May 23, 2010

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM

I haven't followed the Texas textbook controversy very closely, but I find it interestingly absurd that people are debating whether we should include American exceptionalism in the curriculum.  What makes me snicker is the thought of Asian countries; to my knowledge, there is no debate in Japan over whether Japan is the greatest country to exist.  Nor in Korea, nor in China.  The idea that we are fighting over whether we should teach our children that the USA is #1 strikes me as funny, in a sad way.

If the debate in Texas were over the divine origins of American exceptionalism, that is whether the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired to embark on this American experiment or not, it would make more sense to me.  But I find it depressing that we're arguing over whether we should teach our children that the origins of our country were special, that unlike other countries around the world the US is not based on ethnicity or culture but on a unique idea that anyone can ascribe to.

The US is exceptional in that regard.  And no, Pres Obama, not in the same way that Greeks are.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:12 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 As someone who has been annoyed by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean nationalism for years, I am not sure that "we should include American exceptionalism in the curriculum." I don't know what exactly is meant by that. To teach children that the US is #1 in this field or that field, that the US has freedoms that other countries do not have - those are all facts based in reality. To teach that the US is a Europpressive dystopia which was beyond redemption until the election of Obama is to deny reality.  But I oppose overly teaching that "that the USA is #1." Teach the facts, and the conclusion of American exceptionalism becomes obvious. Teach a simple belief, and young skeptics who feel manipulated by propaganda will grow up into anti-American Leftist intellectuals. Let patriotism grow; pushing it may create more enemies.

Posted by: Amritas at May 23, 2010 04:22 PM (hBtE2)

2 What true Leftist doesn't believe in American exceptionalism? No country has been more eeeevil than the US until Hopenchange Day 2008. It will take millennia of government programs to eradicate the legacy of being the #1 bad guy for over two centuries.

Posted by: kevin at May 23, 2010 04:33 PM (hBtE2)

3 Ann Althouse and Tom Maguire both have good articles fisking, or clarifying, the articles in the Washington Post and New York Times on the Texas School Book controversy. Volohk also has a post with a great many comments mostly con on the decision and Althouse.
I am a Texan and have grandchildren in school in San Antonio.  They are AP students and get a very good schooling, I believe. But there are gaps in the history and civics books and I am hoping this clears them up.
I wish it was not such a big deal. I frankly think each school board should decide their own curriculum as the colleges and universities do.  That could be, unfortunately, very liberal, but maybe very interesting.
One of my grand daughters was home schooled until middle school.  Sarah, get started now teaching the baby. Read to her if you are not already doing so.  Just a hint from a granny...

Posted by: Ruth H at May 23, 2010 05:52 PM (KLwh4)

4

My children are blessed to have been born, raised, and living in THE GREATEST country in the entire world. My husband is proud to serve in the Army of THE GREATEST country in the entire world. I am proud to be a citizen of THE GREATEST country in the entire world.

I may be over-simplifying it. I may misunderstand the issue. I may be missing it entirely, but in case I'm not we've got it covered. Whatever the schools may be teaching, *I* will be sure to educate my children on our rights, our responsibilities, and our blessings in being citizens of The United States of America, THE GREATEST country in the entire world.

Posted by: Amber at May 23, 2010 08:49 PM (7P1sK)

5 Obama clearly doesn't think there's anything special about this country, except for bad things, and he obviously doesn't like us, the American people, very much. So why did he want to be our president?

I try out a couple of analogies in this post: he's just not that into us.

Posted by: david foster at May 24, 2010 08:01 AM (Gis4X)

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