Thereby proving the rule

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.

And besides:

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].


  1. McGehee »

    5 February 2013 · 8:25 am

    When I look at the rest of the world and see how out of step they are from us, I consider them deficient. And…

    I try to be less judgmental of them than I am of us.

    I call that the soft bigotry of low expectations. Why shouldn’t the rest of the world be held to the same high standard we hold ourselves?

  2. Roger Green »

    5 February 2013 · 7:07 pm

    We do have exceptionally high infant mortality for a civilized society.

  3. Baby M »

    6 February 2013 · 1:52 pm

    I think it may have something to do with the fact that we’re descended, most of us, from the people who moved here to get away from the people running all those other countries.

  4. Nancy Reyes MD »

    9 February 2013 · 2:34 am

    Dear “Roger Green”: the reason that the US has such a high infant mortality is that any child liveborn after 20 weeks or so who manages to gasp once is counted as a stillbirth or miscarriage, not as a neonatal death…. That is not true in other from WHO. and link from the CDC.
    And, like the “murder rate”, it is made higher because of the much higher infant death rate in “non Hispanic blacks”, is almost twice that of HIspanics and non HIspanic whites link Link from the CDC.

    Google is your friend. Stop mouthing talking points and try it.

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