Civil Liberties

Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Whether 9-11 Claimed American Exceptionalism

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Is America still an exceptional country 10 years after 9-11? Or has it become just like every other people, embracing liberty when it is convenient and jettisoning it when it isn't? Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia meditates on these questions in her column at The Daily. She notes:

Right from America's inception, whites used the state's muscle to perpetuate slavery. Nor did the much-ballyhooed self- reliance of Americans withstand the test of the Great Depression, when FDR erected the architecture for government planning, regulation and the welfare state. Over time, Americans have become every bit as fond of entitlement programs as Europeans. More ironically, the denizens of the Sweet Land of Liberty seem even less favorably disposed to free trade and open immigration than folks in less free countries. More to the point, Americans were perturbingly unperturbed by the massive abrogations of civil liberties following 9/11. Only 34 percent believe that the Patriot Act, which gives the government sweeping powers to snoop and spy in order to fight terrorism, goes too far.

All this seems more than enough reason to banish forever talk about American exceptionalism.

But should we?

Go here for the answer.