obvious that the economy is never going to improve under Obama because he and his supporters don’t want it to. It might hurt the planet. So it’s procrastinate and procrastinate and procrastinate until the next election and maybe even the one after that.

      Dunno how it will turn out.

    18. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >>We are in a period of great threat to freedom as the political left has succeeded in taking over university education.

      Notice that the universities have become the hotbeds of speech suppression, intolerance for divergent ideas, hostility to anti-Marxist (counter-revolutionary) viewpoints and, of course, political correctness – thought control – enforced by child run kangaroo courts. They are shining examples of what the Left has in mind for the country at large, micro-examples of what sort of society you get when they’re in charge. Eerily reminiscent of some societies we’ve seen before.

    19. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      It’s a mistake to present classical liberalism as white identity politics.
      Such a cramped, narcissistic and parochial view of human freedom is doomed politically because it invites toxic comparisons to racism. As a response to the left’s attack on liberty, it’s disastrous. If that is what we mean by exceptionalism, it is doomed intellectually because it doesn’t reflect reality.
      Political, economic and social liberty is important because all are essential to preservation of human dignity, which is in turn essential to the foundation of enduring families which are essential to the origin and maintenance of resilient communities. There is nothing exclusive, exceptional or parochial about any of that. Those are just a few of the reasons that the ideology of liberty — classical liberalism — has become so successful.
      Threats to liberty, whether they come from the left, right or center, are not potential violations against identity or pedigree, they are incursions against human dignity and all it brings.
      Do you really want to argue that something is bad for America simply because it’s standard practice in Europe? Somehow I doubt that’s the conscious intent of American exceptionalists, yet that does appear to be its rationale.
      “You may be ashamed or embarrassed to proclaim we are exceptional.” That’s a bit of non-sequitor. It’s not about how declaring ourselves exceptional makes us feel, it’s about whether such a declaration has any useful meaning. I’m arguing that it doesn’t and that it makes the most important ideals vulnerable to attack as white identity politics.

    20. MikeK Says:

      ” I’m arguing that it doesn’t and that it makes the most important ideals vulnerable to attack as white identity politics.”

      The problem with that statement is that everything is now considered “white identity politics” if it contradicts the Marxist theme. Why is classical liberalism presented “as white identity politics.” By whom ?

      The election in India suggests that not everyone sees classical liberalism as “as white identity politics.” The BJP is anything but ” white identity politics.” It is, however, unless they get off message, an example of classical liberalism in economics.

    21. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      Marxism has no foothold in America and never has. Economic liberalism triumphed long ago and is well entrenched. If you insist on labeling things like Medicare and Social Security as Marxist, you’ll quite naturally be confined to the fringe politics of paranoia.
      That’s not to say there aren’t threats to liberty. It’s to say that those threats are not coming from Marxists, who have no purchase in academia, industry or politics other than as the occasional amusing clown show.
      And I certainly agree that economic liberalism is appealing in India to Indians — yet another example of how America’s embrace of it is far from exceptional.

    22. MikeK Says:

      “If you insist on labeling things like Medicare and Social Security as Marxist, you’ll quite naturally be confined to the fringe politics of paranoia.”

      And rightly so. They have some aspect of Socialism but are well intentioned and relatively harmless except for the failure to properly fund them.

      That’s not to say there aren’t threats to liberty. It’s to say that those threats are not coming from Marxists, who have no purchase in academia, industry or politics other than as the occasional amusing clown show.”

      Now, in denying the Marxist roots in academia, I’m afraid you are imitating the “clown show.” It is well entrenched although I would be willing to hear an alternative explanation of the failure of academia to represent reality.

    23. tyouth Says:

      It may arguable whether the USA is exceptional. There can be no argument that, for 200 years or so, the USA WAS exceptional.

      I was about to write a longer comment re. an exceptional society but decided it was responding to PenGun and his silly comment (which had already too much hijacked this thread).

      I’m going back to re-read Lex’s post, Mike Lee’s comments and the link below that (a government outfit mired in mismanagement).

    24. Kirk Parker Says:

      Oliver,

      If we’ve learned anything from the past century, it should be that the appeal of freedom is universal.

      Tell that to the German home-schoolers.

      It’s a mistake to present classical liberalism as white identity politics.

