September 3, 2013

The joy of American unexceptionalism

From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
I’ve found most talk about “American exceptionalism” pernicious because it tends to imply that America needs to be exceptional to deserve what other countries rightfully take for granted. ...
America is definitely exceptional in our recommended daily intake of flapdoodle. To Finns or Japanese or other sensible folk, their countries don’t have to be special to anybody except themselves. They need not be proposition nations, nor cities upon a hill redeeming the world, nor the rightful destinations of other countries’ huddled masses, nor the scourges of wrongdoing in the Levant. Instead, they are the past, present, and future homes of their own people. So their responsibility is to be good stewards for their heirs.
In contrast, the vague grandiosity of the ideology of American exceptionalism makes Americans easier to manipulate with contrived narratives.

Read the whole thing there.

39 comments:

Tartar said...

You nailed the diagnosis with the term "grandiosity."

Hacienda said...

Bah Humbug.

American exceptionalism is mostly a cover for American guilt.

Also. Protestant Guilt. The Guilt is real, the Protestantism is make believe.

Anonymous said...

Finland has fewer people than New York City so having a coherent idea of what a Fin is is still possible.

Japan in the 1930s seemed to be brimming with exceptionalism and had all sorts of ideas about co-prosperity spheres. Their whole military policy was based on exceptionalism.

Actually in retrospect maybe talk of exceptionalism is part of the propaganda effort to convince people to pursue and imperial foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Americans manipulable?

Surely, not, Steve!

Anon.

agnostic said...

Americans can't have a state like Japan or Finland because we're not an ethnic group with a long history.

Back when we had the Indians and the Russkies to hold us together, "American" was a cohesive identity. But when was the last time you heard someone describe a person as an "all-American kinda guy" or a "real all-American sweetheart"? Or hear a song that gives props to cities across the country, putting them all on the same level?

Without those big common enemies, people are naturally withdrawing their loyalties from the super-high level down to a more regional level where they feel it makes more sense.

We're headed for something akin to the autonomous communities of Spain, and hopefully something more regionalist than that. No reason having such a huge population and such a sprawling territory under such centralized control.

Although as Noam Chomsky pointed out, you'd have to get corporate power under control before you devolve political power down, or else the mega-conglomerations will just play the states off against one another and wind up running everything.

...Also worth including a footnote about generational differences here. Baby Boomers are the most enthusiastic about keeping America together, however different their visions may be, or their strategies. Once you get to Generation X, there's a lot more scepticism about, say, Texas and California being part of the same large political entity.

And Millennials were born too late to remember the peak of patriotism during the '80s, so they have an almost dismissive attitude toward national unity. ("Go 'Murrica!" said sarcastically.) What city you're headed toward for college and after is way more central to their identity.

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

A future American President could say, "America is exceptional to me, because it's my country", and what good would that do for the historic American nation if the rest of the sentence was, "and it's our country now, and, thanks to our anti-racist policies it will never be a white man's country again"?

Unexceptionalism Zimbabwe style is not a goal worth attaining.

If, on the other hand, America was consistently committed to ending the scourge of antiwhitism, and to strengthening white communities and white traditions (explicitly as such), that would be real change. That would indicate a new ruling class, one which was not antiwhite, and which saw the state as a means to preserve the historic American nation, not to end it.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the modern breed of economist denies that there is any connection whatsoever between unemployment and mass immigration in a stagnant economy, (which seems as brainy as denying a link between food scarcity and the number of famine victims in any locality to me, but what do I know?).
The first thing they will do is to parrot this odd mantra "lump of labor!", "lump of labor!" squawked at the top of their lungs non-stop, to drown out the debate as if it actually means anything. The implication is that if you don't know what this ridiculous, (and mis-used) theoretical catch-phrase (and that's what it is - a low comedian or game show host's catch-phrase and not serious analysis), then you simply 'don't understand'.
Well let me state something here. 'Lump of labor' as it is squawked by the second-rate and mendacious is meaningless twaddle.

