American Exceptionalism - Facts And Myths

American Exceptionalism - Facts and Myths

The phrase "American Exceptionalism" has been widely used throughout most of the history of the United States. This usage seems to have accelerated over the course of the last thirty five years. Why is this and what are the sources of these assertions both in the past and now?

Many of them have originated through the rhetoric of politicians attempting to motivate their electorate to turn out and vote for them. This is most certainly a reality but it cannot explain this phenomenon anywhere near its totality. Phrases such as these must have some foundation in truth especially in regards to how the majority of its citizens perceive it. A large and significant amount of people who are not citizens of the U.S. perceive and acknowledge examples of American Exceptionalism. Many American citizens as well as foreigners dispute this term in part or in its entirety.

I believe that we need to examine all of the major sources of the assertions of American Exceptionalism to determine their legitimacy. My goal within this Hub is to do exactly that. I will examine the major assertions of American Exceptionalism within three different categories.

The first category where I will address it is in regards to the United States being a beacon for liberty and democracy. Secondly, I will examine the belief that America is a leader in innovation and technology. Then I will assess the American Exceptionalism assertions in the fields of foreign policy and foreign assistance. I will do this by examining American diplomacy, covert and overt military interventionism, and foreign aid.

Finally, I will state my overall assessments and views regarding American Exceptionalism in all of these areas. I will also explain to you why I do believe in American Exceptionalism and why this opinion is not and should not be a blanket "thumbs up" in any of these categories.

The American Revolution starting in 1776 was truly an earth shattering event. Never before in world history had a revolution been based on the liberty and natural rights of all men. This revolution was cemented in its uniqueness after the war was won when they created a republic of the people through their new Constitution of 1787.

The military leaders such as General George Washington did not violently assume power. He became the first President of the United States by way of an election and voluntarily walked away from this office eight years later. This was unprecedented in world history.

Unfortunately the United States Constitution was also a document that resulted from several political bargains with the devil. The primary and most hideous bargain or compromise was to allow slavery to remain legal in the U.S. until 1808. This would be the earliest point where Congress would be allowed to impose its will upon the institution of slavery in any way.

Furthermore it allowed the slave states to count each slave as 3/5 of a person for purposes of establishing the size of a state's delegation to the House of Representatives as well as the amount of electoral votes they would have in the Presidential elections. Most of the states also only allowed propertied white men to vote.

The flip side of these very negative aspects of the Constitution is the highly elastic quality of the document. Our nation has been able to evolve over these past 225 years due to the inherent mechanisms within the Constitution for change. These changes take far too long to become realized but they do eventually occur.

Our history shows that we are continually opening ourselves up to more civil rights for a wider swath of our population. This started with the abolition of slavery, through the adoption of the Constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote, through Civil Rights legislation during the 1960's, and onward now to LGBT rights including same sex marriage.

One other contradiction in American history regarding liberty and democracy is the tug of war we continually conduct over immigration issues. We have always held ourselves out as a beacon to people of other nations searching for a better life. The poem by Emma Lazarus entitled, The New Colossus, states, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free". Many Americans can trace their roots back to Ellis Island. We feel in our hearts a kinship with Emma Lazarus' sentiments.

History, on the other hand, suggests that we have usually objected to large influxes of immigrants especially during tough economic times. The Chinese in the nineteenth century were horribly discriminated against. Irish and Italian immigrants often found it extremely difficult to find meaningful employment early in the twentieth century. Hispanic immigrants are feeling the same backlash now. These examples show that we are and have been both a beacon for immigrants as well as a very discriminating nation.

I will now turn to the area of innovation and technological progress. My father often emphasized to me as a child the assertion that America had the "can do" attitude and that we would always find a way to solve a problem. Throughout most of American history this concept has certainly rung true.

We were a leader during the Industrial Revolution and more recently during the early days of the present Technological Revolution. That can do attitude was clearly on display through our inventors, pioneering businessmen, and also through our political leaders. Our government facilitated the key infrastructures along with first rate public education that allowed these innovators to flourish.

The Eisenhower administration funded the building of our national highway system in the 1950's which has greatly enhanced the improvement in logistics for American business. President Eisenhower initiated this project primarily for national security interests in time of war but this logistics benefit was welcomed by all. Two national agencies have been at the forefront of creating major technological advances for the benefit of both their organizations and society as a whole.

The initial beginnings of the internet were created by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding. The Defense department had a strategic need to share information between different departments efficiently and securely. This funding launched the nascent seeds of the internet we know today. DARPA funding has created many more of these innovations that are commonly used in our society today as well as in our military. Another example is Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

The inventions and innovations of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were created to advance the space program but have similarly been used to advance our private economy. Silicon valley and many other industries have run with their breakthroughs creating marvelous new technologies.

Unfortunately there are dark clouds on the horizon. The first is our declining national performance in education. Our children are now regularly achieving levels in mathematics and science proficiency that rank near the bottom of the developed countries of the world.

