Monday, August 08, 2011

An Era of Left-Wing Shibboleths

The Chronicle of Higher Education invited a number of academics to muse on various themes in connection with 9/11. I read a few & then gave up. None of these people whose articles I read, excepting Victor Davis Hanson, wrote as if they believed 9/11 happened to them. Have you ever been threatened by a terrorist? If you've read any of AQ's communiques, yes you have, acknowledge it or don't.

I left a number of comments, for as long as I lasted. You might enjoy this one, which in truth I've recycled in a number of forms over the years:

One of the lessons of 9/11 was what we learned about the Left. 9/11 proved, perhaps once and for all, that there is no attack that America can suffer that will induce the Left to take up her cause, against whatever enemy might be out there. Progressives' standing hatred--however disguised--of America must filter and trump any attack on her. I'm disappointed and actually rather surprised that Dr. [Todd] Gitlin seems to have reverted to channeling his inner 1968. I thought he had made a firmer peace with America over the years than this piece indicates. Guess I haven't been paying close enough attention.

The flaw of acting as if you believe that "ideas are the only homeland" is that one's actual physical homeland is always measuring up short by comparison. Richard Fernandez some years back said that progressives forbid themselves to find value in the present, only the any-day-now Golden Future that they're all working for is worthy of prizing. ("I pledge allegiance to the United States that can be.") At what point do fair weather foes of their American here-and-now home turn into foul weather friends? If the answer is "never", then they have no right to bang on about their "dissent" being the highest form of patriotism. It is instead just the weasely-est form of self-congratulation. And yet America receives them, protects them, rewards them, without a murmur. V. S. Naipaul put it very well:

"Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself."