What if you were stuck at a gathering with a person who asserted: “I am an exceptional human being. I have been given the gift of insight and it is my duty to share it with the less fortunate and set them on the right path”. Wouldn’t you flee for your life and think: “What a pompous ass!”So why should nations or groups be allowed to think of themselves as the chosen ones whose responsibility is to set an example to other nations? In the 19th century “manifest destiny” was the belief that the U.S. was a chosen land that been allotted the entire North American continent by God. The “White man’s burden” was another myth which served as a justification for acquiring colonies and imposing one’s superior culture on them. From there to the doctrine of white supremacy was but one little step.
The Third Reich took this idea to its extreme conclusion, namely that lesser human beings were to be exterminated. Moral labels should be bestowed by other people or nations on those they think worthy of merit, never assumed by any one group or person about themselves. This is arrogant, unseemly, self-serving and presumptuous. It inevitably puts other people’s backs up, irritates and antagonizes them. So the United States should stop thinking of itself as exceptional. It is too easy for others to refute saying: What about the use of napalm, Agent Orange? What about helping Iraq who used gas against Iran? What about helping Pinochet overthrow Allende? etc. etc. A little humility would not be amiss. Nobody is exceptional. Trying to do our best is sufficient.