What Makes America Exceptional: Ninety-Second Video by a Harvard Professor

Clay Christensen on Religious Freedom (His personal views, not HBS)

I hope you’ll take a minute to listen to what Dr. Christensen has to say, because I think he’s absolutely right. But, if you’re unsure or have never heard of this Harvard economist, let me introduce him, because I think he’s earned the right to one minute of our attention! His pedigree includes being a Rhodes Scholar, studying econometrics at Oxford University (M.Phil.), an MBA and later a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) from Harvard. Christiansen set a record for becoming a “full professor” at Harvard’s Business School in only six years. In 2011 Forbes called him “one of the most influential business theorists of the last 5o years” in their cover story. In both 2011 and 2013 he was ranked #1 in the Thinkers 50, considered “the most prestigious ranking of management thinkers” (Wiki). His seminal work, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997) received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year. According to Wikipedia (where I garnered this biographical info), “He’s best known for his theory of ‘disruptive innovation,’. . .which has been called the most influential business idea of the early 21st century.”

Now are you willing to listen? https://www.youtube.com/embed/YjntXYDPw44

 “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

10 thoughts on “What Makes America Exceptional: Ninety-Second Video by a Harvard Professor

  1. I think you have a great message but ruined it with your lead in to the video. And your caption is totally wrong. The message here is not about American exceptionalism at all.

    The message is about the importance of people voluntarily complying with the law and the role of religion in that process. Or something along these lines.

    1. Being from Vietnam, you have a more global view of the problem and solution. I used that title because a friend passed it along to me under that title. Of course, the original discussion was the reflections of a student who had come to America to study and what he observed here. I believe he was right in his observations, but I also believe this would be true for any country around the world. Freedom—in America, Vietnam, or any other country—is best served by people voluntarily complying with good, moral laws. I believe the best source in the world for defining and defending “good” moral laws and freedoms is the Bible. “Religion” generally may or may not provide a non-oppressive basis for laws, so in my opinion, just being religious won’t really make people truly free or good.

      1. I often don’t think most Americans and others around the globe have a clear view of Vietnam. Many think the government rules the country with an iron fist and that is not the case. The government has very little control, the police don’t carry guns and the overwhelming majority of the people ignore all laws. People here routinely fight with the police about everything and the police often run away from the criminals.

      2. I had no idea of that. We’ve visited Vietnam, but only via a tour that showcased much of the beauty of the country and definitely made us feel like the country is doing well.

      3. In fact, mush of Asia is just like Vietnam, There is no respect for the government and its laws. As a result people routinely don’t follow any laws. And there is no 911 to call in case of emergency. Everyone is pretty much on their own. It’s not like the U.S. at all. Entirely different worlds.

      4. I am sorry to hear that. My prayer is for God’s kingdom to come…a kingdom of love and light where everyone will love God and love one another in a way that brings peace and good will to all.

  2. My question to you is — Why is it so important for you to use the words American exceptionalism in your post?

    1. I use the words “American exceptionalism” because that’s what Clay Christensen was speaking about, but if you shared a similar idea in Vietnam using the same 90-second video, you could call it whatever would make sense for you for the people and culture into which you’re speaking. I truly do believe that people willingly submitting to “good” laws will result in an exceptional country, and I believe that was a big part of what made America such a happy place to live for so many years. Sadly, in America, the number of people who are willing to live by the law is decreasing as the number of people who believe in and love God declines.

      1. I think we share very similar views. It was just the term American exceptionalism that confused me. I used the same video and wrote a short piece to go with it. It’s scheduled for later this morning in a couple of hours.

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