Friday, December 28, 2012

The Great Inversion: From Puritan to Yankee December 25, 2011 It is common for traditional Southerners who have had much contact with Yankees to wonder how “those people,” as General Robert E Lee referred to them, became the way they are today. MacDonald King Aston, author of Yankee Babylon: American Dream. American Nightmare. has studied the subject for many years. In the following short excerpt from pages 80-81 of his lengthy and well-documented book on the subject, Mr Aston writes about what he calls “The Great Inversion” – a process whereby the New England Puritan developed into the Yankee. Why is the Yankee different from the Southerner? The Great Inversion goes a long way in explaining this great difference, according to Mr Aston: Benjamin Franklin, the archetypal Yankee, according to author MacDonald King Aston. [I]ndividualism, ultimately turned to the extreme, led to the downfall of the Puritans. The individualist impulse in their religious sensibilities led, as [Richard Henry] Tawney said, “to and individualistic morality, and an individualist morality to a disparagement of the significance of the social fabric as compared with personal character.” …Money-making was invested with a spiritual cloak. Labour was imposed by God’s will and reason and not merely as an economic end unto itself, for only spirituality enabled the health of a soul, and in the spiritual striving alone was the ethical duty discovered. The virtues of [Benjamin] Franklin are found in this formulation, the virtues of “enterprise, diligence and thrift” with the patina of a “supernatural sanction.” Tawney, like others, notes the influence of Calvinism upon the Puritans, writing that from its inception Calvinism had “given a whole-hearted imprimatur to the life of business enterprise,” and later, the “individualism congenial to the world of business became the distinctive characteristic of a Puritanism which had arrived, and which, in becoming a political force, was at once secularized and committed to a career of compromise.” Career of compromise describes the shift from Puritan to Yankee in three words. The original Puritan message had carried the opposite reasoning. The individual was not so much concerned with the social or commercial realms of life, but simply individual responsibility toward the realm of God within a community. But now the individual was culled from the community of saints and the new exaltation was not the Covenant of Grace but the Covenant of Greed. The Puritan, like Adam, was henceforth exiled from his Eden, and in the last half of the 18th century, the Puritan ceased to exist as he was. In his place stood the Yankee, the economic paradigm of Puritan individualism turned upside down. The Great Awakening led to the Great Inversion, and to the intellectual collapse of Puritanism. Thus was the inversion of Puritanism to the Yankee effected. Also see: Song of the North?, The Yankee and the Southerner and Cotton Mather and the Yankee do-gooders American Narcissism: The Myth of National Superiority Wilber W. Caldwell Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back American Narcissism: . The Myth of National Superiority Americans have much to be proud of, but national pride can cross the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism and malignant nationalism. The author surveys the evolution of AmericansÂ’ grandiose view of themselves — and the contrasting impression created in the wider world. About the Author Wilber W. Caldwell is the author of several books of social commentary that look at American society through various lenses including history, architecture, food and philosophy. Earlier titles include The Courthouse and the Depot: The Architecture of Hope in an Age of Despair, a study of railroad expansion and its effect on public architecture in the rural South 1833-1910; Searching for the Dixie Barbecue: Journeys into the Southern Psyche, a humorous look at the world of barbecue and contemporary rural Southern culture; and Cynicism and the American Dream. A photographer as well as a writer, he lives in the mo About the Book Nationalism is not unique to America: it was invented with the birth of modern nations. But nationalism is unique in America. Americans conceive themselves and their nation to be incontrovertibly superior to the other peoples and nations of the earth. When does national pride cross the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism and malignant nationalism? Historically, American notions of superiority spring from myths of the unique regenerative power of the new land; from visions of chosen-ness, mission and high destiny; from the indelible legends of frontier self-sufficiency; from the confidence and self-reliance needed to succeed as immigrants; from a powerful sense of AmericaÂ’s isolation and uniqueness; from the realization of abundance; and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology. This predisposes us to a distinctively virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in almost any other modern nation. As the unipolar moment fades into memory, this sense of unquestionable superiority — expressed through politics and foreign policy — does not play well before the global audience. In fact, it never did. Drawing on sources from within the academic disciplines of history, sociology, political science and foreign affairs, the book seeks to decode scholarly jargon and lay bare this corner of the American mind for the benefit of a wider readership. The discussion is organized in four parts: Nationalism The Evolution of the American Superiority Myth The Presumption of National Superiority Tolerance And Plurality In America today, notions of national superiority are far more deeply ingrained and far more potentially ruinous than most of us imagine. This is a journey that slides from reason to emotion, from individual liberty to mass tyranny, and from humanity to inhumanity. This book will interest readers of US history, current events, and social commentary; and all who wonder, “Why do they hate us?” It would be futile to attempt to convince a North American, although the contribution his nation has made to the evolution of liberty and utility has undoubtedly been substantial, and should rightfully qualify as a universal contribution, indeed, as a contribution to humanity, it is not so great as to cause the axis of the world to shiftÂ… José Enrique Rodó in Ariel, 1900. Ariel, the extraordinary work of Uruguayan author José Enrique Rodó, remains virtually unknown in the United States but over a hundred years after its publication it is still widely read and quoted in Latin America. It is a book of seemingly timeless insight. Rodó’s generous turn-of-the-century praise of the best qualities of the United States still accurately describes our national strengths today. Likewise, his descriptions of our national self-congratulatory arrogance and blind evangelical nationalism remain every bit as apt at the beginning of the 21st century as they were a hundred years ago. While in one breath Rodó praises US ingenuity, in the next he