America: Love it, or in love with it?

posted at 12:25 pm on December 27, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Joel Stein tries to plumb the differences in patriotism between the Right and the Left in his somewhat satirical column on loving one’s country.  He admits that he doesn’t love America in a blind manner, but his assumption that conservatives do sets him on the wrong track:

I don’t love America. That’s what conservatives are always telling liberals like me. Their love, they insist, is truer, deeper and more complete. Then liberals, like all people who are accused of not loving something, stammer, get defensive and try to have sex with America even though America will then accuse us of wanting it for its body and not its soul. When America gets like that, there’s no winning.

But I’ve come to believe conservatives are right. They do love America more. Sure, we liberals claim that our love is deeper because we seek to improve the United States by pointing out its flaws. But calling your wife fat isn’t love. True love is the blind belief that your child is the smartest, cutest, most charming person in the world, one you would gladly die for. I’m more in “like” with my country.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity loves this country so much, he did an entire episode of “Hannity’s America” titled “The Greatest Nation on Earth.” In that one hour he said, several times, “the U.S. is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the Earth.” One of the surest signs of love is it makes you talk stupid.

Perhaps Stein doesn’t watch enough of Hannity to understand the program.  Hannity does not fill his program with nothing but hosannas to America.  In fact, as all conservative (and liberal) pundits do, Hannity spends almost all of his time pointing out what ails America and offers his solutions to the problems.  Those solutions run to conservative policies, especially on laissez-faire capitalism and strong national defense, and usually as correctives to what Hannity sees as failed liberal policies of the past and present.

Honestly, the second paragraph is about as patronizing and stupid a point as I’ve ever seen in a featured newspaper column.  Does Stein even bother to read conservatives or listen to them even for an hour?  Fifteen minutes?  I’ve never heard one yet that argues for America’s perfection or the need to freeze us in the current political and policy status quo.  It’s absurd on its face and should be embarrassing to the LA Times’ editors.

I don’t doubt the patriotism or love of country of liberals or conservatives.  I assume that their engagement in the political process is an expression of their love of country, just as I assume that veterans of all political stripes serve from that same love of America.  The difference between the two comes to whether they believe that America has served as a force of good for the world over the arc of its 232-year existence or whether our sins outweigh the good we have done.  Actually, that difference exists primarily with a subset of liberals on the hard Left, and not liberals as a whole.

That difference, which we commonly call American exceptionalism, defines the difference in patriotism and leads Stein to the ultimate conclusion of his column, which is that belief in that exceptionalism amounts to little more than tribalism.  I’d buy that if it wasn’t for the fact that more people leave their homes to come to America than any other country to find freedom, liberty, and a chance at prosperity.  We literally can’t keep people out of the United States, and it’s one of our more intractable political problems.  Vast numbers of Americans aren’t fleeing to Europe or Africa or Asia or even South America.  People from those lands flock to the US.  There’s a reason for that, and that migration pattern tells why American exceptionalism is real and not just some tribalistic, Neanderthal reaction to one’s birth place.

What comprises that exceptionalism?  Lady Logician has some thoughts:

Joel – the reasons most conservatives love America more are not “tribalistic” as you claim and no conservatives don’t hold the patent on loving America. The fact that you have bought into this absurd notion shows that you still don’t get it. The reason that conservatives like myself (as well as Jazz, his progressive wife Georg and my liberal co-workers) love America is because it is a place where we can all agree on the problem, disagree on the solution and still stand shoulder to shoulder to defend a country that may be flawed. It is still a place that we can stand tall and say that there is no place that we would rather be – in this time – than in this place….the United States of America.

America is not just a birthplace and isn’t really a nationality, at least not primarily.  It’s an idea and an ideal, and even when we fell far short of that ideal, we worked to correct ourselves.  We disagree on the ways to improve, which a free people can do, but most of us, liberals and conservatives alike, work hard on those solutions not because we don’t care enough but because we love America so much — the place, yes, but the idea and the ideal most of all.  We have freed more people in more ways than any other nation in history, and we have provided the highest overall standard of living in history as well.  And we can do even better — and we will.

If Stein still hasn’t figured that out, then he should stop writing for a while and start to learn about his country and what it really means, and what it has meant.


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Are we still talking about this cretin?

keep the change on December 27, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Keep in mind. Stein doesn’t write this stuff as a lonely voice in the wilderness crying out for a little objectivity in the face of blind jingoism. He writes it from a place of utter safety and conformity, and far from taking any risks for an unpopular view, he will be the toast of the town tonight. Pure opportunism and cowardice. Luckily, his employer is going down.

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:30 PM

isn’t really a nationality, at least not primarily.

I think this is debatable, but, as a nationality, it is significantly different than how nationality is defined elsewhere.
You can become an American: most other nationalities are based on who your parents were.

Count to 10 on December 27, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Are we still talking about this cretin?

keep the change on December 27, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Cretin? Don’t compliment Stein!!!

blatantblue on December 27, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Oh man Ed. I just saw his pic at the link. He’s just a boy. He’s not unintelligent, only ignorant, and a product of his surroundings. Surely it’s not to late for him. A stint in the military would help. You really should have told us not to take his comments seriously.

