"Are Democrats Less Patriotic Than Republicans?" was the headline in a full-page advertisement in the Atlantic Monthly opposite page 118 of the June 2008 issue. The advertisement began:
Over the course of a generation, the far right in America has peddled a story that says liberals and Democrats aren't patriots. That's patently false, but what is true is that liberals and Democrats have let them do it. Too many liberals have an allergic reaction to patriotism. Too many liberals are more comfortable criticizing America's flaws than celebrating its promise. And too many liberals think that criticism and dissent alone are the full measure of their patriotic duty. We think it's time for progressives and true patriots to reclaim patriotism, and we've written a little book that explains how. [emphasis added]
That's an utterly breathtaking example of liberal doubletalk. To get the true measure of this liberal attempt to redefine the highly-favored word "patriotism" to mean what they want it to mean, let's look at the dictionary.
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines "patriotism" as "devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty." By definition, someone who's a patriot loves and defends his country.
This advertisement states as a fact, "Too many liberals are more comfortable criticizing America's flaws than celebrating its promise." Is an American who's more comfortable criticizing America's flaws than celebrating its promise a patriot? Not by the dictionary definition.
A patriot defends his country. Anyone who's allergic to patriotism or who only criticizes is not a patriot by definition.
Along with endorsements from Howard Dean and by Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International labor union, the ad points readers at Truepat.org where the pamphlet "The True Patriot" by Eric Liu and Nick Haneuer is posted for anyone to read. On page 6, they say:
The needs that politics must meet are not merely material. A winning and worthy politics - a politics or purpose - should address wants, fears, and yearnings that are about the most primordial choices that humans make - and it should tip the scales in every choice from selfishness toward social good. [emphasis added]
Watch out for anyone who speaks about "social good." Our founders knew that human needs went beyond the material. The Declaration of Independence states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
However, our founders believed deeply that it was not up to government to make people happy. They were convinced that each person had to pursue happiness in whatever way he thought best. That was the core of the American ideal of liberty - that government should place the absolute minimum restrictions on individual actions so that individuals could pursue their destinies with a minimum of interference.
We've pointed out that all rights not enumerated in the Constitution are "reserved to the states, and to the people." Our founders knew how harmful government power could be; they were far more concerned with writing down what government could not do than with saying what government was permitted to do.
The idea of forcefully subordinating individual aspirations in favor of "social good" has been tried over and over, most notably in the Soviet Union starting with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Instead of "tip the scales ... from selfishness toward social good," the Bolshevik slogan was "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The Bolshevik slogan has the same meaning but sounds better.
What if a person is reluctant to subordinate his interests to the "social good"? What then? You kill him, of course. Stalin deliberately starved millions of middle class farmers to death because they were not enthusiastic about contributing their land to his collective farming schemes.
The Soviet Union had chronic food shortages from the time they maximized "social good" by collectivizing agriculture and industry. Overemphasis on social good is known not to work, but mere facts never stopped a liberal or, by today's title of choice, a progressive.
Having correctly pointed out that there is a strong moral component in both politics and in patriotism, Liu and Haneuer define the Patriot's Moral Code starting on page 19:
True patriots know that American was founded in freedom - freedom to speak, to worship, to choose whatever path to happiness suits us best - but that with freedom comes an equal responsibility to country, community, and family.
Liu and Haneuer have just proved that liberals and progressives are most certainly not patriots. We've written how liberal policies such as the creation of our welfare system have destroyed families by removing any need for a father to take responsibility for his children. Welfare recipients are encouraged to avoid taking any responsibility whatsoever and end up forced to depend on the largess of the social workers who operate the system.
There is some possibility that the liberals who first championed welfare did not realize that it would wreak such vast destruction to the human spirit, but they know it now. The fact that they can still defend programs which destroy families and entire communities shows that liberals are not patriots, not by Liu and Haneuer's definition.
They start to signal where they're going on page 40, "They [our leaders] do not ask those who have received most to give back in full measure." That's another way to say, "From each according to his ability..."
On page 70, they say "But we believe that a true love of America requires a faith that government - citizens pooling resources and working together for the common good - can be part of the solution." They are correct in saying that citizens pooling resources and working together can be part of the solution, but that's not what our government is.
Government, as we've said before, is only two questions: 1) who says and 2) who pays. Government is about force, about putting you in jail if you don't pay whatever taxes government demands, and maybe jailing you even if you do pay your taxes.
Government is about funding mind-numbing bureaucracies who write more and more restrictive rules to suck away our liberties. Government as practiced today in the United States is the enemy of liberty, freedom, and of all that we hold dear. Not for nothing do conservatives say, "I love my country, I fear my government."
On page 72, they bring out the old argument for taxing the rich, "We believe it is time to state anew - and assertively - the moral case for progressive taxation, restoring the estate tax, and taxing the income from capital and work equally. More than that, we want to shift the culture so that Americans can feel prouder to pay them..."
Honest people know that taxing the rich won't work, there simply aren't enough rich people to fund government in the style to which our bureaucrats have become accustomed. We do need an estate tax, but not for the reasons they give.
"Taxing income from capital and work equally" is code for raising the capital gains tax. Every time the capital gains tax was cut in the past, a) the economy went up and b) government got more revenue from capital gains taxes. Cutting capital gains taxes gives the government more money so you'd think they'd be in favor, but no! Some rich person might make money by providing jobs, and we can't have anybody making any money.
Then, as somehow we knew they would, on pages 73-74, they admit they want to tax the socks off us to benefit "social good" whether we agree with them or not:
A society cannot remain strong or democratic when those who think they no longer require help can simply opt out of any obligation to help others. We must share risks instead of sloughing them off on those least able to bear them. And we must treat another person's peril, misfortune, or vulnerability as something that affects us. This means, for instance, that providing basic health care is an essential responsibility we have for one another. ... This is not the red herring of "socialized medicine" - we are committed to a role for the market in the delivery of health care. But that role is servant, not master. [emphasis added]
Finally it all comes out. They say it's unpatriotic for anyone to "opt out of any obligation to help others," so it's their patriotic duty to force you and me to pay for whatever they think other people need. Remember the millions murdered in the name of "to each according to his needs?" Who determined what everybody needed? The government, of course, and they shot you or shipped you to the Gulag if you didn't agree with them.
What they're saying about health care is silly beyond belief. They say they want a role for the market in delivering health care. That would be a very good idea - we ought to try it sometime.
Medicine is one of the most over-regulated businesses around, all for the greater glory of those who are already in the business. We've written about how little control we have over our own health, what with the FDA trying to ban children's cough syrup because some parents can't read well enough to follow the directions.
Try to find out how well your local hospital does with, say, hernia operations. You can't find out, it's a secret. Try to find out what various operations cost in your area. You can't find out.
Since most people get health care either for free or at their employer's expense, nobody takes responsibility for health costs. The entire health care system denies individual responsibility and is unpatriotic by Liu and Haneuer's definition, but they propose to provide more health care somehow. Guess how?
Democrats dislike people taking responsibility for themselves because responsible people don't need government handouts. Liberals don't believe that wealthy citizens will do enough toward social good so they have to tax them and have government do it even though most government programs do more harm than good.
No, liberals and progressives aren't patriotic at all. They overlook the fact that there aren't any poor people in the US. They forget how much each of us has and complain about what people don't have.
But they are now aware of the problem, and have begun to take action to fix it. By being patriotic? No, never that: it's far easier to change the definition of the word. Unpatriotic liberals simply follow the example of Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter: "The words mean what I say they mean, nothing more, nothing less!"