9.8m/s2

There are a number of things that are circulated on the foxnewsright that do to my soul what an Athens full of idols did to the apostle Paul. One of the central ones, as readers of this space well know, is that I think there is enough sadness in the world without Republicans going around talking about American exceptionalism. The most recent sampling of a near cousin to this kind of thing was a comment by Jeb Bush when he said that Obama’s policies were “not American.” Obama’s policies are idiotic, sure, but last time I checked, we weren’t having to import any of that. We generate enough in a month or two — just in my part of the country — to keep New York lit up for a couple years.

There was an old ethos, that of Americanitas, that was a real part of the first Christendom, and those who held it knew that one’s nationality should no more be a basis for praise or blame than the possession of ten toes should be. But Americanism, a false religion designed to appeal to people who are not especially clever, has banished this older Christian confession in its peculiar American form. In other words, faithful Americanitas was chased to the border, largely by Americans. Not by Russians, not by Chinese, nor by any other furriners.

If you see folks talking about these things on the teevee, or you read what they write about it, and they all seem extremely clever, please remember that nobody seems to understand that you can’t float between Heaven and Hell unless you know how to fly. And if you can’t fly there is only one way to go, and that is where we are going, at an approximate rate of 9.8m/s2. Satan, Chesterton observed, fell by the force of gravity.

So however earnest they may be in their opposition to Obamaman, whenever somebody trots out this exceptionalism business, thinking Christians need to fall upon that claim with merry shouts. However sound they may be on how a health care system should work, any given advocate of this bizarre doctrine of exceptionalism seems to me to be, in the immortal words of Wodehouse, “nature’s final word on cloth-headed guffins.” This exceptionalism talk really needs to expire with a low gurgle.

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