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Friday, February 26, 2010
Doug Wilson elaborates more on his previous discussion of the supposed "exceptionalism" of America.
American exceptionalism is objectionable because it is a false religion, a false faith. It is a smooth and attractive idol, and probably the idol most likely to ensnare conservative evangelicals.
The problem is that Americanism is seen as a source of ideals, an artesian well of ethics, a fountainhead of standards. This is not just nonsense, it is damned nonsense.
To object to American exceptionalism (for I am an American objectionalist) is not to maintain that there is nothing unique about Americans or American history. It is to say that there is nothing religiously unique. We are sinners like everybody else, we need God's grace like everybody else, we are thoughtless when prosperous like everybody else, and peevish when not prosperous like everybody else. Take off an American's boots, and you will find ten toes. Son of a gun.

Now one of the unique things that is striking about the wisdom of our founders is that they knew this. The constitutional arranagement they made for us presupposes that we are just like everybody else. The founders did not trust Americans with the kind of power that Obama wants, the kind that Congress wants, the kind that the Supreme Court wants, the kind that the Republicans want, the kind the Democrats want, and the kind that most American voters have hitherto wanted to surrender to the aforementioned. The founders knew that Americans were good, old-fashioned me-firsters, and so they built enough booby traps in the constitutional arrangement to make it look like the beginning of an Indiana Jones movie.
The founders knew that we were in no way unique, and that really was unique. As long as we kept that Calvinistic humility in place, we were greatly blessed. And there is nothing wrong with acknowledging and rejoicing in that blessing. We need to return to it.

So American gratitude is something else entirely. That is not what I am shooting at when I go after exceptionalism. Acknowledgement of God's great blessing is not just okay, but is rather mandatory.
So what is this sin of exceptionalism? It is here: "And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth" (Dt. 8:17).


Chris A said...

I couldn't go to Wilson's site for some reason. I wanted to read the whole thing. But dude, this excerpt alone is one of the most well-articulated articles on this perspective I've read. How can you say it better than that?

I'm an American. I'm as American as they come. I was born an American, and I was indoctrinated in public schools on how America is the greatest civilization of all time.

Yes, we are unique. We are even great, but we are not inherently superior. That's stupid. And most rational people know this. The liberals do, for the most part, though I think they are gravely misguided.

I was talking to this liberal guy a few months ago, and we were discussing the push toward global governance and how the American superpower is being systematically destroyed. He basically agreed with me, but in his mind, it was a good thing. He had such a disgust for American foreign policy(no doubt festered by the Neocon ideologues in the Bush regime), that he was willing to forgo his American citizenship in favor of an supranational governmental citizenship that he doesn't know anything about.

The liberals have no idea that they are flirting with a Communistic and scientific dictatorship bent on taxing human life and drastically reducing the population of the planet, supposedly for the sake of the planet.

Someone just recently leaked UN documents demonstrating plans for a "green economy" within the structure of a global government.

Darius said...

Oops, I corrected the link.

Chris A said...

Yeah, I noticed you had the wrong link, but I tried to go directly to the site and couldn't. Still can't. I don't know what's up. I didn't have a problem yesterday. It just times out.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
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