      Indeed it is, and if some misguided soul were to do so here, they would be thunderously opposed by the rest of us.

    25. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      How do black Americans, Latinos and Muslims, for example, fit into “American exceptionalism?” Are they relevant?

    26. Gringo Says:

      It’s to say that those threats are not coming from Marxists, who have no purchase in academia, industry or politics other than as the occasional amusing clown show.

      I am reminded of the American academic who taught a semester in Bogota, Colombia. Radical students there accused him of being a front for American Imperialism. His reply” “How could I be imperialist? I am teaching Herbert Marcuse.”

      No Marxist influence in academia? Tell me another one.

    27. Kirk Parker Says:

      Oliver,

      You are barking up the completely wrong tree. Go take your identity politics somewhere else.

    28. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      Gringo, Marx has some influence, but only on the fringe. Economics departments at every major university are dominated by classical liberals. Yes, you can find academic clowns cloistered away in humanities programs, prattling on about the relevance of Marx, but you will not find only a tiny handful in any positions of influence. on the whole, just as Churchill had wished: Groucho has more influence than Karl…

    29. Kirk Parker Says:

      Or, if you’re really asking in good faith: go read do Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Chesterton’s What I Saw in America — both are available as free e-books — and them come back and rejoin the discussion.

    30. MikeK Says:

      ” Yes, you can find academic clowns cloistered away in humanities programs, prattling on about the relevance of Marx,”

      Do you happen to have children in school ? I have a daughter who graduated a year ago. I was helping her with some of her study guides the last several years.

      It was not strictly Marxist; it was too incoherent for that. It was foolish and leftist and ahistorical.

      For example, she was taught that the “Silent Majority” of the 60s was made up of white people who refused to accept the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For one of her courses, the only textbook was on “Whiteness Studies.” She was taught that the farmers of the American West after 1877 were taught how to farm by American Indians. No mention of the fact that Plains Indians were hunter gatherers, except for scattered tribes like Navajos.

      “How do black Americans, Latinos and Muslims, for example, fit into “American exceptionalism?””

      I see you are in full agreement with the victim lobby. They “fit in” by using the opportunities that are not present in Africa, Mexico or the Muslim hellholes of the middle east. Real African students, and I have met many of them, do find the opportunities that make the US exceptional. Muslims, I’m not so sure. I think Islam is a major impediment to any progress beyond 700 AD. Ataturk saw this and made huge efforts to bring Turkey into the 20th century, even insisting on a new alphabet. His work is being undone by Erdogan. Too bad. When I was there last, they were doing well. I fear to see what has happened in the last 8 years.

      Much of the damage being done in universities is by Marxist professors, like Obama.

    31. Grurray Says:

      “How do black Americans, Latinos and Muslims, for example, fit into American exceptionalism?”

      American Exceptionalism isn’t a racial or ethnic endowment. No one is saying that, so you can just dispose of that strawman. It is a persistent and self perpetuating system of cultural, economic, and political organization founded on personal freedoms, self determination, and individual property rights, among other things.

      All races, colors, and creeds have and will continue to flourish in America, as long as they weren’t or aren’t institutionally prevented from doing so.
      This is always an enduring concern and endeavor and sometimes a struggle – absorbing and assimilating new groups – another legacy of our exceptional nature.

      As for India embracing democracy and economic reform, they are merely re-asserting the influences and traditions they came upon as part of the Anglosphere, which is also the root of American Exceptionalism.

    32. Grurray Says:

      “For example, she was taught that the “Silent Majority” of the 60s was made up of white people who refused to accept the Civil Rights Act of 1964”

      In reality, it was actually the Silent Majority that got the bill passed. Everett Dirksen and Thomas Kuchel spearheaded the compromise that broke the Democratic filibuster. They watered down the mandates for oversight of private businesses and strengthened provisions to protect marchers’ freedom of speech, which is what it should have been about anyway. They never would have gotten it done except their constituents had seen enough.

