Sunday, February 24, 2008


Linda Chavez had an interesting article on patriotism. Of course it is partisan, slamming liberals, would you expect anything differently? Anyway, it is an interesting read Without reproducing the entire article, here is the gist of it:

Patriotism is a lot like the unconditional love of a parent for a child. A parent doesn't demand a child be perfect in order to love him. Nor does that love mean that a parent does not recognize a child's faults.
Conservatives seem to understand this almost intuitively, but liberals seem to struggle with it. Liberals' patriotism often seems grudging — as if they believe it's the country's duty to win their love rather than their duty to love their country.

I have always distinguished between patriotism and natonalism. Chavez, to me is writing about nationalism...American love it or leave it. Patriotism is about the defense of an idea. But, I think now, I am incorrect on this.

Two weeks ago I was at an international conference on living with climate change. I was impressed that this conference was really academic even though so many of the papers could have lent themselves to highly political posturing.

But, the keynote address by Bob Watson, who was part of the intergovernmental panel on climate change which won the Nobel Prize last year, wasn't quite so academic.

Now, there were 275 scholars there, but very few Americans, and I only saw two Americans who were from the US, intead of living the expatriot life in Europe.

Prof Watson really harangued the US. He made vicious fun of Pres Bush and criticized the US for its stance on climate change. I agree with his criticisms. The US is the most energy gobbling and greenhouse gassing nation. There is little chance to reduce greenhouse gases if America doesn't do same. I guess if I were a patriot of the kind Chavez lionizes, I would have protested this treatment. Prof Watson's harangues were such that the others at my table began glancing at me to see my reactions. That was weird, I must say.

A "real" patriot never criticises their country I guess. A duty for me to love my country?

So, Chavez' patriots just love whatever country they live in?

Chavez' patriots would have hated Jefferson and his merry band of revolutionaries by that standard. Shouldn't they have loved their colony?

What is the relationship between Chavez' kind of patriotism and ethnocentrism? I am not ethnocentric. If I were, I think I would have an intuitive understanding of Chavez' version of patriotism.

I hate slavery, does that make me not a patriot? It was, and continues to be an imporant legacy of our country. I am proud that we eventually ridded ourselves of it and ashamed that we as a naiton refuse to really confront that legacy. To use Chavez' analogy, I can be disappointed in my kid, but still love her. Maybe that is a level of complexity conservatives aren't capable of dealing with. They prefer black and white and "liberals" can deal with shades of gray.

No comments:

Blog Directory - Blogged The Steiger Counter at Blogged