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Old 12-08-2012, 03:45 AM   #1
Timmy D for MVP
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Default ISH Official History Thready

I think it's time for us to have a history thread. A place where we can talk about new discoveries, new ideas, debate topics, and review books/movies/etc.

So I'll kick off with something I've been kicking around in my head. See I think the traditional idea of American Exceptionalism is bunk. From the Revolution itself (which... I mean we can get into if you want because... damn that's a hot topic), to present day it just doesn't hold. Especially not in the current popular notion of it.

But in my studies one thing that you notice is that the Whig narrative of the Revolution, and toe state that followed, underlies everything. Even revisionist, and post-revisionist historians, it's really tough to find someone who doesn't have some element of of that notion of glorious, radical, true revolution. That's what you get in school right? If you were asked about the event right out of high school you'd prob. talk about the Whig narrative.

So I wonder, is our Exceptionalism rooted in our deep desire to be exceptional? That might be the true American Exceptionalism. We believe ourselves to be different, so we are. I'm actually myself having a hard time swallowing that idea, I'm likely going to be hitting the books over break to see if I can flesh it out more, but basically what I'm saying is that our identity comes from us, not being exceptional, but BELIEVING we are. Why this continues fascinates me.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: ISH Official History Thready

I think we're quite exceptional, by several metrics. Our economy and our military, for instance - two classic measures of sovereign might - are the biggest and most powerful this planet has ever seen. And coupling that with our model of imperialism - that is, we don't conquer or annex or subsume who we go to war with paints a really unique model of worldwide influence with a genuine bent towards freedom. We preserve and further our own interests, of course, but we aren't doing what the British did (and couldn't maintain). I think it's novel, and in many ways noble.

I think I'll revisit this thread later though.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: ISH Official History Thready

What have humans accomplished so far that is important in the grand scheme of things?
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: ISH Official History Thready

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What have humans accomplished so far that is important in the grand scheme of things?
The discovery of computation, and all of it's resulting implications. We are the universe becoming aware of itself.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:26 AM   #5
Timmy D for MVP
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Default Re: ISH Official History Thready

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Originally Posted by Scoooter
I think we're quite exceptional, by several metrics. Our economy and our military, for instance - two classic measures of sovereign might - are the biggest and most powerful this planet has ever seen. And coupling that with our model of imperialism - that is, we don't conquer or annex or subsume who we go to war with paints a really unique model of worldwide influence with a genuine bent towards freedom. We preserve and further our own interests, of course, but we aren't doing what the British did (and couldn't maintain). I think it's novel, and in many ways noble.

I think I'll revisit this thread later though.

But every single leading power has experienced similar, if not greater power relative to their time, compared to ours.

You are right we recognized early that the old model of an empire needed to go. I think this is a direct result of the origins of the country. Britain's empire collapsed. They really poorly managed the American colonies, and I think that's been in the minds of everyone since.

Every country has uniqueness, but the idea that we are innately exceptional is something that I can't get on board with.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:27 AM   #6
Timmy D for MVP
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Default Re: ISH Official History Thready

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Originally Posted by SourPatchKids
What have humans accomplished so far that is important in the grand scheme of things?

The ability to contemplate that exact question?
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: ISH Official History Thready

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Originally Posted by Timmy D for MVP
The ability to contemplate that exact question?
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