To me it is glaringly obvious that the USA is exceptional. It is overwhelmingly the world's predominant military power and also the source of most of the world's innovations.
So the interesting question is not "if" but "why". WHY is America so dominant? In a recent article Podhoretz sets out most of the usual reasons, starting from the foundation of the USA in an independence revolution. He sees the principles set out by the revolutionaries at that time as having had an enduring influence.
I imagine that they did have an influence for a long time but only conservative intellectuals and activists seem to know of them now. Thanks to the Leftist takeover of the schools, the average American these days knows nothing substantial about the American founding, if anything at all. How much does the average black or Hispanic know? Yet they all have votes -- and there's a lot of them.
And America is now very socialist. As Romney rightly if imprudently pointed out, around half of the population now depend on government handouts. Not much rugged individualism there! Given the huge and unfunded Federal spending now happening, it could in fact be argued that America is in the midst of a socialist meltdown right now. Nothing Romney has proposed is capable of reining in the overspend.
But if none of the usual explanations of America's exceptionalism now work, what can it be that makes America so powerful in every sense? I think it is both extraordinarily simple and much more enduring than all of the other influences that have come and gone: The fact that there is a national election every two years. If the ruling party goes off the rails you only have to wait two years to give them a boot up the backside -- as we vividly saw in the 2010 mid-terms. There is only so much damage you can do in two years so the damage done by political folly is much less in America. Most governments are still getting into their stride at the two-year mark and they have to take into account the forthcoming election long before that.
Other countries have three or four year terms before a national government has to face a new election and Britain has horrific five-year terms. And huge messes can be created, and have been created, in five years. Just look at the problem created by the last British Labour Party government's "open door" immigration policy. Britain is now lumbered with millions of welfare-dependent parasites who have to be supported by the staggering British taxpayer. At least most of America's "illegals" come to work.
If ever the American socialists (so-called "liberals") wake up to the fact that two-year terms are their enemy, America might have a problem but until then there is hope. And even liberals might have difficulty in arguing that frequent elections are "unfair".
The more we learn about Benghazi...
Chick-fil-A laughing all the way to the bank
To misquote Liberace
Three months after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy voiced his support for 'Biblical families' - prompting one of the most intense and negative campaigns the fast food chain has ever seen - it has been revealed that the restaurant's bottom line couldn't be better.
Research specialist Sandelman & Associates report that customer numbers are up, profits are healthy, and media awareness of the brand is at an all-time high.
So much for the negative publicity. It seems that the months of protests, kiss-ins, calls for boycotts and fighting talk from both sides of the fence have actually been one big free advertisement for the company.
Sandelman figures showed consumer use of the chicken sandwich chain was up 2.2 per cent, compared with the same period in 2011, market share was up 0.6 per cent, and brand awareness was up 6.5 per cent.
The research firm interviewed more than 30,000 fast-food consumers in markets where Chick-fil-A is located.
Jeff Davis, president of Sandelman, told USA Today: 'There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-fil-A, but it actually helped the brand.
He added that, during the third quarter of this year, Chick-fil-A broadened its regular customer base in 28 of 35 media markets.
Obama debates truth
It was a little much when President Barack Obama said that he was "offended" by the suggestion that his administration would try to deceive the public about what happened in Benghazi. What has this man not deceived the public about?
Remember his pledge to cut the deficit in half in his first term in office? This was followed by the first trillion-dollar deficit ever, under any president of the United States – followed by trillion-dollar deficits in every year of the Obama administration.
Remember his pledge to have a "transparent" government that would post its legislative proposals on the Internet several days before Congress was to vote on them, so that everybody would know what was happening? This was followed by an Obamacare bill so huge and passed so fast that even members of Congress did not have time to read it.
Remember his claims that previous administrations had arrogantly interfered in the internal affairs of other nations – and then his demands that Israel stop building settlements and give away land outside its 1967 borders, as a precondition to peace talks with the Palestinians, on whom there were no preconditions?
As for what happened in Libya, the Obama administration says that there is an "investigation" under way. An "on-going investigation" sounds so much better than "stonewalling" to get past Election Day. But you can bet the rent money that this "investigation" will not be completed before Election Day. And whatever the investigation says after the election will be irrelevant.
The events unfolding in Benghazi on the tragic night of Sept. 11 were being relayed to the State Department as the attacks were going on, "in real time," as they say. So the idea that the Obama administration now has to carry out a time-consuming "investigation" to find out what those events were, when the information was immediately available at the time, is a little much.
The full story of what happened in Libya, down to the last detail, may never be known. But, as someone once said, you don't need to eat a whole egg to know that it is rotten. And you don't need to know every detail of the events before, during and after the attacks to know that the story put out by the Obama administration was a fraud.
The administration's initial story that what happened in Benghazi began as a protest against an anti-Islamic video in America was a very convenient theory. The most obvious alternative explanation would have been devastating to Barack Obama's much heralded attempts to mollify and pacify Islamic nations in the Middle East.
To have helped overthrow pro-Western governments in Egypt and Libya, only to bring anti-Western Islamic extremists to power would have been revealed as a foreign policy disaster of the first magnitude. To have been celebrating President Obama's supposedly heroic role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the implication that al-Qaida was crippled, would have been revealed as a farce.
Osama bin Laden was by no means the first man to plan a surprise attack on America and later be killed. Japan's Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, and he was later tracked down and shot down in a plane that was carrying him.
