The concept of American exceptionalism has been hotly debated in connection with what kind of history “The Children” will be force fed in state schools.
My position : “the United States, by virtue of its origins and ideals,” was unique. But most Americans know nothing of the ideas that animated their country’s founding. In fact, they are more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical liberal philosophy of the founders, and hence wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive state and the fulfillment of their own needs and desires through war and welfare.
Thus, I find myself in agreement with this one statement from Princeton’s Joyce Carol Oates:
“[T]ravel to any foreign country,” Oates wrote in the Atlantic Monthly in November 2007, “and the consensus is: The American idea has become a cruel joke, a blustery and bellicose bodybuilder luridly bulked up on steroids…deranged and myopic, dangerous.”
Andrew Roberts, on the other hand, is the Anglosphere’s “advertising agent,” whom some call a historian (most learned sources like the Times Literary Supplement question the value and veracity of his “scholarship”).
Roberts “has endorsed American exceptionalism in his own writings,” and thinks that to question it is to evince “psychiatric disorder,” or belong to liberal America (Rob Stove and I are rightists).
Yes, another learned source is our friend Australian historian Rob Stove, who detests Andrew Roberts (author of the best-selling Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945). Rob has called him a “Court Historian,” the Anglosphere’s greatest modern mythologist perfectly suited to sanitize the Bush presidency.”
In the eponymous essay Rob Stove writes that to Roberts,
“Not only must every good deed of British or American rule be lauded till the skies resound with it, but so must every deed that is morally ambiguous or downright repellent.”
“The Amritsar carnage of 1919, where British forces under Gen. Reginald Dyer slew 379 unarmed Indians? Absolutely justified, according to Roberts, who curiously deduces that but for Dyer, ‘many more than 379 people would have lost their lives.’ Hitting prostrate Germany with the Treaty of Versailles? Totally warranted: the only good Kraut is a dead Kraut. Herding Boer women and children into concentration camps, where 35,000 of them perished? Way to go: the only good Boer is a dead Boer. Interning Belfast Catholics, without anything so vulgar as a trial, for no other reason than that they were Belfast Catholics? Yep, the only good bog-trotter … well, finish the sentence yourself. FDR’s obeisance to Stalin? All the better to defeat America First ‘fascists.'”
Last week’s column, “In Defense Of Obama’s Apologizing,” coaxed out of the woodwork some “exceptionals.”
Wrote Mom [don’t you hate it when women call themselves “mom”? I see these self-identifiers everywhere, when out on my running excursions. They occasionally swing a kid while talking incessantly on the cell, and are always sedentary and overweight. Sorry for that detour]:
“I do not agree with you at all.…I give this administration a D in foreign policy and public relations…Listen, yes we have made some mistakes in our 300 years, but on the whole, this is the best country on the planet and we are an exceptional nation….This administration’s aim is to diminish our greatness and our status on the world stage…for a One World socialist government…When Obama said we have no borders, I nearly fell out of my chair…if we diminish our borders, we will not have a country….How did he allow Calderone to bash our country? You know why, because he doesn’t think of our country is special…So, I don’t give any points to him, I want my country back…I do not recognize my country anymore….so for you to give this admin. points … that is a no no. Sorry…”
In other words, even though she and I agree on immigration, I must never be fair to BHO when he is not wrong. Indeed, fairness and non-partisanship have gotten me nowhere.
Tangentially related is another letter received last week in irate response to “In Defense Of Obama’s Apologizing.” This time the “exceptional reader” informed me imperially that he was writing me off and would no longer be reading The Mercer Column because I FAILED TO ENDORSE HIS FAVORITE MASSACRE.
This particular reader was a relic from my years of writing against the Bush war of aggression in Iraq—you know, when all those “red-state fascists” kept trying to get me fired from WND.