The Economist has an interesting essay here about the future of American “exceptionalism” (the way America takes its global role as special). The discussion is prompted by a book: Understanding America: The Anatomy of an Exceptional Nation, edited by Peter Schuck and James Q. Wilson. The question is whether America will move past Bush’s own brand of exceptionalism (stupid, swaggering, and belligerent) and toward something more welcome — or whether it will just fold in on itself and build them walls even higher.
“American exceptionalism has been increasing ever since the rise of the modern conservative movement from the late 1960s onwards. The current Bush administration, with its commitment to conservative values at home and assertiveness abroad, is the most exceptional administration in recent years. But the book raises a new question: is a new cycle, dominated by a rejection of conservatism and a convergence with West European norms, about to dawn?”
Good lord, let’s hope.