Saturday, August 26, 2006

American Exceptionalism = H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y

American Exceptionalism = H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y

When I was in school, I was told that a hypocrite was someone who told you not do something but did it himself anyway. A hypocrite functioned under the “do as I say NOT as I do” philosophy. Jesus is said to have condemned the Pharisees for being hypocrites. Hypocrites practice hypocrisy. I was taught this was one of the Earth’s lower moral life forms.

From http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07610a.htm
Hypocrisy is the pretension to qualities which one does not possess, or, more cognately to the scope of this article, the putting forward of a false appearance of virtue or religion.

Essentially its malice is identical with that of lying; in both cases there is discordance between what a man has in his mind and the simultaneous manifestation of himself. So far as the morality of the act goes, it is unimportant that this difference between the interior and the exterior be set out in words, as happens in formal lies, or be acted out in one's demeanor, as is true of simulation.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to have morals or virtues that one does not truly possess or practice. … A classic example of a hypocritical act is to criticize others for carrying out some action while carrying out the same action oneself.

American Exceptionalism is the philosophy that states no one else can do something EXCEPT America and those we have chosen. American Exceptionalism is hypocrisy because at its core there is a belief that we can do whatever we want and others must be restricted from similar actions. Under the Bush regime, American Exceptionalism has been taken to new lows.

HAVING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Ever since the days of “duck and cover,” I wondered why it was okay for America to spend billions on a nuclear arsenal that could destroy the Earth many times over while insisting that other countries should have no nuclear weapons. I was told it was because only the U.S. and its allies could be trusted with such dangerous weapons, despite the fact that we are the only country in history to use such weapons in an attack, twice. The two times nuclear weapons have been used it was on essentially civilian targets. This was a deliberate choice. Some of the scientist involved wanted the bombs exploded over a relatively flat area with a population, so they could quantify the destruction of the bombs. Purely military targets in the mountains and hills were rejected because the chances the data would not be a useful.

YELLOW-BELLIED CHICKENHAWKS
This particular group of people preaches about how great it is for our young people to fight in the war. You will not catch them or their children doing the fighting however. It isn’t the fighting man in Iraq that is getting rich, it is those who send them and would never go themselves.

PRODUCING MORE WMDs
The only WMDs found in Iraq were the inert remnants of poison gas. This has been used by some regime shills to justify our invasion and occupation. The U.S. has recently started to produce chemical and biological weapons again, saying they are needed for defensive purposes. Are they needed so we can sell them to the next Saddam that comes down the pike? If we need them for defense, why don’t other countries?

OPPRESSION AT HOME AND ABROAD
Our government in the last five plus years has illegally wiretapped phones, held prisoners without charge for years, has started a preventive (not even preemptive) war, and so on. They have done these things saying they are in the defense of freedom. How can one defend freedom at the same time as restricting freedom?

CASHING IN ON WAR AND PEOPLE’S SUFFERING
This is how Harry Truman dealt with war profiteers. From http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030512/editors:
When he heard rumors of such profiteering, Truman got into his Dodge and, during a Congressional recess, drove 30,000 miles paying unannounced visits to corporate offices and worksites. The Senate committee he chaired launched aggressive investigations into shady wartime business practices and found "waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and profiteering," according to Truman, who argued that such behavior was unpatriotic. Urged on by Truman and others in Congress, President Roosevelt supported broad increases in the corporate income tax, raised the excess-profits tax to 90 percent and charged the Office of War Mobilization with the task of eliminating illegal profits. Truman, who became a national hero for his fight against the profiteers, was tapped to be FDR's running mate in 1944.
He believed the worst offenders had committed treason. The climate of the current administration would bring investigations into the people who would dare to speak out. They say we fighting for democracy and freedom in Iraq. The sad truth is profit is the major motivation.

RACISM IS CONDONED
The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the civil rights code has dramatically decreased under Bush to the point of near extinction. If a designated enemy is seen as being racist, swift and total condemnation follows. Profiling based on race instead of actions is now the new push. Looking Muslim is considered reason enough for the abuses that used to be visited on African Americans. Trouble is how does one look Muslim?

INDISCRIMINATE KILLING
When the invasion of Iraq started, there was period of thirty days called “Shock and Awe.”

From http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/awe
to awe, (transitive verb) To inspire with fear and reverence.

The majority of shells and bombs used on Iraq during these days were not “smart” bombs. They killed babies as well as Republican Guard troops. This indiscriminate killing was designed to bring fear to the entire country. We gave lip service to “winning the hearts and minds” of Iraqis but our intentions were anything but. This attitude has been carried on through the duration, American troops have broken discipline, and the indiscriminate killing continues.

STEALING ELECTIONS
This is the most glaring cases of hypocrisy. The Bush regime talks about exporting democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, when it does not exist here at home. Additionally, the democracy in Iraq is a fa├žade; candidates during the elections there were not allowed to advocate the withdrawal of American troops, despite nearly 90% of the population favoring just such a move.

YOUNG LIVES WASTED
This is the most tragic of my points. This includes the dead of the war. This includes the injured of the war, many that come home to find their benefits are non-existent. Soldiers recovering in Army hospitals have been asked to pay for their own food. Those mentally affected find their treatment to be lacking if it exists at all. However, the most tragic part of all this is how the Bush regime uses these young people to garner support for their immoral and illegal war. They have equated support for the troops with support for the war. People do not want to appear to be not supporting the troops so they feel compelled to support the war.

A quick summary:

Having nuclear weapons
Yellow-bellied Chickenhawks
Producing more WMDs
Oppression at home and abroad
Cashing in on war and people’s suffering
Racism is condoned
Indiscriminate killing
Stealing elections
Young lives wasted

3 comments:

michelle l said...

