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Saturday, July 27, 2013

American Exceptionalism (Part 3)

Last week we had explored what Alexis de Tocqueville and Henry Adams had said about American Exceptionalism. This week I will just ask a simple question: Compared to what is America so bad?

On the other hand, there have always been defenders of American exceptionalism as a vital force for good. Thus, several decades before switching sides, Henry Adams charged America’s foreign critics with blindness to the country’s amazing virtues. Whereas, Adams wrote, European philosophers and poets could see only rapacity and vulgarity here, the poorest European peasants could discern that “the hard, practical money-getting American democrat was in truth living in a world of dream” and was “already guiding Nature with a kinder and wiser hand than had ever yet been felt in human history.” It was this dream, Adams went on to say, that beckoned to the poor of the old world, calling upon them to come and share in the limitless opportunities it offered—opportunities unimaginable anywhere else.

For a long time now, to speak personally, I have taken my stand with the young Adams, to whom America was exceptionally good, against his embittered older self, to whom it had become exceptionally bad. In my own younger days, I was on the Left, and from the utopian vantage point to which leftism invariably transports its adherents, it was the flaws in American society—the radical 1960s trinity of war, racism, and poverty—that stood out most vividly. It rarely occurred to me or my fellow leftists to ask a simple question: Compared to what is America so bad?

From our modern perspective, much more was wrong with Periclean Athens, or the Italy of the Medicis, or England under the first Queen Elizabeth, or 19th-century Russia under the Romanovs. But this has not disqualified them from being universally ranked among the highest points of human civilization and achievement. After more than 40 years of pondering the question “Compared to what?” I have come to believe with all my heart that the United States belongs on that exalted list. It is true that we have not earned a place on it, as the others mainly did, by our contribution to the arts. Yet it is worth pointing out that even in the sphere of the arts, we have not done too badly. To speak only of literature, names like Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Robert Frost, and many others attest that we have, in fact, done far better than might generally have been expected of a nation conceived primarily to achieve other ends. These ends were social, political, and economic, and it is in them that we have indeed excelled the most.

We have excelled by following our Founding Fathers in directing our energies, as our Constitution exhorts us to do, to the preservation of the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, as well as to the pursuit of happiness tacitly understood by the Declaration of Independence to require prosperity as a precondition. (In his original draft of the Declaration, of course, Jefferson used the word “property” instead of “pursuit of happiness.”) By remaining faithful in principle—and to a considerable extent in practice—to the ideas by which the Founders hoped to accomplish these ends, we and our forebears have fashioned a country in which more liberty and more prosperity are more widely shared than among any other people in human history. Yes, even today that holds true, despite policies unfaithful both to the letter and to the spirit of the traditional American system that have resulted in a series of political and economic setbacks.

The question Podhoretz asked (Compared to what is America so bad?) is one we should be asking all of our liberal friends. See if this will get them to think and find out just WHY they think America is so bad. This will force them to do what Andrew Breitbart had said in Righteous Indignation when he brought up his Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries. If you remember, Rule 9 of the Primer dealt with not letting them pretend to know more than they do. In fact, let me read just a small excerpt from it when I did my editorial on that particular rule.

Your opponents will pretend to be experts if you don't, but that's okay, because you can always puncture their balloon with one word: why. Asking them to provide evidence for their assertions is always fun, and it's even more fun asking them to provide the sources for that evidence. Attacking the fundamental basis of their arguments if fun, too - if they tell you health care is a right, ask why. Liberals don't have a why, other than their own utopianism and their dyspeptic view of the status quo and America. Reason is not their strong suit - emotion is. Force them to play on the football field of reason.”

As Andrew said, there is one word which we can use to puncture the false narrative propagated by the left, and even a few kooks on our own side. That word is why, a simple three-letter word with a lot of power and oomph behind it. If we ask why they think that, then they will have to come up with a reason. As we all know, reason is not their strong suit because they always rely on emotion.

As I had said at the end of that particular editorial, “We have the tools to force our opponents to play on the football field of reason. The thing of it is do we have the WILLPOWER to confront them and force them to play on that football field of reason, or are we afraid to do it?”

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Rundown for July 27, 2013

Join Rick Bulow and Billie Cotter as they give the week in news. Today is mostly going to be Open Phones due to the fact that Rick has his High School Reunion today. However, here ARE a couple of topics up on the plate for today as well. Governor Chris Christie (Republican from New Jersey) calls Senator Rand Paul (Republican from Kentucky)dangerous. Why did he do that? And the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebellius is recruiting Bloggers to help sell ObamaCare. Why did she do that? What will come out of it? Those questions and more including YOUR CALLS will be coming up on Red, Right, and Blue today

Come join us today for Red, Right, and Blue now at a SPECIAL TIME of 12 noon or 12:30 PM Eastern (11 or 11:30 AM Central) today. The chatroom (which is located at http://www.ownthenarrative.com/live) will be open no earlier than 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 AM Central) for me to do a little last minute show prep and do a meet and greet with those who show up early. If you want to engage the conversation during the show, there are three ways to do so:

Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Hell, tell a liberal. The show might be early today, due to me attending my 20 year high school reunion, but it is always bound to be a blastyhoot (h/t to Bailey Connell [“Bail of Rights”] for that word) so come join us!

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

American Exceptionalism (Part 2)

Barack Obama says that there is no such thing as American Exceptionalism as much as there is British Exceptionalism or Greek Exceptionalism. Well there are many reasons to make America MORE exceptional, and I brought it out in last week’s editorial. Now we will discuss just how people had lost sight of American Exceptionalism.

At first, anti-American passions were understandably fuelled by the dangerous political challenge posed to the monarchies of Europe by the republican ideas of the American Revolution. But the political side of anti-Americanism was soon joined to a cultural indictment that proved to have more staying power. Here is how the brilliant but volatile historian Henry Adams—the descendent of two American presidents—described the cultural indictment as it was framed in the earliest days of the Republic:

In the foreigner’s range of observation, love of money was the most conspicuous and most common trait of the American character . . . . No foreigner of that day—neither poet, painter, or philosopher—could detect in American life anything higher than vulgarity . . . . Englishmen especially indulged in unbounded invective against the sordid character of American society . . . . Contemporary critics could see neither generosity, economy, honor, nor ideas of any kind in the American breast.

In his younger days, Adams defended America against these foreign critics; but in later life, snobbishly recoiling from the changes wrought by rapid industrialization following the Civil War, he would hurl the same charge at the America of the so-called Gilded Age.

We see a similar conflict in Tocqueville. Democracy in America was mainly a defense of the country’s political system and many of its egalitarian habits and mores. But where its cultural and spiritual life was concerned, Tocqueville expressed much the same contempt as the critics cited by Henry Adams. The Americans, he wrote, with “their exclusively commercial habits,” were so fixated “upon purely practical objects” that they neglected “the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts,” and it was only their proximity to Europe that allowed them “to neglect these pursuits without lapsing into barbarism.” Many years later, another Frenchman, Georges Clemenceau, went Tocqueville one better: “America,” he quipped, “is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone from barbarism to decadence without the usual interval of civilization.”

The main reason for the enduring power of the cultural critique was its fervent embrace, beginning in the late 19th century, by the vast majority of the writers, artists, and intellectuals who followed Tocqueville. And so it still goes in 2012, when the putative materialism and crassness of American life are harped upon in movies, television shows, novels, volumes of social criticism, and op-ed pieces too numerous to count.

Like Tocqueville and the foreigners cited by Henry Adams, moreover, these more recent works attribute this crassly philistine attitude to the love of money and “the exclusively commercial habits” that went with it—in other words, to the species of freedom that has done more than anything else ever invented to lift masses of people out of poverty and that would later be known as capitalism. America, these critics were declaring, was exceptional all right—exceptionally bad, or even downright evil.

We had seen the decline of American Exceptionalism in the late 19th century with the advent of the Gilded Era. This was also about the time that the government decided that they are best suited to teach out students and also when many had thought America was a democracy and not a Republic, but I will get to them in a later editorial. Today we see many not interested in politics (when it is all around us) or even sat that greed is bad and we need to share the wealth. That is NOT what American Exceptionalism is supposed to be about, and the more we fall down that path the worse off America will be.

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Rundown for July 20, 2013

Join Rick Bulow and Billie Cotter as they bring the week in news. George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin. What does the Justice Department say about that? Also, what had Obama and the celebrities said in regards to it? Also, Detroit had filed for bankruptcy yesterday; however, a Michigan judge declared it unconstitutional. What was the reason he gave? And the Nobel Peace Prize Committee just got back at Obama. What did they do? Those topics and more including your calls and Schmuck of the Week will be highlighted on today’s show.

Come join the fun and frivolity that is Red, Right, and Blue today at 1:30 PM Eastern, 12:30 PM Central. I will be in the chatroom (which is accessed at http://www.ownthenarrative.com/live) 30 minutes early for some last minute show prep and also a meet and greet. There are three ways to engage the conversation during the show:

  • Call 832-699-0449
  • Skype in to OTNNetwork
  • If you are on Twitter, use the hashtags #RedRightBlue and #OTNN

Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Hell, tell a Liberal. Today’s show is going to be wonderful, and I will be announcing something hugely interesting, so you almost have to stay tuned to hear the big announcement.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

American Exceptionalism

A couple of weeks ago I had said that someone had said that a friend and I just destroyed 60 years of “American Exceptionalism” for him. That got me to thinking, and in the Hillsdale College publication called Imprimis, there was an interesting article by Norman Podhoretz, former Editor-in-Chief of Commentary Magazine, entitled “Is America Exceptional?” Over the next few weeks I will be reading from it during this editorial. Here is the first part:

ONCE UPON A TIME, hardly anyone dissented from the idea that, for better or worse, the United States of America was different from all other nations. This is not surprising, since the attributes that made it different were vividly evident from the day of its birth. Let me say a few words about three of them in particular.

First of all, unlike all other nations past or present, this one accepted as a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. What this meant was that its Founders aimed to create a society in which, for the first time in the history of the world, the individual’s fate would be determined not by who his father was, but by his own freely chosen pursuit of his own ambitions. In other words, America was to be something new under the sun: a society in which hereditary status and class distinctions would be erased, leaving individuals free to act and to be judged on their merits alone. There remained, of course, the two atavistic contradictions of slavery and the position of women; but so intolerable did these contradictions ultimately prove that they had to be resolved—even if, as in the case of the former, it took the bloodiest war the nation has ever fought.

Secondly, in all other countries membership or citizenship was a matter of birth, of blood, of lineage, of rootedness in the soil. Thus, foreigners who were admitted for one reason or another could never become full-fledged members of the society. But America was the incarnation of an idea, and therefore no such factors came into play. To become a full-fledged American, it was only necessary to pledge allegiance to the new Republic and to the principles for which it stood.

Thirdly, in all other nations, the rights, if any, enjoyed by their citizens were conferred by human agencies: kings and princes and occasionally parliaments. As such, these rights amounted to privileges that could be revoked at will by the same human agencies. In America, by contrast, the citizen’s rights were declared from the beginning to have come from God and to be “inalienable”—that is, immune to legitimate revocation.

As time went on, other characteristics that were unique to America gradually manifested themselves. For instance, in the 20th century, social scientists began speculating as to why America was the only country in the developed world where socialism had failed to take root. As it happens, I myself first came upon the term “American exceptionalism” not in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, where it has mistakenly been thought to have originated, but in a book by the sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset, who used it in connection with the absence in America of a strong socialist party. More recently I have discovered that the term may actually have originated with Joseph Stalin, of all people, who coined the term in the same connection but only in order to dismiss it. Thus, when an American Communist leader informed him that American workers had no intention of playing the role Marx had assigned to the worldwide proletariat as the vanguard of the coming socialist revolution, Stalin reputedly shouted something like, “Away with this heresy of American exceptionalism!” And yet Stalin and his followers were themselves exceptional in denying that America was exceptional in the plainly observable ways I have mentioned. If, however, almost everyone agreed that America was different, there was a great deal of disagreement over whether its exceptionalism made it into a force for good or a force for evil. This too went back to the beginning, when the denigrators outnumbered the enthusiasts.

Notice the three things that Podhoretz said which made America exceptional:

  1. A self-evident truth that all men are created equal.
  2. To become a full-fledged American, it was only necessary to pledge allegiance to the new Republic and to the principles for which it stood.
  3. In America, the citizen’s rights were declared from the beginning to have come from God and to be “inalienable”—that is, immune to legitimate revocation.

Other characteristics had come about in the 20th century that also made America exceptional, but for the purposes of today’s editorial I will focus on these three just briefly because these three have caused a lot of controversy today. Numbers 1 and 3 go together because we see them in the Declaration of Independence with the phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN  (i.e. humankind) are created equal, that they are endowed BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” This proves that America was founded on a JUDEO-CHRISTIAN heritage. However, not many believe we were founded on a Judeo-Christian heritage, and I will be devoting an entire show to it. I will say to start of with that if Jefferson were to see what people had done to the phrase “Separation of Church and State” today as opposed to when he wrote it in 1802, he would be livid.

The second cause of what made America exceptional deals with citizenship. Not only were we the first nation to say that if you pledge allegiance to the Republic and the principles for which it stood, then you are a citizen but I will go ONE STEP FURTHER and say that if you recite this when you are a child AND you are born here, irregardless of your parents’ citizenship status, then you ARE A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN. Many people say that the ONLY time children are national born is if their citizens are parents, and that is so far from the truth it is unreal. I can spend an entire show on this in the future, and I will, but today is not the day to do it.

Look for me to bring these three issues out in a later editorial and possibly show. America IS and ALWAYS HAS BEEN exceptional, and I aim to bring that out more on this show.

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Rundown for July 13, 2013

Join Rick Bulow and Billie Cotter as they bring you the week in news. The show is in Verdict Watch because the jury had received their instructions in the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. What happened the last few days? Also, why was the judge so hard on the Defense team? The White House is now distancing itself from the Trayvon Martin case and also from Barack Obama’s previous comments. In other news outside of the George Zimmerman murder, Elisabeth Hasselbeck is making the move from ABC’s “The View” to Fox News Channel, where she will take over for Gretchen Carlson (who will be moving to a show in the afternoon) on the “Fox & Friends” Curvy Couch in between Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. What did Elisabeth say on her last day? What did Kilmeade say about The View? All that and more including your calls and the ever popular Schmuck of the Week coming up.

Join us today at 1:30 PM Eastern, 12:30 PM Central for Red, Right, and Blue. I will be in the chatroom, which can be accessed at http://www.ownthenarrative.com/live, 30 minutes early for some last minute show prep and also a meet and greet. If you want to engage the conversation during the show, there are three ways to do so

  • Call 832-699-0449
  • Skype in to OTNNetwork
  • If you are unable to be in the chatroom, then use the hashtags #RedRightBlue and #OTNN

Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Hell, tell a liberal. While we are on verdict watch here on Red, Right, and Blue, we still manage to condense 168 hours of news into 2 hours and have fun doing it too!

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jimi Hendrix: A Great American and Patriot

I had played this video for the 4th of July last year, and it is just as relevant today as it was then

For today’s editorial, I will introduce you to a great American Patriot. Listen to this clip by Alfonzo “Zo” Rachel of “ZoNation” as he speaks on the Great American Individual and Patriot

And for those of you who had not heard the entire version, you can catch the entire clip here.

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Rundown for July 6, 2013

Join Rick Bulow and Billie Cotter as they deliver the week in news. This week America celebrated it’s 237th birthdate. However, many people do not know why they celebrate or even who we declared independence from.We will get into that. Also, many people do not even know that the actual birthdate of America is NOT July 4 as people think but rather July 2. Why is that? What is the history behind such? Also, there were a couple of brow raising things said from a couple of celebrities (I know. Surprise, surprise, surprise) this week. What was said and who said it? All that and more including your phone calls and the ever popular Schmuck of the Week.

All that and more on Red, Right, and Blue today at 1:30 PM Eastern, 12:30 PM Central. I will enter the chatroom (which is located at http://www.ownthenarrative.com/live) 30 minutes early for a little last-minute show prep and also a meet and greet. If you want to engage the conversation during the show, there are three ways to do so:

  • Call 832-699-0449
  • Skype in to OTNNetwork
  • If you are on Twitter, use the hashtags #RedRightBlue and #OTNN

Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Hell, tell a Liberal. With everything that has happened during the week, things are bound to be huge and you do not want to miss a single second of the show to find out how I react to certain things that had happened.

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