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM

I don’t doubt the patriotism or love of country of liberals

I do. When you spend each day denigrating this country, calling those that support the rule of law “racists” and “nativists”, attacking and protesting military recruitment stations, etc etc…you do not love this country. You are not patriotic. You are merely a parasite exercising freedoms bought with the lives of those you spit upon. Heroes who are much better people than you. People like Joel Stein do not deserve what they do not truly appreciate.

KSgop on December 27, 2008 at 12:35 PM

conservatives are not in blind love with america
We constantly criticize and re-evaluate our leaders and their policies (Iraq comes to mind) as well as the so called shamnesty bill.

the real difference is that
While conservatives may lovingly criticize our country
we arent ACTIVELY working with EVERY enemry of the free world to try and DESTROY America
which is unfortunatly what EVERY liberal reporter, senator and congressman is doing..

and my proof is
Jimmy CARTER praising the communists and islamic nazis
Harry “the war is lost” REID helping the ismaic nazis
Murtha “the marines a murders” helping alqueda terrorists with their propaganda
pelozi “the witch meeting the dictator of syria”
and who can forget ALL of the
USEFULL IDIOTS IN HOLLYWOOD
Stumbling over themselfves in an orgy – love fest running
to iran to kiss the abina – wack jobs nasty ASS..

So yes i do love my country more than liberals do
because at least i am not working with the Islamic terrorists trying to DESTROY IT..
jcila

jcila on December 27, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Luckily, his employer is going down.

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:30 PM

He’ll return to his storied sports writing career, but for an overnite slot at an AM short-stick in Nowhere. Broadcasting to himself.

ericdijon on December 27, 2008 at 12:37 PM

He was previously famous for a day or two for his “No I Do Not Support Our Troops” column. Why add another day or two?

Marcus on December 27, 2008 at 12:38 PM

I’ve heard this “I love America” crap from the left for years.
In his satire, Stein does hit on a kernel of truth: the left loves where they were born. And I do question their patriotism. When they spew “Are you questioning my patriotism?” I can easily say “Yup!” and mean it. In loving where they were born, they don’t love what made and for perhaps a bit longer makes America America. America is an experiment. For over 200 years we’ve had this experiment that was supposed to be controlled by the now rapidly evaporating Constitution. Well, if they “love” a “living document” they don’t embrace the experiment called “America”.
And if they “love” America, why do they constantly attempt to make America into something else? Doesn’t sound like love to me.
No, you don’t love America, you love a geographical location.
And yes, I question your patriotism.

Amendment X on December 27, 2008 at 12:39 PM

I find it a contradiction that Hannity thinks a “strong national defense” is achieved by spreading troops thin around the world and spending money on nation-building rather than defensive technologies.

lodge on December 27, 2008 at 12:40 PM

[We] love America is because it is a place where we can all agree on the problem, disagree on the solution and still stand shoulder to shoulder to defend a country that may be flawed.

Would that it were true. Living in the SF Bay area, I see too many bumper stickers like “Bush is not my president” and “Take back our country” and hear identical sentiments in conversation to believe the liberals here can agree with conservatives on anything. The attitude on the left seems to be evolving into “my way or the highway” as far as solving our country’s problems are concerned. There’s a slow-motion civil war going on in the minds of today’s left, and they’re quite serious about it.

Socratease on December 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Did you see this Bio? Pretty funny.

Guardian on December 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM

You’d be surprised how uncomfortable people like Stein are outside their own provincial little world — just as much or even more than the common stereotype of flyover country people being transported to the urban environment of a major metropolitan area (and there are also areas of major metros where Stein would be completely out of place and in near-panic mode, but unlike the folks living in most areas between the coasts, he considers the urban underclass to be more worthy of respect because they tend to vote for the same candidates he does).

Stein neither knows nor cares to know the people who vote conservative, but talking to people within his own clique, he knows exactly how they think.

jon1979 on December 27, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Did you see this Bio? Pretty funny.

Guardian on December 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Jeez,now you really have me feeling sorry for him(and his Dad.) Yikes. Why in the world would HA feature his silliness?

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM

There’s a slow-motion civil war going on in the minds of today’s left, and they’re quite serious about it.

Socratease on December 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM

and vice-versa.

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I am no longer reading anything that comes out of the LA Times. Remember these are the same people who leaked Tom Ryan’s sealed divorce papers, yet wouldn’t let us see a video of Obama at a going away party. This Stein idiot doesn’t realize that the very people he looks down on, are the only ones there that keep him safe to do what he does. Remember, in a totalitarian regime the journalists with opinions are the first ones to go.

Tommy_G on December 27, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Liberals love America the same way they love to have US flags all around whenever they need the perception that they are patriots. At all other times they love burning American flags. Just like the idiot messiah and his flag pin.

Liberals don’t love anything, as liberalism is founded on hate – mostly hate of self.

I wish they would all move to Sweden.

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 12:57 PM

I think, on the whole,it is a good article that subtly, and perhaps accidentally, points out the differences in how libs and conserves. view events and people. We ARE all trying to reach many of the same goals. And….where would we be without one another? We and they would have no way to sharpen our respective edges.

jeanie on December 27, 2008 at 12:59 PM

When I was young, I was an anti-American anarchist. My hair, my marriajuana, and my “Why can’t we all just get along” attitude turned me into an empty headed pawn of the left.

After raising children, starting two businesses and involving myself in politics,I left the left!

I am now a Lover of America and the American exceptionalism that benefits the world. If Obama and his backers actually turn America into “Europe West” then we will all understand what a great country we use to have.

God Bless America,
riggword

riggword on December 27, 2008 at 1:00 PM

I say let him go over in the corner, sit quietly and let the adults go about the business of administering the country.

Later he can have some milk and cookies.

irongrampa on December 27, 2008 at 1:00 PM

This piece just proves once again that the left doesn’t get it. I don’t love this country merely because I was born here. That is something for which I am truly grateful. No, it is the whole history of America. The adventure of her founding, the newness of the concept of self governance, the opportunities that are endless, the hardiness and generosity of her people. The fact that we strive always to right wrongs, even those within our own borders.

I have been fortunate to have lived outside this country. To see first hand the differences and to be so homesick that I will never forget what is great about this country.
The fact that America is not perfect is why the left hate her so much. They are mired in their desire for utopia, and an addiction to trying to achieve it. There is no perfect country and certainly no place better than America.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Joel Stein?
/spit take

whitetop on December 27, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions:
Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three. Thomas Paine

Speakup on December 27, 2008 at 1:03 PM

I love the original idea of America and what it stood for…America is more than a “place;” it’s a symbol for liberty and self-government. Nobody can ever take that from me.

With the election of Barack Obama and hereditary appointments like Caroline Kennedy we’re turning into a socialist elites vs. non-elites country (like the European Union, which has completely destroyed Europe while the elites stuff their fat faces in Brussels while appeasing the isslamist invaders, all propagandized by the government-owned media).

We’re next.

ex-Democrat on December 27, 2008 at 1:03 PM

The sad thing here is he is only one voice of many who were educated in the last 20 years under the most powerful leftist educational agenda in US history.

What will this country be in 30 years if we don’t take back our schools?

We can do much at home to teach but the world is a big place to compete with.

katy on December 27, 2008 at 1:09 PM

How about this: conservatives don’t root for America’s enemies. Simple enough?

Golden Boy on December 27, 2008 at 1:15 PM

jeanie on December 27, 2008 at 12:59 PM

I don’t think we are working toward the same thing. The liberals are opposed to the very foundational ideas of this country and they have worked to undermine them at every turn. The freedoms the founding fathers wanted for this country, the religious faith of her people, the opportunities for advancement. They want to believe that is what they are for, but their policies stifle all of it.

The greatness of America is that no matter what circumstances one is born into, one can move out of it with hard work and determination. Some may have more obstacles to overcome, but the opportunity is there.

The main thing the founders wanted was a government that was not a burden on its citizens. What the left has led us to is slavery to the state. People in bondage can never prosper.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Like I said in the headlines thread. The issue is how do you define love. Is love blindly allowing someone/a country to do what it does without comment or dissent. Or is love taking the crack pipe out of your sisters hand, remaining constantly on her case until she goes into rehab (just a hypothetical people). I think it’s the later and I think patriotic liberals believe in the later as well. America is NOT perfect, seriously, it’s not. And saying so doesn’t mean you don’t love the country. It means you love it enough to expect more. Just as you would out of your kids/friends/lovers etc. I feel like alot conservatives have a co-dependent relationship with their vision of the country. It’s like America HAS to be perfect, because if it’s not why have I been yelling my head off demonizing those who critic the government or the culture.

DeathToMediaHacks on December 27, 2008 at 1:22 PM

George Mason
1725-1792

No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

Speakup on December 27, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Ed, this is much ado about nothings: Stein probably thinks movie stars are smart and newspapers contain news, too.

The positions of most liberals have no intellectual heft to them… they simply believe that it is “uncool” to love America.

Years of media brainwashing have created the expectation in their pliant minds that people who talk like they hate America will get laid more often.

drunyan8315 on December 27, 2008 at 1:29 PM

DeathToMediaHacks on December 27, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Get a brain. Liberals hate America, just like they hate their parents and hate just about everything else they see. Liberals are dissatisfied with life and take it out on everyone and everything around them.

Modern liberalism is based on self-hate, and the desire to destroy ones own. That’s the pathology of modern liberals, and, unfortunately, something the rest of us have to live with.

It’s a shame that liberals like Stein, who like Sweden more, don’t just get off of their butts and move to the better places they see in the world. Of course they don’t do that, because they would be just as dissatisfied in Sweden and looking to destroy that society as soon as they got there.

Liberals know that they just can’t be happy, no matter what, so they have taken it on themselves to make everyone else as miserable as they are. Liberals are truly despicable creatures.

