28 September 2010
I loathe most aspects of American Exceptionalism. Except for this: The Bill of Rights -- one of the towering achievements of political philosophy -- defines what it means to be a human being in terms of inalienable rights, and from that, what it means to be American. We -- and other countries, too -- have over time, accepted and extended the Bill of Rights to include more rights applying to more people.
Women and people of color didn't do so well at first. Minorities -- ethnic, religious, and sexual -- still have issues. The same thing is true for economic inequality. We're still working on this -- and as long as we as a people continue to work on the extension of rights for all, then I'm satisfied with the American experiment.
This idea -- that we as a people need not be afraid of the other -- is the one part of American Exceptionalism I both embrace and hope to see written large across the world.