American exceptionalism is not about our geography or our people. American exceptionalism is about the founding values which have wrought an exceptional nation:
1. Our liberty is from God not the government.
2. Our sovereignty rests in our souls not the soil.
3. Our security is through strength not surrender.
4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector.
5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.
It is not arrogant for our nation to act according to our founding values and principles.
It is said, after Barack's election: Now America can act with some modesty. We can recognize we represent only 1/8 of the world's population, and act accordingly.
Choice of action ought not be a question of modesty vs. arrogance, but rather of principled action vs unprincipled action.
The 1/8 + modesty meme is actually about American values vs. Euro values. The Euros and the American Left are actually saying: How arrogant of America to have different values and then act upon them! How dare America disagree with us and then succeed? How dare America believe government is not the answer? Arrogant, sir! And the more you succeed, ipso facto the more arrogant you are.
The 1/8 + modesty meme is partly behind Europe's "America is a young nation" meme, with it's built-in insult that American success is a statistical aberration occurring inside a limited sample size - much like a rookie baseball player who produces a .450 batting average in only 50 at bats. No one believes the rookie will hit .450 over 500 at bats.
I reckon America has hit about .700 over 232 at bats. But, no matter. Euros still argue American values are wrongheaded and will not work. Euros argue American success is about 1) geographic good fortune, and 2) this lucky 232 years of history. Give it time. America will crumble. All will be revealed. Free markets will not hold up over time. Americans will suffer. America is a young nation.
I agree America 1) is lucky with our geography and 2) is experiencing a lucky period of history. I even agree America will someday crumble. However, the crumble won't be due to our founding values; won't be due to too little government; won't be due to free markets.
When your leftist citizen-neighbor - watching cable news in a lobby - suddenly goes red in the face and declares, with spite: "I hate American Exceptionalism", he or she is implicitly asserting American success is about a small sample size of good luck which cannot hold up indefinitely. If you and other Americans were smart enough and wise enough and open-minded enough and reality-based enough: you would see it. Your leftist citizen-neighbor gets so frustrated trying to explain this to the idiots who surround him.
I fear 1/8 + modesty is a Barack meme, as embodied in "We must come together" and "We are going to fundamentally change this nation". Fundamentally change. This nation.
It's not overreaction to say these statements + Barack's blank slateness are cause for concern. If Barack believes in the principles upon which our nation is founded, it seems reasonable that he would say: We must be true to America's founding values.
Barack is an unknown, and therefore he may turn out to hold America's founding values dear. I hope so. Most Americans hope so.* It is ridiculous and dangerous that we have to guess.
*Barack has created hope!