Aaron Gross said...

Like it or not, Americans were never a nation like Finns, Japanese, Jews, and Danes are nations. As Charles Murray would say, that's a fact of America’s past, not something you can choose to “believe in” any more than you can choose to “believe in” the battle of Gettysburg.

dearieme said...

The three great American principles were Expel the Indians, Oppress the Negroes, and Invade the Neighbours. There have been plenty of Empires with comparable notions before, but perhaps none that accompanied them with so much (as you say) flapdoodle about Liberty, Human Rights, and so on. Extending the invading to far-off lands, though, was less than wise. It might have been affordable when the USA was the world's greatest primary producer, and when she combined that with being a home to such brilliant developers of manufacturing methods. (Developers rather than innovators, often, but then it's in development that the profits lie.) Nowadays it's just an example of imperial overstretch. The old comparison of the US to the Roman Republic perhaps wasn't as silly as it sometimes seems; she's moved on to copying the Roman Empire now. Syria? You must be off your collective heads.

Chuck said...

"American exceptionalism" from the mouth of a Rubin means "America must have Open Borders and Save the World, whereas in my UNexceptional homeland, Israel, we can do what all other normal nations do: Keep Alien Infiltrators Out!"

It gives them a convenient way to gloss over the cognitive dissonance of Zionism for Me but Open Borders for Thee.

America as Global Bus Station: home to no one, just a place you pass through on your way to something better.

Call them on it. Tell them America is to Americans as Israel is to the Jews. We want racially segregated schools just like they have. We want desert concentration camps for alien infiltrators just like they have. We aren't exceptional. Heck, American Exceptionalism is really disguised American Supremacism!

In fact, we confess our failures and look to Israel as a "Light unto our Nation".

America for Americans and Eretz Y'Isroel for the Jews!

europeasant said...

I agree but America was also founded on the concept of population growth. Itz a Ponzi scheme where eventually some where down the line a terrible price will be paid. But most of our elites/leaders don't care since they will not live that long and have few children or none. It almost seems that our biological reality ( birth, growth, stagnation, death) will manifest itself regardless of what some forward thinking people do.

Anonymous said...

A coherent idea of what it is to be an American is still possible, and was eminently possible up to at least the 1990s. Take it from an outsider, you guys are overloaded with national characteristics, some awesome, some that drive us around the frickin' bend. If I were to sum up the weirdness of Amercans in one phrase, they are fantasists who.believe they are realists.

Anonymous said...

Americans can't have a state like Japan or Finland because we're not an ethnic group with a long history.

This is cliche, and untrue. First, Americans have a good 300 year history. That's not as long as some nations, but it's long enough. The thing about nations is that they are formed and re-formed through an on-going process, involving economic, cultural, and social interaction. Those processes are still going on in America, and America is still a distinctive nation. One might wish is was a classier, saner nation, but hey its classier (maybe not saner) than Mexico, and Mexico is Mexico.

Anonymous said...

When foreigners observe something that is exceptional about America, that is one thing. But when Americans themselves make a big stink about it, it's pure narcissism. It's like it's one thing for others to say you're beautiful bur quite another for you to boast that you're beautiful. Vulgar, vain, and crass.

Today, 'American exceptionalism' is essentially Jewish explanation as to why whites should surrender all power to Jews, the most exceptional Chosen People.
And indeed, America is most exceptional in this sense. No people built such a great nation, only to so easily hand over the keys of power to a hostile minority that feels such contempt for them.
When China fell under the designs of foreign powers, it was not by choice but under extreme coercion. But white Americans have willfully and happily surrendered their power to a bunch of Jews and homos.

