American Exceptionalism Kritik 1NC



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Hold America to high skepticism – rejection and scrutiny are best


Greenwald 13 (Grant, J.D. from NYU Law School, B.A. in Philosophy from George Washington University, 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, former Gaurdian columnist, “The premises and purposes of American exceptionalism” Guardian, Februrary 18th, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/18/american-exceptionalism-north-korea-nukes)

Nobody can reasonably dispute that North Korea is governed by a monstrous regime and that it would be better if they lacked a nuclear weapons capability. That isn't what interests me about this. What interests me here is that highlighted claim: that the US "is the greatest country in world history", and therefore is entitled to do that which other countries are not. This declaration always genuinely fascinates me. Note how it's insufficient to claim the mere mantle of Greatest Country on the Planet. It's way beyond that: the Greatest Country Ever to Exist in All of Human History (why not The Greatest Ever in All of the Solar Systems?). The very notion that this distinction could be objectively or even meaningfully measured is absurd. But the desire to believe it is so strong, the need to proclaim one's own unprecedented superiority so compelling, that it's hardly controversial to say it despite how nonsensical it is. The opposite is true: it has been vested with the status of orthodoxy. What I'm always so curious about is the thought process behind this formulation. Depending on how you count, there are 179 countries on the planet. The probability that you will happen to be born into The Objectively Greatest One, to the extent there is such a thing, is less than 1%. As the US accounts for roughly 5% of the world's population, the probability that you will be born into it is 1/20. Those are fairly long odds for the happenstance of being born into the Greatest Country on Earth. But if you extend the claim to the Greatest Country that Has Ever Existed in All of Human History, then the probability is minute: that you will happen to be born not only into the greatest country on earth, but will be born at the precise historical time when the greatest of all the countries ever to exist is thriving. It's similar to winning the lottery: something so mathematically improbable that while our intense desire to believe it may lead us on an emotional level wildly to overestimate its likelihood, our rational faculties should tell us that it is unlikely in the extreme and therefore to doubt seriously that it will happen. Do people who wave the Greatest Country in All of Human History flag engage that thought process at all? I'm asking this genuinely. Given the sheer improbability that it is true, do they search for more likely explanations for why they believe this? In particular, given that human beings' perceptions are shaped by the assumptions of their culture and thus have a natural inclination to view their own culture as superior, isn't it infinitely more likely that people view their society as objectively superior because they're inculcated from birth in all sorts of overt and subtle ways to believe this rather than because it's objectively true? It's akin to those who believe in their own great luck that they just happened to be born into the single religion that is the One True One rather than suspecting that they believe this because they were taught to from birth. At the very least, the tendency of the human brain to view the world from a self-centered perspective should render suspect any beliefs that affirm the objective superiority of oneself and one's own group, tribe, nation, etc. The "truths" we're taught to believe from birth - whether nationalistic, religious, or cultural - should be the ones treated with the greatest skepticism if we continue to embrace them in adulthood, precisely because the probability is so great that we've embraced them because we were trained to, or because our subjective influences led us to them, and not because we've rationally assessed them to be true (or, as in the case of the British Cooke, what we were taught to believe about western nations closely aligned to our own). That doesn't mean that what we're taught to believe from childhood is wrong or should be presumed erroneous. We may get lucky and be trained from the start to believe what is actually true. That's possible. But we should at least regard those precepts with great suspicion, to subject them to particularly rigorous scrutiny, especially when it comes to those that teach us to believe in our own objective superiority or that of the group to which we belong. So potent is the subjective prism, especially when it's implanted in childhood, that I'm always astounded at some people's certainty of their own objective superiority ("the greatest country in world history"). It's certainly true that Americans are justifiably proud of certain nationalistic attributes: class mobility, ethnic diversity, religious freedom, large immigrant populations, life-improving technological discoveries, a commitment to some basic liberties such as free speech and press, historical progress in correcting some of its worst crimes. But all of those virtues are found in equal if not, at this point, greater quantity in numerous other countries. Add to that mix America's shameful attributes - its historic crimes of land theft, genocide, slavery and racism, its sprawling penal state, the company it keeps on certain human rights abuses, the aggressive attack on Iraq, the creation of a worldwide torture regime, its pervasive support for the world's worst tyrannies - and it becomes not just untenable, but laughable, to lavish it with that title. This is more than just an intellectual exercise. This belief in America's unparalleled greatness has immense impact. It is not hyperbole to say that the sentiment expressed by Cooke is the overarching belief system of the US political and media class, the primary premise shaping political discourse. Politicians of all types routinely recite the same claim, and Cooke's tweet was quickly re-tweeted by a variety of commentators and self-proclaimed foreign policy experts from across the spectrum. Note that Cooke did not merely declare America's superiority, but rather used it to affirm a principle: as a result of its objective superiority, the US has the right to do things that other nations do not. This self-affirming belief - I can do X because I'm Good and you are barred from X because you are Bad - is the universally invoked justification for all aggression. It's the crux of hypocrisy. And most significantly of all, it is the violent enemy of law: the idea that everyone is bound by the same set of rules and restraints. This eagerness to declare oneself exempt from the rules to which others are bound, on the grounds of one's own objective superiority, is always the animating sentiment behind nationalistic criminality. Here's what Orwell said about that in Notes on Nationalism: "All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

