Academic journal article Military Review

Taking Exception to Presentation of American Exceptionalism

Academic journal article Military Review

Taking Exception to Presentation of American Exceptionalism

Article excerpt

James Jay Carafano, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Issues, The Heritage Foundation- In "The Myths We Soldiers Tell Ourselves" by Lt. Col. Peter Fromm, U.S. Army, retired; Lt. Col. Douglas Pryer, U.S. Army; and Lt. Col. Kevin Cutright, U.S. Army (Military Review, September- October 2013) claims "the myth of American exceptionalism" permeates the U.S. military.

The authors write that this "usually occurs when Americans apprehend the empirical fact that they enjoy remarkable freedoms and prosperity and transfer those accomplishments of their forebears into feelings of personal superiority." They go on to assert, "Instead of perceiving their heritage as a lucky accident, they irrationally perceive it as a personal virtue and a sign of their own superiority."

Their argument shows a misunderstanding, both of what American exceptionalism means and how it was born.

Americans are exceptional not because we think we're better than others, but because we know our country is different. The United States was founded on a universal truth, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence: all are created free and equal. …

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