Op-ed pick: American exceptionalism is real

“American exceptionalism, when put to good use, has made this world a better place,” wrote DeWayne Wickham in USA Today. He was reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times that suggested the U.S. is arrogant to think itself a special case.

The problem isn’t that we think falsely think of ourselves as exceptional, argues DeWayne. It’s that we haven’t always used those powers for good:

It took a lot of exceptional Americans to develop the atomic bomb. But when just two of those weapons of mass destruction were dropped on Japan, it’s estimated that 220,000 men, women and children were killed by those blasts. That’s a heavy cross to bear by the only nation to use such a weapon — a country that routinely questions whether other nations can be trusted with its destructive power.

Read all of Wickham’s column and listen back to our show about American exceptionalism.

  • Emery

    To the extent that the American myth creates Americans who are optimistic in
    outlook and independent in their thinking and problem solving, this is clearly
    a good thing. That it leads them to do self-destructive things like buy guns,
    not wear motorcycle helmets, and invade countries to spread democracy, it is a
    bad thing. But it is American. Only a profound and extended defeat,
    economically or militarily, is likely to change the American zeitgeist. And I
    think many would miss the positive aspects of America exceptionalism as much as
    the departure of the negative aspects would be welcomed.

  • R RS

    Read “American Theocracy” by Kevin Phillips and you will see that this exceptionalism will decline as happened with all empires.