12/22/2003: "Sunshine Patriots"
The Big-C Conservative imperative to preserve privilege and advantage is at the heart of differences over what constitutes patriotism between the people at the two ends of the political spectrum. Right Wingers are constantly patting themselves on the back for their patriotism and love of country, and love to cast everyone else as “America bashers.” They are sincere in this belief. Indeed, in can be argued that there is a basis for their position, although this basis is not that Moderates and Liberals do indeed hate their country or actually engage in what can honestly be called America bashing (as opposed to, say, Administration-bashing, which of course is a very different thing.) The basis for right winger feelings that anyone not sharing their perspective is unpatriotic stems from the reason why, true to their basic impulses, they love America in the first place: they love America’s power and privilege. They take great pride that the United States is the sole remaining superpower, a position they see as an anointment by God Himself. I personally find people who love America for its military power about as admirable as stuck-up playboys who only date models. These are the kind of people that Thomas Paine called “Sunshine Patriots.” Don’t forget that the Founding Fathers loved America before it was a superpower! So given the East Winger love of America’s power and privilege, power based on divine favor, it is entirely consistent that they consider anything that would reduce or impede this power or privilege in any way to be unpatriotic.