"Reality Sucks" might be the subtitle for Episode 19... Our exploration of "exceptionalism" leads to a realization that Americans are literally out of touch with reality... in part, because they know reality sucks and, in part, because many Americans believe that America is exceptional; They believe that our colonial founding was a stroke of genius unmatchable elsewhere in the world, and that this, and our uniquely American "can do" attitude, set us apart from other nations. We are bred to believe we are "the best," which means we must lead and we must have special rights to perform that noble mission. That is, the US must have special latitude to carry out it's leadership role. This invokes a pattern of questionable behavior by the US in which the "means justify the ends," because the "ends" are the ends of the exceptional, democratic United States.
This is just one chain of logic that emerges from exploring the concept of American exceptionalism. This exploration also steers us to observe the deep-rooted similarities between American conservatives and liberals who have the same breeding on American exceptionalism. Traditional exploration of the subject is strongly oriented toward foreign policy matters rather than domestic, in part because the subject is "the nation" and nations tend to interact with other nations.
However, a broader exploration sees the impact at home. American's in-grained cultural belief that they and their nation are "exceptional" is reflected in basic behaviors that some would say are unhealthy. One example is a "resting-on-laurels" orientation; "We're great by definition. We don't have to try to be great." In not trying to be great, many take on an attitude of... not trying in life in general. The daily world around is complicated. But there's an attitude that, "I'm an American; I don't need to worry about those complications." Chris Hedges observes that American's prolonged exceptional attitude has left many unequipped to function in society... for example illiterate and thus dependent on television and radio for their information... media that are corporate and right-wing celebrity dominated. You can see where this is going... now you can listen.
This subject was introduced in GDAE Podcast Episode 18 (see below). Episode 19 is a continuation.
- Human Exceptionalism: Insights from the book "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn. Rickback Bookbock joins for a reading.
- MUSIC: 6th Avenue Heartache by the Wallflowers... CSN "In My Dreams" Excerpt.
- American Exceptionalism: Andrew Bacevich on false notions of military power and living beyond our means... Chris Hedges on Americans being out-of-touch with reality.
- Prosecute Bush: The Supreme International Crime by Nuremberg Trial Judge Robert Jackson.
Play GDAE Podcast Episode 18 from this page.
Previous Episodes & 60-Sec Promo:
GDAE Podcast 60-Second Promo
GDAE Podcast Episode 18 September 16, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 17 August 31, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 16 July 30, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 15 June 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 14 June 10, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 13 May 22, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 12May 5, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 11 April 24, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 10 April 9, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 9March 28, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 8 March 15, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 7 March 1, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 6 February 17, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 5 February 6, 2009
GDAE Podcast Episode 4 January 24, 2009