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Jvette: Sorry, I guess it said it badly! Yes, on many fronts we seem to be at odds over the manner in which this country can maintain it’s glorious place in the world and in the hearts of its people. What I THINK I meant to say is that both libs and conserves. want to see this country great. Where the difference comes is in the definition of what will keep it “great”. I do believe though, that most libs love this country in their own obtuse way.

jeanie on December 27, 2008 at 1:31 PM

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Yes I’ll be sure to tell my mom, my boyfriend, my dog and all my friends that some conservative on HA informed that I actually don’t love any of them and I’m a self hating mongrel or something. Thanks for the cogent and rational heads up!

DeathToMediaHacks on December 27, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Here is the difference…

Conservatives believe the nation is better because of its people and the way to improve the nation is through individual accomplishment which is beneficial to society as a whole. The founders understood this. It is why they knew that the constitution would only work with a moral and upright citizenry.

Liberals believe it is the duty of the state to impose policy and direct society. In the liberal order of things individuals are not responsible for their own actions, nor are they deserving of the rewards of their efforts.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 1:33 PM

I have been thinking lately about filing a harassment complaint with my company’s HR department about the on-going America- and Bush-bashing that goes on daily and hourly in my office. I could understand, maybe – a little bit, that passions were inflamed in the months leading up to the election, so discussions at the top of their lungs about this or that quote or political act were understandable.

It also made me realize just how uninformed and ignorant the liberal cadre of two or three loud-mouths are because their discussions could be heard clearly 40 or 50 feet away.

But now the election is over, their messiah is the new President and they are *still* bashing America and putting down Bush for no discernible reason other than they must reall really really hate the United States of America.

We hired a new junior employee who was a volunteer of some sort for Cheney. Like sharks, these two are circling her, making unprovoked attacks on Mr. Cheney as well as comments about the horror that was that administration and is the current America.

If the definition of office harassment is “creating a poisonous work atmosphere, then I have to think that this constant barrage of unasked-for full-throated hate has to fall under “poisonous”.

I took the older of the two “Liberals” aside and asked him to see if he could tone down the unprovoked attacks on the new female employee. If they continue, I’ll be sending an e-mail to HR asking for clarification on the definition of “harassment” and what is proper office conduct.

NahnCee on December 27, 2008 at 1:34 PM

For once I’m inclined to agree with Stein. IMO some liberals do not love America like most conservatives. Even if they were alive when JFK said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country?, they don’t really understand it.

It is standard elitism to dismiss the patriotism of conservatives as being blind following and the liberal version as being more pragmatic. Too many liberals only see America’s faults and ignore all the positives that do make this country the best one on earth.

katiejane on December 27, 2008 at 1:38 PM

’ve heard this “I love America” crap from the left for years.

Oddly enough, I usually hear them saying they love Canada and Europe, because everything is “free” there.

angelat0763 on December 27, 2008 at 1:39 PM

DeathToMediaHacks on December 27, 2008 at 1:33 PM

You can tell anyone anything you want – if that makes you feel better. That doesn’t change the fact that modern liberalism is based on self-hate. Liberals view the US the same way that hippies viewed their parents.

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 1:44 PM

jeanie on December 27, 2008 at 1:31 PM

I still don’t agree, though I get what you are trying to say. As I see it, liberals love the idea of what they want America to be and only believe it will be great when they have succeeded in forming it to their ideals. Conservatives believe that America is already great. No country is perfect. There are stains in the history of America, but those stains were caused by individuals, not the country or its founding principles.

I agree with progressoverpeace, it wouldn’t matter where this whiny brat lived, he would be dissatisfied. Especially if he were to live in a world of his leftist policies. For example, Californians are moving out of their state in droves. Many of them are moving to Nevada, where I live. They are leaving their state because the liberal policies of the last 40 years are destroying the standard of living there for all but the wealthiest. For more than 15 years now, these people have come into my state and brought with them the same liberal policies they voted for in CA. Now, after all these years of liberal infusion, Nevada is finding itself in the same boat as CA. And all those libs who came here from California, voting for the same policies that tanked that state, are unhappy with the way things are in Nevada. This was a great state with right to work, low cost of living and wide open opportunity. That is now almost gone, the libs have ruined it.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 1:48 PM

As I see it, liberals love the idea of what they want America to be and only believe it will be great when they have succeeded in forming it to their ideals. Conservatives believe that America is already great.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Yep. And it is all made obvious in the names of the political parties; Republicans and Democrats:

Conservatives love the Republic that this country was built as, while liberals don’t like what the Founders did and wish, instead, to turn the US into a Democracy – which is something that the Founders absolutely detested.

Democracy is the most vile form of government… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

James Madison

Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.

John Adams

Liberals also despise the individualistic nature of the US, which is the true foundation of American greatness, and wish to return to the old-style collectivist/tribal political systems like European parliamentary structures offer.

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 1:56 PM

spending money on nation-building rather than defensive technologies.

The Maginot Line and the British coastal artillery in Singapore worked really well for defensive purposes.

TugboatPhil on December 27, 2008 at 1:59 PM

The Maginot Line and the British coastal artillery in Singapore worked really well for defensive purposes.

No they didn’t. Are you stupid?

lodge on December 27, 2008 at 2:01 PM

That’s such jibberish, Ed.