This is the kind of American exceptionalism that Jews really love. Most nations have majorities that wanna be ruled by their own kind. Chinese wanna be ruled by Chinese, Russians wanna be ruled by Russians, etc. But white Americans now wanna be ruled by Jews, homos, and mulattoes. Obama came out for 'gay marriage' and pushe amnesty, but very white states like Mass, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, Vermont, and etc all went for him in 2012. White Americans are retards, pure and simple. They wanna die.

The majority has ceded its political, economic, and cultural power to a hostile minority elite. Indeed, even demographic power, as so many whites elect politicians who push amnesty and sucking up to Zionists.

As rotten as Rubin is, she is serving the interests of her kind with gutsiness, and that is admirable. It is whites who should be ashamed for being such pushovers, cowards, and running dogs.

Anonymous said...

American exceptionalism:

Jews: America should favor no nation EXCEPT Israel.

Blacks: American system should favor no race EXCEPT blacks.

Mexicans: American laws should favor no group EXCEPT border violating Mexicans.

Homos: Rules of marriage should apply to all EXCEPT homos.
So, no to incest marriage or polygamy but yes to 'gay marriage'.

From majority exceptionalism to minority exceptionalism.

Anonymous said...

"Americans can't have a state like Japan or Finland because we're not an ethnic group with a long history."

Then how come Sweden, UK, and France are headed in the same direction? They are ethnic groups with long histories.

Also, how come American whites were far more ethnocentric when their history was much shorter in the past?

In the 19th century and first half of 20th century, all whites in the US and Europe wanted to keep the power regardless of the length of their history.

But nowadays, nearly all whites in US and EU are surrendering their land, racial integrity, power, and laws to the Jewish globo elites.

It's not about history but the use of history by the current powers that be.
Israel was founded only in 1948, and yet, it is fiercely independent and ethnocentric.

Anonymous said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23953314

This beats Kafka.

Anonymous said...

http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/09/good-bad-democracy.html#more-27000

Anonymous said...

And Millennials were born too late to remember the peak of patriotism during the '80s, so they have an almost dismissive attitude toward national unity. ("Go 'Murrica!" said sarcastically.) What city you're headed toward for college and after is way more central to their identity.

Hmm, yes and no. Certainly that's true of SWPL hipsters.

But I think plenty of Millennials (such as me) have a strong sense of national unity, even if we can't watch Red Dawn with a straight face. In fact, those of us who are conservative or Republican have inherited a sense that the 80s were a kind of golden age, a time when the political right was unified and had important and useful things to say.

More generally, a voelkisch attachment to one's country is natural for some large fraction of any generation, particularly among young men.

The problem is that the nation and the state seem to be diverging, with the state including an ever-growing proportion of post-national whites and permanently hyphenated minority blocs.

I'm as comfortable in California (where I went to college) or Vermont as I am in Texas or Utah. I like the country as a whole and desire its preservation.

But at some point the question arises: why should I harbor a feeling of national solidarity toward fellow citizens who don't share that sense of national identity or interest, and who actively support the displacement of the nation?

So I would put it this way--loyalty to the state may be attenuating, but loyalty to the nation remains an indelible part of human nature broadly and the conservative temperament specifically.

Anonymous said...

Exceptionalism used to mean the FALSE idea that the rules that applied to everyone else in history don't apply to America. It got flipped and taken over by the hucksters of Conservatism Inc. as just another way of flattering the boobs into supporting them even though they never actually do anything to support those boobs. Also just another way not to talk about race in American politics - "sure it looks like we're turning into a third-world dump but it'll be OK 'cause we're exceptional!" It's overwhelmingly a racial theme, brought up mostly to sell the Republicans lack of opposition to "diversity.". The Republican gig was described by another blogger as

Liberals don’t like being mugged, and they don’t like paying 50% federal taxes, so Republicans have been permitted to succeed on these issues. Broadly what the Republicans do is use their control over a large block of voters, some traditionalist, some libertarian [and almost all white], to extract as many concessions as they can on the behalf of the people they really work for, big business.

