American Exceptionalism Revisited
The following is a summary of my perspective on the decline of 'American Exceptionalism' that I have shared with my readers the past seven weeks. It is written in the form of a promotional piece for publicity sake so please bare with me in that regard.
Dr. Steven Mintz, a professor whose specialty is teaching ethics to college students and writing about his insights into ethical behavior, has recently shared his beliefs in the form of ‘Debunking American Exceptionalism’. This series of blogs includes seven well-conceived and well-written blog posts that portray the true nature of the theory and practice of American Exceptionalism.
Starting with the idea of exposing American Exceptionalism, these blog posts reveal the negative aspects of American society. According to Dr. Mintz, violence, fraud, incompetence, and a declining education system have strengthened their roots in American society to the point of no return. Referring to a series of violent incidents in our schools, workplaces, and public gatherings, he believes the United States has returned to a “Wild, Wild West” mentality. In his blog post, he has blamed violent, influential video games, movies, and social media networks for the ever-increasing violence in America.
Fraud, corruption, and abuse have become a fixed element of the American system of government. While discussing different programs initiated by the U.S. government, Mintz has highlighted the statistics brought about by bribery and greed in federal agencies. He has specifically mentioned the fraud figures of the Medicare program that have increased up to $600 billion. In the opinion of Mintz, this deep-rooted misguided behavior by the American government is one of the primary causes of the decline of American Exceptionalism. He has also discussed several fraud scandals in his blog posts to validate his point.
As mentioned by Mintz in his series on ‘Debunking American Exceptionalism’, arrogance, ignorance, and greed are a few common traits of the U.S. government. He believes that the current leaders don’t do what they should – lead. In these blog posts, he has repetitively wondered how the country can talk about American Exceptionalism when dishonesty, incompetence, and a lack of personal responsibility and accountability abound in the American political system.
This series of blog posts also discuss how American youth has lost its drive amidst a declining work ethic. The desire of young people to work hard and accomplish goals to make America a better place to live and work has given way to a thirst for notoriety and social media exposure. The Millennials crave instant gratification and are driven by the social network society that emphasizes instant communication and You Tube exposure over a deep understanding of what makes America great – an exceptional nation.
While referring to immigration reform program, Mintz discusses the concept of “ethical legalism”. Weighing ethical issues against legal issues, these blog posts shed light on the problems faced by undocumented citizens going through legal procedures to avail citizenship benefits. In this post, Mintz has referred to a number of reports and surveys related to the complex immigration issue. He talks about immigration reform in much more than legalities. It also is an ethical issue that demands prompt and careful consideration on a humanitarian basis. He believes we must consider the implied guarantees we have made to immigrants by allowing them to stay in the country for so long and raise families in any comprehensive immigration reform program.
Mintz believes that it will take many generations to restore the original, successful American society. Despite the disturbing downsides of American society, there is a ray of hope that is quite evident in Mintz’s blogs. He has justified this point using the findings of a global survey organized by CAFAmerica (Charities Aid Foundation). According to this survey, the U.S. is the greatest charity-giving society. This fact has strengthened Mintz’s belief in the integrity, kindness, and morality of the American people even though government officials all too often act in selfish and self-serving ways instead of in the best interests of the American public.
Regardless of gratuitous violence, corrupted government, a failing education system, and ineffective immigration reform programs, we must as a society strive to be more ethical in our dealings with each other and accept personal responsibility for our actions. The decline of American Exceptionalism can be reversed but only after the decline in ethical values and behavior in our society is accepted as a fact. Much like an alcoholic with a drinking problem, we must first admit our ethical failings and then develop our own ‘ten step’ program to regain the ethical foundation that made America an exceptional nation.
To learn more about Mintz’s viewpoints and read American Exceptionalism blog posts, visit http://www.ethicssage.com/.