Why America is Exceptionally ExceptionalBy James Lewis
Well, our "leaders" have now resorted to personal name-calling, Obama twisting Putin's tail about looking lazy, and Putin catcalling right back by warning Obama about "people who think they are exceptional." I think Putin was talking about Our Hero, who has suffered all his life from being told he was exceptional, so that now he can't get rid of that mental tic.
Putin is perfectly right about Obama, of course.
The other grandstanding show-off on the international scene is... you guessed it.
Still, our patriotic media have chosen to spin Putin's words as a critique of American exceptionalism. So let me take on that piece of fluff.
All nations are exceptional, but America is exceptionally exceptional. Yes, Russia is exceptional, and all Russians constantly complain about their exceptionalism over a vodka at the kitchen table. It's a national ritual. It's the reason why Russian music is so sad. All of Russian literature is a litany of moaning about the tragic suffering of Mother Russia, the backwardness of the peasants, and why the English got to have an industrial revolution while Russia ... (etc., etc.).
Well, all kids are exceptional, but our own kids are exceptionally exceptional.
Good historians have started to remind us about the facts on American exceptionalism again, after living in absurd denial during the reign of PC. In case you haven't read Niall Ferguson, Paul Johnson or Victor Davis Hanson on the topic of American history lately, may I remind all the Obamaphiles and Putineers of the facts?
America is exceptionally exceptional, and not just because we happened to be here. Other countries make it to the XX league off and on, but we've been lucky enough to be XX for two whole centuries.
Nobody else has come close to two hundred years of constitutional government, so far. We wish they would hurry up already.
So let's look at the facts -- why the USA is doubly exceptional -- now that Vladimir Putin has chosen to raise that question.
(Plus... if you really want to annoy a liberal you could always send this along. It's basic history, which means it's bound to be news to them.
And thanks for asking us about American exceptionalism, Vlad! But please don't assassinate any more journalists in Moscow, would ya? Appreciate it, guy. You can join the League of Democracies as soon as you stop killing your election opponents. Don't forget!)
OK. The reason we lucked out as an exceptionally exceptional nation is that we are the only "designer nation" that took off at the height of the European Enlightenment of the 18th century. Yes, there are the Aussies and Canucks and Kiwis; there is India and Japan, both successful electoral systems. There is Europe always swinging into autocracy and out of it, back and forth. Even today the EU is back to bureaucratic tyranny.
But let's agree that Russia today is quite a bit X-ier than the Soviet Union was.
Spasiba Bogu! (Thank you, God!)
So let's give them all an "X+" for trying.
Most other nations, even our best buddies, haven't quite earned an XX, for reasons I will explain.
Our founders were Enlightenment thinkers; but they differed from political philosophers like Voltaire, John Locke and Edmund Burke because they could actually try out their ideas in the real world. There was never a Thomas Jefferson in Europe, even though there were many Enlightenment thinkers -- because they were never allowed to scratch out the past and make a whole new start. Washington, Jefferson, Madison were Enlightenment philosophers who were blessed with a lot of practical experience, and based on that, after goofing up with the Articles of Confederation in 1781, they ended up with the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Which had one great flaw, as we all know, the concession to the Southern slaveholding states. That got fixed later, at the cost of 600,000 dead in the Civil War.
And here we are, 226 years later, after the Marxian left has tried repeatedly to drive bloody lances through the Constitution. It needs some major repairs, but most of it is still afloat.
In Europe, the Enlightenment was cut down by the bloodbath of the French Revolution, and then by Napoleon, the Man on the White Horse, who brought stability after anarchy -- using the sword, of course. The Napoleonic Wars killed more people than any war until 1914.
Napoleon was followed by two whole centuries of Franco-German wars of revenge. We call the last two World War I and World War II.
In other words, in Europe liberty was killed in the crib. In America the year 1776 brought the Declaration of Independence, straight out of British and American political philosophy. In Europe, the year 1792 brought the French Revolution, a bloody object lesson to Edmund Burke and the American founders. The French showed the world how not to establish a republican democracy.
