Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 12, 2008 / 5 Adar II 5768

The Left's patriotism gap

By Jonah Goldberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Unity is the great need of the hour. ... Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it's the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country. I'm not talking about a budget deficit. ... I'm talking about a moral deficit. I'm talking about an empathy deficit. I'm taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother's keeper; we are our sister's keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny."


So quoth Barack Obama in Atlanta on Jan. 20, but it might as well have been last week, so central is unity to his presidential campaign. And then there's Michelle Obama. "We have lost the understanding that, in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another," the would-be first lady said at a rally last month. "That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done."


What is fascinating here is not the sentiment, but what's missing from it. The P-word.


To invoke patriotism seriously is to brand yourself either an old fogy or a right-wing bully. If Barack Obama spoke about patriotism with the sort of passion he expends on unity, many would take him for some sort of demagogue.


But what on Earth could he mean by unity other than a kind of patriotic esprit de corps,for the good of his country? Indeed, patriotism is far preferable to mere unity. (Mafia syndicates and terrorist cells are unified, after all.) Patriotism is a species of unity that has some redeeming moral and philosophical substance to it. In America, patriotism — as opposed to, say, nationalism — is a love for a creed, a dedication to what is best about the "American way." Nationalism, a romantic sensibility, says, "My country is always right." Patriots hope that their nation will make the right choice.


If you read the speeches of leading Democrats before the Vietnam War, it's amazing how comfortable they were with patriotic rhetoric. "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country" stands foursquare against so much of our entitlement culture.


Vietnam, of course, changed that. "The tragedy of the left," Todd Gitlin wrote in his 2006 book, "The Intellectuals and the Flag," "is that, having achieved an unprecedented victory in helping stop an appalling war, it then proceeded to commit suicide."


"Suicide" might be strong, but the left certainly amputated itself from full-throated patriotic sentiment. Most Democrats speak mellifluously about unity but get tongue-tied or sound as if they're just delivering words plucked from a political consultant's memo when they talk of patriotism (Virginia Sen. Jim Webb being a major exception). Sen. John Kerry, who made his name vilifying the Vietnam War, suddenly wanted credit as a patriot for the same service when he ran for president in 2004. His opening line at the Democratic convention — "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty" — was cringe-inducing. The words came out as ironic, almost kitschy. The message seemed to be, "I can play this game better than that chickenhawk George W. Bush."


When Democrats do speak of patriotism, it is usually as a means of finding fault with Republicans, corporations or America itself. Hence the irony that questioning the patriotism of liberals is a grievous sin, but doing likewise to conservatives is fine. That's how then-candidate Howard Dean could, with a straight face, insist that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft "is no patriot. He's a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy."


Indeed, the one area in which Obama explicitly invokes patriotism is in the realm of economics. He proposes a Patriot Corporation Act that he claims would reward corporations that keep jobs in the U.S. ("Now here is a Patriot Act everyone can get behind," gushed William Greider of The Nation.)


Michelle Obama famously declared last month that her husband's candidacy elicited pride in her country for the first time in her adult life. I'd like to think that's not really what she meant, but it's at least a sign of how ill-equipped she and so many others on the left are when it comes to discussing such issues.


And it's a crying shame, despite the fact that the Democrats' rhetorical disadvantage is a huge boon for the Republicans. One cannot credibly talk of love of country while simultaneously dodging the word and concept of patriotism. And, I would argue, one cannot sufficiently love one's country if you are afraid to say so out loud. Better that our politics be an argument about why and how we should love our country, not about whether some do and some don't.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles