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 Oct. 3, 2007 / 21 Tishrei 5768

The unspeakable American culture

By Jonah Goldberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In a recent speech at the National Press Club, Katie Couric expressed somber disapproval of the jingoistic excesses after 9/11. Among the things that vexed her: "The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying 'we' when referring to the United States." From what I can tell, nobody among the journalistic swells bothered to ask, "Who isn't 'we,' Kemo Sabe?"


I don't want to revisit those supposedly Orwellian flag pins, which sat so heavily on so many journalistic lapels. But it's worth recalling that during World War II, civilian correspondent Walter Cronkite — whose anchor job Couric now holds — gladly wore a uniform, not just a pin, and subjected himself to military censors. He also used, I'm sure, the word "we" when referring to Americans.


To be clear, I have no interest in questioning Couric's patriotism. Rather, I'm interested in questioning her definition of it.


I've come around to the view that the culture war can best be understood as a conflict between two different kinds of patriotism. On the one hand, there are people who believe being an American is all about dissent and change, that the American idea is inseparable from "progress." America is certainly an idea, but it is not merely an idea. It is also a nation with a culture as real as France's or Mexico's. That's where the other patriots come in; they think patriotism is about preserving Americanness.


Yet the strangest and most ironic aspect of our national culture is that we have an aversion to talking about a national culture. Samuel Huntington, one of the country's premier social scientists, has become something of a pariah for constantly reminding people (in books such as "The Clash of Civilizations" and "Who Are We?") that America is a nation, not just a government and a bunch of interest groups.


Many liberals hear talk of national culture and shout "Nativist!" first and ask questions later, if at all. They believe it is a sign of their patriotism that they hold fast to the idea that we are a "nation of immigrants" — forgetting that we are also a nation of immigrants who became Americans.


As the host of the "Today" show in 2003, Couric said of the lost crew members of the space shuttle Columbia: "They were an airborne United Nations — men, women, an African-American, an Indian woman, an Israeli. ..." As JWR columnist Mark Steyn noted, they weren't an airborne U.N., they were an airborne America. The "Indian woman" came to America in the 1980s, and, in about a decade's time, she was an astronaut. "There's no other country on Earth where you can do that," Steyn rightly noted.


For cosmopolitans like Couric, however, the very best thing you could say about those heroic astronauts was that they weren't part of the national "we" but of the global "we," for the only "we" that counts is that of "we are the world." That also seems to be the view of the elite crowd that chews the foie gras at places like Davos or wherever the Clinton Global Initiative meets. For such globalists, it seems obvious that the U.S. Supreme Court should consult polls of Africans or the laws of France to glean the real meaning of the American Constitution. And, of course, John Kerry was right to say that there's a "global test" for what America can do in the name of its national interest.


The hitch to this kind of thinking is that it rules out the possibility that the American "we" might have answers to problems that the global "we" doesn't.


In Europe and Canada, the cure for every malady seems to be multiculturalism. This is the odd notion that all cultures are equal — except for that of your own nation, which should be made to constantly bend to the aggrieved sensibilities of minority cultures. In Vancouver, Canada, smoking has been banned pretty much everywhere, except in Muslim-run hookah parlors. British schools were advised to ban crosses and crucifixes but not Muslim symbols. Honor killings among Muslims have gone ignored by police in progressive European countries out of some twisted sense of respect for Muslim culture.


The dirty, embarrassing secret is that this sort of multiculturalism has made Europe a wellspring of Islamic radicalism and terrorism, but America's Muslim community has remained overwhelmingly peaceful. Why? Well, if the answer doesn't lay in President Bush's "outreach" — and few think it does — or in Euro-style multicultural condescension, maybe it has something to do with the American "we" that Couric and so many others seem so embarrassed by.

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