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Pope Francis and American exceptionalism

Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Post 03 Jan 2014, 07:14
I found this interesting article on some negative reactions to Pope Francis and his critiques of capitalism. Apparently Home Depot founder Ken Langone and the American Enterprise Institute are now lecturing the Pope on his failure to understand that American capitalism is exceptional and good while the Pope's experiences in Argentina, a country where free enterprise is supposedly "a combination of socialism and crony capitalism," give him the wrong impression about capitalism as a whole. ... -catholics

Whatever one may think of Pope Francis, I find the whole concept of American capitalism being "exceptional" to be odd, and I am an American! Where do you suppose this comes from? Is it merely propaganda produced by right-wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute or is there something in the American experience (such as unusual prosperity, previously high wages for workers due to labor shortages, unions, etc.) that makes this idea palatable despite its absurdity?
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Soviet cogitations: 10
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Dec 2013, 00:46
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Post 06 Jan 2014, 18:26
In my personal opinion it is business tring to protect itself's interests. for instance if you talk to a vending machine company about not using they're vending machines in schools because of obesity, they will say something like then the student will get killed leaving school, to get they're product, and it would be better if there product was there. it, being business or entrepreneurs, trys to save or help their companys by many means. But it is my personal opinion of course.
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Soviet cogitations: 4796
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Feb 2004, 11:09
Ideology: Other Leftist
Central Committee
Post 10 Jan 2014, 05:35
As a fellow American I can say that the idea of American Exceptionalism is an incredibly ridiculous notion. Perhaps it would have been somewhat true from approximately 1770-1850, but any more it is just plain ridiculous.

It is perhaps the most infuriating topic to talk about with other Americans of any political walks as almost everyone buys into the idea even though it is one of the most absurd, irrational, obviously "nationalistic" beliefs you could possibly come up with. If you want to argue that we're exceptional because we spend more money on soft and hard power than anybody else, call a spade a spade, but there is nothing inherently better about America or Americans than anybody else in the world.

On the topic of Rich Catholics whining about the Pope's comments, get over it, the bible is in no way unclear on Christ's teaching about the taking care of the poor and worldly possessions and inequality. It is in fact, very, very clear about these matters, much more so than the "cultural warfare" issues that many religious focus on.

Rich Catholics need to get a grip that they are simply at odds with the teachings of their religion, rather than trying to cater the religion to their whims. Just because the mechanisms of inequality are less brutal in one particular system does not make it something other than inequality.
Soviet cogitations: 729
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Post 15 Jan 2014, 21:39
The problem is that there's no notable counters to American exceptionalism in public discourse. The Howard Zinn types who do useful work in debunking mythologies can hardly provide alternatives, since US history to them is just a bunch of rich white men sending poor people to kill other rich white men with the narrative otherwise being "the elite" versus "the people." The social significance of the American Revolution and Civil War is thus lost. And of course mainstream bourgeois historiography uses history to try and "prove" that class struggle doesn't apply to the USA.
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Soviet cogitations: 4796
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Feb 2004, 11:09
Ideology: Other Leftist
Central Committee
Post 20 Jan 2014, 07:46
The problem is that there's no notable counters to American exceptionalism in public discourse.

That's a huge problem. It's one of those topics that people are scared of. The moment you publicly disclose that you think it's nonsense, you get death threats, denounced, and called anti-american.

I can almost guarantee that there are plenty of people who have spoken about it that find the notion of American Exceptionalism to be a borderline childish belief.

I mean they have too, right? It's one of those things like the immaculate conception where you can't honestly tell me that people have actually sat down, thought about it, and concluded that it is perfectly logical theory when the truth is obvious.
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Post 20 Jan 2014, 08:13
Jared Diamond recently composed an entire treatise on Western exceptionalism in "Guns, Germs, and Steel". If you take America as the ultimate product of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, then it becomes obvious where American politicians and political thinkers draw their "exceptionalist argument" from. DeTocqueville's "Democracy In America" and Hegel's "Philosophy of History" also furnish some interesting insight into the "exceptional future" that (chiefly North)America had ahead of it. Hegel even believed the ultimate outcome of the development of the New World would be a "contest" between North and South America.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Soviet cogitations: 4796
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Feb 2004, 11:09
Ideology: Other Leftist
Central Committee
Post 22 Jan 2014, 05:26
I remember reading Detocqueville in a comparative politics undergrad course. The first point is that it is old, when America could somewhat be deemed "ahead of the curve" or special in some way. But there was nothing inherently special about it, just that the political system was new and something to be proud of.

Frankly, it made me ill to think it is taken seriously in academia. According to Detocqueville, there are two types of people.
1. Those who are essentially nationalists, proud of where they come from for almost purely geographic reasons.
2. Americans who are proud of their political system because it's 'merica and it's super awesome.

If you'll notice, there isn't an option where someone is legitimately unhappy with things. The only rational conclusion to be drawn was that America was awesome.

Again, it simply ignores reason and posits that America is the best... because it is, and if you don't think so you're just wrong...
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