Originally Posted by Wonderment
Yes, I think Bob got it right that our tendency toward exceptionalism (a form of narcissism/xenophobia/ethnocentrism) is precisely the force that suppresses our ability to take the perspective (empathize) of others. To the degree that we are narcissistic jingoists, we are oblivious to the needs and aspirations of others.
I don't think we've ever gotten a clear definition of "exceptionalism." I agreed with Bob, but I'm not convinced "exceptionalism" would disagree. I take the argument that "American should be better" seriously, and thus that the mere fact that most nations may torture doesn't mean that's a basis for us to do so seriously. American exceptionalism could mean that we hold ourselves to higher standards, based on what we should be, not on what others are or what we've been.