Monday, January 20, 2020

Rejecting Patriotism

How, Amitai Etzioni asks, did patriotism become a dirty word? How did it become associated with right wing extremism, to the point where any expression of love of country has become suspect? (via Maggie’s Farm)

So, Etzioni has written a book called, Reclaiming Patriotism. In a brief City Journal article he recounts what happened when he did. 

For instance:

When I mentioned to my liberal wife that my next book would be dedicated to the defense of patriotism, as an antidote to growing divisiveness, she warned me that my colleagues would consider it a defense of right-wing extremism. When I demurred, she sent me the following quote from the webpage of the Anti-Defamation League, which states that the “‘Patriot’ Movement” is a “collective term used to describe a set of related extremist movements and groups in the United States whose ideologies center on anti-government conspiracy theories. . . . they share a conviction that part or all of the government has been infiltrated and subverted by a malignant conspiracy and is no longer legitimate. . . . [T]here is some overlap between the ‘Patriot’ movement and the white supremacist movement.” This language—the only discussion of patriotism on the ADL website—reflects the tendency of many on the liberal end of the political spectrum to equate patriotism with chauvinism and extreme right-wing politics.

But, how did that happen? Etzioni does not remark that defaming and slandering patriotism occurred during the Obama presidency. Anyone who did not embrace identity politics and multiculturalism was denounced as a racist. Anyone who preferred national unity to muticulturalism was denounced as a bigot.

What is patriotism and why do we need it? Etzioni explains:

I argue in the book that people find identity and meaning in their national communities. Indeed, millions are willing to sacrifice their lives for their nation, which they’re not willing to do for the EU or UN. True, such loyalty can be abused when it deteriorates into hatred against outsiders. But we shouldn’t let the abusers of patriotism monopolize a strong and healthy impulse—love of one’s community.

But, if the radical left considers America to be a vast right wing conspiracy, a vast criminal conspiracy to oppress non-white, non-male individuals, then patriotism has to go. We must reject the notion of bringing the country together through a shared loyalty to a single culture. We must divide the country into oppressors and the oppressed, into bigots and the abused. And these two contrary groups must engage in a fight to the death, thus dividing the country and producing today’s America.

Patriotism is the enemy of internecine conflict. It is the enemy of identity politics. It is the enemy of those who want to destroy the patriarchy and to disunite the nation.

Now, a publisher could not even bring himself to place an American flag, a symbol of American unity on the book’s cover:

I wanted the book’s cover to show the American flag, but the publisher worried that such a cover would signal chauvinism, and my liberal granddaughter at Yale said that she would not be seen carrying such a book on campus. I argued that a nation needs some symbols that unite us, and that the flag was surely one of those. 

To say the least. 

One feels obliged to note that today's Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi are using their impeachment folly to pretend to be patriotic, to pretend to love their country, to pretend to care about the Constitution, to pretend to respect the rule of law, and to pretend to believe in God. One thing we can say about the Squad that has been leading this march-- they are not patriots.

Now, Speaker Pelosi is leading a band of sanctimonious hypocrites off a cliff.


Anonymous said...

Isnt Mr Etzioni the Leftist pundit
who has spent decades writing about and berating traditional values?

Everything you know is wrong.
He should get a gig on NPR.

UbuMaccabee said...

Yes, he is a leftist dummy. I wrote about him is college. One of the new communitarians following Putnam. I thought he was an inattentive fool back then; he’s had 20 years and hasn’t learned a thing. I know why people bowl alone, and I know why Etzioni’s community is a non-starter. For 50k I’ll be glad to explain it to him over dinner. I have no interest in anything Etzioni has to say about patriotism, any more than I care what Bernard-Henri Levy has to say about Dixie.

The ADL is a leftist organization and is running on fumes for credibility; leftist Jews who see imaginary enemies everywhere while remaining stubbornly blind to real enemies in the open.

Your granddaughter will not read or be seen with a book with an American flag on it? What about Gore Vidal’s “United States?” Our elites are garbage.

Sam L. said...

The Left HATES patriotism. Communism, however, is Okey-Doke.

Sam L. said...

"Now, Speaker Pelosi is leading a band of sanctimonious hypocrites off a cliff." I certainly hope so. Serve them right, it would. An outcome devoutly to be wished.