I hate the rosy-posey “we all love America, and we all want to make it better, just in different ways.”

The liberals I read inevitably want to remake America into Not-America. Not-America is a western European country that has no sway in the world, controls it’s citizens from cradel to grave, and abolishes any type of meritocracy as it claims that people only do better due to the color of their skin, institutional racism, or cultural supremisism.

Most of the “voting liberals” (those that vote for liberal policies without understanding the consequences of their actions) are good people who simply don’t understand what they are voting for. But the “leading liberals” (those who understand the implications of their choices and try to bamboozle the masses ino supporting them) surely do, and they do not love America. In fact, they hate it.

VolMagic on December 27, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Liberals know that they just can’t be happy, no matter what, so they have taken it on themselves to make everyone else as miserable as they are. Liberals are truly despicable creatures.

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Liberals: The Homer Bedloes of the 21st Century (Gotta be a Petticoat Junction fan to get that one!)

Matt Helm on December 27, 2008 at 2:11 PM

My liberal brother-in-law met Joel Stein and was so proud of it. He proclaimed to me that he was chatting with Joel Stein at some event in NYC. I just said casually and dismissively, “Oh, the big Lib?” ;-)

worlok on December 27, 2008 at 2:20 PM

Its very simple: The left loves the dirt we stand on and the right loves the culture we live in.

allrsn on December 27, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Thank you Ed, for clearly explicating what I was too angry to say coherently last night after reading Stein’s idiotic column.

WasatchMan on December 27, 2008 at 2:45 PM

riggword on December 27, 2008 at 1:00 PM

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Good posts.

allrsn on December 27, 2008 at 2:48 PM

I’m going to let the Catholic Church educate us.

The favorite Catholic term for love is the Latin word caritas, which isn’t romantic or idealistic love, like the Greek eros, or the Latin amor.

The word caritas is a noun that we used to translate as “charity,” but that word has lost its way, being used disparagingly sometimes as in “a charity case,” referring to someone to be pitied.

A more useful translation is “love” which Pope Benedict XVI used in his encyclical deus caritas est, or God is Love.

Here, caritas means a mature love that has its roots in, and is a sublimation or fruition of, eros. But as a maturation of eros, it connotes affection, esteem, favor, and dearness. Freud himself always maintained that one of the primary purposes of the family was for the parents to confer onto their children that sense of basic affection, or dearness.

But if you look deeper into the history of the Latin word caritas, you find an amazing thing: it was used by Romans to refer to a thing of very great value, a thing of innate and virtually infinite value. This is what we ought to think about when we think of love and charity. We give to the poor not because they are pathetic, but because they really and truly possess an intrinsic and exceedingly high value.

Thus, when we say we love America, we mean it in the sense of caritas. It means we recognize the intrinsic value and great worth of America.

America’s detractors are quick to point out that she is no better than any other country, the usual moral equivalence clap trap; but you can always reduce her detractors to the babbling fools they are by pointing out that more people from around the world immigrate from there to here, and very, very few emigrate from here to there.

Why? Because America, just as she is, is a priceless possession, infinitely valuable, and all but the morally deranged love her instinctively for exactly that reason.

jeff_from_mpls on December 27, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Oh man Ed. I just saw his pic at the link. He’s just a boy. He’s not unintelligent, only ignorant, and a product of his surroundings. Surely it’s not to late for him. A stint in the military would help. You really should have told us not to take his comments seriously.

JiangxiDad on December 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Stein is 37 years old, JDad; far too old to write off his tripe as youthful ignorance. He is old enough to know better and knows full well what he is saying. He’s a true believer.

Most of the “voting liberals” (those that vote for liberal policies without understanding the consequences of their actions) are good people who simply don’t understand what they are voting for. But the “leading liberals” (those who understand the implications of their choices and try to bamboozle the masses ino supporting them) surely do, and they do not love America. In fact, they hate it.

VolMagic on December 27, 2008 at 2:03 PM

I believe you’ve nailed it. The “leading liberal lights” believe that their vision of America is the correct one, regardless of how much their proscriptions and policies diverge from constitutionality.

hillbillyjim on December 27, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Joel Stein? Serial writer of idiocy and displays of shallow thinking. Pass.

baldilocks on December 27, 2008 at 3:02 PM

He is old enough to know better and knows full well what he is saying.

I should have worded that differently. He is old enough that he should know better; he knows that his words are antithetical to America and does not care.

hillbillyjim on December 27, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Most of the “voting liberals” (those that vote for liberal policies without understanding the consequences of their actions) are good people who simply don’t understand what they are voting for. But the “leading liberals” (those who understand the implications of their choices and try to bamboozle the masses into supporting them) surely do, and they do not love America. In fact, they hate it.

VolMagic on December 27, 2008 at 2:03 PM

+5 VolMagic

The libs in power prey on the compassion of every day people to foist their un-American ideals on this country. Conservatives know that the best this country has to offer people are the freedoms of individual opportunity, individual responsibility and individual reward.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 3:26 PM

The issue is how do you define love

SF author Robert Heinlein had a great definition: “Love is that condition in which another person’s happiness is essential to your own.” Applying this to nations, one can define love or patriotism as the condition in which the well-fare of your country is essential to your own; but I would go a bit farther and say that the level of your love or patriotism is measured by what you willing to give up for your beloved.

