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Rick Manning: American Exceptionalism At Risk

“THIS IS THE BATTLE THAT AMERICA HAS JUST BEGUN TO WAKE UP TO …” || By RICK MANNING  || “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and…

“THIS IS THE BATTLE THAT AMERICA HAS JUST BEGUN TO WAKE UP TO …”

|| By RICK MANNING  || “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In these 54 words Thomas Jefferson defined the DNA of America, and laid the foundation for individual freedom that has over the course of 239 years led to American Exceptionalism.

Jefferson’s words embodied in the Declaration of Independence were an act of treason, and those who signed the Declaration of Independence committed a heroic act of literally putting their lives, families and fortunes on the chopping block with little objective evidence that the revolution they spawned was going to be successful.

Yet, beyond the secular revolution of breaking away from the England, the American DNA was defined in the bold statement that individual rights were not granted by a government, but instead by God, and that the government itself was created to secure those rights.

This fundamental transformation away from the notion of the divine right of Kings to the subjugation of government to the people was based upon the core statement that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

Created equal, the rich and poor alike, all given dignity by God with rights that no government could strip away.

A freedom like no other that has ignited Americans to dream, strive, achieve, fail and get up and try again.

Being human, those authors of the Declaration were not perfect, but they chose not to be limited by their cultural or other short-comings. Instead they chose to set a bar high enough that Americans would always strive to achieve it, and peoples from other countries would always crave to join it.

Today we find the same underlying challenges that faced those brave men who met in Philadelphia in 1776 facing our nation.

Today, there are those who look at the faults of our nation and seek to use them to deny the underlying truths that have made America the envy of the world.

They seek to return our nation to one where natural rights are not endowed by God, but rather reduced to those which the federal government allows us to pretend that we have.

They seek to turn the meaning of the Constitutionally enumerated freedoms upside down. One example is their attempt to turn the First Amendment on its head. Flipping its plain meaning from the right to engage in speech, the free exercise of religion, redressing grievances to the government and of the press to a government imposed protection from these very activities under the guise that some sub-group or even the majority might be offended.

Many of the same people who defended the right of miscreants to burn the American flag, now argue that the American flag should be torn from the flag pole as it offends some who come from other cultures. They argue that the government should act to stop the free exercise of religion by virtue of declaring contrary points of view to be “hate speech.” They argue for the government to impose a personal freedom from being exposed to ideas that they disagree with, so they can maintain a safe zone bubble.

Rather than the free exchanges of ideas that have helped America grow strong, they want a government imposed monopoly of ideas that coincides with their limited understanding of the world.

This is the battle that America has just begun to wake up to. A national discussion that goes to the root of who we will be in the future, and those whose base argument is that government determines what rights individuals have naturally are trying to silence those who believe that individual freedoms are protected from the government rather than defined by it …

(To continue reading this column, click the link below …)

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government, one of the country’s most influential conservative organizations. Follow him on Twitter @RManning957.  His column – reprinted with permission – originally appeared on NetRightDaily.

(Cartoon: Via)

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26 comments

Luis July 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

You have the right to strive, pursue happiness and get second and third chances. Why that makes you ‘exceptional’ I never understood. Take it a notch down and join us Latinos, Europeans and others in creating a progressive, enlightened, secular society in which religious practice is protected, that sees education ( including higher) and health care as a right and Undertands that only regulated market is stable and able to provide people equitable income and aspiration.

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Soft Sigh from Hell July 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Hear Hear.

But it isn’t well-adapted for bellowing, their preference.

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Helen July 3, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I have some broad experience with other (primarily European) cultures. I guarantee you that nobody outside America views Americans as exceptional–at least not in a good way.

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ernesto July 3, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Fully agree – if Americans would appear more humble and try to understand other cultures and ‘ways of life’ they would be greeted with more open arms. I have many American friends and enjoy living in The US. But this exceptionalism is basically the “finger” towards everybody else.

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millie July 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm

This guy needs to 1. read some history and 2. take a writing course.

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They're Not Looking For Smarts July 6, 2015 at 10:57 am

Educating oneself may be a fireable offense at ALG.

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euwe max July 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Let’s declare war on Iran… that’ll make us exceptional!

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sparklecity July 3, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Yeah Buddy!!!!!

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southmauldin July 3, 2015 at 3:24 pm

I’m sick of every Republican spouting off about American exceptionalism. When you use lies to invade a country like Iraq, torture prisoners and lock up a lot of people in Guantanamo Bay who are innocent of doing anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you are far from exceptional.

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sparklecity July 3, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I’m fed up with hearing that phrase myself.
If American Exceptionalism means puffing your chest out, spouting bombastic sentences ad infinitum and just being an all around jingoistic ass it’s about time that brand of American Exceptionalism got put in its place.
I love and am proud of my country and served and defended her but damn!!!!
Plus everyone knows that the ones you hear talking incessinately about “American Exceptionalism never did anything to make this great country exceptional but yak about it on and on and on and on…..

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Bible Thumper July 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

I take exception to Manning’s use of the phrase AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM in describing the Declaration of Independence. He quotes the preamble and skips the introduction.

a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Here it clear that it is addressed to all mankind, not just to Colonists, British, King or Parliament.

Therefore the Preamble is not a statement of American Exceptionalism, but a Universal statement of everyone’s human Rights and the right of all people to self-government. Of course, in our initial execution of these principles, it did not apply to slaves, Indians or women. But, every movement from Abolition of slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights and every other effort to expand human rights has drown inspiration from those words and will continue to in the future.

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William July 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm

As usual the wingnut, turn the words of the Declaration on their head. The words are simple. The purpose of Government is to take all actions necessary to secure the life of the people, the liberty of the people, and the ability of the people to pursue happiness. That is a pretty tall order, and does not describe an entity limited to building roads and fights wars.

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vicupstate July 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm

The nutty Right defines ‘American Exceptionalism’ as ‘America can do no wrong’. Not only is that inaccurate, it is arrogant. Certainly we have done exceptional things as a nation, the moon landing, the Marshall Plan, the Panama Canal, just to name a few. We did not and will not become ‘exceptional’ by boosting about how ‘exceptional’ we are.

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Slartibartfast July 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

In the end, liberal governmentarians are erosive to freedom, self-responsibility, and the natural desire to succeed. Exceptional people to do not stand by the road with their hand out.

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ernesto July 3, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Exceptional people don’t have to continuously point out that they are exceptional, they just are…

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Slartibartfast July 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Isn’t that just so.

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Big Tent July 6, 2015 at 11:33 pm

“In the end, liberal governmentarians are erosive to freedom, self-responsibility, and the natural desire to succeed.”

You can add conservative governmentarians to that list as well.

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Slartibartfast July 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Except for the ones who are constitutionalists, I agree.

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Limbaughsaphatkhunt July 3, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Yawn

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idcydm July 4, 2015 at 7:59 am

Today is the 4th of July, happy Independence Day to all. What a great and diverse Nation we have, you can say what ever you wish about her, good or bad without fear. Yes, it is an Exceptional America and I for one thank God it is.

It’s Great To Be An American…Gob Bless the U.S.A.

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sparklecity July 4, 2015 at 11:49 am

Wishing a happy and safe celebration of Independence Day to all FITS readers & participants!!!!!

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nitrat July 4, 2015 at 8:30 am

American Exceptionaliam died the day Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and their toadies at the CIA and Pentagon OKed torture.

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shifty henry July 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I’m remembering that this is Independence Day and I extend best wishes to all of you who will desire to honor it.

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