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Posted October 1, 2013
There is very little doubt that America occupies a very special, and many people would argue preeminent, place in the World affairs today. Even in its early years this nation was recognized by many of its contemporaries as being very different from all of the other nations on Earth. America has always had and continues to have a lot of admirers throughout the world, but it also has a fair number of detractors. It was in fact one of its biggest detractors – Josef Stalin – who coined the very term “American Exceptionalism,” primarily to denounce it.
The term “American Exceptionalism” has been in the news a lot lately, primarily in the context of America’s foreign policy. However, what has always been the main concern of pundits and intellectuals when discussing this issue has more to do with America’s special internal culture and politics that set it apart from the other nations. It is precisely reclaiming of this original understanding that Charles Murray sets out to accomplish in this slim e-book.
Readers of Charles Murray’s oeuvre will readily recognize in this book many of the themes that he has often reflected upon in his writings. Individual integrity and industriousness, honesty, shared system of values and ideals, and social responsibility are all big part of what made America so special. There are also geographical facts of America’s position that uniquely contributed to its makeup – separated by two oceans from the rest of the world and spanning a vast, rich and sparsely populated continent with plenty of resources to help everyone who wants prosper.
The book challenges many of the misconceptions that have over the years formed about American Exceptionalism. The most important one is probably that the exceptionalism implies some kind of superiority. This may indeed often be the case, but as already noted it’s usually America’s detractors who are the most eager to point out its uniqueness and distinction.
Like most of Murray’s writings, this book is exceptionally well written. It manages to inform, provide insight, and even inspire. I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in American culture and politics.
Posted July 31, 2013
No text was provided for this review.