Thursday, February 25, 2010

Destiny of America speech by Calvin Coolidge

Destiny of America speech by Calvin Coolidge: "There is no end of the things which the government could do, seemingly, in the way of public welfare, if it had the money. Everything we want cannot be had at once. It must be earned by toilsome labor. There is a very decided limit to the amount which can be raised by taxation without ruinously affecting the people of the country by virtual confiscation of a part of their past savings."

18 comments:

Paul said...

...or their future earnings.

jeff bloodworth said...

I think the authors forget exceptionalism cuts both ways. After all, exceptionalism only means different not necessarily better---that is what Tocqueville meant. In many ways the US is far superior to Western Europe society. I don't feel the need to recount the ways to bigtenters, but we can learn from our European cousins. Are we really satisfied with our crime rates, childhood obesity, or infant mortality rates?

America's swashbuckling capitalism and freedoms are responsible for the ipod, automobiles, and any number of nifty inventions. I celebrate these things--but these freedoms do come at a social cost--higher social inequities, crime, poverty, etc....

The choice is not one between Denmark or America--the choice is a continuum---we make trade-offs--lower taxes, fewer regulations means higher growth, more businesses & jobs but more social inequality. If you tweak tax rates, regulate a bit more--you can achieve more social equality but will have lower economic growth. The point--Noam Chomsky and Zinn are morons. Richard Rorty actually celebrated American nationalism and many liberals do believe America is exceptional--but we realize America can be better and sometimes we can learn from Europe. Reasonable people can disagree but once you make liberals out to "europeanize" the country--you have made us into strawmen. I don't watch MSNBC or listen to Glenn Beck for a reason---they make the political rivals into enemies. My enemy is hiding in Afghanistan/Pakistan---the GOP is the loyal oppostion. Pay us the same respect

Stephen said...

Not a bad way to make yet another distinction between Liberalism and the Left. Liberals are supposed to still believe in American Exceptionalism.

Stephen said...

Nice avatar, by the way.

jeff bloodworth said...

steve,

yeah, it is the fundamental (in my mind) distinction between liberals and the left. I am part of the Truman National Security Project and it is one of the organization's hallmark beliefs. That said, I will agree that there are more than a few Dems in Congress who do not share that belief.

dcat said...

I dunno. I'm a liberal and I'm not certain I buy or, the more I spend time abroad, even know what American Exceptionalism really is. It seems like a pretty empty, and ahistorical, jingoistic phrase to me.

dcat

Paul said...

I think these comments belong in the Lowry thread below this one.

Lowry was on Bennett (guest host) this morning explaining this piece he wrote with Ponnuru. He made the point that Obama has confused American exceptionalism with American national pride. (referring to Obama's speech where he said that he believes in American exceptionalism, just like the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism).

The takeaway part of the interview came when the host asked Lowry if Obama wasn't educated about American exceptionalism or if he just doesn't believe in it. Lowry sidestepped the question, saying he didn't know.


"I dunno. I'm a liberal and I'm not certain I buy or, the more I spend time abroad, even know what American Exceptionalism really is. It seems like a pretty empty, and ahistorical, jingoistic phrase to me."
Exactly the point that Lowry and Ponnuru were trying to make.


Jeff-
I see your point, but exceptional DOES mean better: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/exceptional

dcat said...

Paul --
Could you clarify? I'm not certain what you are saying about what I'm saying.

dcat

Paul said...

Sure. Conservatives believe in American exceptionalism. Liberals don't.

check out the first two paragraphs of this entry (next to the Progress of America painting)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism

dcat said...

Paul --
I could be flip and simply say that, well, liberals are right and conservatives are wrong, but the issue is a lot more complex than that. I would suspect that reasonable members on both sides would say that there are elements of American Exceptionalism that hold water, aspects that don't, and the real difference would be how significant those differences are. I think this is where Jeff's argument about a continuum is especially important.
I especially have no interest in "better" arguments. Better at what. In what ways? That's the sort of thing that Sean Hannity can assert all he wants, but at the end of the day it's just meaningless boosterism.

dcat

Paul said...

I think both of you are confusing our exceptionalism as it relates to our founding (especially), our mission, our place in the world, and our sense of humanity with other societal by products of our system such as childhood obesity rates, technology, infant mortality rate, crime rate, etc. Regulations, taxes, etc., sure, I get it, continuum, blah blah blah. I teach the stuff daily in my economics and government classes.

Basically what I'm saying is:
What other nation was founded on the ideals and principles of the enlightenment? (Compare and contrast the Am. Rev. with the French Rev. for example. They had their chance and blew it.) And better yet, what other nation in the world strives so selflessly and so tirelessly to uphold, protect and promote those ideals and principles than the United States does? Do we fail from time to time? Sure. But we are definitely the exception around the globe.

A perfect example is Tom Hanks' comments on Bill Maher the other night: "We wanted to annihilate the Japanese because they were different from us." What an outrageous statement from someone who should know better from his work on SPR and BoB.

dcat said...

Paul --
I don't think I'm confusing anything. I think we have a difference of opinion that could make for an interesting discussion if we want it to happen.
I do think the timing of our founding is an important aspect that redounds to what you are saying, and I think the founding was an exceptional moment in human history. The Constitution did not emerge from owes a debt to a host of things ranging back to the Magna Carta, of course.
Let's dispense with what we are NOT arguing about. I agree with you - the United States is a great and good country, albeit one with serious flaws. It is the first among equals for liberal democratic nations on Earth, though it is not always right with regard to policies either domestic or foreign. I think you are making an argument about American exceptionalism that is different (and more interesting, frankly) from the directions that most discussions about American Exceptionalism (ahh, games with capitalization) take.
I just loathe the cartoonish Hannity take on all of this. When I have lived abroad I've missed the US because I am an American. But I've never felt markedly less free (or safe, or depending on how we define it, restricted in opportunity) in England or Ireland or South Africa.
Funny that you mention Tom Hanks. That's truly annoying (and, um, wrong. I have my qualms about using the second atomic weapon on Nagasaki, but for em the amazing thing is that we not only did NOT destroy Japan or Germany, we freaking rebuilt them). But I saw him last night on Colbert and was equally annoyed by his sort of smug embrace of being the face of the history of WWII. Yes, he is doing a good thing. But Bruscino craps out more about WWII after a high fiber breakfast than Tom Hanks knows or understands. Coat-tailing on Brokaw's greatest generation stuff puts asses in the seats, but there is not a whole lot about it that is groundbreaking.

dcat

Paul said...

Edit: Hanks wasn't on Maher, he was on some other show. I was thinking of Spiccoli, who said that people who criticized Chavez should be jailed.

Paul said...

You and I aren't that far apart on this one (or other issues for that matter.) Perhaps bantering back and forth on the internets is not the best way to have these discussions.
FTR: I'm not a Hannity fan. I agree with him on some issues (of course), but I generally think he's a punk.

Paul said...

FYI, If you have NFL network, there is a classic game between Miami and NE from 1994. Marino v Bledsoe? QB stats galore.

Paul said...

"on right now". (forgot to add that)

dcat said...

Tom Brady embraces American Exceptionalism. And he says: Eat it, Marino!

Marino = Peypey: Huge stats but not the ones that count.

I love America, and I love winners.

In that sense, fuck yeah: American Exceptionalism!!!! Woo Hoo!!! Marino blows ass!! He's the Bachelorette (or, if it helps, the French) of American football!

USA! USA! USA!

dcat

Stephen said...

Glad you two could come together.