Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pledging Allegiance

Comments From Left Field beautifully illustrates the postmodern transnationalism that is the foundation for left-wing anti-Americanism:
As far as I am concerned, the Pledge of Allegiance is a loyalty oath, and loyalty oaths are un-American, if not unconstitutional (the latter being a subject for another post). Adding the words “under God” just makes it worse, because now you’re requiring children (in this instance, but it applies to adults as well) to assert a religious belief they may not feel or even understand. That’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Obviously, the ideal solution would be to stop declaring fealty to the nation-state every morning. Next best would be removing the phrase “under God.” But if we’re going to insist that American schoolchildren from kindergarten through high school recite “I pledge allegiance to the flag and the United States of America…” each day, the least we can do is include an opt-out provision to accommodate the consciences of students or parents (or both) who believe that this practice is inherently coercive, disrespectful to Americans’ individual religious beliefs (or lack thereof), and offensive to the spirit of individualism and personal liberty that lies at the heart of the American experience.
Read the whole post, here.

All the blather about religion and conscience is mostly bull.

This essay is about hating your country. A statement of refusal to pledge loyalty to the "nation-state" is a statement in solidarity with some kind of ethereal transnational consciousness - "imagine there's no countries..."

When there's no commitment to nation among the people, there's also a rejection of national values, cultures, and traditions. With this comes a refusal to condemn evil, because one's nation-state is no better than any other. It's just one step from refusal to pledge loyalty to nation to endorsing the horror and terror in places like Mumbai, because logically if the nation-states didn't exist, we'd all be one - no competition, no hatred, no violence. But in refusing to condemn evil, societies surrender to totalitarianism, and in that regime there will be no possibility of conscience, only death.


Anonymous said...

I went to Kathy's site, and noted her tagline: "Loaning brain cells to those in need since 2003."

It is possible that that she exceeded her reserve requirements in such lending, and her borrowers have fallen into arrears on repayment. :)

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Dana!

Ben Sutherland said...

No offense, Donald, but you clearly do not either understand nor are you really honestly seeking to understand such complaints from leftists. I'm not a leftist. But neither do I see them as two steps short of Satan, so I understand, better, their concerns.

He's just saying people should be able to opt out of saying the pledge. Which is true for the same reason that we are made stronger by our ability to opt out of military service. Because it means those who do take both seriously do so because they really believe in it and that sense of purpose that comes with that freedom offers a much more serious strength to our efforts than any effort to coerce loyalty. On that point, he is quite right. And the strength of our military service, today, demonstrates the legitimacy of that point, more broadly.

His disrespect for the rights of conscience of those who do not want to provide abortions is clearly blather and shouldn't be taken seriously, obviously.

The truth is that freedom of conscience is not just fundamental to American and liberal democratic values - which is clearly is and is the basis for most of what would distinguish America and liberal democracies from Jihadists and their ilk - freedom of conscience is fundamental to all of the most serious progress that has occurred in Western societies from at least Martin Luther on (and really before that time, as well).

Conscience should be respected. These kids should be allowed to opt out of the pledge and abortion providers should be able to opt out of abortion procedures.

This is the ground on which repressive forces in America will most clearly and unequivocally lose the battle for hearts and minds of Americans. It is the ground on which Americans will find the most agreement, once they've had some time to think about it. It is the heart of the unequivocal repudiation of repression and repression of religious freedom and freedom of conscience, in particular, in liberal societies.

Freedom of conscience is the most serious and taken-for-granted of strengths in American and liberal democratic cultures.

And repressive forces on the right and the left are in for a rude awakening for how seriously Americans will take this strength.

AmPowerBlog said...


No offense, but you don't read very well. My criticism is focused on the rejection of the "nation-state," not conscience. That's all a bunch of bull that masks hatred of country.

If you're going to comment here, try to make your points germane to the argument at hand.

BB-Idaho said...

Was going to comment, but I suspect it would not be 'germane' :)

Grizzly Mama said...

It has been quite clear that students may opt out of The Pledge since way back when I was a young whipper snapper. So first off, the premise for this person's entire argument is crap.