This is occurring at the same time that our colleges and universities are the envy of the world. The scientific research in both theoretical and applied science that is taking place there is simply amazing. Increasingly a much larger percent of the students who are participating in these elite research projects are from foreign countries. We still have many of our own outstanding college students but the trend line is dropping at an alarming pace.

The same declining trend line can be seen in the amount of money we invest in the crucial infrastructure that has always helped our economy prosper. The focus and drive in our current political system to invest in education, research, and infrastructure has clearly waned.

Many of our politicians talk a good game in regards to American Exceptionalism but they become Scrooge like when it comes time to follow through with much needed money to allow this phenomenon to continue to flourish. Our current politicians clearly need an American History lesson taught to them regarding what helped to create our innovative leadership.

The United States was a true foreign policy colossus and beacon of freedom following World War II. We had liberated Europe and Asia from the grips of totalitarianism by way of Germany and Japan. Furthermore our occupation of both of these defeated countries proved to be both benevolent and conducive to their relatively rapid rise back to prosperity and peacefulness.The United States also instituted the Marshall Plan which proved to be the economic fuel that placed Europe back on its economic feet very rapidly.

President Woodrow Wilson proposed the idea for the League of Nations after World War I. The Republicans and much of the U.S. rejected this proposal due to their revulsion with the rest of the world over the war and its aftermath. Therein lies much of the conundrum that is American Exceptionalism on the world stage. We are constantly involved in a tug of war between isolationism and an active foreign policy. The end of World War II saw our advocation and creation of the United Nations in New York City which was a clear successor to the League of Nations.

Sometimes this involvement devolves into self interested intervention. Examples of these can be seen throughout Latin America and the Middle East during the twentieth century. Covert and sometimes overt interventions were used in Latin America to protect American corporate interests such as for the United Fruit Company.

Similar interventions have been used to protect vital U.S. energy interests throughout the Middle East. These American interventions solely in defense of our self interests have helped to erode our post World War II positive world image as well as placing major chinks into our American Exceptionalism armor that is portrayed to the world.

This dichotomy can also be observed within our foreign aid and charitable contributions practices. We are among the world leaders in foreign aid but this aid is very uneven. Often our foreign aid is seen as and used as an extension of United States foreign policy. We wield this aid at times to simply assert our power and control around the world. It is true that all nations do this to some extent but the exercise does help to poke holes in our world image of exceptionalism.

Americans are also immensely charitable which is recognized around the world. Unfortunately we also have very short attention spans which also hurts our American Exceptionalism image to some degree.

What do all of these contradictory facts tell us? I believe that we are an exceptional nation that has led the way in freedom and democracy in the world since the late eighteenth century. Blind belief in American Exceptionalism, on the other hand, clearly is a false mindset. Blind loyalty to our government in the name of simple patriotism often leads to tyranny.

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are considered to be true trail blazing documents of liberty, balanced republican government, and of a call for human rights. Yet our country only allowed propertied white men to vote at the nation's inception. It took a civil war to end the slavery that was legitimized in the Constitution. Maybe some patriotic objections to these founding flaws could have saved substantial American blood and tears.

Our dominance in industry, agricuture, and technology have been massive over the course of the twentieth century. Yet we are now resting on our laurels and we have taken our eyes off of what brought us to those dominant positions. Our funding of education, basic research, and infrastructure has dramatically declined over the past thirty five years. This is due to myopic conservative budgetary considerations.

Most of our heavy investments in long term and future focused infrastructure projects have taken place during difficult economic times. The investments in "internal improvements" during the early nineteenth century occurred well before we became a wealthy nation. Yet this investment led to our rapid industrial development and expansion. The New Deal investments came during the depths of the Great Depression. They provided the fuel we needed to stem that calamity and to eventually grow to become the world's dominant economic power.

Finally our foreign policy has been greatly admired and vilified all at the same time. We have often been the staunch defenders of freedom and democracy especially among our allies. On the other hand, we have gone to war or intervened with other countries merely to protect American corporate interests or blindly block our communist foes. All of these came at horrible human costs.

All of these historical truths that both uphold or detract from the notion of American Exceptionalism teach us some important lessons. Our country was born by way of remarkable tenacity and wisdom. Unfortunately we were simultaneously engaged in most of the discriminations and injustices that the rest of the world considered to be the norm.

Our exceptionalism stemmed from the Founding Fathers genius for creating a Constitution that was alive and malleable. Positive changes have been an integral part of American history due to this fact though they have often been slow to occur. We have been able to rise to all of our economic, social, and foreign challenges and eventually overcome them. This could only occur with a flexible political system combined with a critical thinking populace.

