Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Patriotism, Iraq, and Indian genocide

Last night I went to hear Paul Rogat Loeb give a Lou Douglas lecture entitled “Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time.” Predictably, as this is a Lou Douglas, Loeb was a far leftist. In fact his speech was a caricature of leftist speakers today.

First, of course, there was the obligatory put down of Fox News. Leftists have watched the meteoric rise of Fox News and the break-up of the monolithically liberal media with horror. They have taken upon themselves the goal of totally discrediting Fox and reducing it to no more than a punchline. They heap ridicule and scorn upon it at every opportunity to preemptively discredit this conservative leaning News channel, that they may once again gain their monopoly on news coverage (although, it should be noted, Fox News doesn’t lean as far right as the New York Times does left). I am barely exaggerating when I say that every speaker will put in a dig at Fox News. It’s a surefire way to get mocking laughter from the predominantly liberal crowds that make up the speaking events.

Loeb also threw in the required spiel about how those that spoke out against the war were having their patriotism questioned. He mentioned Max Clelland, of course, the lefts favorite victim who has long since entered into their mythology as the target of a horrible smear campaign. Although Cleland didn’t have his patriotism challenged, any accusation of patriotism-questioning wouldn’t be complete without him being mentioned (and mentioned, of course, as having lost three limbs so as to garner the most sympathy from the audience and show just how cruel the Bush goons are.)

Loeb remarked about how questioning someone’s patriotism crossed a certain line that shouldn’t be crossed. He also subscribed to the “war-for-oil-Halliburton-Cheney” conspiracy theory, which showed that he had no problem accusing others of activities of war profiteering and treason, which not only imply a lack of patriotism, but go way beyond this to active betrayal and manipulation of ones country.

The left has no trouble accusing Bush of being AWOL, and tosses the deplorable, and patriotism questioning “Chickenhawk” label around with gleeful abandon. Edwards has also said that “the American dream is on the ballot” which means, presumably, that it is un-American to vote republican this year. Rich Lowry listed many such moments when the left blatantly questioned the patriotism of those on the right. Al Gore accused Bush of “betraying” the country. And how ‘bout Wes Clarke at the DNC: “This flag is ours! And nobody will take it away from us.” The Democrats own the flag? Bob Graham called Bush’s Iraq policy “unpatriotic to the core.” What would happen if a Republican senator called Kerry's Iraq policy unpatriotic to the core? The lefts patriotism persecution complex reeks of hypocrisy.

Loeb felt that questioning people’s patriotism left a chill in the air and prevented people from questioning the administration. Obviously, this chill has not been very effective, since over 80 Bush-hater books have been published. The real stifling of debate comes when democrats shout “your questioning my patriotism!” to restrict the legitimate debate about how someone voted on a certain defense measure etc.

And then, of course, Loeb ended the patriotism questioning part of his speech with the tired and ubiquitous cliché, that real patriotism is found in questioning the administration, i.e. dissent is patriotic, tautologically.

But the patriotism digression was nothing compared to Loeb’s embarassingly long, and mostly unrelated to the subject matter, rant about Iraq. Alienating the world, war for oil, no WMD, blah blah blah. Nothing we haven’t heard from our professors six hundred times before.

Nevertheless, I am always interested to hear supposed “liberals” talk about how we shouldn’t be spreading democracy, openness and tolerance to the Middle East. It’s always a psychological curiousity to see how these champions of the downtrodden and upholders of the universal rights to human freedom try to explain their nonsupport, and downright hostility, toward the deposing of two totalitarian regimes. The isolationist left is a pathetically hypocritical and humorous thing to observe in action. They throw out all the stops to try and justify their opposition to democracy, sometimes reaching into the playbook of the Buchananite paleocons and assuming a realist position. And of course theres the conspiacy theories. Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

The question and answer sessions at Lou Douglas lectures are always humorous. Only the most wacked out leftists ask questions. When Jack Duvall gave his Lou Douglass lecture a few weeks ago, there was a question, completely unrelated to anything Duvall had said, about the genocide of the Indians. Duvall had made the mistake of complimenting Lincoln and so a professor felt it her duty to temper this unabashedly pro-American remark with, well, the genocide of the Indians. Another person asked Duvall if he didn’t think that the founders of our country could be considered terrorists. Loeb fielded a question from an American that had just returned after living in Europe for a few years, and said he felt uncomfortable amid the Christian fundamentalism in America. That’s right, in an era of Islamofascistic terror, Christian fundamentalism is what scares this guy. That scares me (okay, actually, it makes me laugh). A history professor stood up and decried the anti-intellectualism among her students, because, from what I gathered, they refused to be force fed her environmental agitprop.

A good time was had by all. Leftists got their pabulum, and I got some good laughs.


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