What the Republicans have to sell the system, what the system wants, is the physical existence of the Republican's chief constituents. They didn't hesitate for even a moment. "Exceptionalism" plays right into the hands of their alleged opponents.

Anonymous said...

Those with power decide which kind of 'exceptional' is acceptable. Control of acceptablism is more important than exceptionalism as all terms must be defined, and it is the people with power who get to decide which form of 'exceptionalism' is acceptable.

Indeed, even 'conservative' has undergone a sea-change in meaning due to the tag team cooperation between Liberal Jews and neocon Jews. As Liberal Jews control the MSM, they choose what kinds of 'conservatives' are acceptable as the voice of 'conservatism', and 99% of such voices are neocon Jews or toady white gentiles who suck up to Jewish power like John Bolton, Mitt Romney, and John McCain.
Tru-cons need not apply.
So, what is 'conservatism' today? Waving the Israeli flag, kneeling at the altar of MLK, promoting interracism, purging people like Richwine, and even coming around to 'gay marriage'--like that spineless dirtbag Charles Murray who worships Jews as much as Walter Russell Meade does.

Jennifer Rubin didn't make herself as the 'leading voice' of conservatism. No, Liberal Jews at WP hired her as the voice of 'conservatism'.

It's like the definition of 'hate'. It is not some neutral objective term but gains or loses meaning depending on the powers-that-be who decide what is the acceptable definition of 'hate'.

So, Jewish Hollywood movies like TAKEN, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, remake of RED DAWN, THE TERRORIST, DJANGO UNCHAINED, MACHETE, and all those movies with subhuman evil Russians are NOT examples of 'hate', but PASSION OF THE CHRIST is 'hateful' toward Jews.

Homo lobby's attack on Christian values is not 'hate'. Pussy Riot is not 'hateful'. Those globalist Jews who looted Russia in the 90s are not 'hateful'. BUT Putin and Russian nationalists who wanna ban 'gay pride parades' are sooo 'hateful'.

Rap music isn't 'hateful'... well, except when it rags on Jews and homos. But everyone else is open season for rappers.
But if you have southern pride, you are so 'hateful'.
Blacks committing massive violence on whites is not hateful, but Paula Deen saying the dreaded word after she was robbed is the worst thing since MEIN KAMPF.

I know what real hate is. I really really hate the globalist scumbags.
It feels like hate and is meant to be hate, and I love hating this vile enemy.

Jake-the-Rake said...

No country is exceptional, localities can be. Systems are not, cultures can be.

Just rest assured that whatever is declared, the opposite will be(come) true: Communism? Special lanes and shops for the apparatchik. Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Kids get busted for mimicking a gun, 35% of all American meals are fast food troughs, psycho pills kill more than car accidents. Blacks are allowed and encouraged to go feral. Mainstream medias. Two parties which are really just Pepsi vs. Coke.

"Exceptional" is local... Champagne from Champagne, Chianti from Chiantigino, parmesan from Parma... etc.

You will see exceptionalism where "little" is possible. You can't imagine a "Little Frankfurt" because it's an airport terminal system and not a culture. There is no God (or the devil) in the details. Nothing has to be "just so".

Having lots of immigrants is no exception, Belgium and Holland probably have more per capita than the USA.

My locally owned cafe bar is exceptional, 19,500 Starbucks in 58 countries is surely an achievement, but they being "corporate culture" on steroids... they're mostly all the the same.

As it turns out the exceptionalism of America is ultra standardization and conformity.

Sure once upon a time it seemed like Americans were exempt from most of the Original sin... and there was something to the "exceptionalism"... but religious capital was squandered... and most of it was anyhow puritan nonsense... Like Dry Counties... Ha, talk about Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and there are counties (maybe even states) where after a hard day's work, a man can't even have a beer.

It's surely exceptional that Jack Daniel's, America's number one selling whiskey (worldwide) can't be sipped at the distillery which is in Moore County, Tennessee (dry).

1 in 4 kids on foodstamps (relying on a servile state) is not exceptional.

