American Exceptionalism Disturbs the Left

There is a current debate between the right and left that has been heating up recently. This debate is around the idea of American exceptionalism and it may be one of the core differences between the right and left from which all else springs.

This is closely related to the classic “glass half full” difference of views. The left continually sees the glass as half empty (or, often, more than half empty) while the right sees the glass as half full. Each view provides a direction of thought that other ideas follow. It is basically optimism vs. pessimism.

There is not much doubt that America is unique in all of history, but the idea that it may be the best, i.e. exceptional, highly disturbs the left. One reason is that left wing ideology is based on ideals that can never be reached. This causes continuous frustration that is soothed by believing the “grass is greener on the other side” and/or finding a victim to champion. The negativity this produces leaves no room for thoughts of exceptionalism until all wrongs are righted – an impossibility.

The left’s obsession with, and need for, victimhood produces an attitude of self-righteousness and superiority. Fighting for the underdog has always been an American trait, but the left take it much further by finding a victim everywhere and, therefore, always feeling like they hold the moral high ground. Everyone else is just wrong and only they know it.

US history provides evidence of many, many exceptional achievements, both as an individual country and as a world leader. There have been mistakes, embarrassments, and even atrocities, but they exist in the history of all countries. Even so, exceptionalism has been displayed by a willingness to address many past mistakes and make reparations in a manner that has not been attempted in other, much older countries.

Many who have not thought about American exceptionalism very much will now begin proclaiming it loudly just to watch the left go into convulsions. Sarah Palin, however, may actually have the power to cause fatalities with this tactic.

David J. Hentosh


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