    33. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      “It is a persistent and self-perpetuating system”

      Indeed it is. Impervious to a few clownish professors at the fringes of academia and the occasional high school textbook shenanigans.
      If you are worried that your daughter was being “taught” the wrong things in history class, and if you think that is going to steer here awry, you have much bigger problems than political correctness.
      Only parents and peers, working with or against teachers as needed, can make it absolutely clear that history is vast, nuanced, subjective and ever-changing in its valid interpretation. Whatever might be included in a high school textbook is but a starting point, or rest stop, on a long, exciting journey through the great books. If your child is not exposed to the great books, it won’t matter much whether she’s taught that white people held slaves, or white people were slaves or the pope was Protestant. If they study broadly enough to develop the context for history, those kind of details will naturally fall into place correctly. If they don’t study broadly enough, those kind of details will be irrelevant anyway, as they will be subject to the whims of fashion or exposure and will never develop a meaningful understanding anyway.
      Indeed, children should be taught from Day One that textbooks are crude introductions to subjects. They should be mastered, but only as gateways to far more nutritious, valid readings.
      Classical liberals have so much to be proud of and so little reason to fear the future of ideology within our education. I am so tired and so disappointed with those who insist on fetishizing their perception of ideological failure, be it in academia or the news media. Let us celebrate the triumphs and understand that setbacks are both natural and temporary. Indeed, while America isn’t exceptional, it is certainly among the freest and wealthiest countries ever known to man. Neither clown show Marxists, nor white-power racists offer serious ideological competition to the classical liberal juggernaut, especially in the information age.

    34. Death 6 Says:

      While I think it is self-evident that people desire individual liberty and opportunity across cultures and thousands of years, it is exceptional that this was actually achieved in some good measure on a sustained basis just relatively recently. The difference between the continental attempts versus the anglo and most particularly the American experience is probably best seen is a close comparison between the results of the French and American revolutions. One was rooted in the belief that man was inherently good and capable of collectively governing for the common good through common consent based on human reason. The other was rooted in the belief that man was flawed with personal selfish motivations that if left unconstrained would combine through the power of central government authority to the personal benefit of the controlling elite. The French trusted human reason and individual action in accordance with the public good and ended up with public tyranny and dictatorship. The Americans constructed a government tightly constrained in its powers, decentralized and counter balanced with the specific goal of limiting governments power to interfere with life, liberty and the pursue of happiness. The contrast with the French purposes of liberty, fraternity and equality is illuminating. Locke versus Rousseau.

      No other system of government of which I am aware has ever been so intentionally and carefully constructed from the ground up with such specific intention to free every individual from the cooperative use of government to control people, relying on individual productive effort in a competitive market structure to provide the basis of individual activity and choices. What makes America exceptional is not our desires, it is our system of social, political and economic structure based on a realistic assessment of flawed humanity and the resulting limitations on the role of government required to preserve opportunity based on productive merit. The post Reformation and Catholic reforms soon after provided both the realistic view of mankind and our capabilities and limitations as well as the foundational principles of our rule of law. Others may capture parts or temporary advances in human liberty without this paradigm, but these have always proved transitory and limited. The concerns for threats to our freedom and opportunity are based of losing our moral, philosophical, historical and political perspective on this structure so that we adopt alternatives that have progressively (pun intended) eroded our legal, moral and governmental exceptionalism.

      Mike

    35. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Death6, well said.

    36. MikeK Says:

      “If you are worried that your daughter was being “taught” the wrong things in history class, and if you think that is going to steer here awry, you have much bigger problems than political correctness.”

      You sound as though you think this was high school ! The classes I referred to were conducted at the University of Arizona to which I was paying $25,000 per year. No, she didn’t believe the nonsense but not all parents are prepared to contest the left wing version of history being taught at major universities. I asked if you had any children currently in school, and I mean university, as my daughter went to private school all her previous education. Those teachers I could talk to and, in one example, parents decamped en mass when a new headmaster who planned a left wing curriculum (“Outcomes based education”) dared them to transfer their children. The following fall the school was advertising for students in the Pennysaver.

      Actually, she is doing well with a good paying job and thinking about going back to do accounting. She and I have had some discussion and decided we are both libertarians. Her two older sisters are lefties and bought the line completely. Both have postgraduate degrees and are well into the leftist plantation although the younger of the two is still rational.

      I must confess you sound as though you do not have children, as you are far more certain of everything than I am. I have five kids, ranging in age from 24 to 49. Two are lawyers and they are the lefties. I have done as well as I could and think they are all well educated. Universities are subversive institutions these days. I got a taste of it at Dartmouth in the 90s when I went back after retiring to get another degree. Dartmouth is far worse now and I would not send a kid there.