The greatest patriot is the solider for he or she is willing to part with the most – his or her life – for love of country. Among politicians the measuring stick should be “what political gains is the politician willing to give up for love of country?” Under that metric the Democrats of the last 8 years have been miserable failures. Every time sometime went wrong in the war, they turned it into a political attack, hoping it would benefit THEM. Guards mistreating prisoners? Ted Kennedy jumps to the well of the senate proclaiming “Sadam’s torture chambers have been turned over to new management, U.S. management.” Never once saying, “wait, let’s not use this political gain, let’s find out the facts first.”

And every time something went right, they would discount it. Finding Saddam was a big thing – except when he was found in which case Howard Dean shrugs his shoulders and says, “No big deal.”

George Bush didn’t do everything correct God knows, but he never faltered in the most important thing: I truly believe he also did what he did for love of the country. The politically smart thing to do would be to not have ordered the surge, but he didn’t do it. Also, he never attacked his critics with the same vitriol that his opponents attacked him, because I believe, he realized that such as act, while warranted, would not be good for the country he loved.

In the end, the Democrats do love the country, but they have proved by their actions that they love political power more for they are unwilling to give up the latter for the sake of the former.

PackerBronco on December 27, 2008 at 3:40 PM

From last night’s QoD thread

How can you not love America and the genius of its founders… and all of the defenders of their brilliance, ever since… profoundly?

profitsbeard on December 27, 2008 at 1:19 AM

Because liberalism is an incurable Utopian derangement.

Entelechy on December 27, 2008 at 3:39 PM

In the end, the Democrats do love the country, but they have proved by their actions that they love political power more for they are unwilling to give up the latter for the sake of the former.

PackerBronco on December 27, 2008 at 3:40 PM

But we gave them that “power”, in a huge move to self-destruct. CiC, soon to be Cipher-in-Chief™. We deserve them, as each populace deserves its leaders, particularly those who vote for theirs, still freely.

This topic is so deeply painful and sad for me that it’s better to quit writing about it.

Entelechy on December 27, 2008 at 3:54 PM

If Stein still hasn’t figured that out, then he should stop writing for a while

From your mouth to God’s ears; Please stop writing, Stein!

rmgraha on December 27, 2008 at 4:17 PM

I grew up taking my country for granted. My great awakening was 1n 1970 near Da Nang RVN. I saw people living in dirt floored, scrap material houses and begging for anything you could give them. I grew up poor, but we always had enough to eat and a decent roof over our heads. I love my country for the unlimited possibilities for everyone. Our “poor” have a way out if they try. In many overseas countries there just is no way to get the training to pull one’s self up. Here, you can work in a low paying job while getting a GED and go from there. And I know, because I worked in a burger joint while becoming educated. I worked my way through college and went on to have a good career as an electrical engineer.

That is why I love America, and freedom. The two go hand in hand.

marcboyd on December 27, 2008 at 4:20 PM

I received this from a Vincentian priend yesterday. It sort of ties into the whole sheltered wealthy elites vs. the rest of the country.

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’
‘It was great, Dad.’
‘Did you see how poor people live?’ the father asked.
‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.
‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?’ asked the father.
The son answered:
‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.’
The boy’s father was speechless.
Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’
Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.
Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

‘Life is too short and friends are too few.’

Stein just needs to get out and see the real world around him.

Sapwolf on December 27, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Oh c’mon, why does the man-child Stein get all this attention on HA? First a headline, then AP puts it up and now Ed.

CarolynM on December 27, 2008 at 4:42 PM

But we gave them that “power”, in a huge move to self-destruct. CiC, soon to be Cipher-in-Chief™. We deserve them, as each populace deserves its leaders, particularly those who vote for theirs, still freely.

This topic is so deeply painful and sad for me that it’s better to quit writing about it.

Entelechy on December 27, 2008 at 3:54 PM

As the Brits would say: It’s time to pull up your socks, dear.

:-)

hillbillyjim on December 27, 2008 at 4:52 PM

I am sick to death of people like Stein. Which is exactly what he wants to do,,,,,make me sick to death.

Is it possible they really are this stupid??? Is it??

eaglesdontflock on December 27, 2008 at 5:02 PM

This topic is so deeply painful and sad for me that it’s better to quit writing about it.

Entelechy on December 27, 2008 at 3:54 PM

As the Brits would say: It’s time to pull up your socks, dear.

:-)

hillbillyjim on December 27, 2008 at 4:52 PM

And the drunkest will thrive
Yes, the sober will cower while the intoxicated will survive
If we wait for the darkest hour
Till we spring alive
Then with claws of fire, we rip open our wine bottles like a falcon in the dive

PercyB on December 27, 2008 at 5:03 PM

I grew up taking my country for granted. My great awakening was 1n 1970 near Da Nang RVN. I saw people living in dirt floored, scrap material houses and begging for anything you could give them. I grew up poor, but we always had enough to eat and a decent roof over our heads. I love my country for the unlimited possibilities for everyone. Our “poor” have a way out if they try. In many overseas countries there just is no way to get the training to pull one’s self up. Here, you can work in a low paying job while getting a GED and go from there. And I know, because I worked in a burger joint while becoming educated. I worked my way through college and went on to have a good career as an electrical engineer.

