Why the Left doesn't understand (or want) American exceptionalism

Washington Post opinion giver and scribe Richard Cohen writes about The Myth of American Exceptionalism.  There may be no better example of why the liberal view of America is wrong. 

Cohen calls it “smugness” that, as we sing in America the Beautiful, we believe ‘God shed His grace on thee.’  We Americans, after all, have no genetic or inborn moral superiority compared to Cohen’s citizens of the world.  Certainly, God doesn’t pick winners and losers.  Cohen sees conservatives as naïve, like so many sports fans who pray that God will grant victory for their team.

He cites as one of the failures of American exceptionalism “a dysfunctional education system.”  Then he goes on to say:

some of those most inclined to exalt American exceptionalism are simply using the imaginary past to defend their cultural tics — conventional marriage or school prayer or, for some odd reason, a furious antipathy to the notion that mankind has contributed (just a bit) to global warming.

Marriage, you see, is just a cultural tic to the Left.

What Cohen will never understand is that it is our system of freedom that makes us exceptional.  It is freedom that allows us to maximize our potential, be peaceful yet respond quickly with strength to threats, to learn from failure, and succeed through personal responsibility, not because of the State.  It is through freedom that individuals may reach their greatest potential, and that best benefits others.  It is because of freedom that we are a prosperous and charitable people. 

This also explains the difference between how conservatives and liberals view the Constitution.  To conservatives, the Constitution is the law that protects freedom by governing government.  Liberals see our system of government more as a way to control the People.

Conservatives believe freedom comes from God.  We are therefore blessed by that freedom, not because, as Cohen would have you believe, we have deceived ourselves.  We are blessed because we have a Constitution designed to protect that freedom.  Exceptionalism is not handed out or taken from others; it is a result of individuals maximizing their potential.

The statist-liberal mindset is threatened by American exceptionalism.  Statist liberals like Cohen, therefore, are willing to reduce freedom.  That levels the playing field with others.

Rather than accepting American exceptionalism, Mr. Cohen and his friends would rather we share a global participation award like our “dysfunctional education system” -- run mostly by liberals, by the bye -- gives to children.