Reject the irony of American exceptionalism


Kirstein 13 (Peter N., Ph.D. and M.A from Saint Louis University, Professor of History at Saint Xavier, “American Exceptionalism is a Racist, Imperialistic Canard” September 26th, 2013, http://english.sxu.edu/sites/kirstein/archives/11159)

The notion of American exceptionalism is a disgrace. The nation is the only industrialised nation that does not construe health care as a right. The pusillanimous Obamacare maze, while certainly a progressive step toward socialism, is still placing too many burdens on Americans to purchase health care. Yet hopefully it will reduce the 48-50 million who are still without health insurance. The notion of American exceptionalism is perhaps ironically true. From 1619 to 1865 there was slavery in both British America and the United States for about a century after the revolution. Then for another century after that, American apartheid or Jim Crow America emerged as a kind of chattel slavery light. From 1965 to 2013, there was a brief period of some relief from this “exceptionally” long journey into oppression and racism. With the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v Holder, I wonder if poll taxes and literacy tests can be far behind despite Constitutional proscription of the former. The notion of American exceptionalism overlooks the evil that this nation represents in recent world history. The inventor and only nation to use the atomic bomb, no apology has emerged for the unprovoked and utterly unnecessary utilization of this weapon of mass destruction. Forget chemical and bio weapons, nuclear weapons, trust me, are the authentic weapon of mass destruction. The United States then committed savage and monstrous war crimes in Vietnam with the death of about two to three million Vietnamese. Not one trial, not one senior official in the US was ever sentenced or even indicted. An exceptional nation would not despite its usual bluster and lecturing to the world, remain mute and utterly silent in its toleration of an Israel nuclear deterrent while seeking to starve or even threaten war to prevent Iran from pursing its legitimate nuclear exercises. An exceptional nation does not submit to cowardice and a refusal on the part of even one State Department official or West Wing elitist to even state what everyone knows: that Israel has nuclear weapons and faces no threat from Iran. Not a word due to racism and Zionism. An exceptional nation that threatens war against Syria if it does not disarm and ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, has not uttered a word or a phrase that only Israel, its sacred, white- “European” ally, along with Myanmar, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has not ratified the C.W.C. This is a reflection of a hypocritical, ethnocentric diplomacy that was so vividly on display when President Obama addressed the U.N. Security Council in New York on Tuesday, September 24. The notion of American exceptionalism cries out for justice. The numbers of incarcerated exceeds any other nation. Most are political prisoners or economic victims of American capitalism who try to sell a little weed there, or a little smack here and boom, in jail. The real criminals, the Clintons, the Bushes, the Rices, the Dimons, the Rummies, the N.S.A beasts walk the earth with security details and lovely isolated lives from the real world. No American exceptionalism is a form of execrable ethnocentrism that I am determined in my teaching and writing to unmask and replace it with an accurate, objective depiction of our past and present!