It's NOT about opting out at all. I agree that it is just another anti-American diatribe, trying to make the case for separating us from our patriotism, which seems to be unique to Americans in the world. Our national pride, our love of country, is mocked and hated by many. It is also the thing that helps to insulate our sovereignty from forces that wish to undo it.

Damn leftists...

Law and Order Teacher said...

Good luck dancing on the head of a pin. I don't think Dr.D. was referring to the pledge itself or an act of conscience. He was making the point that as long as a nation's citizens feel no fealty to the institution of the country and thereby refuse to acknowledge the ideals of it, there really exists no nation. Acknowledging the ideals of a country does not or should not mean that all dissent is wrong. In fact it is correct. That is an act of conscience. Those who wish to destroy this nation in particular and the west in general, count on a lack of loyalty to the nation because it leaves it without a foundation. Those on the left would tear down this country to rebuild it. Our nation's enemies would just tear it down. Either way it's torn down.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rich Casebolt said...

When we replace the maintenance of independent, rights-respecting nation-states with something like Lennon's vision, we eradicate the places of refuge that would protect us from leaders who would impose, upon us all, something like Lenin's vision.

But many refuse to learn from history, if it means they might have to tolerate someone else telling them their irresponsible individual behavior is wrong.

Such as these only learn the lessons written in blood ... fresh blood ... only to forget them when others act to stop that ink supply.

Be careful what you ask for, idealists ...

Anonymous said...

Apparently she hasn't heard of West Virginia v Barnette.

Ben Sutherland said...

Yeah, no offense, Donald, but if you really want to get down to it, this post was about what most of your posts are about:

Hating leftists.

And it is your hatred that is the problem, as much as the hatred of leftists.

Jesus' most important teaching, Donald, was about plucking the beam from one's own eye before plucking the splinter from the eye of your neighbor.

Almost every post I have read, here, Donald, is about you plucking splinters from the eyes of leftists to avoid the hatred and revulsion in your own heart.

That is where a true Christian starts, Donald.

You have work to do.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Those who use their religion as a shield for their politics are bankrupt indeed. No where is it permissable in any Christian nation to engage in wholesale murder of innocent people to push any agenda. Moral relativism is equally bankrupt as a philosophy. In civilized nations, politics is a battle of ideals not bullets. I've seen warfare and it is particularly gruesome. To intentionally inflict it on innocents is an abomination. Read history, don't bend it to fit your ideology.

AmPowerBlog said...


Do you know how to debate an issue?

I don't hate. I simply reject the nihilist left's agenda, and you've done nothing here to refute my points, except to call me a hater.

Again, you're welcome to comment at my blog, but if you're unable to defend an argument - or even make one, except to apologize for America-bashers - why bother?

Ben Sutherland said...

You bullshit often, Douglas?

What you do, Douglas, is look for weak leftist arguments, ignore any legitimate concerns - because, really how could someone on the left ever have a legitimate concern, Donald - and pretend that beating up on weak leftists is really the same thing as having strong arguments yourself.

The truth is that you don't "debate," in the recognizable sense of openended argument with others to learn as well as to offer ideas. You argue so that you can prove that you, and conservatives, generally, are right and that liberals are wrong.

And, really, Donald, when you're right all the time why is it worth debating at all?

I'm sure you think that to yourself all the time.

You opened up the can of psychoanalysis, Donald. Now you get your own dose.

The truth is, Donald, that you can't even imagine that this guy might have a decent point because doing so might mean admitting that, perhaps, just perhaps, a liberal might be right about something and conservatives might not be as omniscient as you would like them to be.

The truth, Douglas, your definition of a debate is "how I now prove to you and the world that I am right, all the time, almost without exception."

And I call that weak, Donald. I further call it weak that you call this guy an America-hater and then can't handle when you get called out on your own hate.

Hate. Superiority. All the same ball of wax, really, Donald, when it comes down to it.

If you really had stronger arguments, Donald, I would understand.

But what you have is a self-righteous notion of the world that is reinforced every time you read someone who disagrees with you because, by definition, you must be right and they must be wrong.

It just so happens that you encountered a post today where, on balance, the guy you were calling a hater was right and you were wrong.

And that just never occurs to you, Donald. Because it's always someone else, isn't it?

Jesus had something to say about that. Splinters. Beams.

