One of the most striking moments in our increasingly surreal politics came when congressional Democrats leaped to their feet and applauded a foreign leader as he trashed the state of Arizona and its immigration law. The foreigner in question was the president of Mexico, a barely functional kleptocracy with vastly more restrictive immigration laws, enforced by a corrupt police force that has been known to beat and rob undocumented aliens. Arizona’s immigration law was prompted by the flood of people desperately seeking to escape Felipe Calderon’s miserable governance.
The sense of alienation between the United States and its Democrat Party grows steadily deeper. If you ask someone on the right side of our political spectrum whether they believe America is the greatest country on earth, you would most likely receive instant agreement. Ask the same question of someone from the Left, and the answer will probably be negative, or at least heavily qualified. If they agree at all, they’ll probably need at least five or ten minutes to get all the disclaimers and caveats out of the way… followed by the angry insistence they love their country.
Asserting the United States is the greatest country on Earth is not the same thing as declaring it flawless, or demeaning other nations as worthless. Even if you stipulate both of these points, you will rarely convince a liberal to concede its greatness. Most of them aren’t lying when they say they love it. The issue is the difference between love and reverence.
Liberals see themselves as enlightened crusaders, embarked on a quest to transform a fundamentally flawed America. They swoon when they hear Barack Obama speak of his “transformative” agenda. The “hope and change” mantra conjures an image of helpless little people waiting to be rescued. The transformation they have in mind is coercive – they’re not talking about transforming society by giving people more freedom to do what they want, or allowing them to express their will through greater amounts of income protected from taxation. It might be possible to rationalize inflicting forcible change on something you love, but you wouldn’t take that attitude toward something you revere.
Part of the great American transformation involves the destruction of capitalism, which liberals view as beyond the control of ideology, and therefore unjust. Ever since the beginning of the financial crisis that boiled through the 2008 elections, the Left has spoken frequently of the “failure” of capitalism. Obama has acted repeatedly to nationalize, or shut down, industries and markets he finds inferior to the wisdom of the State. A small minority of people are unhappy with their health insurance? Private insurance becomes a thing of the past, and when public insurance inevitably becomes a disaster, private health care will be erased. A disastrous accident occurs on a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico? The entire offshore drilling industry is abolished, faster than the porn sites can be cleared from the Web browsers over at the Minerals Management Service.
America was born a land of liberty and responsibility, where citizens would own both their time and ideas. Her government was obliged to focus on its duties in the present, rather than designing the future. The future is the exclusive property of free men, not the State. The government does not have the right to decide when freedom has failed, and should be discarded. Our Constitution was written as a shield for every American, strong enough to shatter all misguided dreams of social engineering and redistribution. Protected by that shield, we see “jobs” as acts of voluntary cooperation for mutual prosperity, not a limited resource to be doled out by the government. We look for opportunity from each other, not assignments from our ruling class. We will decide where to take our custom, how to invest our time, and when to turn away from a failed enterprise. We are not waiting for the State to fulfill our needs, or write our destiny.
As more Americans awaken to their birthright of restrained government at the service of a strong population, they become champions of a nation theyrevere… and enemies of an ideology that believes all wisdom and virtue reside in the coercive power of the State. As this ideology reaches the ugly and bankrupt end of its century-long existence, its nervous acolytes are desperately in need of validation. That’s why they were so eager to hear a hostile foreigner describe their domestic enemies as hateful and greedy.
The passage of ObamaCare dispelled the myth of the moderate Democrat. The illusion of the patriotic Democrat died in their thunderous applause for Felipe Calderon. The Democrats obviously find more in common with this shadowy foreign ally than the people of Arizona… or the wider American population, which supports Arizona’s immigration law by lopsided majorities. Any sense of unconditional loyalty to the United States is obviously not distributed evenly across all fifty of them.
When we embrace liberty and responsibility, we see our countrymen as partners, employers, customers, and honorable competitors. It becomes easy to revere the great nation that sailed against the tides of history to destroy imperialism, fascism, and communism… as it will defeat the challenge of moral and intellectual exhaustion that swept the final generation of American socialists into power over the past decade. We can be at peace with those who disagree, because none of us has the power to compel submission.
Those who embrace collectivist economics, and political dominion over every aspect of our lives, will inevitably come to see the stubborn and disobedient conservators of the old America as enemies to be despised and defeated. Even their most high-minded and well-intentioned designs can only be fulfilled by forcing dissenters to participate. Barack Obama and his party have a lot of big plans that require the meek compliance of people who think like me… and we aim to misbehave. Small wonder the Democrats, and a sad number of Republican attendants, find themselves more comfortable in the company of foreign leaders who have already secured the abject submission of their impoverished subjects.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.