      I have taken my children all over the world and they are as educated by experience as by “great books.”

    37. Lexington Green Says:

      “Marxism has no foothold in America and never has.”

      Wrong.

      “I glimpsed at the Amazon entry for your book, but couldn’t glean anything concrete from there about what is intended by the word “exceptional” in this context.”

      You would glean concrete things from the content of the book. A glimpse of the Amazon page, not surprisingly, is not sufficient.

      Notably, you specifically say you do not know what my book says, yet you make this comment:

      “How do black Americans, Latinos and Muslims, for example, fit into “American exceptionalism?” Are they relevant?”

      Ah! The expected loathsome, invidious, baseless suggestion of racism.

      How tedious.

    38. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      What could be more unexceptional than “exceptionalism?”
      Conservatives in the U.K. insist their nation is exceptional and, indeed, the fount of most all that is good in the world. France? Ditto. China? They don’t call themselves the Middle Kingdom for nothing. The Japanese even have a quackademic discipline “nihonjinron,” which studies the uniqueness of the country’s people and culture.
      To be sure, much about the U.K. is exceptional, and the same can be said for Japan, China and all the rest.
      Unexceptionally, many in the U.S. see their country as exceptional too. That’s why it’s so banal.
      As an intellectual foundation, exceptionalism is merely fatuous. But as a political trope, it’s corrosive and self-defeating. The problem is fundamental: exceptionalism provides a negative frame of reference. It asserts that what is most important about American ideals and institutions is not what they are, but what they are not.
      Funnily enough, American exceptionalism is a trope of the fringe left too. Rather than viewing the American ideals and institutions for what they actually are, the extreme left insists on defining them by what they are not: perfect in their conception and implementation. The “blame America first” crowd indeed sees the country as exceptional among nations: defined not by sum total of successes and failures, but by the failures alone. The fringe right takes the same view, conceptually, but flips it around, defining the country only the basis of its successes and best intentions, rather than on an objective warts and all assessment.

      Lex: no suggestion of racism here at all. It’s a legitimate question. If you are going to describe America as exceptional on the basis of its cultural and political traditions, you need to have an answer for gays, ethnic and religious minorities who have historically suffered under those traditions. I suspect you have a definition of exceptionalism capable of dealing with that question. But I could be wrong, of course.
      I don’t want to associate your ideas with those of other chicagoboyz commenters, but I wonder what you make of MikeK’s suggestion that Afro-Americans are not part of the “American exceptionalism” picture. What do you think he means?

    39. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      To be clear: When I say “That’s why it’s so banal,” I mean that’s why “exceptionalism” is so banal.

    40. MikeK Says:

      “you need to have an answer for gays, ethnic and religious minorities who have historically suffered under those traditions.”

      Ah, the old victim class. My answer to this fatuous statement is “Compared to what ?”

      Gays seem to be doing better than most, here and have done so, as best I can tell, for longer than any other society since Athens lost at Chaeronea.

      “Ethnic and religious minorities ?” You mean Jews or what other minority ? Is that why European Jews were trying so hard to come here in the 1930s and 40s ? Come on, you’ve got to do better than this.

      “MikeK’s suggestion that Afro-Americans are not part of the “American exceptionalism” picture. What do you think he means?”

      So that is what you got from this ?

      They “fit in” by using the opportunities that are not present in Africa, Mexico or the Muslim hellholes of the middle east. Real African students, and I have met many of them, do find the opportunities that make the US exceptional. ”

      American blacks often, not always, miss out by following the leftist prescription for failure. The African students I referred to find opportunities not found in Africa.

      Tedious reading, let along refuting your logic, if that’s what it is.

    41. East Anglian Says:

      It’s the only place where people are united, not by historic tie to a land, or by tribal or ethnic association, people become American to partake in an idea.

      And that is why so-called American Exceptionalism is not long for this world. It will fade away with the demographic eclipse of the descendants of the historical American population. The theory of American Exceptionalism contributed to this population’s displacement by convincing them they were somehow immune to the identitarianism that have swept the rest of the world.

      Universities are subversive institutions these days

      No, they are part of the establishment. They are only subversive if you think nothing has changed in the last 50 years.