American Exceptionalism is certainly an idea to be proud of and to continue to aspire to. It must not be used as a simple political slogan used to rally voters without any thought placed behind it. We have historically lived up to this idea while also falling behind in some areas. Exceptionalism insists that we examine ourselves clearly and not through "rose colored glasses". That is the only way that we will remain exceptional and not fall into mediocrity. That is what it means to be a thoughtful and good citizen. I hope we always as a nation live up to this ideal of thoughtful and good citizenship. That way American Exceptionalism will flourish, become stronger, and endure.

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Comments 20 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Sure seems to me that the exceptionalism comes from individuals and not from our government or our schools and never has.


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Exceptionalism does come from ourselves. It also comes from individuals acting together to do great things and overcoming problems. Individuals doing exceptional things alone are great. Put them working together for a common good, then we have American Exceptionalism. Thank you for your comments, Eric.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

Our country merely followed the norms of the day. It took far-seeing people to be born into it to make the changes needed. Too bad many regressive people have come to power and are trying to take us backwards.


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I sincerely wish we had more of those far-seeing people in the leadership of our country during these modern times. People did follow the norms of the day but extraordinary people showed us the positive way forward. Too many reactionary conservatives wish to lead us back into the Stone Ages. Hopefully the more tolerant and open minded younger generations that I see will lead us in the right direction. That is the nature of our history. Thank you as always for your wise comments, MizBejabbers.


rebelogilbert profile image

rebelogilbert 2 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

The ideal of American exceptionalism is more difficult to attain with serious problems our nation faces today. We have people in government that fail to take action and control over important matters. In foreign policy, our military is not allowed by the president or congress to stop ISIS from spreading terrorism throughout Iraq and neighboring regions. As ISIS continues to enlist rebels, they become a growing threat to attack our country in the future. Immigration is a huge problem, trainloads of young kids are coming into the country and there is no where to provide for them. We are getting a flurry of new reports that people in charge of providing our Veterans health care have been irresponsible and careless. And we certainly can't brag about people working in the IRS. I'm not ashamed to be an American. I can see and talk to good responsible American Citizens. I can try to be the best person I can be. But lately, it seems we are drowning with serious problems. You did a very good job outlining key historical highlights, HSchneider. Keep up the good work.


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for your comments and compliment, Rebelogilbert. The United States certainly has many monumental and intractable problems that require strong leadership. I believe we need some more cooperative politics between the two parties to deal with these problems rather than the usual "one-upmanship".


Usemybee profile image

Usemybee 2 years ago from Slovenia

Thinking for a warning and a lesson. Thanks.


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for your comments, Usemybee. All of this is indeed a lesson and warning for the future.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

I've never heard of American Exceptionalism. We can learn so much here at Hub Pages.


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Yes, Ologsinquito, it is a term that has been used for most of the past century. Often it is true but it is highly overused. It is also used as a cheap campaign slogan most often to pander to the ultra conservative. Thank you for your comments.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia

I agreed with Eric that American Exceptionalism now comes from the individuals and not from the government. Your government and the universities had in the past, introduced policies and research that put America in the forefront. This is now missing and we see a lot of innovations now coming from other parts of the world.


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Exceptionalism always comes from people. Unfortunately the leadership we have had in the past to do great things collectively has waned. We need to get that back. Thank you for your comments, Greatstuff.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

HSchneider

You wrote

Our history shows that we are continually opening ourselves up to more civil rights for a wider swath of our population. This started with the abolition of slavery, through the adoption of the Constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote, through Civil Rights legislation during the 1960's, and onward now to LGBT rights including same sex marriage.

bm:

How do you compare same sex marriage with slavery?

There is no constitutional right to marriage period.

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bm:

We have Immigration Laws that are being circumvented by illegal aliens coming from Mexico. The ones that have been here claim de facto US citizenship. The ones that come over recently, demand rights.

At the same time, people from around the world that can't slip across the US border, try to enter the US following the immigration laws.

They spend time, and money to meet the requirements, yet many of them are turned away.

This is unfair, because we don't turn away illegal aliens from Mexico that have settled in the US.

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you wrote

The initial beginnings of the internet were created by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding. The Defense department had a strategic need to share information between different departments efficiently and securely. This funding launched the nascent seeds of the internet we know today. DARPA funding has created many more of these innovations that are commonly used in our society today as well as in our military. Another example is Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

bm:

The problem is that this was 1970s technology, and the Internet of today is still weighted down with TCP/IP. It is like the CPM operating system acquired by Bill Gates that became MS DOS. The windows Graphics User Interface was lifted by Apple from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Then it found its way into MS Windows.

This ancestry of computer systems and telecommunication protocols has been the bane of our current systems. The reason is that this ancient software is still in the fast and powerful hardware system of today. They provide back doors, and points of entries for hackers.

That is the reason that Apple has had less problems with their operating systems than MS. Microsoft took over the way of doing business for the personal computer, that IBM had been doing for mainframes.

Microsoft put more substandard coding into the Microsoft Operating System than IBM did, because the IBM OS had more protections built into it.

We are now so far backward compatible with MS OSes, that the users of these programs are prey. Even the military systems are hackable today, because of sloppy programming, and the Internet.

