American Exceptionalism

Conservatives often assume the U.S. has a higher per capita income than Europe due to its less interventionist policies. However, this really isn’t necessarily true at all. The U.S. also wasn’t the battle field for the two greatest wars in human history, and relative to its number of combatants and civilians suffered very low casualties and damages. Furthermore after WW2 the American Imperialist financial and banking system funneled in wealth while simeaultaneously retarding the progress of economic development in other parts of the world. I don’t really see much evidence that the American government has been less interventionist than Germany since WW2; and given the total devastation and the fact that half of Germany was ruled by Communists for 40+ years the fact that Germany is so close to us in per capita income it is may indicate that Germany was in fact LESS interventionist in many key areas.

Likewise, American conservatives often assert that the United States was ‘infected’ with various liberal, Progressive and socialist doctrines which came to America from the Continent. The real fact of the matter is that America thought up most of these doctrines and exported them to Europe where they became more radicalized. This has been true since the American Revolution, if not earlier.

American Exceptionalism – ideologically – is largely a myth; the U.S. – taking into account the damage wrought by social engineering and military expansionism – is in many ways worse off than many parts of Europe, and in areas where it is better it isn’t by a lot.

American Exceptionalism – industrially and economically – has basically been dead or at least  in serious decline since at least WW1. It just so happened that some other countries declined ever faster.

On the other hand given how bad the American government has been, it is a surprise that it isn’t worse. But as Bismarck said, “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards and the United States.”

Conceived in Liberty

Murray Rothbard’s Ideological History

Claiming there was some sort of libertarian consesus in the colonies (much less the mother country) is highly unsustainable – especially among the populace, who were either motivated by basically theocratic or agrarian-populist motives. Rothbard confuses Puritan radicalism and propaganda with the sort of libertarian propaganda he promotes. Just because someone argues for ‘property’ or ‘natural rights’ doesn’t mean they have in mind the doctrine of laissez-faire, which would have been anachronistic. In my opinion the American Revolution did far more damage to market-and-property societies than any advantage it ever conferred.

On top of that not a single one of the Founding Fathers had views that could be descriped as substantially libertarian; even folks like Jefferson and Paine had so many interventionist, democratic and proto-socialist leanings that their system never would have been anything like anarcho-capitalism if they had been free to exercise it. The notion that the American Revolution was libertarian, even in theory, is sheer mythology.

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