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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 23, 2013 / 19 Tishrei, 5774

America the exceptional? History and culture provide some answers

By Robert J. Samuelson




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

— Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, writing in the New York Times on Sept. 11

The most interesting fact to surface in the ensuing debate over “American exceptionalism” is that the phrase was first coined by Putin’s long-ago predecessor, Joseph Stalin. Its origins stretch back to 1927, when a prominent American communist, Jay Lovestone, suggested that capitalism was so advanced in the United States that it would preclude a communist revolution here. Stalin would have none of it, attacking “the heresy of American exceptionalism” and affirming the historical inevitability of Marx’s triumph of the proletariat.

Time hasn’t been kind to Marxism. Still, the underlying question remains: Is American exceptionalism just a self-congratulatory phrase or a demonstrable reality? The evidence is mixed.

If you examine opinion polls, you cannot miss the distinctiveness of some American attitudes. One standard question asks respondents to judge which is more important — “freedom to pursue life’s goals without state interference” or “state guarantees [that] nobody is in need.” By a 58 percent to 35 percent margin, Americans favored freedom over security, reported a 2011 Pew survey. In Europe, opinion was the opposite. Germans valued protections over freedom 62 percent to 36 percent. The results were similar for France, Britain and Spain.

Or take free will. Americans think they have it; many other nationalities dismiss it as a delusion. Another poll question asked respondents to agree or disagree that “success in life is determined by forces outside our control.” In the Pew survey, 72 percent agreed in Germany, 57 percent in France and 50 percent in Spain. By contrast, only 36 percent of Americans agreed in 2011, even though the country was still suffering from the Great Recession, which harmed millions and was beyond their control.

Historically, the American experiment was exceptional, as historian and conservative commentator Charles Murray shows in an elegant essay published by the American Enterprise Institute. The United States, writes Murray, was the “first nation in the world [to] translate an ideology of individual liberty into a governing creed.” Democracies were thought to be “impracticable and unstable.” Only monarchies, often claiming divine authority, could impose social order. Even Britain, whose citizens enjoyed limited political rights, adhered to this central precept.

By contrast, Americans believed that the power to govern derived from the governed. Lincoln’s celebration in the Gettysburg Address of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” strikes us as a rhetorical flourish. But for early Americans, the survival of such a government was an obsession. It made the United States special.



What also made America special was its core beliefs, starting with “all men are created equal.” In other countries, rigid economic hierarchies reigned. Birth was often fate. Citizenship depended on ethnicity, heritage, religion. In the United States, success and citizenship were open-ended. The equality was not one of outcomes, writes Murray, but “of human dignity.” It rejected the notion that “meaningful happiness could be achieved only by the superior few.” Individuals — and individual effort — mattered.

With good reason, most Americans have considered their beliefs superior. What rankles Putin (and many Americans, too) is that the United States has used this sense of moral superiority as a pretext to throw its weight around the world. The truth is more complicated. U.S. foreign interventions have also reflected perceived self-interest, while moral reservations have often justified isolationism: Don’t get entangled with crazy foreigners. The public’s hostile reaction to a proposed use of military power in Syria suggests isolationism may be on the rise.

Murray thinks American exceptionalism is eroding. In part, American values — equality, democracy — have spread abroad. In part, foreign ideas have spread here. Americans distrust government, but the Founders’ preference for limited government is gone. For the nation’s first 140 years, federal spending never, except in wartime, exceeded 4 percent of the economy, says Murray. Now, it regularly tops 20 percent. The U.S. welfare state resembles the European.

There’s also a widespread understanding that national ideals have often been violated (slavery and racial discrimination being the most glaring examples). Indeed, Americans themselves seem increasingly skeptical of exceptionalism. The 2011 Pew survey asked respondents to react to this statement: “Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior.” Only about half of Americans agreed, roughly the same as Germans and Spaniards. Significantly, 60 percent of Americans 50 and over agreed, while only 37 percent of those aged 18 to 29 did.

Still, these portents can be overdone. Compared to many, Americans are more optimistic, more individualistic, more confident of progress. What the late historian Richard Hofstadter once said remains true: “It has been our fate as a nation not to have ideologies, but to be one.”

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09/18/13: Deleveraging report card: How countries handle the burden of debt
09/16/13: The stability bubble: We still aren't asking the right questions
09/12/13: Why minimum wage isn't a shortcut to social justice
09/09/13: Making a lackluster economy self-fulfilling
09/05/13: The 'war weary' myth
08/29/13: Instead of fixing 'economic disparities', the administration's moves have killed off what was left of the post-WWII jobs compact
08/29/13: Pop goes the emerging-market bubble
08/26/13: Why Obama's delaying Fed pick is continuing to damage America
08/22/13: Revealed! The one fact the administration doesn't want you to know about the economy's stubborn sluggishness
08/19/13: From bubble to bottleneck: The unintended side effects of other government policies
08/15/13: A better, brighter America? We're defining prosperity down
08/12/13: The news isn't free
08/08/13: ObamaCare has already caused health care cost growth to slow?
08/25/11: Inflation is the answer?
08/09/11: The big danger is Europe
07/27/11: Why are we in this debt fix? It's the elderly, stupid
07/25/11: Postwar Pillars Of Capitalism Are Crumbling
01/27/11: How Obama's speech muddied the budget debate
01/24/11: China's new world order demands stronger U.S. response
10/18/10: What's left in the Fed's toolbox?
10/11/10: The Age of Austerity
09/20/10: The ritual of sound-bite economics
08/09/10: America's parent trap
08/02/10: Hope for our energy future
07/29/10: Why CEOs aren't hiring
06/07/10: Duped by success
05/31/10: Why Obama's poverty rate measure misleads
05/17/10: Wake up, America
03/22/10: The maestro's misconceptions
03/15/10: Obama's illusions of cost-control
01/14/10: In the aftermath of the Great Recession
12/29/09: Democracy's demolition derby
11/30/09: Bipartisan threats against the institution that saved America from depression
09/14/09: Give It to Us Straight
09/07/09: Bad Future for Jobs?
08/24/09: A Rail Boondoggle, Moving at High
08/10/09: Championing the Status Quo
08/03/09: We'll remain in denial, prisoners of wishful thinking, until the fateful reckoning arrives in the unimagined future
07/27/09: Obama's misleading medicine
07/13/09: Americans' self-indulgence hurts us
07/06/09: Economists out to lunch
06/29/09: Panics ‘R’ Us!
06/08/09: Flirting with deflation or inflation? Now the economy might be at risk of both
05/25/09: A ‘crisis’ America needs
05/18/09: Will somebody finally say that Obama is irresponsibly mortgaging our future?
05/04/09: The Bias Against Oil And Gas
04/27/09: Environmentalists maximize the dangers of global warming while pretending we can conquer it at virtually no cost
04/20/09: Our Depression Obsession
03/23/09: Geithner treads a line between financial paralysis and populist resentment
03/23/09: American Capitalism Besieged
01/06/09: The limits of pump priming
12/29/08: Humbled By Our Ignorance
07/31/08: The homeownership obsession
07/24/08: A Depression? Hardly
07/17/08: Why isn't globalization making the interconnected world more stable?



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