My point is don't give too much credit to DARPA and the antiquated Internet. It is a goldmine to those companies that develop products to protect computer systems.

As for GPS, it is like fire, it can cook your food, or it can burn you.

There is no real privacy today because of all the devices that have a built in GPS. Your cell never sleeps as long as it has its battery.

.

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bm:

NASA ran out of gas, and now they need the private company SPACE x

to get the astronauts off the earth.

Education

Most of our really smart college students are coming in from Asia.

Throwing money at education doesn't ensure better performance by the students, but it could mean bigger salaries, better perks for the educators.

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You wrote

The United States was a true foreign policy colossus and beacon of freedom following World War II. We had liberated Europe and Asia from the grips of totalitarianism by way of Germany and Japan.

bm:

Actually, that isn't true because we allowed Russia to take Eastern Europe. So thanks to us, Eastern Europe went from being under Germany to being under Russia.

China had been occupied by the Japanese, and after the war China turned communist like Russia.

So we went from the Nazis to the Communist, and that can hardly be construed as a win.

The UN is the reason why the bad guys can run circles around the US. They get outvoted by the countries that need to be regulated to play nice in the world.

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you wrote

Our exceptionalism stemmed from the Founding Fathers genius for creating a Constitution that was alive and malleable. Positive changes have been an integral part of American history due to this fact though they have often been slow to occur. We have been able to rise to all of our economic, social, and foreign challenges and eventually overcome them. This could only occur with a flexible political system combined with a critical thinking populace.

bm:

The constitution today is a watered down wiggly piece of rhetoric.

It started its watering back in the 1913 with the 16th amendment. This amendment merely removed apportionment form taxes on income. While an amendment cannot be unconstitutional, the laws that are codified for the Income Tax system can be unconstitutionally applied.

As I have said before, the SCOTUS turns a blind eye when the revenue of the US is in issue. The application of the Income Tax system has no connection to apportionment. Article I Sec 8 gives the power to tax.

This is ironic as the reason for the rebellion that founded this country was based on taxation. You would think they would put some restraints on government to not reproduce the overwhelming tax system we had as an English Colony.

SS, Medicare and Obamacare are Taxes that are not pure taxes, but they are not there for revenue per se.

The Interstate Commerce Clause wan never meant to give national power that overrides the power of the states. Yet, that is what it is doing today. Misusing the ICC, the government has increased their size and scope undermining the powers of the states.

The federal government was meant to resolves issues between the states, and to represent the United States as a single government when dealing with the other countries.

If the trend expanding the federal government continues, the existence of the state governments will be superfluous.

So the constitution in its original documents and those of the amendments do not mean what they were intended to mean by the founders.

Yes, the founders wanted a flexible, and dynamic constitution to handle the future, but somewhere along the way it got mutated.

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bm:

We lost our manufacturing power when the two artificial oil shortages made the American Luxury Gas Guzzlers to expensive. Since then we have outsourced our manufacturing to the third world countries where labor is cheap.

Since the 1980s are TVs, recorders, computers, and other electronic devices are manufactured by a foreign country.

The quality of American Car Manufacturers was put in doubt in the 1990s giving the foreign car manufacturers are real edge over our cars.

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Thanks

bradmasterOC

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bm:


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for your comments, Bradmaster. You are correct that there is no constitutional guarantee to any marriage. The 14th amendment gives everyone "equal protection under the law". Therefore if marriage is allowed to heterosexuals, it is being argued that it should be allowed for homosexuals. We do have immigration laws but the fact is that there are millions, estimated at 12 million, here in America. It is virtually impossible to deport all of them except at great cost. It is argued that it would also destroy many businesses. I am for a tough long term amnesty with penalties before any of these people become citizens. Tougher penalties on businesses who hire them would also be of great help. I wrote another Hub on this subject a few years back. I defer to you as for the internet and DARPA as well as GPS. I am far from being an expert on the strengths of these systems though they still started amazing technology. Flawed? I'm sure but I defer to you on that. I agree that our exceptionalism has certainly decayed greatly with NASA due to spending cuts as well as an education system that is currently a mess. We defeated fascism in WWII and we eventually persisted in defeating communism. There was no appetite for another war immediately after WWII. I agree that our Constitution is interpreted much differently today but these changes were made to adapt to changing times. The 13th, 14th, and 15th were due to the end of the Civil War and destruction of slavery. Another dramatic break was after the New Deal was challenged. The Court eventually realized that much greater government involvement was need. We have already argued about the Income Tax code in my other Hub so we will remain in disagreement over that. You may call it watered down but I feel the Constitution has been adapted to changing times. I agree that our manufacturing power has been greatly diminished and it is a sad state of affairs.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

HSchneider

We certainly have more points in agreement than in opposition, but those are points that are very important.

We have not defeated communism, it is alive and well in China, and Russia, as well as in North Korea and Vietnam. All of these stem from our give away to Russia and China at the end of WWII.

