As Paul Gottfried mentioned, there seemed to have been a lot of talk about “American Exceptionalism” at the 2015 meeting of the Orwellian CPAC, the allegedly “Conservative” Political Action Conference. I have made plenty of comments on this notion of American exceptionalism, and especially in this article from last July that I will repost here.
July 9, 2014
There seem to be a lot of true believers out there, those nationalists who believe in “American Exceptionalism” and that America is or should be “superior” to other places or countries.
But because of the claim of being “exceptional,” or in fact divinely chosen as some people have suggested of America, the bottom line for the American Exceptionalism ideology has become its promotion of the authoritarianism and collectivism of the centralized State while actually opposing the very philosophies and principles upon which America was founded: individualism, independence, free markets and private property.
But I really believe there are now many disillusioned believers in American Exceptionalism who may very well be starting to question such an Exceptionalism ideology. And they are the people who would benefit the most from Lew Rockwell’s new book, Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto.
In truth, the American Exceptionalism ideology is a rejection of equality under the law, and a rejection of the Golden Rule. After all, what has made America “exceptional” has been more than anything the promotion of the U.S. government having the power to invade and occupy other countries while never allowing other countries’ governments to occupy America’s territory with military bases and other foreign governmental apparatus.
It is as though the Exceptionalism believers think that Americans have some supreme right as a collective population and a single political unit to claim possession of or authority over foreign territories in the absence of voluntary contracts and peaceful agreements.
Millions of people seem to believe these myths and old wives tales, a result of cultural and government school brainwashing, in my view.
As libertarians, private property advocates and non-interventionists have argued, one reason it is almost impossible to get so many people to question such an ideology of moral relativism is that the Exceptionalists have accumulated much emotional investment in feeling they are superior to foreigners.
And I’m sure that many emotional people will shed tears when viewing Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie, America: Imagine the World Without Her.
But do the true believers ever notice any fallacies in their belief in “Exceptionalism”? For instance, some people claim that the United States of America is “supreme” over other nations, and America is “#1″ and so on. Yet, economic prosperity in America has plummeted thanks to the wars overseas and the unwinnable and Orwellian “war on terror,” the fascist regulations and bureaucratic intrusions into private labor and employment contracts, and now the monstrous Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare laws. The U.S. has dropped to #17 in the 2013 Economic Freedom of the World annual report.
The U.S. used to be #1 in the education category, but America’s educational ranking has also declined since the imposition of the federal Department of Education, now at 27 out of 34 countries in the 2012 OECD International Student Assessment. Common Core can only make things worse, no?
America’s global Press Freedom ranking has also severely declined to #46, according to Reporters Without Borders. Thanks to not just Bush and Obama but all the little sheeple in Congress cheering on the Patriot Act and all their other fascist restrictions in the “land of the free.”
So, what happened to “#1″? It seems that America is not so “supreme” or “exceptional,” is it?
Nevertheless, the true believers still have faith. Faith in the government, that is, regardless how incompetent, dangerous and criminal the agents and bureaucrats of the State have been.
Could these true believers be a part of what Eric Hoffer had in mind when he wrote his book, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements? Who knows?
And there are those true believers in war, those who believe in the concept of war in the rationalized collective sense that people have been indoctrinated with since their earliest days. But war as we have known it in modern times really has not been what the Rulers say it is. “War” really is an excuse for government bureaucrats and their politically connected cronies to order the commission of criminal acts of physical aggression, murder, assault, destruction of property and theft of wealth against people in other territories. The term “war” is used to emotionally manipulate the masses to support such criminality and destruction, and their own enslavement in funding and laboring on behalf of the criminals.
Sadly, the true believers in the myth of “war” continue to show their blind faith in the pretense, and their obedience to the criminals who rule over them. The post-9/11 hysteria is a good example.
In reality, the 9/11 terrorists didn’t commit an “act of war,” as suggested by the U.S. government, they committed criminal acts. But so did those who ordered the aggressions against and destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan in response to those criminal acts — those also were criminal aggressions, rationalized as “wars.”
But to this day, many Americans are still true believers in the collectivists and statists’ official story of war and they blindly “support the troops,” especially with the emotionalism that has surrounded 9/11 since that day.
At the time of 9/11, many Americans did not consider the possibility that their Rulers were merely exploiting a crisis for the sake of expanded political power, expanded police power, and expanded confiscation of private wealth of the working and productive class. And no wonder America’s news media have such a low ranking, given that so many of the “journalists” merely repeated everything that government bureaucrats told them. No challenging of the bureaucrats’ assertions, hardly any actual objective investigating seemed to occur.
