What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Cella series on American Exceptionalism.

Some weeks ago two editors at National Review wrote a striking essay about American Exceptionalism. Today inaugurates a four-part series of mine in response to that essay at The New Ledger, whose generous and intrepid editors have permitted me to expound at length on subjects close to my heart.

This subject, I believe, offers a unique perspective from which to view some of the characteristic troubles of our age; and specially our age in light of the disarray introduced by the ruin and discredit of so much of finance capitalism.

Comments (4)

I'll look forward to the next installment.

I was intrigued by this sentence:

These problems, not a posited structure of “rights” or “principles” or “ideals,” in truth comprise the universal aspect of human politics. The condition of man, in a word, is one of inconclusive modification to the pressures of permanent problems as they manifest themselves according to the character and tenor of the times.

Below, you list some of these problems--e.g., government by few, one, or many.

When I myself talk about ideas or principles in the government of the U.S., I think in terms of the particular solutions that the founders came up with to exactly these types of problems. In other words, I think something like this: The structure of the U.S. government, with its balances of powers, its limitations, its careful use of constitutional democracy, as envisaged by the founders in the Constitution, is a wise structure and something to be proud of.

One reason I'm proud of that structure is because it embodies a laudable caution about centralized power and a laudable desire for freedom and what our Catholic friends call subsidiarity.

In any event, if it's true that practical, political problems are the stuff of politics, then I think it can be true that justified pride in wise dealing with those problems can be the stuff of patriotism.

Full agreement on your last sentence, Lydia. I'll have more to say about that in a later installment.

If there is a flaw in the essay it is at it's root the very enumeration of the of the tasks at hand, the recurrent problems of governing.

Government by it's structure is incapable of providing answers to the uncountable problems of human nature and it's demands. For this reason power was to be diffused as widely as possible, through the states, the people, and the federal government itself.

American exceptionalism was a product of this early structure, the founders recognizing that though much might be demanded, only less could be offered safely, or done at all, that modesty of aims and the existence of other bodies within the overall body politic could begin to approach comity and effectiveness.

American exceptionalism now is similar to Sweeden's and is approaching that of Greece.

"distribution of property", the viper in the nest.

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