Yes, the allies were fed up with war, but Russia wasn't, and they won. Their win cost the countries of Eastern Europe to switch from Fascism to Communism. This also deferred the continuation of the war, through the Cold War that lasted for several decades. Every time that the US walks away from a war that it was in, only defers the war, it doesn't end it. Today, we are still dealing with N Korea, and China, and even Russia.

The Civil Rights Amendments, and especially the 14th were clearly limited to slavery and the blacks. The failure of these amendments to address women, under "Equal Protection" and the Right to Vote is an example of its limited use.

It took until 1920, to give women the right to vote. It took the Civil Rights acts to try and enforce the protections against the freed slaves. There was no intent by the creators of these amendments to go beyond preventing the southern states from ignoring the results of the Civil War.

As for marriage, this is a states rights issue, and the SCOTUS has fled their duty to create the law of the land for this issue. Which is OK by me because social issues are not the Forte of the SCOTUS. The only real resolution for the same sex marriage is through a constitutional amendment.

Remember, that the right to vote for women was not given based on the 14th amendment, it was from the 20th amendment. This clearly indicates the necessary path to resolve the gay marriage issue.

I hope that you would agree that voting is a constitutional right, even though the founders didn't think everyone should vote. But, same sex marriage has no basis to redefine marriage, nor should it have any basis to be called a right. Like driving, it is a privilege that is licensed, and it has basic requirements that need to be met.

Interracial marriages don't need to be redefined, as they meet the requirements of marriage. We don't allow polygamy, but using your rationale we should. We don't allow incestuous marriages, but we could if they promised not to procreate. We don't allow child marriages, although biology they are able to procreate.

Once again, there is no judicial notice as to the reason for homosexual, nor equality among the groups in LGBT.

Not every assertion of unequal protection has to be allowed as a right. Pedophiles are gays that like their partners below the age of consent. But, like the eradication of the Sodomy Laws, using that same reasoning the Pedophiles might want to change the laws that are adverse to them.

Marriage is a creation of the states, that have been commandeered by the federal government for tax purposes. This is the main cause of the problem with marriage today.

Like the SS ID it was never intended to be what it is today. Marriage should be separated from its tax implications.

For tax purposes, the government should stop using SS as a national ID. It should be replaced by a National Taxpayer ID. The SS ID is the skeleton key for identity theft.

For tax purposes, marriage status should be replaced by a personal partnership status, which doesn't exist today. But it could be made as simple as marriage is done today.

This would separate marriage from taxation, and it would allow any two people to form a tax partnership. Like marriage, the partnership needs to be unique, until it is dissolved. Unlike the ambiguous, amorphous, none written marriage contract, this contract would be a binding legal contract that contains the obligations, and the terms for dissolution in it.

This would alleviate the expense and complexities found in marriage dissolution. Same sex marriage, and divorce are foreign to the domestic relations, or Family Courts. They have a hard enough time adjudicating traditional marriages. And they have had centuries of experience with them.

It is confusing about your views on the 14th amendment that you don't include the equal protection, when the government doesn't give equal protection to the tax payers. The IRC clearly gives tax advantages that can only be used by the wealthy. How does this differ from your alleged unequal protection of marriage?

I was disappoint that you didn't address my specific reasons against having the federal government misuse the constitution via the ICC to essentially take over functions that should be administered by the states.

Still, we have more agreements, then we have disagreements on the issues in total.