wonders why we donÂ’t simply presume to rewrite the Holy Bible, inserting ourselves on the very first page. The sad fact is that the America of today is even more arrogant than the America that Rodó described in the days of Manifest Destiny and gunboat diplomacy that followed the blatantly jingoist raid that Americans euphemistically refer to as the Spanish American War. Indeed, the events of the 20th century have served to reinforce the national myth of superiority. The establishment of unparalleled industrial might, military victories in two world wars and on both sides of the globe, and the staggering economic defeat of Communism in the Cold War all have combined to cement AmericaÂ’s presumption of national superiority and to increase her prideful arrogance. However, these are merely the most recent chapters in a long history of escalating national illusions of pre-eminence and blind national egoism. Are these presumptions of superiority a product of a runaway nationalism? Or, conversely, does this vigorous nationalism spring from deep-seated convictions of national superiority? The answer is yes to both questions. The relationship between nationalism and traditions of national superiority is circular. That is to say, feelings of national exceptionalism are a universal characteristic of nationalism; and historically embedded national superiority myths and self-serving notions of universal mission fuel the growth of potent varieties of nationalism. Americans have been, and are today, exposed almost from birth to a particularly virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in other modern nation. The resulting affliction stems from an unswerving faith in national superiority and uniqueness that is deeply ingrained in the American mind. Historically, these notions of superiority sprang from myths of the unique abundance and regenerative power of the new land; from visions of chosen-ness, mission, and high destiny; from the indelible lessons of frontier self-sufficiency; from a developing sense of American isolation and uniqueness, and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology. In some of us, nationalist feelings are intermittent or limited, but few of us are immune, especially in times of anger, sentimentality or fear; and those of us who strive to cure ourselves do so in full recognition of our afflictionÂ’s strength and ubiquity. In spite of, and perhaps because of, our many strengths, practically all of us as Americans share this particularly prideful, unlovely and potentially fatal weakness. In one form or another and to some degree or another, we carry national pride across the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism from malignant nationalism. Such a crossing constitutes a journey from reason to emotion, from individual liberty to mass tyranny, and from humanity to inhumanity. This book is an effort to define and diagnose this national disease, to explore its historical, psychological, political, and cultural causes and effects, and to prescribe a cure. Making the World Over In AmericaÂ’s Image The perspective of José Enrique Rodó, that is to say the view from Latin America, is a very good place to begin our inquiry. In the beginning, Spanish colonials in Latin America shared with their contemporaries in the English colonies to the North an intoxication born of the promise of the New World. They too breathed the air of freedom that blew across virgin lands and promised new beginnings. They too harbored the heady ideals inherent in the possibility of throwing off the yoke of a reactionary and intolerant Old World with its feudal remnants and dead-end societies. Only a few decades after the American Revolution, most of Latin America broke free from Spain, enthusiastically seeking to copy more progressive political and social models in France, England, and especially in the United States. However, this was not to be on the southern continent; “the vacuum between law and reality was too vast, ” and tyrants rushed in to fill it: Santa Anna in Mexico, Rosas in Argentina, Francia in Paraguay. Still, Latin American liberals continued to enthusiastically admire the United States, even though the Monroe Doctrine, which had initially seemed to protect them from Old World colonial intervention, soon became a barrier, depriving liberal revolutionary causes the European help they needed and isolating budding national cultures from the riches of European civilization. Latin AmericansÂ’ admiration of the U.S. was soon disappointed. In the 1840s, the United States openly revealed her arrogance by voicing the audacious thesis of Manifest Destiny, based on her long-incubating perceptions of “a providential and historically sanctioned right to continental expansion.” After her defeat of Mexico in 1848, the U.S. annexed what are now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and California. This action was justified as “the inevitable fulfillment of a moral mission, delegated to the nation by Providence itself.” However, when the Constitution did not follow the flag into Old Mexico, it was clear that U.S motives were territorial and did not include an effective liberation of their southern neighbor. Not surprisingly, the view from the southern hemisphere suddenly revealed a “Jekyll and Hyde” America, “a democracy inside, an empire outside.” A half-century later came the Spanish American War, and the United States gobbled up Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippines. Again, the Constitution did not follow the flag, and again the seizure of these lands was justified by the now expanding doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which by the 1890s included not only the right to continental expansion but also the providential obligation to “lead the world to new and better things.” In response to the ensuing Filipino insurrection, Senator Platt of Connecticut voiced the national self-justification in a letter to President McKinley, “God has placed upon this government the solemn duty of providing the people of these islands a government based on the principle of liberty, no matter how many difficulties the problem may present.” It was the first exercise in a lesson that the United States has yet to learn. Despite all evidence to the contrary, most Americans, then as now, arrogantly believed that “American sovereignty would be a blessing to any land.” For Latin America and for much of the rest of the world, the result of this misguided notion was that the United States “desatanized Spain while satanizing itself. Rodó is clear in his assessment of all of this, and his appraisal is still valid today: As fast as the utilitarian genius of that nation [The United States] takes on a more defined character, franker, narrower yet, with intoxication of material prosperity, so increases the impatience of its sons to spread it abroad by propaganda, and thinks it predestined for all humanity. Today they openly aspire to the primacy of the worldÂ’s civilization, the direction of its ideas, and think themselves the forerunners of all culture that is to prevail. American histories