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Response to thomhartmann (Original post)

Thu Dec 17, 2020, 03:26 PM

5. Calvinism and American Exceptionalism

Excellent topic. Props to Thom and Mineral Man.


Some excerpts from an article about Calvinism being the genesis of "American Exceptionalism" written a decade ago in the New Republic make for interesting reading:

"Less widely acknowledged, though no less historically significant, is the profound impact of Calvinist assumptions on the formation of American patriotism -- and in particular on the country's sense of itself as an exceptional nation empowered by providence to bring democracy, liberty, and Christian redemption to the world. It is this persistent theological self-confidence (some would say over-confidence) that distinguishes American patriotism from expressions of communal feeling in any other modern nation -- and that demonstrates our nation's unexpected but nonetheless decisive debt to John Calvin."

"Economic and scientific progress directed by God and actualized by Americans, divinely ordained political accomplishments issuing in divinely sanctioned global hegemony by the United States, and God's election of America to redeem the world -- these were the essential elements of American providence at the dawn of the twentieth century. Over subsequent decades, as the political, economic, military, and cultural power of the United States expanded beyond anyone's expectations, providential thinking continued to play an important role in defining American national identity and in setting the terms of public debate. "

"Over subsequent decades, as the political, economic, military, and cultural power of the United States expanded beyond anyone's expectations, providential thinking continued to play an important role in defining American national identity and in setting the terms of public debate.....Even Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Party's answer to the "anti-intellectualism" of Dwight D. Eisenhower, spoke unapologetically in 1952 about the "awesome mission" that "God has set for us," which was nothing less than "the leadership of the free world." In more recent years, the cadences of the Calvinist consensus could be heard in Ronald Reagan's rhetorical evocations of America as a "city on a hill" and George W. Bush's frequent assurances that history moves in a "visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of liberty."

https://newrepublic.com/article/50754/calvin-and-american-exceptionalism


The expectation (and conceit) of American Exceptionalism drives the religious-like embrace of xenophobia, racism, anti-immigration sentiment, capitalism/winning at all costs, entitlement at the expense of the less powerful and the presumption that all advantages and privileges of the few are ultimately God-ordained. I can say without irony that it comes as little surprise that Mark Zuckerberg is an alumnus of none other than Phillips Exeter Academy, the prestigious school founded with a goal to teach heirs to the American throne a curriculum based upon Calvinist doctrine.



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thomhartmann Dec 2020 OP
Wellstone ruled Dec 2020 #1
MineralMan Dec 2020 #2
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2020 #4
Hermit-The-Prog Dec 2020 #7
BarackTheVote Dec 2020 #3
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Haveadream Dec 2020 #5
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