Friday, 26 May 2017

Exceptionalism is Unexceptional

Exceptionalism is a word often linked with America, in the phrase American Exceptionalism, the belief held by some Americans that the USA is a special country for some reason, whether it is manifest destiny or some rubbish based on the King James Bible. The one thing that is not Exceptional about American Exceptionalism is that it is not exceptional. Every country I can think of, or people or tribe has some belief that in some way their grouping is exceptional, because of some unique accident of history.
The exceptionalism comes in 2 forms the exceptional good, "we" brought, light/democracy/peace/rule of law to the world or the exceptionally bad. "We" brought death/famine/despair to the world.
They sit in the same category as religious belief, god created the world for us to live in, we are special not animals. You see bits of it in all sorts of places, making us better or worse than animals. In SciFi we are either the great bringers of enlightenment or a plague on the galaxy. To the rational mind we are a boring unexceptional species in the galaxy and at home we just as boring and unexceptional as any other creature, and similarly so our countries.
Whether it the "we are great" rhetoric of the Nationalists or the "we are terrible" of the Alt-Nationalists they both seek to make us, who ever we are special, and it is really sad. In the UK we have UKIP at one end and say stop the ware at the other. I'll let you decided which is which.