We must criticize America in order to break hypocrisy – the affirmative is grounded in exclusion and closes the door for change


Greenwald 13 (Grant, J.D. from NYU Law School, B.A. in Philosophy from George Washington University, 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, former Gaurdian columnist, “The premises and purposes of American exceptionalism” Guardian, Februrary 18th, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/18/american-exceptionalism-north-korea-nukes)

Preserving this warped morality, this nationalistic prerogative, is, far and away, the primary objective of America's foreign policy community, composed of its political offices, media outlets, and (especially) think tanks. What Cooke expressed here - that the US, due to its objective superiority, is not bound by the same rules as others - is the most cherished and aggressively guarded principle in that circle. Conversely, the notion that the US should be bound by the same rules as everyone else is the most scorned and marginalized. Last week, the Princeton professor Cornel West denounced Presidents Nixon, Bush and Obama as "war criminals", saying that "they have killed innocent people in the name of the struggle for freedom, but they're suspending the law, very much like Wall Street criminals". West specifically cited Obama's covert drone wars and killing of innocent people, including children. What West was doing there was rather straightforward: applying the same legal and moral rules to US aggression that he has applied to other countries and which the US applies to non-friendly, disobedient regimes. In other words, West did exactly that which is most scorned and taboo in DC policy circles. And thus he had to be attacked, belittled and dismissed as irrelevant. Andrew Exum, the Afghanistan War advocate and Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security, eagerly volunteered for the task: Note that there's no effort to engage Professor West's arguments. It's pure ad hominem (in the classic sense of the logical fallacy): "who is "Cornell [sic] West" to think that anything he says should be even listened to by "national security professionals"? It's a declaration of exclusion: West is not a member in good standing of DC's Foreign Policy Community, and therefore his views can and should be ignored as Unserious and inconsequential. Leave aside the inane honorific of "national security professional" (is there a licensing agency for that?). Leave aside the noxious and pompous view that the views of non-national-security-professionals - whatever that means - should be ignored when it comes to militarism, US foreign policy and war crimes. And also leave aside the fact that the vast majority of so-called "national security professionals" have been disastrously wrong about virtually everything of significance over the last decade at least, including when most of them used their platforms and influence not only to persuade others to support the greatest crime of our generation - the aggressive attack on Iraq - but also to scorn war opponents as too Unserious to merit attention. As Samantha Power put it in 2007: "It was Washington's conventional wisdom that led us into the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy. The rush to invade Iraq was a position advocated by not only the Bush Administration, but also by editorial pages, the foreign policy establishment of both parties, and majorities in both houses of Congress." Given that history, if one wants to employ ad hominems: one should be listened to more, not less, if one is denied the title of "national security professional". The key point is what constitutes West's transgression. His real crime is that he tacitly assumed that the US should be subjected to the same rules and constraints as all other nations in the world, that he rejected the notion that America has the right to do what others nations may not. And this is the premise - that there are any legal or moral constraints on the US's right to use force in the world - that is the prime taboo thought in the circles of DC Seriousness. That's why West, the Princeton professor, got mocked as someone too silly to pay attention to: because he rejected that most cherished American license that is grounded in the self-loving exceptionalism so purely distilled by Cooke. West made a moral and legal argument, and US "national security professionals" simply do not recognize morality or legality when it comes to US aggression. That's why