28 September 2010

American Exceptionalism

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.

No comments: