Progressivism and American Exceptionalism

In my reading of progressive philosophies and in my interactions with liberals, I’m constantly confused by their beliefs regarding American exceptionalism, or lack thereof.

It always surprises me to hear people say that our founding documents and the ideas of those who created them are relics of a bygone era. That they have no relevance in the nation that we have become some several hundred years later.

Even though I’ve always instinctively rejected that notion, I never really thought about what exactly is the basis of the exceptionalism that I take for granted and others love to reject.

Today, it came to me: It is not that we, as individuals, are special. It is that our nation was founded on principles that transcended the most enlightened nations of it’s day. Chief among those principles is the declaration that all men are created equal and that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine how a progressive could improve upon these concepts, as once they were established, they are final. If some individuals are made more equal than others, is that progress? If we reverse the concept of governments deriving their authority only from our consent, are we an improved nation?

I think not!

No, I think American exceptionalism is alive and well as long as our Constitution stands as written. Progressive ideas may attempt to distort it, but it cannot be destroyed without our consent. It is our duty to deny that consent.



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