Serious arguments about U.S. exceptionalism

Serious arguments about exceptionalism will be posted and discussed on these pages, not vitriol. A comment I have received on my American exceptionalism post falls into the latter category. It reads “What an extraordinary bunch of crap! I hope you can’t reproduce.” Sorry, but I already have, long ago.

It’s true that there is a virulence to certain American exceptionalist opinion. Exceptionalism is not a condition (except maybe a psychological one) but a belief, and beliefs, like religions, don’t easily shift for rational reasons. In the case of exceptionalism, the belief is visceral, founded in everyday experience and constitutive of identity, where the individual identity is subsumed in a national identity. No facts can penetrate such a shield without doing damage to the individual.

People are entitled to their religions, whether they be reasonable ones or not. But belief is something to be analysed, not taken as “gospel”. Please excuse the pun.


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