Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taking exception to American exceptionalism

NY Times columnist Roger Cohen is angry at Sarah Palin, and at conservatives in general. They believe in American exceptionalism, and Cohen is eager to mischaracterize what that means:

"Behind Palinism lies anger. It’s been growing as America’s relative decline has become more manifest in falling incomes, imploding markets, massive debt and rising new centers of wealth and power from Shanghai to Dubai. The damn-the-world, God-chose-us rage of that America has sharpened as U.S. exceptionalism has become harder to square with the 21st-century world’s interconnectedness. How exceptional can you be when every major problem you face, from terrorism to nuclear proliferation to gas prices, requires joint action?"

Now, now, Mr. Cohen. Surely you don't deny that these problems require American leadership, still? And what's this "damn-the-world" notion that you have? America leads the world--in foreign aid and charitable giving to those less fortunate the world over! And conservatives are all for that; indeed, they were all for the Bush administration's leadership in providing aid for Asia in the wake of the tsunami only a few short years ago. Damn the world? Hardly. Enough with the straw men, Mr. Cohen.