Nobody tried to depict President Franklin D. Roosevelt as some kind of hero for having simply authorized the killing of Yamamoto. In that case, the only hero who was publicized was the man who shot down the plane that Yamamoto was in.
Yet the killing of Osama bin Laden has been depicted as some kind of act of courage by President Obama. After bin Laden was located, why would any president not give the go-ahead to get him?
That took no courage at all. It would have been far more dangerous politically for Obama not to have given the go-ahead. Moreover, Obama hedged his bets by authorizing the admiral in charge of the operation to proceed only under various conditions.
This meant that success would be credited to Obama and failure could be blamed on the admiral – who would join George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and other scapegoats for Obama's failures.
Are Leftists INCAPABLE of principle or even consistency?
The last mistake Dan Fredenberg made was getting killed in another man’s garage. It was Sept. 22, and Mr. Fredenberg, 40, was upset. He strode up the driveway of a quiet subdivision here to confront Brice Harper, a 24-year-old romantically involved with Mr. Fredenberg’s young wife. But as he walked through Mr. Harper’s open garage door, Mr. Fredenberg was doing more than stepping uninvited onto someone else’s property. He was unwittingly walking onto a legal landscape reshaped by laws that have given homeowners new leeway to use force inside their own homes.
Proponents say the laws strengthen people’s right to defend their homes. To others, they are a license to kill.
That night, in a doorway at the back of his garage, Mr. Harper aimed a gun at the unarmed Mr. Fredenberg, fired and struck him three times. Mr. Fredenberg crumpled to the garage floor, a few feet from Mr. Harper. He was dead before morning.
Had Mr. Fredenberg been shot on the street or sidewalk, the legal outcome might have been different. But on Oct. 9, the Flathead County attorney decided not to prosecute, saying that Montana’s “castle doctrine” law, which maintains that a man’s home is his castle, protected Mr. Harper’s rights to vigorously defend himself there. The county attorney determined that Mr. Harper had the right to fetch his gun from his bedroom, confront Mr. Fredenberg in the garage and, fearing for his safety, shoot him.
So let’s summarize – angry, drunk estranged husband of homeowner’s girlfriend charges into the home spewing threats. Homeowner responds with a trio of shots that dispatch the intruder into the next life. Frankly, I’ve got no problem with that – especially with the homeowner knowing that the intruder had a history of domestic abuse against his estranged spouse. The prosecutor was right not to bring charges in this situation.
The New York Times, of course, disagrees – as does most of its liberal-leaning commenters. That isn’t a surprise, and would not even elicit my notice However, it is the responses of those liberal commenters that are illustrative of how shallow the “pro-woman” stance taken by your average liberal really is. What I read was a veritable War on Women from the Left! Consider this comment, from commenter Jim Jones.
Is this what some people refer to as "freedom"? She has an affair, tells her husband, proceeds to take their young children to the home of this other man, in order to spend the day there, and finally asks this other man to drive her around the neighborhood, which ensures she is seen with the other man. The Victim returns home to find his wife & young children missing. The soon to be victim then goes looking for his family in one place he probably hoped they would not be. Upon the victim's arrival, the other man runs into his home, leaving the door open, so he can grab a gun and wait for the Vic to get within range.
The Vic was baited like a bear. What a bad law. So sad, so cold, so predictable. Someone else is sure to use similar tactics in order to legally take out an adversary.
Got that – it is all the woman’s fault. How dare she spend the day with a man not her husband? She even drove around in a car with him! Sounds like Mr. Jones would prefer the much more morally sound legal code of Saudi Arabia to guarantee that such immoral behavior is properly punished. And then there’s Merlin.
As tragic as this case is, it's never a good idea to confront the man having an affair with your woman, not even on neutral ground, and worst of all in his territory. It's always the woman's fault, just as it is the man's fault when he cheats. The only time you are right to confront your woman's lover is in your own home or territory.
Got that – she’s “your woman”. Chattel. I saw any number of comments in which some liberal commenter argued that Fredenberg had every right to enter Harper’s home because Harper had “trespassed” upon Fredenberg’s “property” by having an affair with his wife. So much for the notion of “her body, her choice”! I wonder if such liberals would be taking the same position if a drunk guy who abused his wife had shown up in the garage of the local abortionist to punch him out (or worse) for aborting his child? I doubt it – they would be celebrating him and the NYT article would have presented the doctor as a hero.
The number of comments by liberals arguing that Harper –who according to Fredenberg’s estranged wife was not involved in a sexual relationship with her, only an emotional one – deserved to be assaulted because of that relationship was just astounding. All these folks showing up to argue that it was inappropriate to respond to the threat of assault with violence, and indeed arguing that the assailant had every right to commit assault. I wish someone had posted a comment asking if it would have been acceptable for Fredenberg to knock around Heather Fredenberg because of her relationship with Harper -- it would have been instructive to see how many would have recoiled at the notion that domestic violence against an estranged wife could be acceptable even as they condoned violence against the boyfriend.
And I won’t get into the number of mewling anti-gunners who called for the reinstitution of criminal laws against adultery after decades of liberal efforts to overturn laws regulating sexual morality. Don’t they realize that, having fought and won the sexual revolution, incidents like the one in the article are inevitable as men and women exercise the freedoms that sprung from it? There’s no putting that genie back in the bottle.
Oh, and as for all the comments arguing that Harper should have retreated from the garage to hide while awaiting the police instead of standing his ground in his own home, I’d like to offer this undeniably true observation about such a course of action:
"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away"
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)