Within hours or even minutes after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, immediately the politicians in charge, the pundits and MSM stenographers knew that the responsible culprits were Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. And the Bush Administration and their spokespeople in the media repeatedly and ad nauseam declared, “Muslims” and “Iraq,” but not “Saudi Arabia” or other factors which were later whitewashed by the 9/11 Commission. And they certainly didn’t provide any historical review of the previous 10 years, the 1991 U.S. government war on Iraq and subsequent bombings, sanctions and no-fly zones that caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians by the year 2000. Warnings throughout the 1990s of possible future terrorist attacks in America were declared by sensible people who understand cause and effect. And post-9/11 the subsequent wars and domestic police state were also easily predicted. Those who brought up the facts of history were called un-American, unpatriotic, heretics.
And typical of government bureaucrats, instead of ending terrible policies which caused the blowback of 9/11, they doubled down. And they got their support from the true believers thanks to relentless propaganda from the low-ranking mainstream media.
But I wonder if the true believers could ever consider the possibility that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were already being planned before 9/11, went forward despite unreliable intelligence, that there was no evidence linking Osama bin Laden to those terrorist attacks (but there was evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the CIA), that bin Laden denied involvement in 9/11, and in fact prior to 9/11 the FBI were told by the Bush Administration to lay off the bin Laden family and Saudi connections to terrorism. And also we later learned that the Bush-Feith neocons weren’t really interested in al-Qaeda but in “regime change” throughout the Middle East and Asia. And it’s even possible that the “underwear bomber” was helped by the FBI to board flight 253 to Detroit with a visa the U.S. government had ordered not to be revoked despite his known ties to terrorism.
If you’re a true believer in the government and media stenographers’ official narratives of these various stories, then you probably also believed the government’s tales about Osama bin Laden being killed in 2011 despite witnesses claiming otherwise, and even though he probably had already died in 2001 or 2002. By 2001 he had already been suffering from kidney disease among other ailments. This LRC article notes how Osama bin Laden looked younger and younger in videos subsequent to 9/11 and how with all those ailments he couldn’t possibly have survived much after 2001. This 2002 CBS News report describes Osama bin Laden receiving kidney dialysis treatment in Pakistan the day before the 9/11 attacks, and this Guardian article states that he received treatment at a Dubai hospital two months earlier. And this article explains the U.S. government’s history of presenting fake Osama bin Laden tapes.
Well, we would rather not believe that our own government would lie to us and make things up. While it wasn’t revealed until 1997, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 had proposed Operation Northwoods, in which the Joint Chiefs wanted terrorist attacks to be committed by U.S. government agents disguised as Cubans. That proposal was obviously rejected by President John F. Kennedy.
While that proposal did not go forward, the U.S. government nevertheless has a notorious track record of deceit and wars for political gain.
President Lyndon Johnson and his Defense Secretary Robert McNamara used the Gulf of Tonkin incident to lie the American people into supporting sending American soldiers to die in the Vietnam War, and the Pentagon Papers showed that later on the U.S. government continued with the war anyway even though its officials believed the war to be unwinnable.
After the Vietnam War there was Watergate, and only a few years later President Ronald Reagan was secretly negotiating with terrorists and selling arms to Iran.
After the 1970s and ’80s, how could the American people have believed anything their “leaders” told them? After the Iran-Contra wheeling-and-dealing scandal, President George H.W. Bush started another war for no good reason, in Iraq in 1991,saying, “This will not be ‘another Vietnam’.”
Despite all that, the American Exceptionalism true believers would still rather not believe that our ruling bureaucrats would intentionally commit acts of aggression in other countries to provoke foreigners to rationalize further expanding the bureaucrats’ reach across our borders, and to rationalize their parasitic expansion of the State at the expense of the productive class.
Now, either the true believers in American Exceptionalism believe that America is “exceptional” the more centralized government power is projected from Washington — and look where that’s gotten us! — or they believe that America is exceptional by promoting life and liberty and setting an example of moral principles for others to follow. Now is the time to choose.
So as Lew Rockwell has shown in his book, Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, the State — or at least the central planning regime in Washington — can’t be reformed and instead must be dismantled. And the sooner the better.
This appeared on LewRockwell.com on July 9, 2014.