our foreign policy discourse so rarely includes any discussion of those considerations. A US president can be a "war criminal" only if legal and moral rules apply to his actions on equal terms as all other world leaders, and that is precisely the idea that is completely anathema to everything "national security professionals" believe (it also happens to be the central principle the Nuremberg Tribunal sought to affirm: "while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment"). US foreign policy analysts are permitted to question the tactics of the US government and military (will bombing these places succeed in the goals?). They are permitted to argue that certain policies will not advance American interests (drones may be ineffective in stopping Terrorism). But what they are absolutely barred from doing - upon pain of being expelled from the circles of Seriousness - is to argue that there are any legal or moral rules that restrict US aggression, and especially to argue that the US is bound by the same set of rules which it seeks to impose on others (recall the intense attacks on Howard Dean, led by John Kerry, when Dean suggested in 2003 that the US should support a system of universally applied rules because "we won't always have the strongest military": the very idea that the US should think of itself as subject to the same rules as the rest of the world is pure heresy). In 2009, Les Gelb - the former Pentagon and State Department official and Chairman Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations: the ultimate "national security professional" - wrote an extraordinary essay in the journal Democracy explaining why he and so many others in his circle supported the attack on Iraq. This is what he blamed it on: unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility." That someone like Les Gelb says that "national security professionals" have career incentives to support US wars "to retain political and professional credibility" is amazing, yet clearly true. When I interviewed Gelb in 2010 regarding that quote, he elaborated that DC foreign policy experts - "national security professionals" - know that they can retain relevance in and access to key government circles only if they affirm the unfettered right of the US to use force whenever and however it wants. They can question tactics, but never the supreme prerogative of the US, the unchallengeable truth of American exceptionalism. In sum, think tank "scholars" don't get invited to important meetings by "national security professionals" in DC if they point out that the US is committing war crimes and that the US president is a war criminal. They don't get invited to those meetings if they argue that the US should be bound by the same rules and laws it imposes on others when it comes to the use of force. They don't get invited if they ask US political officials to imagine how they would react if some other country were routinely bombing US soil with drones and cruise missiles and assassinating whatever Americans they wanted to in secret and without trial. As the reaction to Cornel West shows, making those arguments triggers nothing but ridicule and exclusion. One gets invited to those meetings only if one blindly affirms the right of the US to do whatever it wants, and then devotes oneself to the pragmatic question of how that unfettered license can best be exploited to promote national interests. The culture of DC think tanks, "international relations" professionals, and foreign policy commenters breeds allegiance to these American prerogatives and US power centers - incentivizes reflexive defenses of US government actions - because, as Gelb says, that is the only way to advance one's careerist goals as a "national security professional". If you see a 20-something aspiring "foreign policy expert" or "international relations professional" in DC, what you'll view, with some rare exceptions, is a mindlessly loyal defender of US force and prerogatives. It's what that culture, by design, breeds and demands. In that crowd, Cooke's tweets aren't the slightest bit controversial. They're axioms, from which all valid conclusions flow. This belief in the unfettered legal and moral right of the US to use force anywhere in the world for any reason it wants is sustained only by this belief in objective US superiority, this myth of American exceptionalism. And the results are exactly what one would expect from an approach grounded in a belief system so patently irrational.