You need to spend some time with that one, Donald.

If you're arguing, Donald, your arugments are weak.

But just as you suspect something beneath the surface with this blogger, I suspect something beneath the surface from your own posts.

I don't say that to be hateful. I'm just tired of that nonsense passing for something better than it is and everyone pretending that Jesus or anyone else should be ok with it.

It's self-righteousness. It's pride, pure and simple. And it's the deadliest sin for a reason.

You get to used to playing defense all the time, Donald, you're not learning anymore. That was Jesus' point, actually, once you understand what he was saying.

It's not good for you to get stuck there. It's not good for the guy you're critiquing either. But everyone needs to cut it out.

Jesus wasn't talking to liberals or conservatives when he said that. He was talking to all of us.

And in the meantime, we need to be respecting everyone's conscience much better.

That's what got him killed, remember? That people lost track of that. All in the name of being right.

Other than that, you're a smart guy with a smart blog, Donald. Listen more and defend the faith less and it'll be smarter. I guarantee it.

AmPowerBlog said...

Ben says:

"If you're arguing, Donald, your arugments [sic] are weak."

You've never even addressed my argument, except to say that we should respect conscience, although that's not what this post is about.

Then, rather than address what I said, you allege that I opened a can of worms and now should be psychoanalyzed. That is what you want to do, Ben. This post is about ideas, ideas which apparently are over your head.

If I'm not correct on this point, demonstrate it. The only one who has used the word "hate" is you, in the meaning you want to express, and that's because I suspect you hate those with whom you can't master in a logical exchange.

I'll help you; here's the key passage, which you need to refute:

"When there's no commitment to nation among the people, there's also a rejection of national values, cultures, and traditions. With this comes a refusal to condemn evil, because one's nation-state is no better than any other. It's just one step from refusal to pledge loyalty to nation to endorsing the horror and terror in places like Mumbai, because logically if the nation-states didn't exist, we'd all be one - no competition, no hatred, no violence. But in refusing to condemn evil, societies surrender to totalitarianism, and in that regime there will be no possibility of conscience, only death."

To address this you need to be able to extricate the importance of language, ethnicity, culture, and patriotism in sustaining a functioning state. Leftists, in my opinion, do not want to maintain the current state - as in state bureaucratic regime - in America, because that regime is built on capitalist power and the legitimated use of coercive force, including military force.

If you can tell me why Comment at Left Field is not really getting to that point, much like John Lennon did in "Imagine," then you can "win" the debate.

Does that sound fair? Can you do that without attacking me with puerile ad hominems?

Anonymous said...

"Leftists, in my opinion, do not want to maintain the current state - as in state bureaucratic regime - in America, because that regime is built on capitalist power and the legitimated use of coercive force, including military force."

That strikes me as a straw man that you're arguing against. When you say that leftists want to dismantle the bureaucratic state because it is based on capitalism, who are you including as 'leftists'? To be sure, there are communists and anarchists in America who want to overturn the current economic order, and they could be described as 'the left'. But they are a pretty tiny minority of the political spectrum.

I think you see a desire to dismantle the state a lot more on the right side of the political spectrum - in extreme forms with libertarians, but also with mainstream Republican figures like Grover Norquist.

But getting back to the pledge of allegiance, what do you think of West Virginia v Barnette? Was the Supreme Court mistaken in finding that it was a violation of the first amendment to force Jehova Witnesses to say the pledge to the flag? Does the state have a compelling interest in enforcing participation in a civic ritual that trumps our individual rights to freedom of religion and conscience?

And what is the link between pledging allegiance to a nation-state and one's ability to condemn evil? That is, you see a lot of violence being carried out in the name of the nation state - far more in the past 100 years or so than by non-state actors. Civic rituals were a pretty prominent part of Nazi rule. That isn't to say that nationalism always tends towards violence or tyranny, but promoting loyalty to the nation hasn't been unambiguously good throughout history.

Tom the Redhunter said...

Ben just can't take any criticism of the left.

I followed the link to Left Field and read the whole post. I don't think that Kathy (the author) just wants to "opt out," as Ben says.

