Left Turn to Treason 1

Why do Democrats promote policies that harm American so?

For many years, conservatives have criticized what they see as an assault by leftists on everything that makes America great.  From Sen. McCarthy's accusations of Communists under every bed in the 1950s - which, though he was disgraced at the time, turned out to be substantially true - to questions of Barack Obama's citizenship today, the cudgel of un-Americanism and treason has oft been wielded against Democrats at every level.

Calling your opponent a traitor tends not to work well in the minds of the public.  For most ordinary voters, it sounds absurd.  How could any Senator, Representative, or high-ranking military officer be thought a traitor?

Mistaken, fine; deluded, OK; but saying that your opponent actively seeks to undermine and destroy the United States makes you look a fool.

Besides, what possible purpose would be served by the President of the United States hating his own country?  The President is already the most powerful man in the world; unless he intends to conquer the rest of the world and rule as Emperor, there's really not any further up he can go.

And yet... There are so many leftist policies that are so blatantly wrong, so transparently destructive of the United States, that it's hard to imagine how anyone could possibly promote them with good intentions.

Cap-and-trade?  Barack Obama himself admitted:

Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

It's worth all that pain to Save the World, right?  Not hardly; even Mr. Obama's own scientists claim that his cap-and-trade bill, after devastating the U.S. economy, would reduce global temperatures by all of nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit.  Talk about giving away everything to achieve nothing!

We could go on about our worthless public education system being defended stalwartly by Democrats no matter how awful it is and how many American kids' lives it destroys; anti-poverty programs that increase and entrench poverty and dependency for generations on end; and don't even get us started about missile defense and the lack thereof, which could allow us all to be blown to atoms - or at least, those of us in Hawaii, Obama's presumptive natal land.

On the one hand, we have Democrats going all-out for policies that if forced on America by an enemy nation would be an act of war.  On the other hand, we have simple logic and common sense declaring that nobody as successful as a national politician could possibly be so stupid as to not understand what they're doing, nor hate their own country enough to want to set out with malice aforethought to destroy it on purpose.  It doesn't add up; something is missing here.

We are left with no choice but to take recourse to Ayn Rand:

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

My Country, Right or Wrong

For traditional conservatives, patriotism is as American as apple pie.  It's in the air we breathe, and we make every attempt to feed it to our children like mother's milk.

There's good reason for this: unlike most other countries, patriotic American ideals are the only thing that binds us together as a nation.  We do not share ethnicity like the Japanese, or the same religion like Saudi Arabians.  We don't even have a symbolic official religion like Italy.

No, the one thing that binds Americans together - black and white, Christian and atheist, male and female - is a belief in the principles of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as the Founders so memorably put it.

This has proven to be a great advantage over the years, as ambitious people from anywhere can come to America, become Americans, and really be Americans.  Many of America's greatest triumphs were brought about by Americans that were born as something else.  That doesn't happen in, say, Japan; you can be third-generation native born and still not really "be" Japanese.

With this special flexibility comes a special risk: just as you can have Americans who weren't born here and don't "look like" traditional Americans and yet are Americans in every way that really counts, so you can also have WASP-y sorts of people whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower and yet are not American in their beliefs.

You tend to find a lot of these folks holding professorial chairs in Ivy League colleges.  Our elites like to ridicule traditional patriotism as mere jingoistic faith in "My Country, Right or Wrong," regardless of America's faults.

In fact, whenever there's a Republican president, we hear that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" - though somehow that ceases to be true as soon as a Democrat takes office.  What they forget is the rest of the famous quote: "My country, right or wrong... but may she always be in the right."

Of course no nation is perfect; of course America has imperfections that need to be addressed.  The key difference is that unlike many other nations, we actually try to address our faults and fix them, with a good deal of success.  Two hundred years ago, the great French author Alexis de Toqueville recognized our ability to fix ourselves as the true genius of America:

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. [emphasis added]

We're All Unique... Just Like Everywhere Else?

Thus we arrive at the concept of American exceptionalism: the belief that America is really, truly different and better than any other civilization in all of history.  That doesn't mean we are better at everything, necessarily: the French have nicer trains, the Italians design flashier suits, and the British can make a better pot of tea.  But on the whole, most ordinary Americans believe that their country is the best place in the world to be.

The rest of the world seems to feel much the same way.  There is no other country that has as many foreigners trying to get in, nor so many foreigners already in.  There are other countries whose people are, on average, wealthier than Americans, but they're tiddlers like Luxembourg.

No other nation of any great size has made its average citizen so wealthy and so comfortable as has America.  Anyone who doubts that America is the greatest country on earth - no offense meant to the others, of course - need only look at the border with Mexico and count the traffic in both directions.