Thanks

bradmasterOC


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I still believe we have beaten communism. Putin's Russia is not communist but it certainly has taken a sharp turn to totalitarianism. They are different. China is communist in name only since they have a huge amount of capitalism throughout the country. North Korea and Cuba are communist but are isolated and failed states that everyone on all sides recognize as failed. In the old days of the Cold War these countries were factors for the spread of communism. They are irrelevant now. Threats in ways, Yes but not for the spread of their failed ideology. The 14th Amendment was meant, at the time, for only the freedom of African Americans. But again the law evolves and after the New Deal, this Amendment was widely used to apply to all Americans. This became an excepted Supreme Court course and has never been reversed. I believe that same sex marriage is a civil or human right due to this Amendment. We clearly disagree. In my view, to deny homosexuals marriage would be under this Amendment equal to denying marriage to all. It took quite a while for me to come to this as many others have. I believed civil unions were a fair compromise. The wave of public opinion and judicial law is clearly on the other side and I now agree. The preponderance of states adopting this via either votes or judicial assent has caused a situation of critical mass where the Court will soon take up this issue, once and for all in its entirety. Regardless of intent of Amendments, either original or subsequent, judicial interpretation can and will always take them in different directions. Our Founders knew it and they excepted it. I agree with many and disagree with many. This is the nature of our Constitutional law. I also wrote a Hub on the selective use of Strict Constitutional Constructionism by politicians of all stripes. Your personal partnership status seems to me to be a perfectly fine equal tax protection idea but the LGBT community is fighting for the whole Magilla, if you would except my colloquialism, and they are winning both in popular perception and with Courts at all levels. I believe this is a situation that is bound to be a done deal. The key Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has clearly been trending this way for years, He is no liberal but with this issue he clearly is heading that way albeit deliberately. He is allowing public opinion to catch up. Finally, after the New Deal and the eventual changeover to a Court more in agreement with FDR, our court judgments and general law have changed. The Great Depression horror changed the psyche of America and subsequently the vast majority of our political leaders and judiciary. They recognized that we lived in a much more complex world than subsequent generations and economic ruin could easily come for an entire country. Look what the gutting of Glass-Steagall eventually wrought in 2008. The creation of the Fed was in response to our booms and busts early in the 20th century that were actually ameliorated by JP Morgan who was our unelected Fed Chairman as far as power went. Societies and our laws evolve to adapt to changing times and needs. Some we like, many we don't. But this is our system and it has worked fairly well though unevenly throughout our history. Yes, many of the trade authorities left to states have been usurped and assented to by the Courts. Many including myself believe that has been to make trade more uniform, fair, and effective. I am sure we disagree. I hope I have answered all or most of your points. I will try to do better. I have just gotten home from work a little bit ago so I am now mentally fried. You commented on one other of my Hubs which I appreciate but I must defer to answer it until tomorrow. Yes, I am exhausted right now. Not over your comments but a long and difficult day in the retail industry. I will address your comments in that Hub tomorrow since I have the day off as well as any other comments you may send me. Thank you again for your comments and have a great night and day tomorrow.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

HSchneider

You wrote

I still believe we have beaten communism. Putin's Russia is not communist but it certainly has taken a sharp turn to totalitarianism. They are different. China is communist in name only since they have a huge amount of capitalism throughout the country. North Korea and Cuba are communist but are isolated and failed states that everyone on all sides recognize as failed. In the old days of the Cold War these countries were factors for the spread of communism. They are irrelevant now. Threats in ways, Yes but not for the spread of their failed ideology.

bm:

Call it by any other name, these countries are threats. Especially China, in that it wears capitalism, but it is still rattling its military sabre. It also wants to challenge the US as a super power.

North Korea and Vietnam are still linked to China. Russia is creating a bigger threat by selling its services, and weapons to other countries.

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You Wrote

The 14th Amendment was meant, at the time, for only the freedom of African Americans. But again the law evolves and after the New Deal, this Amendment was widely used to apply to all Americans. This became an excepted Supreme Court course and has never been reversed.

bm;

How can you say that when, it was decades after the New Deal that Civil Rights Laws were still weak, and ineffective. It is only this century where groups are trying to stretch the 14th amendment. Mutate is a better word than evolve for the use of the 14th amendment.

Basic non controversial rights such as race, color and creed can be given judicial notice, and would be protected without the use of the 14th Amendment.

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You Wrote

I believe that same sex marriage is a civil or human right due to this Amendment. We clearly disagree. In my view, to deny homosexuals marriage would be under this Amendment equal to denying marriage to all. It took quite a while for me to come to this as many others have. I believed civil unions were a fair compromise. The wave of public opinion and judicial law is clearly on the other side and I now agree. The preponderance of states adopting this via either votes or judicial assent has caused a situation of critical mass where the Court will soon take up this issue, once and for all in its entirety. Regardless of intent of Amendments, either original or subsequent, judicial interpretation can and will always take them in different directions. Our Founders knew it and they excepted it. I agree with many and disagree with many. This is the nature of our Constitutional law.

bm:

Please reread my arguments on same sex marriage, your comment here ignores them. Sexual orientation is not a basic right, and redefining marriage to include a divergent attribute, speaks to why it is not the right thing to do.

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I also wrote a Hub on the selective use of Strict Constitutional Constructionism by politicians of all stripes. Your personal partnership status seems to me to be a perfectly fine equal tax protection idea but the LGBT community is fighting for the whole Magilla, if you would except my colloquialism, and they are winning both in popular perception and with Courts at all levels. I believe this is a situation that is bound to be a done deal. The key Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has clearly been trending this way for years, He is no liberal but with this issue he clearly is heading that way albeit deliberately. He is allowing public opinion to catch up.

bm:

The right to vote is one of the most important rights we have in this country, but if the courts are going to put down every election that confronts attacks on their rights, then it is the courts that are acting unAmerican. The will of the people should trump the illogical interpretations of a SCOTUS decides most of its cases with a simple majority of the justices. This disenfranchises the other four and equally learned justices. In the same sex ban, the Roberts court shirked their duty to bring a resolve to the problem. Yes, I realize that SCOTUS is not compelled to take any case, but in this instance their decision not to make a decision should be deemed to be politcal.

It seems to me that you disregard my arguments, that I have made in detail about the comparison between the LGBT, and Normal people, as well as the lack of commonality among the four groups of the LGBT.

