My least favorite word to explain the particular characteristic of the American peoples, is exceptionalism, simply because it is a bogus word, having no intrinsic meaning without a plethora of additional descriptors. Webster will tell you that the term defines being ‘a nation different from the norm’, an exception from accepted order, an oddity, a transgression from natural law. All properties that within a civilized society would suggest being outcast, a pariah, sitting alone and quite unsupported upon the edge of an otherwise complete alternative.
As something of a theoretical and these days decidedly armchair anarchist, I find the attractiveness of independent thinking wholly enticing, if I was to claim a subtitle for my existence perhaps ‘exceptional’ would be favorite to be underscored. Being completely self-absorbed, to the point of becoming if not narcissistic certainly egocentric, I can safely swim in the waters of exceptionalism without fear of being disruptive to the remaining whole, for my personal whims and fancies has little to do with the governance of myriad souls, indeed the singularity I constantly seek and brandish in a most surly manner relies upon being as obviously distinctive from the rest as is possible, legally and morally.
I find the logic of an exceptional nation confounding, the perspective of multiple millions of souls confusedly meandering about with no particular purpose whatsoever springs graphically to mind. This is of course not what the bandiers of exceptionalism have in mind, quite the opposite. Their particular version of different from the norm is not multifaceted, ‘tis rather singularity directed, codified exactly in every sphere.
I recently listened to a supposed lecture upon American idealism, that suggested that a combination of Grecian, Roman and Judaic culture and intellectual thought and practice would be a perfect base for construction. The lecturer had quite obviously a scant to nil understanding of any real history, particularly in that the most recent of those concepts has managed to inflict two millennium of war and strife upon a whole global region. All three designs of course are most appropriately quite openly inclusive of oppression, slavery, discrimination, wholesale usury, the exploitation of the masses for the comfort and furtherance of the powerful few. Political configurations, republics particularly, are prone to inherent divisiveness, reflective of the struggles necessary for the overthrow of any hierarchical construct, which all base formulations reflect, including the familial.
The perception that any form of government is provably superior that another is mute. No such validation exists historically, philosophically, practically. ‘Tis most honest to admit that human beings, and by definition their beliefs, heartfelt views, religious convictions, are inclined towards utter fallaciousness. We have yet to improve upon family, small community, tribe, for out foundations. All forms of organization bear the scars of birth, the failings of their parents, the improbability of hopes and dreams.
When we assume we are right, we are undoubtedly wrong, when we are certain we have found the single correct answer, we are being but exceptional in our stupidity and self-righteousness.