Thursday, August 6, 2015

President Obama and Patriotism

Patriotism, you may have noticed, is just a polite word for near-fascist nationalism. Except when our side does it.

So President Obama, trying to push his unpopular Iran deal over the finish line, is reduced to painting opponents of his deal as unpatriotic when he says that:
It’s those hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican Caucus[.]
The only thing to do is quote Hillary Clinton back in 2003:
I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.
Yes. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, except when it isn't.

Look, I understand that liberals and Democrats and progressives have a bit of a problem with the patriotism thing. Strictly speaking, they don't like patriotism. They don't like the nation state, because they associate it with aggressive nationalism, as in Fascism and Nazism and the Pax Americana.

The only problem is that the United States of America is a nation state. You appeal to its people by appealing to their patriotism.

The solution for the problem of nationalism, in the minds of liberals, Democrats, and progressives, is the supra-national organization, like the European Union and the United Nations. They are better than nation states because they are run by educated, evolved people that live above the petty hates and passions of the nationalist demagogue and his uncouth followers.

But of course this is rubbish. Liberals and Democrats and progressives deal in demagoguery and uncouth followers too. What do you think their rent-a-mobs are all about? Or their Soros-funded #BlackLivesMatter chappies? Or Occupy? What do you think all the stink about racism, sexism, and homophobia is about? They get to put their supporters in the street for the least little thing, and they call it "peaceful protest" when it is really a show of force. And they are eager to name and shame anyone that disagrees with them.

The thing is that people will want to "belong" to something, and political leaders know that they have to appeal to people as members of groups.  If the group isn't a nation state then it will be a religion, a clan, a race, a gender, a class.

The reason that conservatives believe in limited government is that we believe that politics should be limited. And if politics is limited then the gangs of uncouth followers will be limited. And the amount of hate will be limited. And the amount of government force will be limited.

But President Obama believes in politics with everything. That's why he pushed Obamacare. That's why he mewed up with financial system with Dodd-Frank. That's why he's just put out an excruciatingly bureaucratic climate plan. But the thing is that whenever you do politics you get people riled up, people that are going to have to pay for your wonderful bureaucratic plan. It's shocking, of course, that anyone could object to the rational, expert, bureaucratic plans of an educated, evolved elite, but there it is.

And then when President Obama encounters opposition he finds himself questioning the motives of his opponents.

See, the way that most presidents operate is that they get on the phone and do a bit of arm-twisting. They line up the votes beforehand and then present their latest excruciatingly bureaucratic plan as a bipartisan consensus. But not this president.

I think that the result of President Obama and his accusatory style of politics will be a Republican president and a solid Republican Congress. Because I believe that anyone in America that's not a liberal, Democratic, progressive partisan is fit to be tied right now.

But what do I know?

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