That is why I love America, and freedom. The two go hand in hand.

marcboyd on December 27, 2008 at 4:20 PM

Exactly. I didn’t grow up poor, but I have been around. Actually, my father grew up poor and many of my older and deceased relatives were poor and working class poor. I have been to the South Pacific and saw people living in tin roof lean to’s in the shadow of luxury hotels. I’ve walked the Falls Road in Belfast during the Troubles.

Good country, America. Good country….

worlok on December 27, 2008 at 5:10 PM

…and by good I really mean GREAT. :)

worlok on December 27, 2008 at 5:11 PM

social conservatives love America like Ike loved Tina. After all, didn’t Robertson and Falwell say we had 9/11 coming because of gays and feminists? “I love you baby but it’s for your own good!”

Noneya on December 27, 2008 at 5:15 PM

Do Muslims love America in the right way?

I’m OK. You’re OK. My OK is just a little better. God bless America.

***
Despite Hannity’s uber-annoying din, he had it right. America is number one. I don’t know if that’s because of God’s good grace, destiny or luck. But it’s the truth. We are the nation other nations emulate, steal from or hate upon because they want to be just like us.

The Race Card on December 27, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions:
Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three. Thomas Paine

Speakup on December 27, 2008 at 1:03 PM

The context here is all wrong. There is no way that Paine was complaining that Europe in the 18th century was too liberal. Quite the contrary. He was interested in the success of the American and French revolutions along radical Enlightenment lines.

aengus on December 27, 2008 at 5:26 PM

No they didn’t. Are you stupid?

lodge on December 27, 2008 at 2:01 PM

That’s a strong and well thought out argument you put forth there. Perhaps he is not merely stupid but is a stupid face as well.

&

Ampersand on December 27, 2008 at 6:06 PM

I no longer engage in ‘dialog’ with people such as Stein. It’s a waste of my time. Being in the US gives him the opportunity to spout his progressive bullshit because it makes him feel better. It also allows me to tell him that, in my opinion, he’s a stupid shit who couldn’t find his ass in a dark room even with the help of a map and a flashlight.

GarandFan on December 27, 2008 at 6:09 PM

and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves

Think again, Europe is still mired in that same holier than thou mindset and always this last half millennia socialist bound and isn’t near to give it up.

Speakup on December 27, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Really good, Jeff from mpls.

Alana on December 27, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Maybe some day Stein can take a look at the major issues that liberals have tried to defend with their brand of “patriotism”, in their words, like the national security leaks they love to watch flood out in the public domain through the New York Slimes, or WaPo. As he has now admitted to the utter disingenuousness of the liberals’ cry of “I love my country,” it would be interesting to see what he could make of these other issues, given that the fake patriotism has been the core of the liberals’ arguments.

progressoverpeace on December 27, 2008 at 7:05 PM

To my post above I should have added that I am privileged to own my own land (16+ Ac) and house that are paid for now, and owe nothing major to anyone. I still owe taxes, and pay for utilities, but even our cars are ours. This was my goal in the good years.

I also feel that my time in the service made me grow up. If Stein were to really “love” his country, he would do a stint in the service. He could do media for 4 years or so and get his rough edges knocked off and see how the other people in the world live. I bet that he has never been rained on, much less shot at. Funny how your outlook on life changes.

marcboyd on December 27, 2008 at 7:09 PM

and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves

Think again, Europe is still mired in that same holier than thou mindset and always this last half millennia socialist bound and isn’t near to give it up.

Speakup on December 27, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Help me out a little. Half a milenna you say. Is that a reference to the Reformation? Are you saying “that same holier than thou mindset” an unbroken line from the Catholic Church to contemporary European liberals or what?

aengus on December 27, 2008 at 7:52 PM

This Stein is half empty.

profitsbeard on December 27, 2008 at 7:52 PM

This post says it all: First Christmas <-Click on it.

marcboyd on December 27, 2008 at 8:16 PM

There is hope for Stein, if he is brave enough to take the next step. He has made the hardest part of the journey, acknowledging a failing. Does he have the courage to recognize it as such? Does he have what it takes to honestly look in the mirror and say that something is wrong with this picture, that perhaps part of this hatred in America is a self-hatred as well? Will he look at conservatives and be able to understand that their passionate love for their country is not because they are unable to critize America (far from it!) but because we have spent our lifetimes evaluating our feelings for America, just like any love you have is constantly reevaluated and found it is a profoundly noble country, worthy of respect of its citizens, warts and all?

I don’t know. If he was able to do that, he would be a conservative.

itsspideyman on December 27, 2008 at 9:02 PM

To my post above I should have added that I am privileged to own my own land

That’s not true if you pay “property taxes”. Then you have to pay rent to the government. Granted its cheaper than rent to most other landlords, but until people get around these little tricks of language that the tax collectors use we will never truly have private property in this country.