Exceptional is culture... culture that fosters families, not parent A / Parent B nonsense with one in two born out of wedlock.

Walmarts are exceptional, bazaars or old style marketplaces are.

Corporate culture kills exceptionalism.

Whiskey said...

Steve you can't cheat an honest man and you can't sell exceptionalism to people who don't want it. I would say Raider Nation and things like that have replaced an inflated, debauched, degraded citizenship and nothing nationalism.

Philip Neal said...

Of course all countries think they are exceptional. I remember my surprise on learning, as a small boy, that Britain was the country where technological progress first took off and feeling very proud of it. I still am, but that need not go with the view that British history has been one long ride on a white horse. I take it that Charles Murray is talking about the sense of idealism about the constitution and America as a country reported by observers like Dickens, at a time when the place had yet to achieve anything very much.

The trouble with 'exceptionalism' of this kind it seems to me, and apparently to you, is that anything idealistic (prohibition, Vietnam, open borders) can be presented as essential to the destiny of the country. That is why I like parliamentary sovereignty. Our Whigs masquerading as Tories have been railing all week that we have abandoned our 'role' in the world, whatever that may be, but I am delighted. Britain, to adapt Ronald Reagan, is a country that has a constitution, not a constitution that has a country.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that neo-cons are big on "American exceptionalism". For them it's inextricably tied to "national greatness" and military might. An America with the fourth largest military in the world just would not be "exceptional" in their eyes".

Anonymous said...

As a Canadian I have always been more then a little bit amused by Americans constant harping on their country as "the land of the free", (despite America's 250 year history of slavery, by the way, only ended after a war that killed 720,000). You would think the USA was the only democracy in the world. Oh well, at least I can go and visit Cuba and smoke some good Havana cigars. My government in Ottawa doesn't tell me I can or cannot travel to this or that country, unlike 'free' Americans.

E. Rekshun said...

OT: NYT, 09/02/13, Expecting the Best Yields Results in Massachusetts

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/science/expecting-the-best-yields-results-in-massachusetts.html?src=me&ref=general

"...If Massachusetts were a country, its eighth graders would rank second in the world in science, behind only Singapore..."

Per the 2010 US Census: MA is 80% White, 6% black.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

What an incredibly depressing set of comments.

The three great American principles were Expel the Indians, Oppress the Negroes, and Invade the Neighbours

As opposed to, oh, I don't know ... "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"???

Depressing, depressing, depressing.

Matt Buckalew said...

The Jews were so much of a nation that for awhile they were two nations then one nation then no nation again and then one nation and then no nation again and then state of israel back again (this is turning into we didn't start the fire) Then they managed to pick up Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown somehow off racial waivers or maybe undrafted free agents in the racial draft.

It's like Herzel said man if you will you it you can choose what to believe. Not in Rehoboam in this case I guess.

Mr. Anon said...

"agnostic said...

Americans can't have a state like Japan or Finland because we're not an ethnic group with a long history."

And at the rate we're going, we never will be.

Mr. Anon said...

"Aaron Gross said...

Like it or not, Americans were never a nation like Finns, Japanese, Jews, and Danes are nations."

Bullshit. We were a nation of English and Scots, i.e., as much a nation as Britain was. Are Britons not a nation?

Aaron Gross said...

No, Britons are not a nation. At least two commenters have made that mistake. The English are a nation. Britain is a classic example of a multinational state.

America was once a country of Englishmen - or maybe a nation of Englishmen, depending on your definition of "nation" - and later of Englishmen and Scotch-Irish, who got lumped together as "British" and later as "Anglo-Saxon." Some have classified the Americans at that time as an "offshoot nation." But the Americans were never a nation as the Japanese, Finns, and Jews are nations.

P.S. Thanks to all the commenters for not quoting the "band of brothers" passage from the Federalist Papers.

Mr. Anon said...

"Aaron Gross said....

