Attitude, as the old saying offers, determines altitude. Self-belief; the most powerful asset in the pursuit of objectives.
Those seeking the expedition of an American renaissance (an inevitability, as far as I am concerned) often overlook the psychology of American exceptionalism.
For American exceptionalism is more than an opinion or moral judgment. It is even more than a falsifiable, testable hypothesis. More than a fact, with its proof lining the pages of history.
It is a way of life; a mindset with bottomless impact on morale, achievement and culture.
A nation can demonstrate exceptionalism in five areas: economically, militarily, culturally, scientifically and spiritually.
A belief in exceptionalism is the key element of its fruition. It is the bacon to eggs. The burger to fries. The coffee to donuts. The milk to cookies. The sugar to tea. The ham to the sandwich. You probably got the point after the first one but it was fun, anyway.
And it is a point to be labored.
Without a belief in their own exceptionalism, Americans are rendered incapable of keeping their improbable experiment alive. And once the final flicker of flame alight that star-spangled Bunsen disappears, the world is left in extraordinary peril.
The media-academic complex, and relativist ideologies of the left, have made it fashionable for America to drop the “exceptionalism” in favor of American or Western guilt. Many often accuse the current administration of being the first in history of harboring such sentiment, and placing it at the heart of their policy and reactions to event.
Politics aside, the founders would flatly reject the idea that America is a nation such as any other. They sought and delivered to America an idea unlike any other. There are many countries in the world but only one idea.
Exceptionalism also has at its back a strongly individualist wind. It is gravely harmed by
the trend toward nanny-state stagnation and the inexorable erosion of the very freedoms that have put the US into the position of global leadership. It is a fair assessment that America for some time now is suffering the slow erosion of self-reliance, self-confidence, self-determination and self-control in its people.
The arithmetic is basic. The more any government restricts your options, the more you psychologically look to that government to keep you safe, fed, clothed, housed and sustained. And there is a term for people kept safe, fed, clothed, housed and sustained by others: slaves.
Slavery is as mental, as it is physical. Entire nations become sheep stations. Abraham Lincoln wrote: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
It is hard to be exceptional when not given the chance. And if you aren’t exceptional, you can’t believe in it.
American conviction in exceptionalism draws criticism from those other nations that are trapped in their aspirations to mediocrity, and envy, above all, the American citizen’s confidence. So what? This should not act as a deterrent. If America changes, those that dislike it will still dislike it. It is not a case of “if only we were a bit more like them, and a bit less us”. And anyway, who and why should America want to downwardly assimilate?
Critics of the US don’t want it to be confident and acknowledging of American exceptionalism as they know that when it is, no force in this world can come even close to the land of the free and the home of the brave. They want a lamb where there is a lion.
America is imperfect, but it is the model to which every other nation should and must aspire.
From the Revolution to today, the choice for full freedom with all of its accompanying excesses and failures is a profoundly well-reasoned, moral and ethical choice and the result has been national and personal success unparalleled in the history of this world.