Being Proud of American Exceptionalism: Understanding what a “neocon” is and isn’t

After the interview I did with Matt Clark featuring the life of Walt Disney and more specifically, American Exceptionalism there was of course some upset listeners, as there always is.  Listen to that broadcast by CLICKING HERE.  The term “American Excepitonalism” tends to set off tempers from the type of people who have been taught their entire lives that America should follow the trends of the rest of the world and not proudly proclaim the wonderful attributes that have come out of the freest country in the world–such as capitalism, human rights, individual freedom, and a quality of life that is unmatched anywhere.  Americans on the world stage have been told by virtually every government that as one of the youngest countries they need to respect their elders and yield to the social philosophies of older cultures and disregard their own.  This kind of mentality inspired Barack Obama upon his presidential election to go on his famous bowing around the world tour apologizing to the countries of Europe and elsewhere for American arrogance that had been displayed over the last couple of centuries.  Americans were told by progressive activists that The United States was not a good country and that we should all be paralyzed by guilt for the slavery that caused the Civil War, and that somehow all the good things in America were to be erased due to civil rights violations.

Well, the types of people who utter such nonsense are the enemies of America.  They forget that America willingly freed its slaves, which the King of England had started in the colonies, and under the American Constitution, slavery was abolished—a move that happened nowhere else in the world.  To this very day there is still slavery in Africa, all through the Middle-East and spanning along the northern shores of the Indian Ocean.  Women’s rights in the same region are equally appalling.  Only in America were such rights granted to women without destroying the economy.  Capitalism gave men, women, and children options that exist no place else anywhere in the world and freedom for all races, shapes and sizes of people more equally than any other country—so what is there to apologize for?

Americans have been taught by their government that The United States gained everything it achieved by consuming too many resources, and stepping on the rights of others across the world.  Such claims are equivalent to jealous classmates who swear that America cheated because they cannot fathom how it accomplished such wonderful attributes competitively.  It is in those types of people who find the term “American Exceptionalism” an offensive term, and it was those who were angry at Matt and me for even discussing it on his radio show.  After the broadcast there was a comment from a guy named Ben Cowan who said:

(American Exceptionalism) “a neocon made up term.  American experience is the real name, the founders were never arrogant or braggadocios about this country.”

–Ben CowanScreen shot 2013-07-22 at 8.47.54 AM

Matt’s response to Ben I thought was very kind, and as a radio personality he gets those types of comments all the time—and his answers are usually very diplomatic.  However, in this case I’d like to answer Ben in my own way as the terms he used in his comment deserve scrutiny.  A Neocon by definition is a conservative who supposedly disliked the social freedom of the 1960s. A neoconservative equals someone who became conservative as a reaction to the social freedom of the 1960s and 1970s.  The term braggadocios are considered empty boasting and swaggering self-aggrandizement.  Since I fully support the term “American Exceptionalism” then this means that by Ben’s comment that I am a neocon that is practicing braggadocios—and that I shouldn’t do so because the Founding Fathers didn’t perform the behavior.  But Ben is wrong and here’s why.  The Founding Fathers at the start of the American Experiment of 1776 did not boast because their philosophical theories were unproven at the time.  However, in 2013 the aspects of their philosophy that worked can be seen in the many attributes described at the beginning of this article.  The benefits to capitalism and the American Experience produced a unique type of person that had only been contemplated by philosopher fantasies prior to The Declaration of Independence.   Unlike 1773 to 1782 there is now a history to show how such a small country was able to have such a major impact on the world without having kings or queens to take the credit for such productive output.  Life in virtually every facet is better in America because of the philosophy of personal independence that is much larger than the “American Experience.”  The type of person that is produced under such a system of government is what is meant by “American Exceptionalism.”  The example that Matt and I discussed was Walt Disney, a man who could have only been produced under the American style of government focused on self-reliance, creative enterprise, and a focus on the greater good by impacting the individual at the level of their imagination.  The proof of American Exceptionalism is in the track record of success by individuals in America directly compared to individuals in other countries, such as China, India, Spain, Russia or anywhere else.  No country has produced individuals like Walt Disney so Uncle Walt is an example of American Exceptionalism, the same kind of exceptionalism that invented airplanes, electricity, and the telephone.  The same county that walked on the moon and set the standard for space flight, is the same country where even the poor are comparatively wealthy when compared to the villages of Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.  That is something to be proud of which must be termed American Excpetionalism.

When those who find such terms inconvenient or even uncomfortably true based on their personal philosophies, try to refute such truthful statements as to point out American Exceptionalism they must use an anti-concept to attempt to remove such definitions so that there is no standard to measure against the failures of other belief systems.  This is what Ben Cowen did when he attempted to put Matt and me on the defensive with name calling such as neocon and braggadocios.  The automatic reaction might be to say, “No we’re not,” then spend the rest of the conversation attempting to prove that we are not neocons or braggadocios.  While it’s true that I find the social freedoms of the 1960s and 1970s despicable it is not enough to call my thoughts those of a neocon which somehow refers my beliefs into the realm of radicalism.  In the interview with Matt, we had spent one hour talking about Walt Disney and our love of a period well before the 1960s that we relish.  That period would be called “classic American” not a neocon.  The radicalism is only in reference to the severe psychological differences that are the result of the destructive period referenced during the Hippie Era.  People who use the neocon term are those who fear losing the social gains made during the 1960s which violate the type of classic America I honor.  The only radicalism present is the accepted period of the 1960s version of America as opposed to the 1920s when Presidents like Calvin Coolidge were burning the midnight oil doing America’s business and Walt Disney was trying to get his company off the ground.

As for being a braggadocios, I say why not?  When an NFL player scores a touchdown, they celebrate, when a basketball player hits a deep three pointer, or slam dunks over an opposing player, they celebrate.  When a NASCAR driver wins a race they do burn outs in the middle of the track to celebrate their victory.  So why would Americans not brag about the cultural aspects of their society that they know are superior, such as the aviation industry, the computer industry, and the entertainment culture.  Look how many literary works are produced in The United States compared to other countries.  No other country comes close to The United States in thinking production and that is something to celebrate. Of those thinkers nobody took the business of thought to the level of Walt Disney who is an example of American Exceptionalism.  It is OK to pump our fists in the air as Americans and be proud of what we are.  It is disgraceful to apologize for being too good and American has been.  Its time to stop that, the Founding Fathers didn’t brag about their good fortune at the time because they weren’t sure the experiment would work.  But now we do know and its time to stop pandering to the type of people represented by Ben Cowan.  They are free to think what they want, but not free to dictate our actions with name calling.  It’s time to call them names, like apologists, wimps, detriments to the human race and a number of other things I can think of right off-hand that are not fit to write down.   But it’s not acceptable to just take what the hippies, the progressive loons; the America haters declare is the new line in the sand of social value.  That line has been drawn way too far to the left and its about time to move it radically back to where it should have been all along, in an era represented best by the finest example of American Exceptionalism that is universally known to the entire world – Walt Disney.  For anyone who wishes to argue against American Exceptionalism point to an example anywhere in the world of a similar personality born under the flag of socialism, communism, or any form of statism.  I am confident that there isn’t one, and nobody reading this will succeed in providing a single example and that is ultimately what people like Ben Cowan are angry at.  Calling us neocons, which coming from them is like being awarded a badge of honor, declares that they hate our social position, painting on my face a smile from ear to ear.  Ben………..I am braggadocios about this country.  So you better get used to it.

Rich Hoffman

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