*Update: Perhaps I should have been more direct. This post was, at least in part, a response to a post by blogger Michael Aubrecht in which he suggested that a belief in American Exceptionalism was "sin" and "blasphemy." Michael seems to now be classifying certain types of political thought as "sin" - something which he has often accused others of. Anyway, I could have made it clearer that I was responding to Micheal's post, but I really didn't think it was necessary. I could also have pointed out that Michael's post was constructed primarily of straw men and red herrings, but I think most informed readers would already have taken notice of that. The main comment which prompted my original post, struck me as false and totally misleading, and left me shaking my head in amazement was this one:
“Not a single time have we gotten a right from Congress or from the President. We get them from God.” (Glenn Beck) This is the exact kind of pseudo-religious-political conjecture that is dangerous as it gives a false sense of exclusive-endorsement from above.
No, that's not "pseudo-religious-political conjecture." It's precisely what the Founders believed. Yet Michael takes Glenn Beck's paraphrasing of "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" and attempts to turn it into something "dangerous." Michael's apparent memory lapse (or ignorance) of the phrase and its meaning exposes a serious lack of understanding of America's founding, as I've already noted. His follow up post is more or less a wordy distraction from this criticism. As far as any further response to some of Michael's comments about AE, I would encourage readers to simply peruse previous posts filed here under the label "American Exceptionalism" for my position and evidence of its legitimacy. I may, at some future point, post something more extensive on the concept of unalienable rights. Though it is indispensable in understanding American history, I assume most of my readers are already well-versed with the term's meaning and importance, as well as its relevance to American Exceptionalism. As I pointed out in the original comments - get that wrong, and you're pretty much guaranteed to be wrong on everything that follows in analyzing American history and developing a coherent perspective. That, at least, is quite clear.
Quite a lot, actually. But allow me to mention one specific thing. Princeton Professor Robert George gives us a brief overview in the short video clip below. One item which often gets overlooked in what makes America exceptional is how the Founders viewed rights, something George points out: specifically, that our rights come from God - not Kings nor governments nor Congress nor the President - none of which have the moral authority to grant rights; they can only acknowledge them. This is what the Declaration of Independence is referring to with these words:
that they [all men] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights
The term "unalienable" was a deliberate choice. It means that those rights are incapable of being surrendered or taken away - basic rights which the Founders believed [and correctly so] preexisted any government. Anyone who does not understand that most basic of our founding principles lacks a fundamental understanding of our Republic and American history. Lacking that most basic understanding will cause one to stumble at almost every step afterward in analyzing American history. This explains much of what you read and hear on leftist oriented blogs and in other media and books. They missed first base. Any government which grants rights, can also take them away. It is also important to remember, principles are eternal. And the same principles that worked at our founding will work now. Ignore the Progressive (and ignorant) garbage you're hearing and reading elsewhere.