Vital Signs

The Dangerous Myth of American Exceptionalism

One thing that distinguishes the French from the Americans is that the French have the good grace to number their failed political experiments—two kingdoms, two empires, and five republics.

Americans, on the other hand, profess "American exceptionalism." They assert that the United States is unique among the countries of the world because she alone has successfully functioned under the same Constitution for more than 200 years. According to "American exceptionalism," the government of the United States has never been overthrown, and the U.S. Constitution has never been changed—except through the amendment process, as established by the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

If ignorance is bliss, then Americans live in a terminal state of euphoria. The War Between the States (as Congress officially termed the conflict in 1928) or the "Civil War" (as the politically correct intentionally mislabel it) alone shatters the myth of "American exceptionalism."

American exceptionalism, however, is not just a myth; it is a dangerous myth, because of its four false corollaries: First, the government of the United States is morally and politically superior to all other governments; second, the government of the United States is "indispensable" for the peace and prosperity of the world; third, other governments, as a matter of national self-interest, must...

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