Her "ideal solution would be to stop declaring fealty to the nation-state every morning. Next best would be removing the phrase “under God.”" Later she says that "the least we can do is include an opt-out provision" but it's clear that her real goal is do do alway with the pledge altogether.

Why? She claims it's all about "freedom of conscience" but if there's an opt-out provision, that's covered.

I therefore think that Donald nailed it exactly; she just hates her country.

And Ben Sutherland, you do have a way of writing quite a bit without saying anything of substance. I don't know why Donald bothers responding to you at all.

JD said...

Reject the "nation-state". The pledge of allegiance is nothing more than the government trying to control the populace.

Ben Sutherland said...

"This essay is about hating your country."

You bullshit often, Donald? Because you do it badly.

You and I both know that your post was not just about making a point.

You dismissed this person's argument about conscience because the truth is that you don't take this person's conscience or matters of conscience, generally, at all, seriously, except when they conform to your own. The fact that this matter might be an important matter to this person's conscience just never occurred to you because your conscience on this matter is all that you ever considered might matter.

And that is the problem, Donald.

To the extent that this guy hates his country, as you so clearly wrote for the whole world to see, your protestations to the contrary, I think it is very likely that you, too, hate the very leftists who you say hate America.

And if I'm wrong, Donald, then you, too, are likely wrong that this person hates America instead of what s/he so plainly argued: that schoolchildren being compelled to say the pledge of allegiance was a matter of a conscience and the right not to do so should be respected.

Now, the truth, Donald, is that I had no prima facie reason to assume, up front, that either of you hated anything.

But then, despite your defensiveness on the matter, Donald, raised the issue in your post and then in your following comment.

And it got me thinking...

"Maybe he's right. Maybe they're both driven by hate, to one degree or another. Maybe this isn't about an argument, at all, but someone who so loathes what another person stands for that they can't even imagine that they might have a legitimate concern that should be attended to and listened to more carefully. Maybe this isn't just any old kind of misunderstanding.

Because if it wasn't driven by hate, why did Donald not even consider that there was an explanation in good faith for why this person believed as they did?"

Good question, don't you think, Donald.

Which left me with the conclusion that either a) you saw the hate that you, too, have in your heart, b) that you are just not smart enough to deduce an understanding of why someone you disagree with thinks as they do, or 3) and perhaps most likely, that you just willfully disregard the thinking of people you don't agree with (there's a name for that; I'm trying to remember, starts with a p, the deadliest of deadly sins)

Left Field made straightforward arguments. And you just ignored them to gloss over for your own interpretation. And then you whine that I'm doing the same.

So let's play, Donald.

Let's start with your most recent argument:

"Leftists, in my opinion, do not want to maintain the current state - as in state bureaucratic regime - in America, because that regime is built on capitalist power and the legitimated use of coercive force, including military force."

Um, no offense, Donald, but have you been watching the same Democratic party or European socialists that I've been watching? They're all about the state, my friend. That's the problem, really. I'm no leftist. I'm a independent-minded, classical liberal. I'm a limited-government, free market conservative. I'm John Stuart Mill with some bite. Leftists, on the other hand, lurve the government. They lurve it so much that they think that it can somehow substitute for the free market to generate a robust economy that more than adequately provides for all of our needs. They just happen to be wrong about that. It is my biggest reservation about a President Obama. And history will vindicate my position on this matter, I have no doubt. Why? Because free markets do work better and the whole history of the world is one long history of repression failing to keep up with that brilliant and remarkable history.

So, short answer, Donald:

No, I don't believe that leftists are trying to undermine the legitimacy of the state. If you haven't noticed, they (and the Bush Administration, sadly) have been bulking up that state in a serious way for the last 8 years and have plans of bulking it up, further, in the next 4 (or 8, depending on how strong a Republican candidate we can field to challenge a President Obama).

Do we want people to be patriotic and care about their country? Yes. I do, at least. But the problem is not that too few people are doing this, Donald, it is that too many people do it, around the world. We actually have a pretty healthy sense of humility in liberal democracies relative to less free, less democratic parts of the world, leftists and all.