    42. East Anglian Says:

      Neither clown show Marxists, nor white-power racists offer serious ideological competition to the classical liberal juggernaut, especially in the information age.

      Liberalism is just shallow individualism. Today that means we are just atomised consumers. Leaving aside the emptiness due to lack of content it also renders us defenceless against those who do not believe in liberal universalism – virtually everybody on earth! People won’t fight for liberal universalism. They’ll fight for blood, nation, and Allah. The British and the Russians who fought Nazi Germany didn’t do so because of a belief in universal values. They fought for King & Country or Mother Russia. I don’t think American soldiers are any different. I doubt bringing liberalism and diversity to Imperial Japan or Taliban Afghanistan was foremost on their minds.

    43. Grurray Says:

      Oliver,

      You think Exceptionalism is silly and stupid. Fair enough, your’re free to sit out the benefits, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      You may prefer that America not be exceptional, but that doesn’t convince anyone else here one way or the other.

      Why is it silly?
      Because it excludes different races? You acknowledge there could be a case where it doesn’t, so that can’t be it.
      Because rival countries who think they are exceptional engage in war and conflict? Not in the last 70 years, so that can’t be it.

      There’s no reason I see from this discussion, nor any reason you have presented, to believe that exceptionalism is bad or wrong.

      Exceptionalism isn’t national pride. Many countries are proud of their nation and it’s heritage. That doesn’t make them necessarily exceptional.
      This is a relativistic argument, regardless. There are clearly countries that are better than others determined by a whole host of metrics. Determining which ones they are shouldn’t really be that much of a challenge.

      Can you not think of things that would be the determination for America to be judged to be exceptional? Many have mentioned them already, but you don’t seem to want to address them. Our institutions and their creation, our social structure, our economic structure, our political structure? You don’t see anything in that list that might be considered better than France?

      There are many reasons to believe, based on the evidence presented here and in the book America 3.0, that America is exceptional, and more exceptional than any other country. There are no reasons to believe it isn’t based on your argument.

      I’m sure you’re a very thoughtful person with many well reasoned beliefs. However, you haven’t presented anything convincing regarding American Exceptionalism.

    44. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      They are only subversive if you think nothing has changed in the last 50 years.

      That’s the line people always sell when they try to convince you that traditional values, not to mention centuries of real world experience, no longer matter. They’re outdated ideas now, see? You Yanks need to EMBRACE neo- Marxism and political correctness and the surveillance state and thought control and speech control and single payer services delivered by an all powerful and all knowing cadre of government bureaucrats. It’s all the rage. Anything less is just sooo 18th century and you’re way behind the latest Euro-fashions there is the States! Peasants!

      Thanks for the PSA from the EUSSR, but I’ll stick with American Exceptionalism. We’ve done alright with it so far.

    45. Oliver Suess-Barnkey Says:

      “the line people always sell”
      Not the case. The argument for single-payer services has to do with efficiency and effectiveness. Medicare works because it uses government buying power to hold down prices and universal benefits to reduce administrative costs, relative to private insurance. And it’s been working for half a century now. If you want to critique Medicare and be taken seriously, you’ll have to come up with something better than that it violates tradition.

    46. David Foster Says:

      Re Medicare administrative costs, see this:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/06/30/the-myth-of-medicares-low-administrative-costs/

    47. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Medicare works because it uses government buying power to hold down prices and universal benefits to reduce administrative costs, relative to private insurance.

      Another lie/misconception, refuted in the real world. The highest car insurance rates I ever paid were in Massachusetts, where they have state government controlled and administered insurance. It was about 25% higher than what I’d paid in a more populous and more congested area in Maryland, where there’s market based (to a large degree) insurance. There was also far more trouble and paperwork involved in every aspect of it. It’s so bad, there are insurance businesses who differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering to handle it for you. They can’t offer you a lower rate, so that’s where the competition is. The locals have been propagandized to think they’re getting a good deal. When I told them what’d I’d paid elsewhere for the same coverage, I got stunned silence.

      Government does nothing efficiently. Efficiency is its least concern. If fact, its incentives are to fail at everything. The more it fails, the more resources it can then claim it needs. It can’t be held accountable for bad results or even malfeasance because they’re doing it ‘for the people’ and their ‘intentions were good’. Sure they were. And if that doesn’t convince the hoi-polloi, they just legislate themselves immunity from accountability. And while they’re legislating, they attach amendments giving themselves big automatic raises every year while they’re at it. The worse they do and the longer it takes them to do it badly, the more money they get. See how that works? Sort of like market economics, but in an inverse, bizzaro-world, through the looking glass kind of way.