LevStrauss on December 27, 2008 at 10:40 PM

Until after WWI and to a certain extent until after WWII, England France Germany and Europe in general were the world super powers from way back (hence the holier than thou attitude) and their much older society was tailor made for socialist take over even when Kings were in charge.

Thomas Paine like a number of new Americans didn’t want European communal ideology to take root here in fact they wanted as much separation as possible.

Its not a religious context its a free, independent, strong and self determined America context.

“Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.” -Alexander Hamilton, 1793

Speakup on December 27, 2008 at 11:15 PM

Until after WWI and to a certain extent until after WWII, England France Germany and Europe in general were the world super powers from way back (hence the holier than thou attitude) and their much older society was tailor made for socialist take over even when Kings were in charge.

England, France, Germany and Europe in general were never socialist until they came under the influence and control of Woodrow Wilson, the twentieth century’s most influential progressive bar Lenin.

Thomas Paine like a number of new Americans didn’t want European communal ideology to take root here in fact they wanted as much separation as possible.

Thomas Paine was no more American than he was French. He was an Englishman who greatly influenced the American and French revolutions with his radical Enlightenment philosophy.

“Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.” -Alexander Hamilton, 1793

Considering that Alexander Hamilton was born a British citizen I’m guessing he didn’t regard Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and the Habeas Corpus Act as “foreign influences” to be discarded.

The Declaration of Independence make a key reference to what Thomas Jefferson described as the tragically broken bond of consanguinity between the Americans and the British.

Yet Jefferson was a great admirer of The Aeneid which might well be considered a foreign influence by modern standards.

aengus on December 27, 2008 at 11:36 PM

Leftists love no one but themselves. It’s impossible to love anything when you can’t see past their own narcissistic noses. I find these to be even more evident on either coast where elitist muttonheads call anything between the Appalachians and the Sierras, “FLYOVER COUNTRY”.

nelsonknows on December 27, 2008 at 11:41 PM

Is Joel paying you to keep this posting up Ed? I would rather you blogged about the latest from “The People’s Cube” at least they are funny.

http://thepeoplescube.com/

Dr Evil on December 28, 2008 at 12:02 AM

The problem is the libs definition of what “America” is. When challenged they give examples of all of these heinous things the American government has supposedly done over time. This is ironic because it is they who worship government as long as they are running it.

I see America in broader terms, our people, founding principals, are amazing Constitution, our economy, liberty, strong military, the force for GOOD we have been on balance, the good morals of MOST of us, our “can do” attitude, strong work ethic, etc… What’s not to love? Especially as compared to other nations.

echosyst on December 28, 2008 at 12:49 AM

aengus on December 27, 2008 at 11:36 PM

I guess you got me.

Speakup on December 28, 2008 at 1:06 AM

Common Sense

By Thomas Paine

Speakup on December 28, 2008 at 1:19 AM

Joel Stein? That guy?? The American Castrati?!?

Whoa! I thought no one was reading him or listening to him – except to laugh!

newton on December 28, 2008 at 1:23 AM

I move all Joel Stein links be banned. A Hot Air post automatically multiplies his traffic by 10. It’s improper and unhealthy, like stopping to stare at an accident.

His opinions are inconsequential. His columns read like those VH1 put down shows; a string of snide, unfunny insults. He’s doesn’t think; he poses. He probably watches himself in a mirror as he writes.

rcl on December 28, 2008 at 5:55 AM

Its very simple: The left loves the dirt we stand on and the right loves the culture we live in.

allrsn, I think you are close. Except that they love the dirt and hate the culture.

Yes, America is flawed as is any country governed by imperfect men. Sadly, our beloved Constitution is under attack, our freedoms under siege. As we become more democratic the country we love is slowly dieing. As stated in many of the above posts, democracy is the road to ruin. Our republic depends on an informed electorate, sadly far to many of our citizens are ignorant. Our education system, or rather our state mandated indoctrination system, is deeply planting the seeds of our own destruction. How is it that a man like Ayers is a tenured professor? One small indication of exactly how the country we love is dieing a long, slow and painful death.

Multiculturalism is yet another knife into the heart of the America we conservatives love. Teaching our children that other cultures are as good (or better) than ours, plants more seeds of our eventual collapse.

Thankfully we still have the 2nd Amendment (until our dear leader attempts to erase it), hopefully we won’t need to use it to forcefully overthrow a future government that seeks to undermine our most basic rights. Yes, even conservatives can see that dissent against the government is not treason.

Certainly there are things that our nation has done in the distant and not so distant past that are horrific, slavery, the treatment of our indigenous population, the horrid treatment of our citizens under Jim Crow.

However, our force for good outweighs our sins. Our fight against Hitler, our struggle against the Soviet Union, our aid to needy countries are among of the many ways America has made the world a better place.

How sad that the party that gave use Truman and JFK also gives us Reid, Rangel, the wicked witch of the west, Murtha, Obama etc etc

Although Stein is a moron, his article does expose a tiny nugget of truth. Coming to terms with the fundamental differences between the right and the left requires honest assessments.

crashland on December 28, 2008 at 8:52 PM