Do leftists hate their country, as you are implying? Obviously not. Not most of them. Haven't we already been through this debate enough in this country. They just disagree with you, Donald. It's not personal to you or Lady Liberty. And Lady Liberty doesn't swing your way, every time, no offense. And they, rightly, sense that your flag-waving is, in part, a way of arguing, "The reason why you don't agree with me is because you don't love America as much as I do." Which, of course, is bullshit, which is why they think you're a weenie when you argue it, ad hominen and all. And you implicitly make it personal with that line of argument, Donald, which is why, no matter how much you try to weasel your way out of this one, that you're getting something of a personal response. Because I saw you do it, I'm watching you try to weasel your way out of it, and I'm calling you out because what you're doing is not only wrong on the argument, there is a strong smell of intellectual bullying, which I don't much stomach, Dr. Douglas, I don't give a rat's ass who engages in it.

It doesn't make you a bad man. It makes you a good and smart man who is abusing his smarts in this situation, and just happens to be wrong on the substance.

So, back to that substance.

I know that you believe that the exercise of power guarantees all of the things you say you favor, including the development of conscience. On that fact you are just plain wrong and Jesus and Martin Luther King would both say so to you personally, if they could be here to do so. In fact, what they'd tell you is that, if you didn't notice, these two men of enormous conscience, both of them proving their courage of conscience much more seriously than anything you or I have ever done in our lifetimes, did so AGAINST the will of the state and the exercise of power over them and over others like them. And they were both right, on each point. Meaning, most of the most serious, honest, and genuinely powerful moments of serious conscience have occurred in opposition to power, not at its behest. Most of the use of power over the course of human history has involved people who BELIEVED that their power was necessary to enforce conscience - Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, most notoriously, in the 20th century.

But the plain fact to everyone but them, when it was all said in done, is that not only had they not acted in accordance with conscience, but they had been bluffing the entire time. The truth, Donald, was that those men who really believed what you are arguing, not as a matter of abstraction, but as a matter of a historical fact of their all too successful will to power, were not, as it turned out, men of conscience, at all.

Instead, they were men of very serious flaws of conscience who rationalized those flaws in the name of some cause of conscience.

And those two men engaged in some of the most substantial evil that this world has ever seen, as a consequence.

That was the point of Jesus' aphorism.

People of true conscience, Donald, look at themselves, first, and others, second. And those who fail to see their own pride are not at all a new phenomenon. They were the very kind of men and women who murdered that good and decent man. And they did so on the very premise that you are arguing.

And they were wrong. And you are too.

This is not a leftist telling you this, Donald. The person writing these words just happens to be a very serious man of conscience. And I can smell bullshit a thousand miles away.

"When there's no commitment to nation among the people, there's also a rejection of national values, cultures, and traditions."

It's so funny you'd argue this, Donald, in the context of these tragic and evil murders in Mumbai. Because that is exactly what Muslim nationalists in Pakistan and Hindu nationalists in India and ugly and hateful nationalists the world over argue to rationalize all of the worst abuses of their hateful power-mongering and of their governments. Cuban nationalists argue the same point to rationalize the ugliness of Fidel Castro and his regime. North Korean nationalists argue the same for their Supreme Leader.

So, while I think a healthy sense of patriotism is a good thing, I don't think the kind of patriotism you are calling for is either healthy or anything resembling genuine conscience, which operates out of our free will and not out of coercion.

Which was exactly the blogger's point, which is why he was right and you were wrong on that point.

How about that for moral clarity?

I think what your argument stems from, Donald, is just a fundamental misunderstanding of liberalism and from where its premises derive.

Liberals don't like to declare things evil, typically, because they think that we should give people more space to screw up and not call them bad people for it. It's a point I happen to agree with it, even as I, too, am bothered by the lack of precise language and moral clarity.

But the bottom line is that you just don't understand them very well. I do, because I grew up a liberal, even as I, in no way, identify as a liberal, in that statist, radical, leftist tradition, today. I do identify with those who originated the term, classical liberals who took seriously the etymology of that term - liberaty - and which is the basis for both modern liberalism and conservativism, today, which is why I freely take from the best ideas of both liberals and conservatives, today, and identify, not in the least, exclusively with them or any group, for that matter.

I take independent conscience seriously. You should too, since it is the heart of liberal democratic values that you say your are defending. But I'm discovering that to do so is just too tough for some people when it means defending the consciences of other people and not just themselves.

