April 6, 2008

"The liberal message of national improvement"

The Patriotism Problem Thursday, Apr. 03, 2008 By Joe Klein

....But there was still something missing. I noticed it during Obama's response to a young man who remembered how the country had come together after Sept. 11 and lamented "the dangerously low levels of patriotism and pride in our country, the loss of faith in our elected officials." Obama used this, understandably, to go after George W. Bush. "Cynicism has become the hot stock," he said, "the growth industry during the Bush Administration." He talked about the Administration's mendacity, its incompetence during Hurricane Katrina, its lack of transparency. But he never returned to the question of patriotism. He never said, "But hey, look, we're Americans. This is the greatest country on earth. We'll rise to the occasion."

This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right. When Ronald Reagan touted "Morning in America" in the 1980s, Dick Gephardt famously countered that it was near midnight "and getting darker all the time." This is ironic and weirdly self-defeating, since the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature. Obama's hopemongering is about as American as a message can get — although, in the end, it is mostly about our ability to transcend our imperfections rather than the effortless brilliance of our diversity, informality and freedom-propelled creativity...

"...the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature..." What is wrong with this statement? For one thing, "conservative pessimism" is intrinsic to what America IS. It is woven into our Constitution, whose "checks and balances," and limitations on government power assume the non-perfectibility of human nature.

Also, in practice, that "national improvement" stuff starts with the premise that America is a horrid place, except for its liberal elites, and needs to be bullied and "re-educated" towards goals that ordinary Americans by no means hold. It is the opposite of patriotism.

Am I "questioning somebody's patriotism?" Damn right I am. Is there something wrong with questioning people's patriotism? NO! It's my right as a patriotic American. Do I think Mr Klein, Mr Obama, & Mrs Clinton are unpatriotic? Yes, I do. Their underlying assumptions are those of leftist anti-Americanism. They are unpatriotic.

...Patriotism is, sadly, a crucial challenge for Obama now. His aides believe that the Wright controversy was more about anti-Americanism than it was about race. Michelle Obama's unfortunate comment that the success of the campaign had made her proud of America "for the first time" in her adult life and the Senator's own decision to stow his American-flag lapel pin — plus his Islamic-sounding name — have fed a scurrilous undercurrent of doubt about whether he is "American" enough...

Why is it "scurrilous?" Why is it scurrilous to ask if a candidate for President of the US actually loves the US? Why, Mr Klein? Why exactly? And why did you put "American" in scare quotes?

"The liberal message of national improvement.." I for one do not want to be "improved." I spit upon your "improvements" with the utmost contempt. If anyone needs to be improved, it's you anti-American lefties. Maybe a few years in a Cuban prison camp, along with various Cuban writers who dared to suggest improvements in the much-admired Castro's socialist paradise, would give you a little insight into why us non-elite people proudly wear our American flag pins.

* Update: By the way Mr Klein, you seem to disagree with "conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature." Would you be so kind as to share with us your evidence? Could you give us some example of human nature being "perfected?" Or even just slightly improved? I would be very curious to see this wonder.

Posted by John Weidner at April 6, 2008 5:00 PM
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