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[r]epublican_bottle_coolerMandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript“If you’re an American, and if you’re alive, then you are exceptional and the rest of the world should do whatever it is you think the rest of the world should do.  If you think the citizens of Yemen should pledge allegiance to our flag, adopt Thomas Jefferson as their founding father, and do all the other things that are attendant with that, then you’re an American exceptionalist.”  Check out today’s transcript for the rest….

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Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  Hello, Jack.  How you doing?

Caller Jack:  Great, Mike.  Interesting show today.  I wanted to see if you could further educate me.  I have often heard the phrase “American exceptionalism” used and either pooh-poohed or ballyhooed.  I’ve never actually heard anybody actually define “American exceptionalism,” what it constitutes.

Mike:  I think the term is self-explanatory to an extent.  If you’re an American, and if you’re alive, then you are exceptional and the rest of the world should do whatever it is you think the rest of the world should do.  If you think the citizens of Yemen should pledge allegiance to our flag, adopt Thomas Jefferson as their founding father, and do all the other things that are attendant with that, then you’re an American exceptionalist.  If you want to export Americanism – that’s if you could define it – and think that all other people on Earth ought to live as Americans, then that would make you an American exceptionalist.

The principal problem with American exceptionalism is, number one, it causes the citizen to elevate his citizenship in the United States above his citizenship in the Kingdom of God.  That’s a mortal sin from the get-go.  Number two, if that’s not enough, it puts you directly into and in commission of – unless you’re extraordinarily careful about this – into committing the mortal sin of pride and vanity.  It’s our way or the highway.  It would be one thing to say that you live a pious life and by living it that is your example, and that pious life might be exceptional and you happen to be an American.\

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That’s the modest way to do it, Jack.  That’s the way many people I suspect listening right now are probably doing it.  But to broadcast it to the world at the end of an Abrams tank gun turret or a patriot missile or a hellfire missile or drone or whatever other implement of war we can, other statement of bellicosity or hyperbole, that’s not the modest way.  In other words, the people that promote American exceptionalism do not hold out that anyone else on Earth can be exceptional.  My contention, and this isn’t really my contention so much as it is a dogma learned through pursuing and trying to live through the Christian faith, is that as a pious individual, I may be exceptional, I just happen to be an American.  Does that make sense?

Caller Jack:  That’s different than what I thought I Was going to hear.

Mike:  What did you think you were going to hear?  Why don’t you tell me?  If you thought you were going to hear something else, then you had a definition in your mind.  What’s your definition?

Caller Jack:  What little thought I put into this goes more along the lines of being unique in development.  I’m not sure what other country came together, at least before the United States, came together as people from a lot of different parts of the world and banded themselves together to form a government rather than have indigenous populations get together and form a government that was top-down.  The United States did not adopt the top-down model, at least in the beginning.

Mike:  So the formation of a government would then make one who happened to be a citizen at the time of that formation exceptional.

Caller Jack:  Exceptional as –

Mike:  As far as that little piece of historical nostalgia goes, yes.  You just said “not in a top-down fashion.”  What in dude’s holy name do you call the Supreme Court?  If this isn’t top-down, I don’t know what is.

Caller Jack:  The way I think of that is in countries previously, there was a power instituted as in a king or some type of authority figure who then instituted governors and whatever rather than having a group of independent nations come together and form –

Mike:  Again, that makes us exceptionally stupid.  If you thought taxation without representation stunk, I have to ask you, my friend, how is taxation with representation working out for you?

Caller Jack:  I’m not complaining too much.

Mike:  The colonists that complained about a tax, it was a three percent tax.  The biggest tax in the Stamp Act on an individual, particular item was USA_we're_number_oneseven percent.

Caller Jack:  Yeah, but their point was they didn’t have any representatives in parliament.

Mike:  Again, Jack, you missed the point.  I’m telling you that a three percent tax was what they were complaining about and they didn’t have any representation.  You’re telling me you’re quite comfy with a 57 percent tax and you have representation.

Caller Jack:  I didn’t say I was comfy with it.

Mike:  You said you weren’t complaining about it.