And you just happened to pick a fight, here (you say it's an argument, and then you say this guy/girl hates his/her country), that not only were you wrong about, but which you proceeding to try to psychoanalyze your way around because it just never occurred to you that you, a upstanding, righteous conservative intellectual, could be wrong about anything.

And that is the problem, Donald. And that is why I called you out on it.

And there is no weaseling your way out of this one, in the real world. Play games all you want to in your head. The fact is that you are being defensive on a matter that you are both wrong about and that you condescended this person's quite reasonable position of conscience and tried to intellectually strong-arm your way through by pretending that your disagreement was just an argument when, in fact, you had overtly argued that this person hated their country because they didn't agree with you and then tried to weasel your way around that by intellectualizing the whole exercise.

And then when you got called on the same, you backtracked instead of owning up.

And not owning up on these questions is exactly what is wrong with the world, right now, Donald. And it is exactly what leads to the nonsensical conclusion that power and not respect for conscience is necessary to avoid a regime where, in your words, "there will be no possibility of conscience, only death."

If I'm using too much intellectual muscle, here, Donald, I apologize. But I don't like watching people with intellect manipulating their way through conversations where they are insulting peoples' love for their country, where they are disrespecting their conscience, an argument about respecting conscience, doing so all in the name of preserving conscience, and just can't admit they are being a jerk.

You need to understand people better, Donald, and their arguments and their consciences, before you go dismissing all three.

Power is best exercised consistent with our highest conscience, Donald. Not at its expense or pretending to be its better.

The Catholic Church already tried that approach, Donald. And Martin Luther had one or two things to say about the matter.

And what he said changed the world, the power of the church be damned.

Because it is conscience that people respond to, not power, in the end. Power invites conflict always. It is sometimes necessary, when persuasion will fail and people are in real danger. But it never persuades, not even when it overwhelms. Persuasion, genuine Change of mind and heart, only occurs through appeal to free will and conscience, always. And that is the only way that people ever come to any good conclusion, power be damned. And has been for the long run of human history.

And respecting that freedom of conscience is the heart of the most serious progress in liberal democracies and even in illiberal and undemocratic states.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is actually a kindred spirit with you, on this point. And he is wrong too. And I don't care how much power he wields. It will never be legitimate as long as it does used in the service of a more honest and decent conscience and as little as possible to boot.

The irony, Donald, is that you have more in common with those terrorists and despots that you rightly villify with that argument.

They would agree. That's why they're trying to kill us.

Maybe there's a better approach.

AmPowerBlog said...


I am really indulging you, just so you know.

1) As I said previously, you don't read well, for example:

"Leftists, in my opinion, do not want to maintain the current state."

The key word here, which you missed, would be "CURRENT." I never said leftists don't like "the state," as in the definitional sense of the legitmate legal authority which exercises sovereignty over a land and people. No, I said leftist don't like the "current" state, that is the current American constitutional regime.

Go back and start over at the beginning.

2) I repeat, you are smuggling in this idea of "hate" when I didn't say I hated anyone. Kathy at Comments at Left Field is clearly hostile to the U.S. nation-state, the pledge of allegiance to that state, the insertion of God in that pledge, and the fact that a majority of Republicans think students should be required to say that pledge.

I've not once said people don't have a right of conscience. I have said that Kathy's post is a classic example of left-wing ant-Americanism.

3) For all your huffing and puffing, you still have been able to refute that argument, which, again, is what this post is about. If you want to make it into something else, that's your play, but you don't make yourself out to be much of an intellectual, for all your chest thumping to the contrary.

4) Ad hominem is "against the man" in Latin. It means someone engages in personal attacks rather than argumentation. I have not attacked anyone here. It is my opinion that Kathy is anti-American, and that has bothered you so much that you're reduced to calling me a hater and smearing me as a pseudo-terrorist, for example:

"The irony, Donald, is that you have more in common with those terrorists and despots that you rightly villify with that argument."

You've lost this round, Ben. I can see all of this has enraged you, which is not a good sign, for some who claims to be a man of "reason."

Ben Sutherland said...

Yeah, that's about what I expected from you, Donald.