Sexual orientation is a Choice, until judicial notice can prove otherwise.

Then it is like smoker's rights, and being a criminal, or a sex offender, or any other deviant activity. This country is not here to adopt Sharia law, anymore than it is to try and fit a square peg into a round hole. The whole country operates on separation of gender, to protect against the attraction of opposite genders in situations that are not appropriate in areas where privacy is needed.

Marriage is a states rights, and the people of the states that voted for the ban have been denied their constitutional rights, for a very flimsy minority view.

What are your specific reasons that require the entire country to adopt homosexuality in marriage?

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Finally, after the New Deal and the eventual changeover to a Court more in agreement with FDR, our court judgments and general law have changed. The Great Depression horror changed the psyche of America and subsequently the vast majority of our political leaders and judiciary. They recognized that we lived in a much more complex world than subsequent generations and economic ruin could easily come for an entire country. Look what the gutting of Glass-Steagall eventually wrought in 2008. The creation of the Fed was in response to our booms and busts early in the 20th century that were actually ameliorated by JP Morgan who was our unelected Fed Chairman as far as power went. Societies and our laws evolve to adapt to changing times and needs. Some we like, many we don't. But this is our system and it has worked fairly well though unevenly throughout our history. Yes, many of the trade authorities left to states have been usurped and assented to by the Courts. Many including myself believe that has been to make trade more uniform, fair, and effective. I am sure we disagree. I hope I have answered all or most of your points. I will try to do better. I have just gotten home from work a little bit ago so I am now mentally fried.

bm:

Here is the litmus test, the country today is the result of all of these policies and deals that you say worked, but the country today is being torn apart by third parties usurping unknown powers in the constitution.

The two party system is a failure for the country, and the current gridlock of congress, and the vigilante president is a clear example of that failure.

You have responded to my comments, but you haven't given a convincing argument. Neither the founders, nor their constitution advocated the creation of a large central government, and that is why they broke the country up into states. I have given detailed arguments on all my comments to explain the basis of my opinions.----

............

You commented on one other of my Hubs which I appreciate but I must defer to answer it until tomorrow. Yes, I am exhausted right now. Not over your comments but a long and difficult day in the retail industry. I will address your comments in that Hub tomorrow since I have the day off as well as any other comments you may send me. Thank you again

for your comments and have a great night and day tomorrow.

bm:

I don't expect you to answer my comments quickly. I do comment on your other hubs because I think that the amount of time and energy that you put into your hubs should have more discussions than they see from only a few comments.

If I might make a constructive comment, your hubs might get more comments by breaking them up into several smaller hubs.

Also, the use of more blocks in your hubs would better separate the topics in the hub.

Each block would stand out for people to follow the threads. A person could then scan the hub, and get the drift of it.

Putting all the comments in one paragraph?


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I never said these countries were not threats. I simply asserted that communism is now a failed and beaten ideology. They are still threats but non-communist countries can be threats also. The 14th amendment only began to be looked at for further expansion after the New Deal judicial era. Yes, it took decades but our Constitutional system generally moves at a crawl. The equal protection and due process clauses have proven to be key in ensuring rights for all Americans. I do not see why it needs to be isolated to African Americans. The Supreme Court does not also. Yes, these goals could be reached in other ways but they would have taken much longer leaving people to suffer longer. The Courts have been ruling, and I agree, that same sex marriage should be allowed due to the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. It is a state right but they must deal equally with homosexuals and heterosexuals. My arguments boil down to simply that. The 14th amendment equal protection clause. You feel states rights trumps this and I do not. I agree that this country is in a governmental and economic mess right now and changes need to be made. It is true that our Founding Fathers wanted very limited government and this was accepted for a very long time. But we are a much larger and much more complex country now and this limited form of government is now unworkable . There would be total anarchy and chaos with the same limits on government. America was poised for civil war and falling to fascism or communism during the Great Depression. Unemployment rose to 25%. The country realized the hands off approach no longer worked. Yes, there is always overreach but we will never be going back to the Founding Fathers vision. Thank you for recommendations for changing some of my writing styles. I used to write Hub with just 3 or 4 very long paragraphs. This I changed because I realized this was a truly onerous style. I will take your ideas under advisement. Yes, I put all my comments in one paragraph but I just read your last piece of advice lol. Thank you again for your further comments, Bradmaster.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

HSchneider

You Wrote

I never said these countries were not threats. I simply asserted that communism is now a failed and beaten ideology. They are still threats but non-communist countries can be threats also.

bm:

That is true, but if they were defeated they wouldn't be a major threat today.

----------------------------

You Wrote

The 14th amendment only began to be looked at for further expansion after the New Deal judicial era. Yes, it took decades but our Constitutional system generally moves at a crawl. The equal protection and due process clauses have proven to be key in ensuring rights for all Americans. I do not see why it needs to be isolated to African Americans.

bm:

This country is not here to protect everyone.