    48. MikeK Says:

      “If you want to critique Medicare and be taken seriously, you’ll have to come up with something better than that it violates tradition.”

      I critique it from the point of view of a physician who recalls medicine before Medicare was law. It over promised and is going to run out of money soon. Maybe during my lifetime.

      “The argument for single-payer services has to do with efficiency and effectiveness.”

      You must be ignorant or joking. The NHS is probably the worst managed institution in the world. The French, who have a system worth emulating if we were serious about reform, have a real problem with British retirees in France who refuse to return to Britain for medical care and are overloading the French system they never paid into. There are annual scandals but here is one well known one .

      Released in March 2009, the commission’s report severely criticised the Foundation Trust’s management and detailed the appalling conditions and inadequacies at the hospital. Many press reports suggested that because of the substandard care between 400 and 1200 more patients died between 2005 and 2008 than would be expected for the type of hospital,[3][4] though in fact such ‘excess’ death statistics did not appear in the final Healthcare Commission report.

      The similarity to the VA scandal is striking. Corruption and waste are the only constants in government programs.

    49. Jonathan Says:

      “Medicare works”

      To the extent Medicare works it does so by shifting costs from Medicare enrollees to patients who use private insurance or pay cash. That’s inevitable in any system that limits the prices service providers are allowed to charge to some customers but not others. In large areas of medical practice, internal medicine being the obvious example, Medicare suppresses prices to such an extent that physicians have trouble staying in business. In the USA, with its rapidly aging population, geriatric specialists are extremely difficult to find because Medicare’s reimbursement rates are too low for geriatricians to make a living: their patients are almost all on Medicare and thus there is no room for cost shifting.

      Under these incentives we are moving to a system in which most physicians are marginal employees of hospitals that make their money by pushing specialized procedures for which Medicare (and nominally-private insurance companies under Obamacare) still reimburse at near-market rates. I don’t think the overall quality of medical care is improving under these circumstances.

      One must also include Medicare’s enormous unfunded liabilities in any consideration of whether the system works. No private insurance company could long stay in business by charging below-market premiums for generous coverage, and then keeping costs down by reimbursing medical service providers at below-market rates. You and other socialized-medicine advocates are looking at a snapshot of Medicare and saying that it’s working because at the moment nobody is being denied coverage. However, any serious consideration of the system must recognize its long-term unsustainability in its current configuration. A system that appears to work at the moment but that has fatal long-term problems isn’t a system that works.

    50. MikeK Says:

      Another example of VA efficiency.

      Shinseki added that the VA removed 6,000 employees over the last two years for either poor performance or misconduct And the system is still a mess.

      “geriatric specialists are extremely difficult to find because Medicare’s reimbursement rates are too low for geriatricians to make a living”

      Geriatric programs are almost completely subsidized by university medical schools. There are virtually no private geriatricians. I met one young woman who had tried to make it as a private practice geriatrician in Iowa a few years ago ant the Society for Geriatric Medicine annual meeting. She had been threatened with prosecution by Medicare for seeing her elderly home-bound patients in Iowa too frequently. She dropped Medicare and all insurance and practiced for cash. She was making a living and happier.

      One reason I enjoy the TV series “Doc Martin” is the picture of the curmudgeonly GP in the NHS and the fact that the patients in that small village have no option but to see him. It is a huge hit in Britain and probably represents examples in most people’s lives. “Marcus Welby,” if anyone recalls that series, it is not.

    51. East Anglian Says:

      That’s the line people always sell when they try to convince you that traditional values, not to mention centuries of real world experience, no longer matter. They’re outdated ideas now, see? You Yanks need to EMBRACE neo- Marxism and political correctness and the surveillance state and thought control and speech control

      No, the liberalism of American Exceptionalism is far closer to neo-Marxism (if by that you mean Cultural Marxism) and PC than the traditional values I believe in. If it wasn’t neocon “ex” Trotskyists wouldn’t be on your side. They’d be calling you “fascists” as they tend to do when they encounter anyone who challenges their militant universalism.