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From ‘American Exceptionalism’ to ‘American Deceptionalism’

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Largely misunderstood or misused today, American Exceptionalism refers to the unique and exceptional form of governance created by the American Constitution with respect to individual power, liberty and freedom.

Prior to the creation of this nation, all forms of governance had been tyrannical, that is, total power and liberty were held by a monarch — or a czar, a dictator, a military conqueror, or a tribal leader — who in turn gave limited power, freedom and liberty to the individual.  Under the framers’ historically new and “exceptionally” American form of constitutional governance, power, liberty, and freedom flowed from the Creator directly to each individual, who in turn gave limited power and liberty to the state (i.e., government).

In an interesting essay, Professor Ben Voth argues that today “[w]e are besieged by an intellectual elite intensely committed to a grand design of American Deceptionalism,” whose four characteristics he defines as follows: (excerpts only):

  1. American is not exceptional. “For our epistemic elite composed of Hollywood storytellers, jaded journalists, professional activists, and reactionary academics it is a cardinal rule that America is exceptional in only one respect: guilt. America is exceptionally guilty of any moral violation that the mind can conjure up — whether selfishness, bigotry, hatred, imperialism, greed, murder, genocide, sexism and on it goes — no nation has committed greater sins than this one.”
  2. The general American public is incredibly stupid and ignorant. “The stupidity of Americans necessitates and justifies all kinds of rhetorical manipulations aimed at raising them up out of their failure to follow the example set by the higher beings inhabiting the East and West Coast and select urban centers. The deception spoken of by [MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan] Gruber was not unusual and is in fact normative for American elite. There is consequentially a voracious paternalism among the armies of Grubers that care for the American public through elite institutions.”
  3. Christianity, Judaism and religiosity contribute to the stubborn bad character traits of Americans. “If Americans would stop clinging to religion, the nation could progress and lean forward. … A breed of secular Pharisees takes us on a new shining path … Religious people need to ‘coexist’ and cooperate with the secular Pharisees provided to them by American deceptionalists.”
  4. American deceptionalism is a bipartisan movement. “The elite of the Republican and Democratic Parties have a shared contempt for the general public. … Ethics are a vulgar notion held among populists. They have no place in deceptionalist governance.”

The author concludes:

Because American deceptionalists abhor individual rights, they attack individuals to isolate them and force broader adherence to group identity politics and politically correct thinking designed by the elite.  They seek to manipulate, control and limit notions of individual heroism.  The individual is inherently construed as a threat to social order.  Americans can and should challenge argumentatively, the assumptions noted above — whether in classrooms, national cathedrals, boardrooms, council meetings, or rallies. Aspects of an American renaissance are already in the making, but the convictions of American deceptionalists are stubborn and persistent. They will require heroic resistance to fully defeat and return the nation to an appreciation of individual liberty.

Read more: American Deceptionalism by Ben Voth at American Thinker