Point (Richard Cohen, “America’s Left Slides Down A Slippery Slope In Iraq,” 2014):
…people will die of starvation or thirst or a bullet in the back because we didn’t do what we could easily do.
This is not who we are. This is not who we should be.
I recognize that these are not easy issues. I recognize further that we are a war-weary nation and that events in the Middle East are so convoluted, they redeem the preposterous plots of “Homeland.”
But, Lord, how did the moral center of the American left get so isolationist and selfish? How did it manage to cede the moral high ground to the right? Why does it see no difference between a moral obligation to save lives by avoiding murder — not just with humanitarian measures — and a kind of militarist lust for yet more adventure?
Counterpoint (Richard Cohen, “The Myth of American Exceptionalism,” 2011):
…the problem of the 21st century is the problem of culture, not just the infamous “culture of poverty” but what I would call the culture of smugness. The emblem of this culture is the term “American exceptionalism.” It has been adopted by the right to mean that America, alone among the nations, is beloved of God. Maybe so, but on some days it’s hard to tell.
Therein lies the danger of American exceptionalism. It discourages compromise, for what God has made exceptional, man must not alter. And yet clearly America must change fundamentally or continue to decline. It could begin by junking a phase that reeks of arrogance and discourages compromise. American exceptionalism ought to be called American narcissism. We look perfect only to ourselves.
So, to answer the original question: I guess what happened is that they learned it from you.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
(Image via Shutterstock)