Sunday, May 10, 2009

More from Dennis

I know, it's a lot, but don't worry, we're in the home stretch! Dennis' latest turd bomb has arrived, and it makes very little sense. In the not-at-all provocatively titled, "Do leftists really love America?" Dennis asks, as only he can, in the smuggest of "innocent" questions, "Aren't you all really just a bunch of Commie scum? What, I'm just asking." Let's take a look.

If you met a man who said he would like to "transform" or "remake" his wife, would you conclude that he: a) thought very highly of his wife and loved her, or b) held his wife in rather low esteem and therefore found living with her rather difficult?

The answer is obvious: Those who wish to remake anything (or anyone) do not think highly of the person or thing they wish to remake.

Except, of course, that using this (idiotic) argument you would never paint your house, wash your car, or politely suggest to your wife or kids that they might need haircuts, new clothes, or, say, a bath. Basic upkeep does not mean you hate yourself, your property, or your family.

Little is as revealing of Barack Obama's and the left's view of America than their use of the words "transform" and "remake" when applied to what they most want to do to America.

I among others pointed this out during the presidential campaign when Obama frequently promised he would "transform America." That is why those of us attuned to the importance of words and who hold America in high esteem were so worried about an Obama election.

That's right, I almost forgot about Dennis' honorary doctorate in linguistics from BS-U. (Or was that Bullcrap State?) BTW, Dennis, if you love words so much, why do you spend so much time savaging the English language through absurd strawmen arguments and inane blanket statements?

Americans on the left frequently attack critics for labeling them "unpatriotic" and/or accusing them of not loving America. The first charge is false to the best of my knowledge. I have searched in vain for an instance of a normative conservative or Republican spokesman calling Democrats or liberals "unpatriotic."

Right, accusing someone of treason or suggesting that they "love" terrorists or America-hating dictators isn't the same thing as calling them unpatriotic. Not at all.

It is not an attack on the left to say that their own rhetoric suggests that they love a vision of America considerably more than they love the reality of America; that they love what America could be rather than what it is. Otherwise, how would one explain this liberal vocabulary of "remaking" and "transforming" America? You don't yearn to transform or remake that which you love.

Wrong, dipshit. If you really care about something or someone, you want to help make it, or them, as good as they can be. Ever seen this show? These people are there because they see their loved ones making terrible mistakes and want to help them become better. What happened to self-improvement? I would think a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of guy like you would be encouraging us all to be all that we can be, and bugging our families and friends to follow suit. The mark of a good teacher is someone that cares about their students but also encourages and helps them grow into their potential. Only a whiny child would claim that a teacher that pushes you to do better hates you.

Many years ago, the prominent Jewish writer, my friend since childhood, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, helped to clarify – in a nonpartisan way – a major difference between liberals and conservatives. "Conservatives," he said, "romanticize the past; liberals romanticize the future."

A decent assessment. I wonder what Dennis will do with this.

The romanticizing of the future has been a distinguishing characteristic of the left since Karl Marx. Leftist ideologies have secular eschatologies.

Funny, wasn't it Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld who said the Iraqis would be greeting us as liberators and that by toppling Saddam we would be ushering in a new age of global democracy? Doesn't get much more secular pipe-dream than that, Dennis.

The further left one goes the greater the belief in revolution, the need to overthrow the contemporary order.

Really, so the Founding Fathers were what, Commie Anarchists?

The problem is that compared with such a future utopia, no actual society could possibly compete. Certainly not racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, unequal America.

There's utopianism on both sides of the aisle, Dennis. See abolishing the IRS, building a wall to keep all immigrants out, and Reganomics.

In light of those frequently made criticisms of America, I have often asked representatives of the left why they criticize America so much if they love it so much. "Precisely because we love America, we criticize it. You criticize that which you love," is the nearly universal response.

But, of course, it isn't true. If you constantly criticize your spouse, for example, it is difficult to imagine that you really do love him or her. And perhaps more important, it is very unlikely that your spouse feels loved. That is why after being routinely described as racist, sexist, imperialist, etc., it is difficult to be able to tell that America is loved by the left.

So the claim is that because the left sees so many things wrong with America, we are hurting the country's feelings? Really? That's the best you can come up with? You're suggesting that if you really love someone you should let them be as mediocre, flawed or unhealthy as they want to be. If my girlfriend likes drinking and then going joyriding through school zones, I shouldn't tell her maybe that's a bad idea? If I see my grandmother throwing away her heart medication because she thinks its quack medecine, I should give her a high five rather than some good advice? Should I let my obese friend eat himself to death? I should go buy cigarettes for a cancer patient, just to prove how much I love them?

Get real, Dennis. The "your country is like a wife and you wouldn't ask your wife to change at all if you really loved her" is a horrible argument, especially coming from someone twice divorced. Ask any Israeli if they think their country is perfect, and then just try suggesting that if they really liked it they'd sit back complacently and ignore the problems they see. The reality is that you have to care about your country to want to change it. It's far easier to not care, make excuses, and watch as things go to hell.

You don't have to agree with the left's assessment of America or its goals, but most people living here today, from all parties, think that we have a lot of problems and need to start working on fixing them. Pointing out flaws in your country is no sin, and if it is, the left is far from alone in making it. The real question you should be asking is what's wrong with the people that think everything's going FINE the way it is.


Garnel Ironheart said...

There is America as it is and America as it could be. Criticizing the former so that it can become like the latter is the mark of a patriot.
I may think Obama is on the wrong track to his goal but I would not question that goal: a great America loved by all.

FriedFalafel said...

While I agree with your general point, I think that excessive criticism does indeed lead to knee-jerk positions, which is what I see on many Leftist sites. The Left has become obsessed with the notion that the western world is always wrong and the rest of the world, which is lumped into the 3rd world category, is always right. In doing so they often ignore the difference between democracies and dictatorships, seeing the latter as better (or perhaps acting out of righteous fury) simply because they don't belong to the West.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Falafel- I think you're right that knee-jerk positions are a problem, however I also see that on the right as well. When it comes to Europe for instance, their position seems particularly schizophrenic, because people like Dennis will on the one hand claim that all great elements of civilization came from Christian Europe (which is patently false; there have been plenty of instances where parts of Asia, Africa, and yes, the Muslim world, were easily their equals, if not far ahead). At the same time, these commentators then want to vilify modern-day Europe as being weak, purposeless, simpletons who offer nothing to the global community now-- in effect, saying that when Europe was great it was the West (spawning the greatest nation ever, the US), and now that it's not so great, well then, it's clearly not "the West" anymore, a title which it must relinquish to America. If the right wasn't so convinced of its talking points that the War on Terror was a battle of East vs. West, they wouldn't have to spend their time defending-- or inventing-- a perfect record of Western civilization to contrast with people like Bin Laden. Instead, they get stuck having to defend things like the Crusades to prove that in any conflict between the West and the Islamic World, the West is always right.

I definitely take your point that the left (certainly the radical left) has a problem with giving everyone BUT America the benefit of the doubt, but I wonder how much of that is a reaction to people like Dennis ramming poorly reasoned, nonfactual and a-historical arguments for American exceptionalism down people's throats for years. Frankly, I'd prefer to talk about the America that presently exists, warts and all, and figure out ways to make it better, than make up bizarro counter-histories in which America (and Western civilization) are perfect, always have been, and always will be.