of today bear out Rodó’s critique. According to US foreign policy historian Michael Hunt, “America entered the 20th century with three images of Latin America at their disposal,” that of a “half breed brute” to justify American “aloofness and predatory aggressiveness,” a feminine image to cast the US as “ardent suitor and gallant savior,” and that of the infantile and often Negroid Latin, to justify AmericaÂ’s “tutelage and stern discipline.” In each case, Hunt explains, “Americans stood in relation to Latinos as superiors dealing with inferiors.” Hunt goes on to assert that, as the 20th century began to unfold, the United States used these images to rationalize and support “the ripening claim of the US to the role of leader and policeman of an American System of states.” With Europe fenced out by the Monroe doctrine, Hunt continues, “American policy makers, with inherited pretensions of superiority over Latinos and with ever-increasing power to make good on these pretensions, moved steadily toward making the hemisphere a US preserve.” Today critics of contemporary US foreign policy in Central and South America still make the same charges. But Rodó’s critique is not at its heart political, it is cultural. He considers it unthinkable that the US should presume to complete with Europe on a cultural stage. At the bottom of this rivalry with Europe lies a contempt Â… that is almost naïve and the profound conviction that, within a brief period, they [Americans] are destined to eclipse Â… [EuropeÂ’s] glory and do away with its spiritual superiorityÂ…. It were useless to seek to convince them that the fire lit upon European alters, the work done by the peoples living these three thousand years Â… makes a sum that cannot be equaled by any equation of Washington and Edison. ike many contemporary foreign critics of American culture, Rodó is scathing in his assessment: “… in the ambient of AmericaÂ’s democracy there are no heights so lofty as to escape the flood of vulgarity.”Later on, he is quite specific as to the nature of this vulgarity: “the negation of great art, strained brutality of effect, insensibility to soft tones or an exquisite style, the cult of bigness, and that sensationalism which excludes all noble serenity as incompatible with the hurry of this hectic life. At the start of the 21st century, Rodó’s assessment of the “vulgar” culture that the United States strives to export still rings true for many critics. This is particularly poignant because, although the blatant American imperialism of the turn of the last century is now only a memory, today the nationÂ’s policies evidence more insidious brands of imperialism: cultural imperialism, economic imperialism, moral imperialism, the imperialism of ideology. All are spread by the same national arrogance, the same cock-sure certainly that we are right. Many nations fear the United States practices a contemporary brand of “soft imperialism,” which is engulfing the world under the auspice of economic globalization. Inherent in these fears is the notion that globalization carries with it inevitable Americanization. At the same time, a broader globalization debate rages as to whether American-led globalization will save the Third World or simply exploit it. In spite of such fears, and despite the setbacks, the public remains convinced that eventually all nations are destined to fall into step and adopt “the American way.” All the while, we decry the rigid fundamentalism of our enemies while we remain utterly blind to our own. Very early on in the American experience, citizens began to harbor the notion that American institutions, values, and way of life were so superior to those of other nations and that their spread throughout the world was inevitable. Despite the now-obvious pluralistic nature of the modern (or postmodern) world, such ideas still engage the American mind. In 2002, US State Department Planning Director Richard Haass, described what he called the doctrine of integration. Its aim is to integrate “other countries and organizations into arrangements that will sustain a world consistent with US interests and values and thereby promote peace, prosperity, and justice.” These “arrangements” involve ideas thought to be universal like the rule of law, human rights, private property, and religious tolerance. It is believed that this kind of integration will lead to prosperity, liberalization, and democratization and thus to peace and stability. Surely, this is all well and good and very much in line with AmericaÂ’s core values. Still, such a scheme is grounded in the idea of the superiority of our values and the assumption that our culture and institutions will follow on the heels of reform. For many Americans, the inevitable world victory is as simple as the facts of economics, commerce, and material progress. “Our population, our wealth, Â… our manufacturers, and our agricultural resources are all so expanding that the commercial relations of this country will be such that they must come and go with us.” Here is the full-brown myth of national economic superiority exuding a shameless pride, the self-satisfied musing of a people who feel that they have materially acquitted themselves so admirably as to “prove their superiority over all peoples. Others are convinced that the United States possesses “the most perfect form of government ever devised by man;” that US institutions, moral fiber, and ideology are so superior to those of other nations that all will fall prey, not to force but to a superior population, changing their customs until, one by one, the entire world will be drawn to our civilization, our laws, and our culture. As George Boutwell pompously and incorrectly wrote in 1869, “Other nations take by force of arms, ours by force of ideas.” Over the years, the halls of Congress have continued to ring with the same arrogance that inspired Boutwell in the 1860s and inflamed Rodó in 1900. Senator Beveridge waxed poetic in 1898, “Our institutions will follow on the wings of commerce. And American law, American order, American civilization, and the American flag will plant themselves on shores hitherto bloody and benighted, but, by those agencies of God, henceforth to be made beautiful and bright.” Or as Tyler Dennett put it in 1922, American policy is “adopted in great ignorance of the actual facts Â… and in a blissful and exalted assumption that any race ought to regard conquest by the American people as a superlative blessing. All of this blindly overlooks the undeniable fact that the transfer of institutions, laws, economic systems and social mores, not to mention entire cultures, from one people to another is not a simple matter. Rodó points to the great fallacy of the evangelical American superiority myth by quoting the 19th-century French historian Jules Michelet: “the transferal of what is natural and spontaneous in one society to another where it has neither natural nor historical roots, Â…[is] like attempting to introduce a dead organism into a living one by simple implantation. None of this is intended to imply that the original core values put forth