"Anyway, what American exceptionalism is not: It is not that we are better people. It is not that we are superior people. It is not that we are smarter people. It is not that God loves us and hates everybody else. It is not that God prefers us. It is not that God doesn't prefer anybody else.
American exceptionalism has nothing to do with anything but freedom and liberty. Here is what American exceptionalism is. ....
So what is it? Well, if you know the history of the world... Read your Bible, read whatever historical account of humanity you hold dear, and what you'll read about is human tyranny. You'll read of bondage. You'll read of slavery. The vast majority of the people, the vast majority of the human beings who have lived and breathed and walked this planet have lived under the tyranny of despots, the vast majority.
It isn't even close.
The vast majority of the people of this world since the beginning of time have never known the kind of liberty and freedom that's taken for granted every day in this country. Most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders. Most people have lived in abject fear of whoever held power over them. Most people in the world have not had plentiful access to food and clean water. It was a major daily undertaking for most people to come up with just those two basic things.
Just surviving was the primary occupation of most people in the world. The history of the world is dictatorship, tyranny, subjugation, whatever you want to call it of populations -- and then along came the United States of America. Pilgrims were the first to come here seeking freedom from all of that. They were oppressed because of their religion. They were told they had to believe in the king and his god, whatever it was, or they would be imprisoned.
They led an exodus from Europe to this country, people of the same mind-set. They simply wanted to escape the tyranny of their ordinary lives. This country was founded that way. For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population. This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION -- e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American exceptionalism is.
It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the founders recognized it comes from God. It's part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government. It's not granted by Putin. It's not granted by Obama or any other human being. We are created with the natural yearning to be free, and it is other men and leaders throughout human history who have suppressed that and imprisoned people for seeking it.
The US is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the US becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That's American exceptionalism. Putin doesn't know what it is, Obama doesn't know what it is, and it just got trashed in the New York Times. It's just unacceptable.....
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are an attempt to provide a political framework to facilitate God's will that each of us are born and remain free. Read the Founders and you can conclude nothing other than that."
Here's what I said at the end of January of 2012. I probably had internalized his explanation, by the way.
"Our country is a unique experiment, there is only our short history to try to get some lessons about how our representative republic with it's focus on individual liberty and free(ish) markets have worked, but it's been pretty powerful, I think. The other ways, central planning, benevolent dictatorships, monarchies, tyrannical despots, are all there marching through history saying "tried it, failed." century after century. I happen to think that we are in many ways fighting against very basic human natures, conflicting ones: the scary, yet liberating desire to be free against the desire to have someone, anyone, take care of us, to push away responsibility and say "you decide, fix it for me, you take care of me" because that is so much easier than being an independent, self-actualized person. We head toward wanting more from our government to do stuff because it feeds that side of our nature, and our founders knew this as well. Similarly, I think that free markets are the most humane markets, they provide the most dignity and hope for those that need it, that capitalism has rescued more people from poverty than governments ever have, as it is what exists when there is no imposed economic system. Show me every poor country in the world and we will see closed market, meddling government (usually corrupt strong central, personality-driven Marxist-leaning), despots, many democratically elected.
Last thought, tonight, I promise: watching Diners, Dives, & Drive-ins, and thinking how I would love to eat at all of these places, and am honest enough to know that while I may think it would be cool to run one, I don't love it enough to do all the work these people do to live their dreams that provide these amazing meals. That's it, isn't it? To have the passion to do something that leads to success? I then re-read Michael's closing and thought "no. We don't need a brave leader, it's us. We the people."
That's what makes America unique in all of human history. All of human history is a long time. To want or expect or wait for our government, even though they are largely nice people that we chose, to take care of us isn't US!"
People have their own life stories that make them see the world the way they see it, and me talking isn't going to convince anyone of anything. It happens internally. Bill Clinton made me realize I wasn't a Democrat, even though I was more liberal at the time. All talk radio did was make me realize that I was conservative because it (Dr. Dean Edell, Rush, G. Gordon Liddy were the 3 I started with) articulated what I had been thinking.
The same thing goes for libs and progs, too, I think. They hear Rachel Maddow and think, "yes, exactly what I said!" We have all heard of confirmation bias by now, right? Wiki, Princeton, and this entertaining look explain it all for you, if you haven't.
They main difference that still presents itself in many ways is what I experienced recently yet again: Cons think libs and progs are wrong; libs and progs think cons are evil. Well, that's an oversimplification, but it's fair, I think. There are many cons who actually do think that the Pres and his minions are nefariously undermining the founding principles of our nation to remake it. I also happen to think that if you look at lib/prog/socialist/marxist policies, they are actually evil and directly responsible for a lot of death and mayhem, but mostly, they are just wrong.