Wednesday, February 12, 2003

I recently read
Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our Nation's Greatness by Daniel J. Flynn. If you've never heard of him, he heads this little organization.

Flynn has two basic premises. One is that the left is made up of a bunch of commie pinko hippies. The other is that the left is also made up of a bunch of cultural atavists who hate America and blow kisses at nations with backward forms of government.

Speaking as a postmodern leftist/liberal, I can say that I am no communist and I am no hippie. On the other hand, I have met leftists who definitely fall into at least one of those categories. I'm not a big fan of those perspectives. Both seem to be based on the ideal that it is possible for all mankind to act as one, a possibility that I find opposes the very basic perception of human nature that is the foundation of my political philosophy.

Flynn makes the valid point that America is quite possibly the best nation on Earth and he seems bewildered by the idea that anyone could say anything bad about the U.S. while simultaneously praising another nation. The left strikes me as the jilted lover. However much you praise America, you must admit it is imperfect when compared to the ideal society. The left feels that it is punished most by the flaws of this country. Moved to anger--which is not to say moved to hatred--by grievances, real or perceived, against the U.S., is it not a natural human reaction to start making eyes at the exotic stranger who is very, very different?

Then, too, there are those who hold America to a higher standard of behavior just as a parent holds her son to a higher standard than the other kids in the neighborhood, claiming that it's ok if the kids play rough and occasionally fight so long as the boy doesn't get involved. There is a basic optimism, a belief that we can do better, that fuels this disappointment.

I'm sure that there are leftists who genuinely hate America, and there are leftists who feel one of the ways I just outlined, and more who feel some way different. Flynn falls prey to a common fault, the belief in the existence of a modal personality that informs the vast majority of a cultural or subcultural group. The left, like the right, is a dynamic array of diffreing purposes, goals, actions, and ideas that find an alliance useful.

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