in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution do not represent important steps toward a universal common good. Certainly, Americans have good reason to be proud and to be faithful to the causes of universal liberty and equality. However, such faith must be tempered with a realistic and therefore modest sense of our own significance. We must openly approach the world in a quest for knowledge and certitude, acknowledging that American ideals, values, institutions, and the American way of life are works in progress, not consummate Ultimate Truths. Still, Americans are sure that they, like Woodrow Wilson, have seen “visions that other nations have not seen,” and that, accordingly, the United StatesÂ’ mission has always been to become the “light of the world.” Indeed, from the very beginning, the American national identity was built on audacious visions of chosen-ness, destiny, and mission. Ronald Reagan was not the first nor the last in a long line of entrenched American visionaries to proclaim American exceptionalism, with its missionary implications of the Puritan “city on the hill,” no longer a stationary beacon, but an active force, the “leader of the free world” directing its forces against “empires of evil. With such visions comes a warning: “the adoption of political and social values Â… as a framework for national identification is possible only if these values are based on some source of apparent ultimate truth which confers on them absolute validity — if they can claim universality.” If Americans unflinchingly believe that theirs is the single principle of Absolute Truth representing the universal interests of humankind, then any opposition will appear either criminal or inhuman. As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. puts it, “Those who are convinced that they have a monopoly on Truth always feel that they are saving the world when they slaughter heretics. Their object remains the making of the world over in the image of their dogmatic ideology — their goal is a monolithic world, organized on the principle of the infallibility of a single creed.” If Americans are so egotistical as to believe that their nation with its gleaming lamp of Ultimate Truth is the envy of the world, then they will perceive no wrong in trying make the world over in AmericaÂ’s image, by whatever means. However, the world is a very complex and diverse place, and Ultimate Truth is a highly elusive and unstable substance. Thus, these are not only very arrogant ideas; they are also very dangerous ideas.

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM Wiki Pedagogue I LOATHE Wike Pedia, The entire site is as controlled as a NAZI propaganda in 1944. WIKI represents the WORST Media Controll by the Corporate PC Liars

[文集] [专题] [检索] [独立评论] [海阔天空] [矛盾江湖] [全版论坛] 独立评论 The Guardian home Printing sponsored by: Sponsored by Kodak Books badge Comment America's neo-conservative world supremacists will fail Current US megalomania is rooted in the Puritan colonists' certainties Eric Hobsbawm The Guardian, Friday 24 June 2005 19.37 EDT Three continuities link the global US of the cold war era with the attempt to assert world supremacy since 2001. The first is its position of international domination, outside the sphere of influence of communist regimes during the cold war, globally since the collapse of the USSR. This hegemony no longer rests on the sheer size of the US economy. Large though this is, it has declined since 1945 and its relative decline continues. It is no longer the giant of global manufacturing. The centre of the industrialised world is rapidly shifting to the eastern half of Asia. Unlike older imperialist countries, and unlike most other developed industrial countries, the US has ceased to be a net exporter of capital, or indeed the largest player in the international game of buying up or establishing firms in other countries, and the financial strength of the state rests on the continued willingness of others, mostly Asians, to maintain an otherwise intolerable fiscal deficit. The influence of the American economy today rests largely on the heritage of the cold war: the role of the US dollar as the world currency, the international linkages of US firms established during that era (notably in defence-related industries), the restructuring of international economic transactions and business practices along American lines, often under the auspices of American firms. These are powerful assets, likely to diminish only slowly. On the other hand, as the Iraq war showed, the enormous political influence of the US abroad, based as it was on a genuine "coalition of the willing" against the USSR, has no similar foundation since the fall of the Berlin wall. Only the enormous military-technological power of the US is well beyond challenge. It makes the US today the only power capable of effective military intervention at short notice in any part on the world, and it has twice demonstrated its capacity to win small wars with great rapidity. And yet, as the Iraq war shows, even this unparalleled capacity to destroy is not enough to impose effective control on a resistant country, and even less on the globe. Nevertheless, US dominance is real and the disintegration of the USSR has made it global. The second element of continuity is the peculiar house-style of US empire, which has always preferred satellite states or protectorates to formal colonies. The expansionism implicit in the name chosen for the 13 independent colonies on the east coast of the Atlantic (United States of America) was continental, not colonial. The later expansionism of "manifest destiny" was both hemispheric and aimed towards East Asia, as well as modelled on the global trading and maritime supremacy of the British Empire. One might even say that in its assertion of total US supremacy over the western hemisphere it was too ambitious to be confined to colonial administration over bits of it. The American empire thus consisted of technically independent states doing Washington's bidding, but, given their independence, this required continuous readiness to exert pressure on their governments, including pressure for "regime change"and, where feasible (as in the mini-republics of the Caribbean zone), periodic US armed intervention. The third thread of continuity links the neo-conservatives of George Bush with the Puritan colonists' certainty of being God's instrument on earth and with the American Revolution - which, like all major revolutions, developed world-missionary convictions, limited only by the wish to shield the the new society of potentially universal freedom from the corruptions of the unreconstructed old world. The most effective way of finessing this conflict between isolationism and globalism was to be systematically exploited in the 20th century and still serves Washington well in the 21st. It was to discover an alien enemy outside who posed an immediate, mortal threat to the American way of life and the lives of its citizens. The end of the USSR removed the obvious candidate, but by the early 90s another had been detected in a "clash" between