Cons love a ‘Murica slogan. One of their favorites is the concept of “American Exceptionalism”. That’s a fancy way of saying “Our shit? Ambrosia”. To them, everything good that has ever happened has flowed from our young country.
So it is with amusement that I find out just where that phrase comes from:
In 1929, the phrase first appeared, in a letter to the head of an American political party from the head of a foreign state. The letter was to one of the leaders of the Communist Party USA, Jay Lovestone. And, it was from the Soviet Union’s General Secretary, Joseph Stalin.
Jay Lovestone sent Stalin an explanation as to why workers in the United States were not inclined to engage in widespread civil disobedience, and that the general rules of industrialization did not appear to cause them as much discomfort as it did their counterparts in Europe. He said in effect that America was an exception to the economic rules that the Bolshevik’s had built their own models upon. In effect, America’s still expanding frontier, and that it was still growing, meant that the usual rhetoric and explanations did not resonate with the people of the United States.
In response, Joseph Stalin replied back that there was an “American Exceptionalism” in place. Not that America was “exceptional,” but that America viewed itself as the Exception to the established order. The Communists used the phrase in rhetoric and speeches, about how America felt it was the exception to the rules.
Joseph Stalin believed that eventually it too would discover that the same rules over the economy still applied – a prophecy which came true only weeks later when the crash led to the Great Depression. And in a dire warning, the Soviet leader strongly felt that in an attempt to cling to this belief in an exception, the United States would eventually turn imperialistic, and become a military menace to the world in order to prove its exceptionalism.
I don’t have much regard for Stalin, but say what you will-he kinda nailed us.