Neo-Liberal Revolution

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Does patriotism make you a neo-con?

Or any other sort of conservative for that matter?

Why would it? *Certainly* liberals are patriots too. Right?

I don't think that classical ideas of liberalism would go very well with nationalism. But nationalism should not be confused with patriotism. So it ought to be okay for liberals to express patriotic sentiments.

You'd think.

There's something else going on though. At some point people came to the conclusion that looking at both sides of an issue, walking a mile in the other guy's shoes, meant that you weren't allowed to make a judgement either about that person's actions or their culture.

Why not?

The result is that making a judgement, choosing sides, is presumed to be because of ideological blindness. We see it often enough... support Israel and you'll be accused of claiming Israel exists in a state of perfect blamelessness. Why should that be an assumption?

Why is someone a "neo-con" if they look at the situation and decide that the United States are the good guys? Why is a "liberal" required to stay in a "we need to look at the root causes" loop and never progress to the "okay, did that" and come to a conclusion?

Looking at all sides of an issue is a good thing. Examining how our own actions may have contributed to a situation is a good thing. A nuanced understanding of the complexities of human faction and motivation is a good thing. It's a good thing because it should lead to ACTION.

Introspection, walking in someone elses shoes, examining all the sides, should lead to conclusions or what was the point? Might as well have skipped all the trouble. A conclusion should lead to action, or again, what was the point?

It seems to me that patriotism does not require any sort of blind loyalty at all. Because... and this is important... loyalty does not require the object of the loyalty to be perfect. It's absolutely possible to look at our country with all her flaws and chose to cheer and to *work* for the success of the "home team" while accepting those flaws exist.

It does not require someone to suddenly become "conservative" for that person to conclude that we are engaged in a military conflict. Our enemy may not be a nation with a uniformed army, but our enemy has chosen the context of the conflict and it is guns and bombs and killing people. Their choice. Not ours.

Coming to that conclusion and supporting a military victory does not require giving up liberal beliefs... other than this "no conclusions" navel gazing, always questioning to no purpose, part of liberalism. Nor does it require giving up all other forms of action that might contribute to social justice and a better life for people in the middle east.

For the first time that I can think of we *are* fully engaged in adressing root causes. And all the "root cause" crusaders seem able to do is whine because someone not only had the gall to come to a conclusion but the audacity to take action.

What's worse... it's not perfect.


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