March 22, 2011

American Exceptionalism As The End Of History

American Exceptionalism is as true as the tooth fairy{sorry everyone she is not real :(} The idea that the New World, The America's will avenge the Old World ancestors of Europe and make up for their lack of reasoning and Christian morality and that went into "their" system of thought as opposed to "ours". The issue with this thinking, this idea that America was created in a vacuumof the universe irrelevant to the history and events that went into its creation is exactly that it willingly and encouragingly forgets and disavowals its history and be-comings and declares its jeremiad into the world wilderness as an exception and betterment from the Old World way of dealing with "the rest of the world"(difference). The situation in Libya and the most current efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan offer a particularly unique example of this phenomenon. An unfortunate conclusion(consensus) that has been made by the international order that the United States(and its "Western" allies) are an exception.

In what other age can a single nation- state as if they were planning a routine get together organize fleets of battle ships to launch full assaults on another sovereign nation with little to no consequences for their actions? In our post- Cold War world there are no bounds to United States hegemony as can be seen by numerous regime changes that are not just sponsored by the United States but enforced by its arsenal of political, economic, and military capabilities. Iran(more than twice), Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Vietnam, Korea, China, Libya*, this list is so long it will detract from the point of the post and not to mention the United States "endorsed" leaders like Yemen, The Gulf States, Pakistan, and many other key interest points for the US where these leaders are seen by their people as "puppet governments" with the US as the world's puppet master.

Through material gain and historical luck the United States and its exceptional idea(Manifest Destiny) has made the tooth fairy come to life. It has extended its enlightened Christian hand over(beyond;above) the complexities and intricate details of existence, all the cultures, languages, histories, symbols an infinite amount of history reified, embalmed, and defined by "the end of history" and the creation of a static notion of reality, practice, and theory. History as traveled from East to West and the very laws of nature; time and space itself has been completed(dominated;managed) by the Enlightened mind and the ever expanding universe of our world has come to set over the Western nations.


  1. You do a poor job refuting exceptionalist theory.

    First, exceptionalism is not "this idea that America was created in a vacuum". Exceptionalism is the idea that America is quantitatively and qualitatively different from other countries and that the scale and type of these differences are unprecedented.

    When you say that America maintains a global empire through shadow governments, etc. you are actually affirming exceptionalism because no country has been able to do on such a large scale in this manner in the past.

    Other things that are different in the US than in other countries is the strength of the religious right, it's foundations on revolution, and the individualism that comes with that foundation. There are, of course, many other things.

    Lastly, just to preempt any follow up comments, exceptionalism is not a value statement, it's a statement of fact. The US can be evil and be exceptional at the same time.

  2. First I appreciate the dialogue now on to the defense.

    I believe you are largely misinformed by the generic objective meaning of exceptionalism. The idea propagated by America that it is "quantitatively and qualitatively different form other countries" is a nice and mostly shallow way of revealing exceptionalism's true nature.It is not that America is so great its exceptional its more so that America is allowed based on a preordained mission from "God" to rid the world of disfigurements and shadows(The Nothing).It is informed by the idea mostly religious(ontological) idea that America was a beautiful gift from the divine or in these terms an exception which is a largely Puritan ideal(the founding of America were Puritan ideals). This is the large misconception that disillusions discussions of exceptionalism. This is not a socio- politico concept although it is portrayed that way it is literally a manifested way of understanding the world in its entirety that has been created over history. This exceptional mindset largely by Americas idea that it was created in a vacuum not constructed by largely European ideals and cultures. If you would like to actually learn about the historical underpinnings of exceptionalism because I do not have time or the where with all to do this here you should look into William V. Spanos' America's Shadow: Anatomy of an Empire where it explains this idea on its deepest levels. On your second point this was exactly my point is that America is as per the international consensus exceptional and the world has allowed itself to be dominated by a static notion of thinking that is "The American way of life". These puppet governments are only one way in which America maintains its mythical status and rather I used these historical examples as a way to emphasize the ways America gets away with and represents its exceptionalism. And your last point you will have to re- explain in order for me to properly respond. You explain your argument as objective(scientific) fact when this is a topic largely based on subjective interpretations on many historical events.

  3. We have two different interpretations of what exceptionalism means. You say that exceptionalism is the idea that the US should be an active force in global politics and should attempt to stop evil. I used the term as it is used by certain historians and policy analysts (we talked about it in my AP US History class, several historians used the term in this way).

    You were discussing a different type of exceptionalism than I was, sorry for my confusion. My comments were basically irrelevant, but your reply helped me to understand exceptionalist theory as used by Spanos a bit better, thanks.

    Random Side Question: what's your stance on the US bombing of Libya?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. No problem and sorry for the aggressive tone but i saw your comment at a bad time. I would like to clear up that I don't believe that American Exceptionalism is a "good" thing and I do believe that Western Imperialism is a bad thing because of the way it represents and constructs the world around it in a way that create divisions between things and inherently breeds violence towards difference. But just remember its about how you interpret the historical events you learn and question the presuppositions that your learnings are based upon. I will answer your question about Libya in a future post coming soon.