Caller Jack:  I’m not comparing taxation without representation to taxation with representation.  I’ll take the taxation with representation.  However –

Mike:  You know what I’ll take?  I’ll take no taxation.  I’ll take a requisition.  I’ll also explain this to you.  And thanks for the call.  I think I’ve exhausted my attempt at explaining.  Perhaps some meditation on the matter for both of us is in order.  Let me explain something else to anyone that’s interested in this.  What is an authority figure?  He mentioned authority figure.  Oh, the evil of a king.  Not all kinds were evil.  Wrong answer.  Not all queens were evil.  Again, wrong answer.  Just because you’re an authority figure does not by definition make you evil.  This is the deceit.  [mocking] “Yeah, but we have representative government.”  So?  Do you complain about it?  Then it’s obviously not the most perfect model.

Remember, as philosophers – I’ll do the philosophizing for you so you don’t have to do it.  Let me think this through for you.  What is the purpose of an authority figure?  When we’re talking about rules, order, law and order, government, whatever you wish to call it, what is the purpose of the authority?  The objection is that the authority is to empower his buddies and to make it so that the ruling class can rule over the elite, therefore an authority figure and an authority power is always to be guarded against.  It may be true that abuse of an authority can lead to bad.  In this instance, when we’re talking about authority, we’re talking about using a power.  A power is different from a virtue.  You can use powers to obtain or pursue virtues, or you can use powers to obtain or pursue evil.  I’m going to give you an example in just a moment.

Let’s get back to authority.  The purpose of authority and of having an authority figure is the authority is supposed to do things that are beneficial to those that he has authority over.  The greatest example of this authority power that is exercised to man’s benefit is the love and the mercy of Almighty God.  He gives us the chance.  It’s a dress rehearsal for eternity here on this Earth.  If we pass the test, then we will receive the full benefit and all of his love in the beatific vision.  You can gain access through that narrow gate that St. John writes so beautifully about in that gospel.  The purpose of the authority is for the good of those under the authority.  Again, the best example is the love of God.

Of course, somebody is going to ask me to explain, [mocking] “Why don’t you explain God’s will in letting tsunamis and earthquakes.”  The RSTLNE atheist / agnostic charge against it, easily refutable.  I’m not going to spend my time on that here on this show.  If you wish to look it up and you are a person of goodwill, you will find the answer.  It’s not hard to find.  That’s the purpose of authority.

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Authority is exercised by powers.  I’ll give you an example.  Right now I am speaking.  I have the power of oratory.  I can use my power of oratory for the good, to pursue the good.  What’s the ultimate good?  Man’s happiness.  How does man achieve happiness?  He passes through the narrow gate and lives in eternity in Heaven.  Or I can use my power of oratory for the bad.  I can encourage people to have promiscuous, illicit sex.  I can encourage them to engage in wanton acts of hedonism and drunken frivolity.  I could encourage them to cheat and defraud other people, etc., etc.  [mocking] “Come on, Mike, it doesn’t make any sense.”  It makes perfect sense.

You can use powers then to pursue vice or virtue.  It is up to the freewill of the person using the power.  Are they directing the use of the power towards happiness, towards the end of eternity, or towards an ephemeral or a quick fix or an earthly pleasure that they’re going to be made to regret?  What are the four cardinal virtues?  They are prudence, justice, temperance, and I’m having a mind spasm on the fourth.  The virtue, you gain a virtue – this all has to do with authority and exceptionalism.

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You gain a virtue or a power can be used to pursue a virtue, and for a man or woman to become virtuous by, again, using it properly.  An example of the prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude being used improperly is the Brinks robbery.  [mocking] “Come on, Mike.  I’m going to the country channel.  You’re off the rails!”  Think about it.  We have justice, temperance, fortitude, and the other one.  The guys that planned the Brinks robbery had to have a sense of justice because they had to agree in advance on how they were going to split the money up, thus they used a power in pursuit of one of the cardinal virtues, but they used the power incorrectly.

The guys that pulled off the Brinks robbery had to have temperance because they had to figure out how they were going to do it.  They couldn’t just go in there guns blazing and blow the place up.  They had to be temperate about it.  They had to ponder it and consider it.  How can we sneak in?  They had to, in other words, humble themselves: We don’t want to do this publicly.  We don’t want anybody to find out.  They had to have fortitude.  Why did they have to have fortitude?  Well, because once they began the operation, they actually had to have the courage and bravery to pull it off and continue it.  Again, you could use the same power to attain a virtue or you could use it to obtain a dark vice.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

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