So how about that American Exceptionalism? Well, we’re not exceptionally so:
Now, when I talk about the US as being exceptional, one thing I am not willing to argue is that we are exceptional in our exceptionalism. Being the ugly American that I am, there aren’t many countries I actually know enough about to know how alike or different they are than we are. That’s not to say I sink into absolute relativism and decline to make judgments, though I try to be less judgmental of them than I am of US.
Not a problem. Absolute relativists (!) are a dime a dozen over at Almighty State University.
In many ways, I don’t worry about when we are out of sync with the rest of the world. I mean, I look at our health care system and the fact that its different than elsewhere nearly isn’t as troublesome as the fact that it’s expensive and inefficient. I oppose the death penalty, but the fact that it is banned elsewhere doesn’t play much of a role, and so on. I have a not-admirable tendency to get irked when internationalists look at how we are out of step and seem to imply that such should be an indication that we are deficient. We are us. Exasperating, chaotic, diverse, gargantuan us. Unique, for better or worse.
Seems perfectly admirable to me. The argument that “But they have it!” is right out of second grade, when Junior discovers that the Joneses up the street have [name of expensive toy].