What you did, professor, was to engage in personal attack with Kathy, ignore her central argument because it inconvenienced your thesis, and then intellectually bullshitted your way around both of those facts.

You happen to be wrong on the substance, not that that very often occurs to you, I'm sure. Which is exactly the problem with people like you maintaining the kind of obsession wih power that you maintain. Because it never occurs to you that you are wrong.

Lord Acton had something to say about that.

No offense, Donald, but he knew what he was talking about better.

And that, professor, is why I trust him and not you. And why your side just lost an election. Thanks for confirming for me that America, on balance, made a good decision.

repsac3 said...

Ben, there is no doubt that you have Mr. Douglas pegged, and just as little doubt that he will ever admit any such thing.

Liberals are wrong because they are liberals, & Donald is correct because he isn't a liberal. It doesn't matter the issue; liberals are always wrong, and Don is always correct because he always disagrees with liberals and calls them nihilists.

Kathy at "Left Field" is talking about the right of conscience. Donald wishes to ignore that, in favor of his chosen thesis; That Kathy (& therefore every liberal) is anti-American because she sees the Pledge as a Loyalty oath, and the addition of "under God" as an affront to those who don't share the majority belief in an all-powerful Deity, or the notion that that all-powerful Deity chose America as the second Promised Land.

Donald says "All the blather about religion and conscience is mostly bull."


Zero. Donald believes it, therefore it is so, and therefore YOU must prove him wrong, otherwise he is obviously correct. Because he said so... ...of course.

Donald says Kathy's essay is about hating our country. He couldn't be more wrong. There is nothing hateful to our shared country in her essay. In fact, it's about upholding the values of our country, including that "bull" about right of conscience.

While Donald quotes from Imagine, nothing Kathy says fits with the idea of no nations or loyalties to anyone or anything. Donald is seeing what he wishes to see, as a result of his bias against anyone & everyone who doesn't view the world just as he does. Donald is making it up as he goes along.

Liberals love their country enough to criticize those leaders & followers who stray from the ideals that make this country great. (Many of which are also counted among those "national values, cultures, and traditions," woven into the American psyche, though not necessarily the same ones folks like Donald believe are worthy.)

Kathy is fully willing to condemn evil, as are most liberals. We just don't see it as simplistically as does Donald & others of his ilk. Evil ain't "the muzzies." It's fundamentalists who use violent deeds, images, & words to condemn anything they do not or do not wish to understand. Muslims in general are fine. Many of 'em are loyal Americans, even, who serve, fight, & die for this country just like Americans of all other faiths & those of no faith do (again putting the lie to the concept of "a Christian nation.")

The idea that "It's just one step from refusal to pledge loyalty to nation to endorsing the horror and terror in places like Mumbai" is a hateful, hateful thing to say, but it sums up Donald's beliefs perfectly. It's all about the oath, but not about what the oath is being sworn to. America first last & always, regardless of what any elected official, military person, or plain old citizen says or does on behalf of Her. America, & all Americans are always, always right, and citizen (or non-citizen) who does not swear that oath of fealty to America's inevitable rightness in all things might as well be a murderous terrorist. Dissent is disloyalty. (At least until Jan 20th, when it'll suddenly become one's duty, again.)

Donald never proved his case, and yet, he expects you to prove him wrong. It's classic.

Kathy never speaks of rejection of the nation-state, but of rejection of a loyalty oath to the nation-state, which is a whole other thing. (Grace is far closer to rejecting the nation-state, if you ask me... I find her comments about America of late to be quite disturbing, but believe that she too has the right to refuse her country, if that is her wish. I only hope she secedes soon, so as to spare those of us who still love this country her continuing diatribes against it.)

Those on the left do wish to change some aspects of America as it's been under Republicans... But this is no different than those on the right wishing to change some things after a few years of Democratic rule. America is constantly changing and generally expanding the rights & freedoms it offers it's citizens. The "current state" is seldom current for long.
(The idea that there are many anti-capitalist leftists out to fundamentally change the nature of this country into a commie-socialist state is of course, hogwash. There are a few such voices but, except for Donald & those of his ilk, who use those few to malign everyone on the left with the words of the few crackpots, no one takes them seriously, and America is not going Communist anytime soon... or ever.)