the west and other cultures reluctant to accept it, notably Islam. Hence the enormous political potential of the al-Qaida outrages of September 11 was immediately recognised and exploited by the Washington world-dominators. The first world war, which made the US into a global power, saw the first attempt to translate these world-converting visions into reality, but Woodrow Wilson's failure was spectacular; perhaps it should be a lesson to the current world-supremacist ideologists in Washington, who, rightly, recognise Wilson as a predecessor. Until the end of the cold war the existence of another superpower imposed limits on them, but the fall of the USSR removed these. Francis Fukuyama prematurely proclaimed "the end of history" - the universal and permanent triumph of the US version of capitalist society. At the same time the military superiority of the US encouraged a disproportionate ambition in a state powerful enough to believe itself capable of world supremacy, as the British Empire in its time never did. And indeed, as the 21st century began, the US occupied a historically unique and unprecedented position of global power and influence. For the time being it is, by the traditional criteria of international politics, the only great power; and certainly the only one whose power and interests span the globe. It towers over all others. All the great powers and empires of history knew that they were not the only ones, and none was in a position to aim at genuinely global domination. None believed themselves to be invulnerable. Nevertheless, this does not quite explain the evident megalomania of US policy since a group of Washington insiders decided that September 11 gave them the ideal opportunity for declaring its single-handed domination of the world. For one thing, it lacked the support of the traditional pillars of the post-1945 US empire, the state department, armed services and intelligence establishment, and of the statesmen and ideologists of cold war supremacy - men like Kissinger and Brzezinski. These were people who were as ruthless as the Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzes. (It was in their time that a genocide of Mayas took place in Guatemala in the 1980s.) They had devised and managed a policy of imperial hegemony over the greater part of the globe for two generations, and were perfectly ready to extend it to the entire globe. They were and are critical of the Pentagon planners and neo-conservative world supremacists because these patently have had no concrete ideas at all, except imposing their supremacy single-handed by military force, incidentally jettisoning all the accumulated experience of US diplomacy and military planning. No doubt the debacle of Iraq will confirm them in their scepticism. Even those who do not share the views of the old generals and proconsuls of the US world empire (which were those of Democratic as well as Republican administrations) will agree that there can be no rational justification of current Washington policy in terms of the interests of America's imperial ambitions or, for that matter, the global interests of US capitalism. It may be that it makes sense only in terms of the calculations, electoral or otherwise, of American domestic policy. It may be a symptom of a more profound crisis within US society. It may be that it represents the - one hopes short-lived - colonisation of Washington power by a group of quasi-revolutionary doctrinaires. (At least one passionate ex-Marxist supporter of Bush has told me, only half in jest: "After all, this is the only chance of supporting world revolution that looks like coming my way.") Such questions cannot yet be answered. It is reasonably certain that the project will fail. However, while it continues, it will go on making the world an intolerable place for those directly exposed to US armed occupation and an unsafer place for the rest of us. · Eric Hobsbawm is author of The Age of Extremes: The Short 20th Century 1914-1991. This is an edited extract from his preface to a new edition of VG Kiernan's America: The New Imperialism ; 。 American Exceptionalism American exceptionalism refers to the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other countries. In this view, America's exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming "the first new nation,"[1] and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. This observation can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as "exceptional" in 1831 and 1840.[2] Historian Gordon Wood has argued, "Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy."[3] The specific term "American exceptionalism" was first used in 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin chastising members of the American Communist Party for believing that America was independent of the Marxist laws of history "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions."[4] Although the term does not necessarily imply superiority, many neoconservative and American conservative writers have promoted its use in that sense.[1][5] To them, the United States is like the biblical "shining city on a hill," and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries.[6] Since the 1960s "postnationalist" scholars on the left have rejected American exceptionalism, arguing that the United States had not broken from European history, and has retained class inequities, imperialism and war. Furthermore, they saw every nation as subscribing to some form of exceptionalism.[7] Contents [hide] 1 Origins 2 Other nations 3 Causes in their historical context 3.1 Absence of feudalism 3.2 Puritan roots 3.3 American Revolution and Republicanism 3.4 Jefferson & Empire of Liberty 3.5 Democracy 3.6 Immigration 4 American Communism 5 Aspects of arguments 5.1 Republican ethos and ideas about nationhood 5.2 Frontier spirit 5.3 Mobility 6 21st century 6.1 Ignorance of aspects 6.2 Double standards 6.3 The Americanist heresy 6.4 Pre-emptive declinism 6.5 Similarities between the United States and Europe 7 See also 8 Notes 9 Bibliography 10 External links [edit] Origins Historian Dorothy Ross discussed three currents in American exceptionalism: Protestant American Christians believed American progress would lead to the Christian Millennium."[8] American writers also linked their history to the development of liberty in Anglo-Saxon England, even back to the traditions of the Teutonic tribes that conquered the western Roman empire.[9] Other American writers looked to the "millennial newness" of America, seeing the mass of "virgin land" promised an escape from the decay that befell earlier republics.[10] The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville first wrote about it in his 1831 work, Democracy in America:[11] The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one. Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial habits, even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts, the proximity of Europe, which allows them to neglect these pursuits without relapsing into barbarism, a thousand special causes, of which I have only been able to point out the most important, have singularly concurred to fix the mind of the American upon purely practical objects. His passions, his wants, his education, and everything about him seem to unite in drawing the native of the United States earthward; his religion alone bids him turn, from time to time, a transient and distracted glance to heaven. Let us cease, then, to view all democratic nations under the example of the American people.[12] American exceptionalism is closely tied to the idea of Manifest Destiny,[13] a term used by Jacksonian Democrats in the 1840s to promote the acquisition of much of what is now the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, the Gadsden Purchase, and the Mexican Cession). [edit] Other nations Some scholars argue that other nations have also demonstrated exceptionalism in terms of systematically engaging in what they considered benevolent enterprises, such as Britain at the height of the British Empire, as well as the Communist state in Russia, and France in the wake of the French Revolution.[14] [edit] Causes in their historical context Scholars have explored possible justifications for the notion of American exceptionalism. [edit] Absence of feudalism Many scholars use a model of American exceptionalism developed by Harvard political scientist Louis Hartz. In The Liberal Tradition in America (1955), Hartz argued that the American political tradition lacked the left-wing/socialist and right-wing/aristocratic elements that dominated in most other lands because colonial America lacked any feudal traditions, such as established churches, landed estates and a hereditary nobility.[15] The "liberal consensus" school, typified by David Potter, Daniel Boorstin and Richard Hofstadter followed Hartz in emphasizing that political conflicts in American history remained within the tight boundaries of a liberal consensus regarding private property, individual rights, and representative government. The national government that emerged was far less centralized or nationalized as European counterparts.[16] [edit] Puritan roots Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American Puritan roots.[17] Many Puritans with Arminian leanings embraced a middle ground between strict Calvinist predestination and a less restricting theology of Divine Providence. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to lead the other nations of the Earth. One Puritan leader, John Winthrop, metaphorically expressed this idea as a "City upon a Hill"—that the Puritan community of New England should serve as a model community for the rest of the world.[18] This metaphor is often used by proponents of exceptionalism. The Puritans' deep moralistic values remained part of the national identity of the United States for centuries, remaining influential to the present day. [edit] American Revolution and Republicanism The ideas that created the American Revolution were derived from a tradition of republicanism that had been repudiated by the British mainstream. Thomas Paine's Common Sense for the first time expressed the belief that America was not just an extension of Europe but a new land, a country of nearly unlimited potential and opportunity that had outgrown the British mother country.[19] These sentiments laid the intellectual foundations for the Revolutionary concept of American exceptionalism and were closely tied to republicanism, the belief that sovereignty belonged to the people, not to a hereditary ruling class.[20] Religious freedom characterized the American Revolution in unique ways—at a time when major nations had state religions. Republicanism (led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison) created modern constitutional republicanism, with a limit on ecclesiastical powers. Historian Thomas Kidd (2010) argues, "With the onset of the revolutionary crisis, a major conceptual shift convinced Americans across the theological spectrum that God was raising up America for some special purpose."[21] Kidd further argues that "a new blend of Christian and republican ideology led religious traditionalists to embrace wholesale the concept of republican virtue."[22] [edit] Jefferson & Empire of Liberty According to Tucker and Hendrickson (1992) Jefferson believed America "was the bearer of a new diplomacy, founded on the confidence of a free and virtuous people, that would secure ends based on the natural and universal rights of man, by means that escaped war and its corruptions." Jefferson sought a radical break from the traditional European emphasis on "reason of state" (which could justify any action) and the traditional priority of foreign policy and the needs of the ruling family over the needs of the people.[23] Jefferson envisaged America becoming the world's great "empire of liberty"--that is, the model for democracy and republicanism. He identified his nation as a beacon to the world, for, he said on departing the presidency in 1809, America was: "Trusted with the destinies of this solitary republic of the world, the only monument of human rights, and the sole depository of the sacred fire of freedom and self-government, from hence it is to be lighted up in other regions of the earth, if other regions of the earth shall ever become susceptible of its benign influence."[24] [edit] Democracy Alexis de Tocqueville stressed the advanced nature of democracy in America, arguing that it infused every aspect of society and culture, at a time (1830s) when democracy was not in fashion anywhere else.[25] [edit] Immigration One of Alexis de Toqueville's original arguments for American exceptionalism still stands; America remains particularly attractive to immigrants because of its perceived economic and political opportunities. Since its founding, many immigrants, such as Alexander Hamilton, Albert Gallatin, James J Hill, John Jacob Astor, Andrew Carnegie, Charlie Chaplin, Samuel Goldwyn, Bob Hope, Saul Bellow, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and Arnold Schwarzenegger have risen to the top in business, media and politics, not to mention the success of the children of immigrants, such as Colin Powell and Barack Obama. The "American Dream" describes the perceived abundance of opportunities in the American system. The United States has the largest population of immigrants in the world—over 38.5 million people living in the United States are first-generation immigrants,[26] although on a percentage basis the immigrant population ranks 48th in the world.[27] On an annual basis, the United States naturalizes approximately 898,000 immigrants as new citizens, first in the world in absolute terms,[28] and 8th in the world in per capita terms.[29] From 1960 to 2005, the United States was ranked first in the world for every five year period but one for the total number of immigrants admitted—overall, since 1995, the United States has admitted over 1 million immigrants per year.