No, Britons are not a nation. At least two commenters have made that mistake. The English are a nation. Britain is a classic example of a multinational state."

Britons are a nation. They are at least as close to one another ethnically as are the Jews amongst themselves (Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Mizrahim). And they have, for the most part over the last two centuries, considered themselves to be one nation. There are any number of references to "The British Nation" and "The British People".

Even with two founding peoples, America is far more of a nation than - say - Belgium or Canada or.....Israel for that matter (two peoples there - Jews and Arabs).

Your comment was, as is typical for you, deceitful and in bad faith. God forbid that goyim should ever get a word in edgewise, or have an opinion about their own lands and history.

Rohan Swee said...

Aaron Gross: No, Britons are not a nation. At least two commenters have made that mistake. The English are a nation.

Tsk, Aaron, this won't do. Get up to speed. For the time being one may still grant nationhood to, say, the Scots, or the Welsh, or maybe the Irish, but the English are right out. England is now officially a Nation of Immigrants, just like the U.S., and "the English" are in the process of being moved from "deprecated" to "never existed".

At present, usage of "Englishman" is correct only in certain restricted contexts, e.g., to describe an FOB Somali crime suspect resident in London. (For that matter, "Scots", "Welsh", and "Irish" should be invoked only for the purpose of bashing Englishmen, never for the positive assertion of the nationhood of the Scots, Welsh, or Irish against anybody else's designs on their territory.)

P.S. Thanks to all the commenters for not quoting the "band of brothers" passage from the Federalist Papers.

Why that particular passage? I would think that there are other passages in the Federalist Papers far more provoking to the touchy sensibilities of SEIs and DEIs (Sons/Daughters of Ellis Island) than that one.

H.E. Reward said...

For once Aaron Gross is right, more or less. The "British nation" was always a phoney concept - England, Scotland and Wales are proper nations (let's leave Ireland to one side for the moment) but Britain is an empire state whose apogee passed well over a lifetime ago and is now limping on rather painfully. I say this as an Englishman who was happy to consider himself British until the mid-1990s, but rapidly lost any sense of Britishness around the turn of the century and will not now accept being identified as British in anything other than a technical sense. the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia split up into their respective ethnic homelands, and the United Kingdom is now on the same journey.

H.E. Reward said...

And Rohan Swee makes a five-star comment which (sadly) captures the official/leftist/British establishment view of the English almost perfectly.

[my captcha is unusual this time - instead of just a number it says "ED ALEGRIA" above "352". Ed Alegria appears to be a hairdresser in Manila. Is captcha being used for underhand purposes, as some posters have theorized recently?]

NOTA said...

American exceptionalism always seems to me to be an attempt to claim that normal rules of morality and/or prudence do not apply to us. Thus, we remain the good guys no matter how many innocents we kill or how many torture chambers we keep busy 24/7. Thus, no matter what our troops do, one must never question their bravery or goodness or the certainty of their ultimate victory.

It's a kind of institutional self-delusion, like the way a 45-year-old, 200 lb ex-prom-queen convinces herself that she's still hot and all the guys still want her.

Anonymous said...

"Americans can't have a state like Japan or Finland because we're not an ethnic group with a long history."

I recall a few decades ago, probably right before the Soviet Union fell, a military historian (and I mean someone talking about tactics and military hardware, not the big picture) saying something, in retrospect, startling prescient. Paraphrasing, "things cannot last, but whatever happens, the Russian people will endure." And so it has happened.

Don't be so confident that, whatever happens, the historic "American people" and the American nation are history. Names may change, details may change, but the nation endures. Hostile elites often prove surprisingly fragile, as nothing reveals people truly for what they are so much as being in power.

Charlesz Martel said...

Actually, America only had slavery for 85 years. Prior to 1776 we were a British colony, and slavery ended in 1865. The overwhelming majority of the years that America allowed slavery were under British rule. Perhaps they should be the ones paying reparations.