Kathy is opposed (even here, I would not say hostile) to the notion that a majority of Republicans want to change the freedom of conscience we all currently have not to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and make it a mandatory act for all children. She believes it is an affront to the ideals of the CURRENT STATE, and an unwelcome change from those ideals. She does believe that the pledge amounts to a loyalty oath, and believes one should not swear loyalty oaths to one's country. In that, she is far from alone. I see no hostility to the nation, at all... (As I say above, speaking out in favor of upholding the values of the nation speaks to a love of country, not hostility toward it.)

That Donald accuses you of changing the subject, considering his willful misreading of Kathy's post to further his own ends, is more than ironic...

Ben Sutherland said...

By the way, Donald, Thomas Sowell just wrote a piece on snotty intellectuals you might check out.

Generally, my feeling is that their abilities should at least match their snottiness. Just for the record.

AmPowerBlog said...


When someone resorts to profanity as much as yourself, it's a dead giveaway that they're shooting blanks.

You're a teacher, I gather. No offense, but your students are not well served by an instructor who refuses to engage an argument on the merits.

I have now given you two chances to rebut the argument at my post. As I said before, the issue is Kathy's refusal to pledge allegiance to the U.S., because she hates what this country stands for ... she said so herself, with special reference to God.

The issue is not conscience. Let's say Kathy was vegan, that she refused to eat, as a matter of conscience, any food containing animal matter, I could respect that. I respect her conscience.

What I don't respect is her hatred of the United States, comments that she prefaced by a long screed against Republicans. But that I can understand. Republicans overwhelming love this country and what it stands for ... they are, in other words, patriotic. They, moreover, don't mind saying the Pledge of Allegiance because it means something. It means they are willling to put their nation above all others, unlike leftists who refuse to condemn evil and privilege all world cultures as equal - even superior - to the United States. Republicans rightly believe children should be required to say the Pledge as a matter of political acculturation.

I imagine you don't like this country so much either, and repeatedly reminding me that the Democrats won an election doesn't prove anything. Gay marriage bans passed in all three states where it was on the ballot, and that's a strong enough indicator for conservatives to be strenghtened in the rightness of their ideals. Had the market not collapsed in September, McCain whould be making his transition to the White House right now. The strength of conservative values is why the nihilist left has attacked elderly woman, blacks and Mormons, and why they continue to demonize Sarah Palin. They are scared, simple as that. They've won a fleeting victory for market collectivization, but no more. They did not win on national security, and certainly not on moral righteousness.

Anyway, I've indulged you more than I usually do others (so you should be proud of yourself), and the more I engage this debate (not really a "debate," of course, unless one has a someone with who to actually debate), the angrier and more disrespectful you get.

Comments at Left Field is one more nihilist, collective left-wing blog, staffed by people who revile conservatives who love this country.

Nothing you have said even addresses these points. "Freedom of conscience" is a foil for America-bashing for Kathy, and it's an excuse for you to avoid actually thinking.

Ben Sutherland said...

Donald. I know you don't get it. But I think you just confirmed my arguments with that little screed.

I don't know if you're capable of taking responsibility for what is really in your heart, Donald. Actually, I know you're capable. I just don't know if you're willing.

The truth is I was right the first time. You can't even imagine that liberals disagree with you as a matter of conscience because you hate them so much.

And so you do.

The difference between you and I, Donald, is that I can disagree with leftists and not hate them. I sure feel like it sometimes. Paul Krugman sure inspires my ire, these days.

But someone who is confident in their ideas, Donald, does not have to hate those they disagree with. They can just disagree.

That's one of the benefits of a solid and confident conscience, Dr. Douglas. And when your ideas are strong, there's no reason to hate those who disagree with them. If they really are strong, they'll be taken seriously. If they're not, they won't.

And the honest man can acknowledge that when his ideas are strong only when they gain that kind of traction in a strong, robust democratic culture like our own.

Are you willing to subject your ideas to that ultimate test, Donald?

Because I am.

And something tells me that those little pyrrhic victories against gay rights are not going to hold up to America's love from freedom and more genuine and honest democratic engagement.

Because those are not values that are either left or right. Those are values that are wholly American.

And that is why I love this country, Donald.