What's more, America is not just good for Americans, it's the world's pre-eminent force for good and has been for a hundred years.  The recent bleating of Europeans over the Iraq War was especially disgusting when you consider that it's only because of American armed intervention that all of Europe is not crushed beneath the heels of empire (the Kaiser), fascism (Nazis), or communism.  It's precisely thanks to our "cowboy attitude" that they enjoy the right to complain about us.

The same is true to a lesser extent in many other places on earth, from Japan to Korea to, yes, someday, even Iraq.  In fact, it's hard not to notice that that continent which has seen the least American presence and interference - Africa - is also just that place where common people's lives are most miserable, benighted, hopeless, and downtrodden.

From the first days of our Republic, America's leaders on all sides have joined as one to proclaim America's unique history, unique destiny, and unique purpose in the world.  Our Founders rang the Liberty Bell on which was inscribed, "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof" - and ever since, American presidents have viewed that as a major part of their duty.  Certainly George W. Bush did.

Now comes a new president bringing Change - and how?  Does Barack Obama believe that America is uniquely special?  He says he does but with a different spin:

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

Sir, you flatter overmuch!  One supposes we should be grateful that he didn't compare American exceptionalism to that of Botswana, Zaire, and Outer Mongolia.

Does Barack Obama have an American birth certificate?  That's the wrong question.  Being American isn't a question of what's on your birth certificate; it's a question of what's in your heart.

I'd Like to Buy the World A Coke - And Put It On Your Tab

On that note, we need not look far to understand how our President views America's place in the world.  Indeed, he put the matter plainly in a speech to thousands in Berlin, Germany:

Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world[emphasis added]

Think about that for a moment.  On one level, it's a truism - we do all live in this world, so in a way you could say that we're all citizens of it.

The word "citizen" is special, though.  Being a citizen is not just related to where you happen to live - there are loads of people living in the United States that certainly are not citizens here nor have any right to be.  Citizenship is a shared set of mutual obligations and responsibilities that you recognize and accept - and which serve to drive your actions and priorities.

Mr. Obama's speech, and his actions since assuming the presidency, clearly illustrate that he was telling the truth: he does, in fact, view himself as a citizen of the world, with responsibilities and duties separate and distinct from his responsibilities as President of the United States, but in his mind more important.

This is a new phenomenon in our history.  For every previous president, their primary concern, first and foremost, was for the betterment of the United States.  If we could help the rest of the world, we ought; if we could further the cause of democracy and freedom, we should; but always, the motivation was to improve the standing, security, wealth, and power of the United States as a whole and individual Americans specifically - a pretty successful effort over the last 200 years.

As a citizen of the world, however, it may be thought necessary to do harmful things to America in order to better the world.  Really, that's the argument made by honest environmentalists, including Mr. Obama.  While campaigning, he said:

We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.

How are we to interpret this as anything other than a call for Americans to sacrifice in order to, supposedly, benefit the rest of the world?  As President of the United States, this makes no sense - why should we sacrifice our hard-fought comforts?

As Citizen of the World, though, it's nothing less than our duty and responsibility.  Instead of Americans, we must all be transnationalists.

Of course, this particular argument is false.  What benefits America benefits the world as it has over the last two hundred years; the false rhetoric of "climate change" is merely a stalking horse to take away our freedoms.  For all that, though, there certainly are a great many people who truly believe that the World Is Getting Hotter and that It's All Our Fault; Al Gore, Barack Obama, and many if not most of the Democratic leadership are among them.

The global warming scam wouldn't be nearly so much of a problem if they believed in "America First" as all our past presidents have done.  Consider what FDR would do if he had been convinced of the truth of global warming: he'd have bulked up our military in preparation to repel boarders, and invested in infrastructure improvements to make sure we could carry on much as before.  As conservatives, even if we didn't agree with the particular threat invoked, those solutions wouldn't be entirely useless.

If you are a citizen not just of this country but of The World, on the other hand, such an act of nationalistic selfishness is deeply distasteful if not downright evil.  Why should the rest of the world suffer so Americans can remain in their comforts?  Obviously people of other lands may think that way - they quite naturally want their nations to be bettered, if necessary at the expense of others - but it's quite new for America's own leaders to agree with this way of thinking against their own country's best interests.

With this revelation - this understanding that our leaders no longer think of themselves primarily as Americans at all - the actions of the left suddenly begin to make a lot more sense.  In the second half of this article, we'll walk the pathway of "citizen of the world" logic that leads inexorably, rationally, to the destructive policies we see the Democrats putting in place today.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
Best, most concise and simple explanation I have seen for the apparent contradiction that is today's Democratic party.
March 14, 2010 12:37 PM
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