23 September 2009

More On American Exceptionalism & The Left

In this video, President Obama's "Science Czar", John Holdren, rejects the idea of "American Exceptionalism," and states that U.S. citizens should expect to accept a lower standard of living through "a degree of redistribution." Redistribution . . . hmmm, where have I heard that term before?

This is just further validation of what I pointed out in yesterdays' post regarding leftists in academia and their views on American Exceptionalism and the teaching of history. So, whether you think AE is a valid view of American history (and I do), or whether you do not, your views will play out in your writings as an author and in the classroom as a teacher. AE is as much a political viewpoint as it is a historical fact.


Vince said...

I believe you are misinterpreting what he is saying...I think what he means is that the consumption of natural resources will be redistributed due to global economic forces. To me, Holdren is addressing an idea that America is too good to have to compete for resources with other countries, and that cheap natural resources are her birthright.

For example, the consumption of oil is being redistributed as China's and India's appetite increases. Yes, we should *expect* that our standard of living will decrease (that is, a higher % of our income will go to paying for gasoline).

In other words, we can longer be Exceptional Americans and get our natural resource from un-free markets (eg. arrangements with oil dictatorships), but now we're going to have to compete for them in free and open markets with other countries that are becoming more and more technologically and industrially exceptional themselves.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I don't think so Vince. There is a difference between redistribution occurring through market forces which occur due to free choices made by free people. That is NOT what Holdren (or this administration) favors. Holdren and the current administration and Congress favor government manipulation of the marketplace to MAKE this happen, higher CAFE standards for example, forcing electric cars on consumers, excessive environmental regulations which discourage oil, coal, and natural gas exploration and development here, not allowing drilling in ANWAR, offshore, etc. China and India certainly are market forces having an impact, but they are going pedal to the metal looking for and developing while we are hampering energy production. Moreover, you can't take Holdren's comments here in isolation. Putting them together with other things he has said and written, along with what the administration is pursuing (Cap and Trade), points to purposeful throttling back. And, to quote Holdren here:

Material consumption is going to HAVE to come down and there's going to HAVE to be a degree of redistribution . . . "

His ideology is exactly what I'm talking about.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Vince said...

I think it's important to note that one pathology associated with American Exceptionalism is being blinded to market forces due to one's belief in his own natural superiority. It's clear that US automakers have made some very bad strategic decisions based on some belief in American Exceptionalism. In light of that fact, I'm much more amenable to government intervention. I'm not saying it's the best policy, but I'm at least willing to consider pros and cons.

I guess I associate "American Exceptionalism" more with an arrogance towards free global markets, rather than competitive participation in them.

Thanks for responding.

Chaps said...

Holdren says Americans should accept a lower standard of living.... he left out: except for the nomenklatura, of course.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Let me clarify. First of all, I do think America is superior. Superior because of our founding principles. Superior because of our liberty, our toughness, our republican form of government. I make no apologies for that.

Re: US automakers. Yes, very bad decisions. Some were due to bad management, others due to their being left few choices due to Union demands (which the competitors did not have to deal with).

And, as I stated, AE can sometimes, and to some folks, mean America being a "bully" and arrogant. That is not what I'm talking about. While we must protect our strategic interests around the world, I also believe America has involved herself in areas of the world and conflicts where we had no business. That being said, I believe those to whom I'm directing my criticism regarding AE often use that as a cloak for their self-loathing of America for other reasons. I think there is ample evidence of that. My post barely scratched the surface.

I think government intervention in the free market, more often than not, eventually just makes matters worse.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Exactly. Like Obama's $7000 per night suite at the Waldorf. That sounds like a whole lot of consumin' to me. I wonder what kind of carbon footprint all the thugs and kooks at the UN left this week?

Clint Lacy said...

Hmmm "redistribution" eh? Kind of like the North stole the South's wealth at gunpoint?