[30] Of the top ten countries accepting resettled refugees in 2006, the United States accepted more than twice as many as the next nine countries combined, approximately 50,000 refugees; in addition, on average, over 100,000 refugees per year were resettled annually between 1990 and 2000; further, over 85,000 asylum seekers annually come to the United States in search of sanctuary, of which approximately 45% are successful in obtaining. [edit] American Communism In June 1927 Jay Lovestone, a leader of the Communist Party in America and soon to be named General Secretary, described America's economic and social uniqueness. He noted the increasing strength of American capitalism, and the country's "tremendous reserve power"; a strength and power which he said prevented Communist revolution.[31] In 1929, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, disagreeing that America was so resistant to revolution, called Lovestone's ideas "the heresy of American exceptionalism"[32]—the first time that the specific term "American exceptionalism" was used.[33] In the 1930s, academicians in the U.S. redefined American exceptionalism as befitting a nation that was to lead the world, with the newer United States ready to serve the older European societies as an example of a liberated future free from Marxism and socialism.[32] More recently, socialists and other writers have tried to discover or describe this exceptionalism of the U.S. within and outside its borders.[34] [edit] Aspects of arguments [edit] Republican ethos and ideas about nationhood Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite. In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, America is a nation "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." In this view, America is inextricably connected with liberty and equality. This interpretation of American exceptionalism has been championed by Newt Gingrich. In a 2011 film, A City Upon a Hill[35] and book, A Nation Like No Other, Gingrich argues the claim to "exceptionalism" is "built on the unique belief that our rights do not come from the government, but from God, giving honor and responsibility to the individual -- not the state."[36] The United States' policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances, which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful. Some proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a "tyranny of the majority," are preservative a free republican democrat, and also that it allows citizens to live in a locality whose laws reflect that citizen's values. A consequence of this political system is that laws can vary greatly across the country. Critics of American exceptionalism maintain that this system merely replaces the power of the national majority over states with power by the states over local entities. On balance, the American political system arguably allows more local dominance but prevents more national dominance than does a more unitary system. [edit] Frontier spirit Proponents of American exceptionalism often claim that the "American spirit" or the "American identity" was created at the frontier (following Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis), where rugged and untamed conditions gave birth to American national vitality. However, this "frontier spirit" was not unique to the United States—other nations such as New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Australia had long frontiers that were similarly settled by pioneers, shaping their national psyches. In fact, all of the British Imperial domains involved pioneering work. Although each nation had slightly different frontier experiences (for example, in Australia "mateship" and working together was valued more than individualism was in the United States[37]), the characteristics arising from British attempting to "tame" a wild and often hostile landscape against the will of the original population remained common to many such nations. Of course, at the limit, all of mankind has been involved, at one time or another, in extending the boundaries of their territory. [edit] Mobility For most of its history, especially from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries, the United States has been known as the "land of opportunity," and in this sense, it prided and promoted itself on providing individuals with the opportunity to escape from the contexts of their class and family background.[38] Examples of this social mobility include: Occupational—children could easily choose careers which were not based upon their parents' choices.[39] Physical—that geographical location was not seen as static, and citizens often relocated freely over long distances without barrier.[40] Status—As in most countries, family standing and riches were often a means to remain in a higher social circle. America was notably unusual due to an accepted wisdom that anyone—from impoverished immigrants upwards—who worked hard, could aspire to similar standing, regardless of circumstances of birth. This aspiration is commonly called living the American dream. Birth circumstances generally were not taken as a social barrier to the upper echelons or to high political status in American culture. This stood in contrast to other countries where many higher offices were socially determined, and usually hard to enter without being born into the suitable social group.[41] However, social mobility in the US is lower than in a number of European Union countries if defined in terms of income movements. American men born into the lowest income quintile are much more likely to stay there compared to similar men in the Nordic countries or the United Kingdom.[42] Many economists, such as Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, however, state that the discrepancy has little to do with class rigidity; rather, it is a reflection of income disparity: "Moving up and down a short ladder is a lot easier than moving up and down a tall one."[43] Further information: Economic mobility, Social mobility [edit] 21st century During the George W. Bush administration, the term was somewhat abstracted from its historical context.[44] Proponents and opponents alike began using it to describe a phenomenon wherein certain political interests view the United States as being "above" or an "exception" to the law, specifically the Law of Nations.[45] (This phenomenon is less concerned with justifying American uniqueness than with asserting its immunity to international law.) This new use of the term has served to confuse the topic and muddy the waters, since its unilateralist emphasis and historical orientation diverge somewhat from older uses of the term. A certain number of those who subscribe to "old-style" or "traditional American exceptionalism" the idea that America is a more nearly exceptional nation than are others, that it differs qualitatively from the rest of the world and has a special role to play in world history—also agree that the United States is and ought to be fully subject to and bound by the public international law. Indeed, recent research shows that "there is some indication for American exceptionalism among the [U.S.] public, but very little evidence of unilateral attitudes."