American Narcissism: The Myth of National Superiority

Algora Publishing, 2006 - 181 pages
Nationalism is not unique to America: it was invented with the birth of modern nations. But nationalism is unique in America. Americans conceive themselves and their nation to be incontrovertibly superior to the other peoples and nations of the earth. When does national pride cross the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism and malignant nationalism? Historically, American notions of superiority spring from myths of the unique regenerative power of the new land; from visions of chosen-ness, mission and high destiny; from the indelible legends of frontier self-sufficiency; from the confidence and self-reliance needed to succeed as immigrants; from a powerful sense of America's isolation and uniqueness; from the realization of abundance and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology. This predisposes us to a distinctively virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in almost any other modern nation. As the unipolar moment fades into memory, this sense of unquestionable superiority. Drawing on sources from within the academic disciplines of history, sociology, political science and foreign affairs, the book seeks to decode scholarly jargon and lay bare this corner of the American mind for the benefit of a wider readership. The discussion is organized in four parts: - Nationalism - The Evolution of the American Superiority Myth - The Presumption of National Superiority - Tolerance and Plurality In America today, notions of national superiority are far more deeply ingrained and far more potentially ruinous than most of us imagine. This is a journey that slides from reason to emotion, from individual liberty to mass tyranny and from humanity to inhumanity. This book will interest readers of U.S. history, current events, and social commentary; and all who wonder, "Why do they hate us?"

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Table des matières

Manifest Destiny and American Imperialism
The Leader of the Free World
The Arrogance of Power
The Presumption of National Superiority
The Myth of American Superiority
Blind Faith
Tolerance and Plurality
In Search of American Humility

Ideological Superiority
The Arrogance of Abundance
The Arrogance of Isolationism
Manifest Destiny and Continental Expansion
Droits d'auteur

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Expressions et termes fréquents

Fréquemment cités

Page 110 - Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.
Page 106 - God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-contemplation and self-admiration. No! He has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns.
Page 77 - The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.
Page 37 - That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends...
Page 54 - Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our language or customs any more than they can acquire our complexion?
Page 117 - We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own wellbeing is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away.
Page 108 - American factories are making more than the American people can use. American soil is producing more than they can consume. Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours.
Page 78 - Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe...
Page 48 - If I say to an American that the country he lives in is a fine one, "Ay," he replies, "there is not its equal in the world." If I applaud the freedom that its inhabitants enjoy, he answers: "Freedom is a fine thing, but few nations are worthy to enjoy it.
Page 8 - We will cover the ocean with our merchant marine. We will build a navy to the measure of our greatness. Great colonies governing themselves, flying our flag and trading with us, will grow about our posts of trade. Our institutions will follow our flag on the wings of our commerce.

À propos de l'auteur (2006)

Wilber W. Caldwell is the author of "The Courthouse and the Depot: The Architecture of Hope in an Age of Despair " (Mercer University Press; 2002) and "Searching for the Dixie Barbecue " (Pineapple Press; 2005). He lives in Atlanta.

Informations bibliographiques