Charles D. Hayes: The Myth of Exceptionalism



The Cold War was as effective in conditioning American citizens to genuflect angst upon hearing the word socialist, as Ivan Pavlov was at conditioning dogs to salivate upon hearing a bell. This acclimatization works like a Star Trek deflector shield, upon hearing the word socialism, it closes the door, nothing further to discuss.

This reflex is an aspect of us vs them identity politics and because it works so effectively, we Americans are less free than we would be, if we simply started thinking and cooperating instead of genuflecting ire. We need to apply the best of socialism and capitalism because no ism alone, is adequate for an equitable society.

People who have internalized an aversion to anything socialistic believe that all they must do to win an argument is to identify their opposition as being socialists (or liberals) and they win without need of an explanation. That they do this with this assumption is proof that they don’t understand the genealogy of freedom and the essence of deliberative cooperation.

Socialism is advanced cooperation, our military is our best example, and it is seldom acknowledged, but at the high end of our financialized economy, the folks near the top look after one another’s interests in ways that could make the most avid socialists envious.

Our growing inequality is proof that our capitalistic system is failing and it’s only going to get worse as we become ever more dependent on an economy driven by robotics and apps.

A score of countries in the world have adopted socialistic programs that enable their citizens to enjoy freedom instead of just talking about it. People stuck in lowing paying jobs with medical bills, even when they have insurance can be forced into bankruptcy by the copay. These people aren’t free.

Students who must indenture themselves to a financial institution to get a college education to qualify for a job in which the salary will be inadequate to repay the loan are not free.

A country that doesn’t have enough goodwill to see that all its citizens have quality healthcare without whining is not good, let alone great.

America as the land of the free is more apparent than real, and when people from other nations point this out, we often respond with a stance of exceptionalism. I agree, we are exceptional.

We are exceptionally arrogant, narcissistic, and boastful and now after the 2016 election, the whole world knows that politically, we are exceptionally ignorant.


One response to “Charles D. Hayes: The Myth of Exceptionalism

  1. Pingback: Charles D. Hayes: The Myth of Exceptionalism | Seniors for a Democratic Society | John Oliver Mason

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