For a number of years now I’ve been getting a tremendous periodical from Houston Baptist University called The City. The president of the university, Dr. Robert Sloan, describes the publication this way:
Named as a reference to HBU’s spiritual location within Augustine of Hippo’s De civitate Dei and for our physical presence in a great American metropolis, The City features the writings of leading Christian voices in the academy and out of it, including thoughtful pieces by several members of the HBU family.
A few years ago in the Spring 2011 edition, Ted Bromund, Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations at The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation wrote a piece called, “The Exceptional Battleground: A Controversy.” The opening paragraphs are one of the best explanations of American exceptionalism I’ve read:
The United States is an exceptional nation. Most Americans would not regard that as a controversial statement. And there is a good reason for that: it is true. The U.S. is the world’s oldest and most stable capitalist liberal democracy, older even than Great Britain, which did not become a mass democracy until the late nineteenth century.
It was the first nation founded in an act of rebellion against a colonial power. It was the first nation founded on the belief that the rights of man are inherent and God-given, and that the powers of the government derive from the consent of the people. It was, therefore, the first nation to recognize that the state must be limited to the powers granted by the people, and to recognize explicitly that the state was founded to secure their rights. It was the first nation to be based on a separation of powers, and on the clear subordination of the military to civilian rule. And it was the first nation to state all of this in a constitution that was publicly debated and democratically accepted.
Other nations – Britain, most notably – share in some of these traditions, and that is not surprising, because the United States was deeply influenced by ideas born in England in the 17th century. But precisely because the U.S. was founded-whereas Britain evolved-the U.S. exemplifies these virtues in their purest form. That is why it is exceptional. And that is a fact that has been recognized by Europeans for centuries.
As he points out in the piece, modern left-liberals completely distort what American exceptionalism is, and then tell us America isn’t all that exceptional. Most Americans know better.