There was no intention that the 13,14 and 15 amendments to do anything other than protect the reason for the Civil War. It was specifically put in place to prevent the now rejoined southern states from mistreating the then freed slaves. But, if it was meant for everyone, then it failed. Women were not equal to men. And it was Article I sec 2 that didn't treat everyone equal.

------------------------------------------------------

You Wrote

The Supreme Court does not also. Yes, these goals could be reached in other ways but they would have taken much longer leaving people to suffer longer. The Courts have been ruling, and I agree, that same sex marriage should be allowed due to the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. It is a state right but they must deal equally with homosexuals and heterosexuals. My arguments boil down to simply that. The 14th amendment equal protection clause. You feel states rights trumps this and I do not.

bm:

They are protected equally as people, but why should they be allowed to redefine marriage. We don't do it for the Mormons, we don't do it for incest, and we don't do it for underage. All of these other groups would have the same arguments, yet they are not covered by the courts.

Why should a choice like sexual orientation be a right?

------------------------------------------

I agree that this country is in a governmental and economic mess right now and changes need to be made. It is true that our Founding Fathers wanted very limited government and this was accepted for a very long time. But we are a much larger and much more complex country now and this limited form of government is now unworkable .

bm:

The size of the country doesn't change the original concept. In fact, because the founders wanted it to be dynamic and change, it was the population and the number of states would have the most change.

If we accept your reasoning instead, then we have to also believe that the original concept of congress has to be changed to accommodate the huge size and the number of states. Because, the founders set their concepts to a limited government, and made provisions for voting and congress based on that concept.

You can't say that going from limited, to huge for government, without saying that the organization of congress must also change to the new paradigm.

------------------------

You Wrote

There would be total anarchy and chaos with the same limits on government. America was poised for civil war and falling to fascism or communism during the Great Depression. Unemployment rose to 25%. The country realized the hands off approach no longer worked. Yes, there is always overreach but we will never be going back to the Founding Fathers vision.

bm:

Then we must as I said in my last paragraph, make the change systemically. It is like the founders built a thirteen story building, but they had no concept of a high rise. So the foundation that they provided is not suitable for our high rise government of today.

The 16th Amendment was the first crack in the founders foundation. This was the keystone to milking the Interstate Commerce Clause that would become more powerful than the Supremacy Clause in bloating up central government. At the same time, it would nullify the 1oth Amendment.

As I have said before, you can't have the concept of the states that was provided by the founders, and have a huge central government that usurps states rights. What it has accomplished is significant multiple taxes from both the states, and the federal government.

We are no longer the UNITED states, we are a Federation.

---------------------------------

You Wrote

Thank you for recommendations for changing some of my writing styles. I used to write Hub with just 3 or 4 very long paragraphs. This I changed because I realized this was a truly onerous style. I will take your ideas under advisement. Yes, I put all my comments in one paragraph but I just read your last piece of advice lol. Thank you again for your further comments, Bradmaster.

bm:

I am probably the only one that thinks the way I do. So, take it with a grain of something.

Thanks

bradmasterOC


HSchneider 2 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Brad, The Communist ideology is defeated but the countries themselves live on as threats. Vietnam though is no longer a threat. Iraq once was an ally of ours and not Communist. Many times these facts are due to bad actors or bad political systems.

Let me combine my answer here to your next to paragraphs. The 13th through the 15th amendments were Reconstruction amendments and meant to deal with the newly freed slaves. But they were written in a way that can and in my opinion adapted to everyone. The Constitutional writers had a narrower sense of government but times change and evolve. Critical mass is being reached in the country over gay marriage and I believe that soon the Supreme Court will rule, with Anthony Kennedy as the key vote, that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment will be his justification for ruling that gay marriage should be allowed throughout America. You may disagree but that train is far down the track. It may be derailed but I doubt it. As for other forms of marriage such as multi-Mormon marriages there is no clamor for this even among Mormons. So it will not happen. That is the reality of how our higher judicial system works. I abhor many of their decisions but they are the law unless public opinion changes creating a different set of judges. It works both ways.

Actually the size and complexity of the country has changed everything because most businesses go between states now and between countries. This is simply a fact of our more mobile, both physically and electronically country. The federal government does have a lot more power over the states than they had in the beginning. But states still have a lot of their own autonomy. Governor Chris Christie in my state of New Jersey has tremendous power and has snubbed his nose at Washington and diverted money from a paseed tunnel project to shore up his Highway Infrastructure fund. And the Obama Administration amazingly gave him a pass. This was way before the Hurricane Sandy lovefest. It was in his first year in office. My point is that states still have a lot of power. The federal government needs more than it had in this global economy. The courts have concurred.

Finally I take all advice to heart and, you can see, I have answered you in paragraphs. I have received some of the same advice from others and I have changed but not totally. I do not take your advice with a grain of salt and others agree. My fiancée agrees with you. Thank you as always for your comments, Bradmaster.

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