Liberals and conservatives often differ over the concept of American exceptionalism, either on how to define it or whether there even is such a thing. Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore recognizes a limited version of American exceptionalism, one which pretty much boils down to a mania for guns.
“America is mainly exceptional [italics in original] among advanced democratic nations not in our personal or economic liberty, but in our strange belief that letting everyone stockpile weapons is essential to the preservation of our freedom, and in the consequences of that strange belief,” wrote Kilgore in a Friday post that piggybacked on President Obama’s statement regarding the Oregon community-college shootings. “That’s what the worship of the most extreme interpretation possible of the Second Amendment, fed by the gun lobby and politicians (mostly, though not exclusively, conservatives) has wrought. And yes, it’s something that can make you angry.”
And a weekend Monthly blogger, David Atkins, argued on Sunday (bolding added):
There is no reason to believe that guns serve much if any social benefit beyond a few news stories now and again that are massively promoted by the gun lobby to further entrench the myth of effective self-defense…
But sadly, the same false arguments will continue to be used by gun proponents, in the same way that false arguments about climate change, taxes and abortion are consistently used no matter how often they’re debunked. The American right has gone so far off the rails that reality is no longer a relevant boundary on discussion. As with supply-side economics, the benefits of gun culture are taken not on evidence but on almost cultic faith by the right wing and its adherents.