Vote negative allows us to interrogate the epistemological framework of imperialism in order to break it down


McLaren and Kincheloe in 5 (Peter Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies @ UCLA and Joe, professor and Canada Research Chair at the Faculty of Education, McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, Third Edition, Eds Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln)

In this context, it is important to note that we understand a social theory as a map or a guide to the social sphere. In a research context, it does not determine how we see the world but helps us devise questions and strategies for exploring it. A critical social theory is concerned in particular with issues of power and justice and the ways that the economy; matters of race, class, and gender; ideologies; discourses; education; religion and other social institutions; and cultural dynamics interact to construct a social system (Beck-Gernsheim, Butler, & Puigvert, 2003; Flccha, Gomez, & Puigvert, 2003). Thus, in this context we seek to provide a view of an evolving criticality or a reconceptualized critical theory. Critical theory is never static; it is always evolving, changing in light of both new theoretical insights and new problems and social circumstances. The list of concepts elucidating our articulation of critical theory indicates a criticality informed by a variety of discourses emerging after the work of the Frankfurt School Indeed, some of the theoretical discourses, while referring to themselves as critical, directly call into question some of the work of Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse. Thus, diverse theoretical traditions have informed our understanding of criticality and have demanded understanding of diverse forms of oppression including class, race, gender, sexual, cultural, religious, colonial, and ability-related concerns. The evolving notion of criticality we present is informed by, while critiquing, the post-discourses—for example, postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postcolonialism. In this context, critical theorists become detectives of new theoretical insights, perpetually searching for new and interconnected ways of understanding power and oppression and the ways they shape everyday life and human experience. In this context, criticality and the research it supports are always evolving, always encountering new ways to irritate dominant forms of power, to provide more evocative and compelling insights. Operating in this way, an evolving criticality is always vulnerable to exclusion from the domain of approved modes of research. The forms of social change it supports always position it in some places as an outsider, an awkward detective always interested in uncovering social structures, discourses, ideologies, and epistemologies that prop up both the status quo and a variety of forms of privilege. In the epistemological domain, white, male, class elitist, heterosexist, imperial, and colonial privilege often operates by asserting the power to claim objectivity and neutrality. Indeed, the owners of such privilege often own the "franchise" on reason and rationality. Proponents of an evolving criticality possess a variety of tools to expose such oppressive power politics. Such proponents assert that critical theory is well-served by drawing upon numerous liberatory discourses and including diverse groups of marginalized peoples and their allies in the nonhierarchical aggregation of critical analysts {Bello, 2003; Clark, 2002; Humphries, 1997). In the present era, emerging forms of neocolonialism and neo-imperialism in the United States move critical theorists to examine the wavs American power operates under the cover of establishing democracies all over the world. Advocates of an evolving criticality argue—as we do in more detail later in this chapter—that such neocolonial power must be exposed so it can be opposed in the United States and around the world. The American Empires justification in the name of freedom for undermining democratically elected governments from Iran (Kincheloe, 2004), Chile, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to Liberia (when its real purpose is to acquire geopolitical advantage for future military assaults, economic leverage in international markets, and access to natural resources) must be exposed by critical-ists for what it is—a rank imperialist sham (McLaren, 2003a, 2003b; McLaren & Jaramillo, 2002; McLaren & Martin, 2003). Critical researchers need to view their work in the context of living and working in a nation-state with the most powerful military-industrial complex in history that is shamefully using the terrorist attacks of September 11 to advance a ruthless imperialist agenda fueled by capitalist accumulation by means of the rule of force (McLaren & Farahmandpur,2003). Chomsky (2003), for instance, has accused the U.S. government of the "supreme crime" of preventive war (in the case of its invasion of Iraq, the use of military force to destroy an invented or imagined threat) of the type that was condemned at Kuremburg. Others, like historian Arthur Schlesinger (cited in Chomsky, 2003), have likened the invasion of Iraq to Japan's "day of infamy'' that is, to the policy that imperial Japan employed at the time of Pearl Harbor. David G. Smith (2003) argues that such imperial dynamics are supported by particular epistemological forms. The United States is an epistemological empire based on a notion of truth that undermines the knowledges produced by those outside the good graces and benevolent authority of the empire. Thus, in the 21 st century, critical theorists must develop sophisticated ways to address not only the brute material relations of class rule linked to the mode and relations of capitalist production and imperialist conquest (whether through direct military intervention or indirectly through the creation of client states) but also the epistemological violence that helps discipline the world Smith refers to this violence as a form of "information warfare" that spreads deliberate falsehoods about countries such as Iraq and Iran. U.S. corporate and governmental agents become more sophisticated in the use of such episto-weaponry with every day that passes. Obviously, an evolving criticality does not promiscuously choose theoretical discourses to add to the bricolage of critical theories. It is highly suspicious—as we detail later—of theories that fail to understand the malevolent workings of power, that fail to critique the blinders of Eurocentrism, that cultivate an elitism of insiders and outsiders, and that fail to discern a global system of inequity supported by diverse forms of ideology and violence. It is uninterested in any theory—no matter how fashionable—that does not directly address the needs of victims of oppression and the suffering they must endure. The following is an elastic, ever-evolving set of concepts included in our evolving notion of criticality. With theoretical innovations and shifting Zeitgeists, they evolve. The points that are deemed most important in one time period pale in relation to different points in a new era.
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