Outstanding post, please post it far and wide...more folks need to hear this message

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that the term "Exceptionalism" in no way is meant to imply superiority over others. When the article was being written, it appears that the author had a prior misconception about "American Exceptionalism," and took it to an extreme. Lipset best defines Tocqueville's original intentions for the term as "qualitatively different from all other countries." Though I cannot entirely refute any of the facts in the post, I feel that I can firmly say hypocrisy is not one of the basic tenets of this Exceptionalim. Though hypocrisy exists in America, I think anyone would be hard pressed to show that no other country has ever acted in a hypocritical way. Yes, we tell other countries not to develop nuclear weapons, but those countries are nations which have attempted development through back-channels without seeking aid and diplomacy from the international community. North Korea has openly threatened hostility towards multiple nations. Iran began developing nuclear technology without gaining approval from the UN or any other intrenationally recognized body. And yes, members of congress support American military action abroad without themselves desiring to fight, but the individuals who currently are fighting were told before they joined the army: if there is a need for military action, you may be required to fight for your country. Since when did the army become a charity cause? Should we accept anyone into the military who wishes to join, but refrain from ever using them in combat? Though the causes might not be just, the government spoke and decided how to use the troops who VOLUNTEERED to join the army. Simply because you disagree with the choices of the government doesn't mean those making the choices are cowards, nor immoral for using soldiers who, when joining the army, fully understood they may see combat.

I understand that America's position in the world may not be ideal right now, and may be peering over the edge of morality straight into a cesspool of totalitarianism, but that has nothing to do with American Exceptionalism. Though I don't believe America is quite that far off the correct path, I just wanted people reading this to be aware that yes, we as a people are different from other countries, but that doesn't mean we're better or worse than anyone else. Just as often as you can produce negative aspects of America's differences, you can find benefits. From open immigration policies to complete freedom of religion, people come here to find things they can't find elsewhere, and that's what makes America the exception. It's okay to denegrate America and its policies, but if that's what you're planning on doing, please, don't manipulate well-formed political theory to be something it was clearly never intended to be.

A Proud Liberal said...

I felt it was necessary to respond this rather lengthy comment in detail. The anonymous author of which so parrots the Shrub's talking points that a response was almost demanded.
A Proud Liberal

Anonymous said...
I would like to point out that the term "Exceptionalism" in no way is meant to imply superiority over others. When the article was being written, it appears that the author had a prior misconception about "American Exceptionalism," and took it to an extreme. Lipset best defines Tocqueville's original intentions for the term as "qualitatively different from all other countries."


Right after he denies that Exceptionalism he contradicts himself with the word "qualitatively," this means that there is a difference in quality. I went to great lengths to define both American Exceptionalism and hypocrisy. I did not invite anyone to apply their own but defined it thusly: "American Exceptionalism is the philosophy that states no one else can do something EXCEPT America and those we have chosen."

Though I cannot entirely refute any of the facts in the post, I feel that I can firmly say hypocrisy is not one of the basic tenets of this Exceptionalim. Though hypocrisy exists in America, I think anyone would be hard pressed to show that no other country has ever acted in a hypocritical way.

By its very nature, American Exceptionalism is indeed hypocrisy albeit the practitioners of it believe it to be morally justified. Justifying our hypocrisy with others is the logically flawed argument that two wrongs make a right.

Yes, we tell other countries not to develop nuclear weapons, but those countries are nations which have attempted development through back-channels without seeking aid and diplomacy from the international community. North Korea has openly threatened hostility towards multiple nations. Iran began developing nuclear technology without gaining approval from the UN or any other intrenationally recognized body.

Somehow I missed when the United States went and got permission to develop nuclear weapons. We were at war but still decided it necessary to incinerate hundreds of thousands of non-combatants. After the war we developed the much more powerful Hydrogen bomb again withoout consultation with the then existing United Nations.

And yes, members of congress support American military action abroad without themselves desiring to fight, but the individuals who currently are fighting were told before they joined the army: if there is a need for military action, you may be required to fight for your country. Since when did the army become a charity cause? Should we accept anyone into the military who wishes to join, but refrain from ever using them in combat? Though the causes might not be just, the government spoke and decided how to use the troops who VOLUNTEERED to join the army. Simply because you disagree with the choices of the government doesn't mean those making the choices are cowards, nor immoral for using soldiers who, when joining the army, fully understood they may see combat.

The notion that we are a government of and by the people is thrown out with this attitude. If the cause for war is not just then the war is immoral and illegal. We as a country owe our military that they be used for both moral and legal reasons. Officers in our military swear allegiance to the Constitution and to obey lawful orders. Just because others follow blindly does not mean that those who realize the unjust nature of the Iraqi invasion and occupation are or should be required to give up a moral stand.

I understand that America's position in the world may not be ideal right now, and may be peering over the edge of morality straight into a cesspool of totalitarianism, but that has nothing to do with American Exceptionalism. Though I don't believe America is quite that far off the correct path, I just wanted people reading this to be aware that yes, we as a people are different from other countries, but that doesn't mean we're better or worse than anyone else.

Being different means being better or worse. The good side of American Exceptionalism is when we are better; the problem is at present the path of this country is we are worse.

Just as often as you can produce negative aspects of America's differences, you can find benefits. From open immigration policies to complete freedom of religion, people come here to find things they can't find elsewhere, and that's what makes America the exception. It's okay to denegrate America and its policies, but if that's what you're planning on doing, please, don't manipulate well-formed political theory to be something it was clearly never intended to be.

Once again I will not restricted by someone else's point of view especially when that "well-formed political theory" is designed to justify the hypocrisy as now currently practiced by the current administration.