[46] Marilyn B. Young argues that after the end of the Cold War in 1991, neoconservative intellectuals and policymakers embraced the idea of an "American empire," a national mission to establish freedom and democracy in other nations, particularly underdeveloped ones. She argues that after 9-11 the George W. Bush administration reoriented foreign policy to an insistence on maintaining the supreme military and economic power of America, an attitude that harmonized with this new vision of American empire. Young says the Iraq War (2003–2011) exemplified American exceptionalism.[47] In April 2009, Barack Obama responded to a journalist's question in Strasbourg with the statement, "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."[48] In the same response, Obama noted that "I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone."[49] [edit] Ignorance of aspects Critics on the left such as Marilyn Young and Howard Zinn have argued that American history is so morally flawed, citing slavery, civil rights and social welfare issues, that it cannot be an exemplar of virtue.[50] Zinn argues that American exceptionalism cannot be of divine origin because it was not benign, especially when dealing with Native Americans.[51] Dartmouth professor Donald Pease defined 'American exceptionalism' as a "state fantasy" and a "myth" in his 2009 book The New American Exceptionalism.[52] Pease notes that "state fantasies cannot altogether conceal the inconsistencies they mask," showing how such events as the revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and the exposure of government incompetence after Hurricane Katrina "opened fissures in the myth of exceptionalism."[52] American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr argued that the automatic assumption, that America acts for the good, will bring about moral corruption. However Niebuhr did support the nation's Cold War policies. His position (called "Christian Realism") advocated a liberal notion of responsibility that justified interference in other nations.[53] [edit] Double standards U.S. historians like Thomas Bender "try and put an end to the recent revival of American exceptionalism, a defect he esteems to be inherited from the Cold War."[54] Gary W. Reichard and Ted Dickson argue "how the development of the United States has always depended on its transactions with other nations for commodities, cultural values and populations."[55] Roger Cohen asks, "How exceptional can you be when every major problem you face, from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to gas prices, requires joint action?"[56] Harold Koh distinguishes "distinctive rights, different labels, the 'flying buttress' mentality, and double standards. (...) [T]he fourth face—double standards—presents the most dangerous and destructive form of American exceptionalism."[57] Godfrey Hodgson also concludes that "the US national myth is dangerous."[58] Samantha Power asserts that "we're neither the shining example, nor even competent meddlers. It's going to take a generation or so to reclaim American exceptionalism."[59] [edit] The Americanist heresy Pope Leo XIII, who denounced what he deemed to be the heresy of americanism in the encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae,[60] was arguably referring to American exceptionalism in the ecclesiastical domain, when it is specifically applied to the teachings of Christianity and the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.[61][62] At the end of the 19th century, there was definitely a tendency among the Roman Catholic clergy in the United States to view American society as inherently different from other Christian nations and societies, and to argue that the entire understanding of Church doctrine had to be redrawn in order to meet the requirements of what is known as the American Experience, which supposedly included greater individualism, civil rights, the inheritance of the American revolution, Anglo-Saxon cultural traditions, economic liberalism, political reformism and egalitarianism, and Church-State separation. [edit] Pre-emptive declinism Herbert London has defined pre-emptive declinism as a postmodern belief "that the United States is not an exceptional nation and is not entitled by virtue of history to play a role on the world stage different from other nations."[63] London ascribed the view to Paul Krugman, among others.[64] Krugman had written in The New York Times that "We’ve always known that America’s reign as the world’s greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic."[64] According to RealClearPolitics, declarations of America's declining power have been common in the English-language media. In 1988, Flora Lewis sighed that "Talk of U.S. decline is real in the sense that the U.S. can no longer pull all the levers of command or pay all the bills." According to Anthony Lewis in 1990, Europeans and Asians are already finding confirmation of their suspicion that the United States is in decline." Citing America's dependence on foreign sources for energy and "crucial weaknesses" in the military, Tom Wicker concluded "that maintaining superpower status is becoming more difficult—nearly impossible—for the United States."[65] In 2004, Pat Buchanan lamented "the decline and fall of the greatest industrial republic the world had ever seen."[66] In 2007, Matthew Parris of the London Sunday Times wrote that the United States is "overstretched," romantically recalling the Kennedy presidency, when "America had the best arguments" and could use moral persuasion rather than force to have its way in the world. From his vantage point in Shanghai, the International Herald Tribune's Howard French worries about "the declining moral influence of the United States" over an emergent China.[65] In his book, The Post-American World, Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria refers to a "Post-American world" that he says, "is not about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else."[67] A 2011 poll by Generation Opportunity found that 56% of Millennials supported the notion that the U.S. is qualitatively different from other nations.[68] [edit] Similarities between the United States and Europe In December 2009, historian Peter Baldwin published a book arguing that, despite widespread attempts to contrast the 'American way of life' and the 'European social model', America and Europe are actually very similar on a number of social and economic indices. Baldwin claimed that the black underclass accounts for many of those few areas where a stark difference exists between the US and Europe, such as homicide and child poverty.[69] However, critic Andrew Moravcsik alleged that some of Baldwin's evidence actually supports the stereotype of a distinctive American model: a free-market system with little labor protection, an adversarial legal system, high murder rates, high rates of gun ownership, a large prison population, inequitable and expensive health care, and relatively widespread poverty.[70] 最后编辑时间: 2011-11-19 19:10:20 close全部跟贴 [独评] 看完,谢 幻城 [0 b] 2011-11-20 20:07:51 [点击: 134] (1173415) [独评] 谢谢任兄。 旁观者昏 [192 b] 2011-11-19 19:22:42 [点击: 193] (1173124) 加跟贴 笔名: 新网友请先注册笔名 密码: 主题: 进文集 内容: 粗体 下划线 斜体 左齐 居中 右齐 缩进 加联接 加图象 排版本