Alexis De Toqueville came from France to write Democracy in America after his family was decimated in the Revolution. That was the biggest question for Toqueville, who did not spare us his criticisms. Toqueville was obsessed with the question: Why does democracy work in America and not in France? That is why he is still so important today. Vladimir Putin might consider making Democracy in America his bedtime reading. (Obama might try it, too).
Europe had great and humane thinkers, but building a democratic republic on the bloodsoaked soil of monarchy is very, very difficult. Europe is still falling back today. They never quite got it going. The Soviet Union crumbled because centralized control of a giant country and its economy simply fails. Today, the European Union is trying exactly the same foolishness again, and yes, it is failing. Obama is trying it here by taking over all of medicine, he thinks. But it will start crashing soon, in parts, and then the control freaks will be stuck again.
The ruling class hangs on regardless of their culpable errors.
Here are the big milestones:
American Declaration of Independence: 1776.
U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights 1787.
Anti-Slavery Amendment: 1865.
Civil Rights Laws: 1960s.
That's the trajectory of liberty in America.
Here is Europe's over the same time.
Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations: 1776 (Foundation of liberty)
French Revolution: 1892 -- a bloody setback.
Napoleon: A worse setback.
French Counter-revolution: More of the same. The Bourbons.
Marx and Engels -- 1848 to the present. (Worse and worse)
Prussian war of revenge on France: 1870 (Ditto)
Franco-German revenge war: World War I: 1914-1918 (Ditto)
Another Franco-German revenge war: World War II: 1939-1945 (Ditto)
Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917-1991 (Ditto)
European Union tries to stop all the wars of revenge by bureaucratic one-party rule: 1953-2013. (Tyranny without the bloodshed, so far.)
Europe has never stopped running autocracies. The European Union tells the world that it has a "democracy deficit" -- meaning that the voters have no say on the most important issues of the day. The EU is a regression, a fall-back from national European democracies, where the electorate actually had a say.
After centuries of democracy, the Netherlands is now back to a ruling aristocracy run by EU bureaucrats. One of the great historical sources of democratic government is underwater again. The heroic Ayaan Hirsi Ali was famously hounded out of the Netherlands when she criticized the takeover by radical Islamists over there.
Today Europe is in huge trouble, and Obama wants us to be just like them.
Our power elites are looking to Marxoid Europe rather than to America for their ideas. Obama never really understood the fundamental wisdom that all power corrupts. Good intentions are just another way to flaunt your moral superiority, the way all the liberals love to do. Don't even talk about good intentions if you can't understand Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, and the rest.
Marxism is an ancient utopian totalitarianism in metrosexual drag. That stuff goes back to the first empires in human history. The Pharoahs ran a kind of utopian tyranny. Wherever we can see a "pyramid culture" from Mexico to Egypt and Cambodia -- there is always some utopian thug being worshipped by the peasants laboring the soil. The Aztecs ran their meat-grinding empire by conquering neighboring peoples, taking their children, and sacrificing them by the hundreds on pyramids, to make sure the sun would rise the next day. Then they had to conquer more Indian tribes for the meat grinder when they ran out of victims. Chichen-Itza not a glorious tourist destination. It was a kind of Auschwitz for the Native Americans who were sacrificed there.
The lust to control other people is as ancient as the love of liberty. Humans all carry the seeds of control freakery and love of freedom, and if you don't have a revered law that keeps grandiose thugs from suckering the masses, you're doomed to become a tyrant or a slave.
Obama was never a "professor of Constitutional law." He was a community agitator who taught "Critical Constitution" part time. (The word "critical" means "Marxist" in academic jargon, just like the word "feminist" means Marxist. Most incomprehensible academic words mean "Marxist.")
And for those who have been told that Karl Marx was a lovely guy, here is his famous definition of how to make a revolution:
In 1848, Karl Marx wrote: "... there is only one means to shorten, simplify and concentrate the murderous death throes of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new, only one means -- revolutionary terrorism..."
This is "the most popular philosopher in Britain today," according to the BBC, which is in love with Karl Marx, when it isn't covering up for chronic pedophiles.
The love of Karl is all over the campuses today, and in all the big editorial offices of our glorious media.
Let's keep it that way.
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