The Big Tent contributors are followers of Alfred Thayer Mahan.
Interesting. Black agrees with the original article on the part I found most useless--contemporary politics. At the same time, he mocks the Howard Zinn view of American history right after giving almost verbatim the Howard Zinn interpretation of at least the first halh of American history. Thus he wrote would I would consider an almost perfectly wrong article. Is that why you linked it?
What I take exception to is this exceptionally boring debate over the exceptional nature of American exceptionalism. Except for the fact that, if we take exceptionalism at face value we are left with an exceptional amount of exceptionality.
Also interesting, since I am of the opinion that the debate over exceptionalism is far more important than any of the day-to-day political catfights that eat up most of our attention. Because this debate shapes entire worldviews in the most fundamental way. The belief in American uniqueness and a fundamental agreement in what that meant, gave our country the the moral strength to come into existence, fight for its survival and growth, and shape the world for good.
My comment was a joke by the way. I posted a similar comment on the thread below, Tom. You and I are in agreement.
Ahh... Very good then. Move along. Nothing to see here.Did you know I have a book coming out?
I heard something about that. If I could only remember where I heard about it...
If by exceptionalism we mean uniqueness, well, just about every country is unique. I disagree, Tom, in that I'm not sure this is an especially important debate in any meaningful sense. Especially because it cannot be proven one way or the other. I do not see how we are more "exceptional" than South Africa or the UK or Canada or Israel. We are differently exceptional, I suppose. And we are more powerful. I do not think we are any more moral or virtuous. dcat
The debate is important for the exact reasons you state. If we do not believe that we are unique in any way (ideals, economics, culture, etc.), then how do we know what we stand for in our interactions with other groups of people in the world? Sure, all communities are "imagined," in Benedict Anderson's phrase, but that does not mean those communities do not exist. We might even hope for a world where we're not separated into exceptional little groups, but we are no where near that, and I would argue that that hope is actually just another feature of our unique civilization.So let's have the debate. For the record, I do think that ideals around which the United States is built makes it most moral and virtuous, in large part because we believe that everyone can have them. And the last two hundred years or so have proven us right, as many parts of the world have become exceptional like us.
Tom -- I think that the American Exceptionalism debate is to American history what the "meaning of life" debate is to philosophers: One that people have in the movies. I do not know what "most moral and virtuous" means. You assert causality where there may or may not even be correlation. I have no idea what you mean by the last 200 years proving "us" right. What we have on paper amounts to ideals that for the vast majority of American history we have no actually lived up to. In this group I really don't have to list all of the failings, though I suppose I could start with the 3/5 clause. dcat
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