A Blog About Punching People In the Face

You are special, America

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Mike Tyson notes Richard W. Stevenson’s recent article on the Republicans’ plan to use “American Exceptionalism” as a 2012 campaign tactic. Mike Tyson thinks that exceptionalists should be made to watch as a feral mongoose is placed inside a burlap sack and then placed over their heads.

What Mr. Tyson does not like about the exceptionalism argument is that it is devoid of explanation. It is either a bald assertion (“America is an exceptional nation” — Mitt Romney), a salvo targeted at the Left (“In this [present day] liberalism, America’s exceptional status in the world follows from…an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard” — Shelby Steele), or a counterpunch designed to shore up questionable patriotism (“I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional” — Barak Obama).

Mike Tyson notes that at least Obama’s rhetorical shift — our values are exceptional — gives him the cover to avoid identifying with the core of the “exceptionalist” argument, namely that America is more “exceptional” than everyone else.

Perhaps the best stab at why exceptionalism makes any sense was articulated by Rick Perry, who said: “See, American exceptionalism is the product of unlimited freedom. And there is nothing troubling our nation today that cannot be solved by the rebirth of freedom.”

At least Mr. Tyson can understand the America is “exceptional” because it is “free” argument. Though stupid, at least draws upon a storied literature.

Mr. Tyson loves America, but he believes that talk of exceptionalism degrades the character of those who seek to use it as a cudgel to beat others into submission, as if there were something in the water that makes us “better,” an idea that is at best undefined and at worst reduced into some inchoate concept of a “free people.” Mr. Tyson feels that this is infantile and hereby challenges all believers to feel the awesome liberation that comes with meeting his fists.


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