December 18, 2004

Progressive Patriotism

George Orwell is one of my favorite writers, not so much for his novels (which are great) but for the essays he wrote during World War II. One of the pleasures of re-reading his work is to see how the more things change the more they don’t change at all. Also, as a side note, though it's not what he intended, he shows better than most how closely England resembles America.

In England Your England he wrote about the divorce of patriotism from leftism.
In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British. It is questionable how much effect this had, but it certainly had some. If the English people suffered for several years a real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they were ‘decadent’ and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual sabotage from the Left was partly responsible. Both the New Statesman and the News Chronicle cried out against the Munich settlement, but even they had done something to make it possible. Ten years of systematic Blimp-baiting affected even the Blimps themselves and made it harder than it had been before to get intelligent young men to enter the armed forces. Given the stagnation of the Empire, the military middle class must have decayed in any case, but the spread of a shallow Leftism hastened the process.

It is clear that the special position of the English intellectuals during the past ten years, as purely negative creatures, mere anti-Blimps, was a by-product of ruling-class stupidity. Society could not use them, and they had not got it in them to see that devotion to one's country implies ‘for better, for worse’. Both Blimps and highbrows took for granted, as though it were a law of nature, the divorce between patriotism and intelligence. If you were a patriot you read Blackwood's Magazine and publicly thanked God that you were ‘not brainy’. If you were an intellectual you sniggered at the Union Jack and regarded physical courage as barbarous. It is obvious that this preposterous convention cannot continue. The Bloomsbury highbrow, with his mechanical snigger, is as out-of-date as the cavalry colonel. A modern nation cannot afford either of them. Patriotism and intelligence will have to come together again.

Patriotism and intelligence will have to come together again. Can they? Of course. But I can’t say it’s an encouraging prospect considering how very long ago he wrote those words.

That doesn’t stop some of us from thinking about it, though. Via Roger L. Simon I discovered a new blog called Done With Mirrors. The blog’s author Callimachus wrote an essay called Progressive Patriotism. It is your required reading over the weekend.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 18, 2004 12:16 AM
Comments
My favourite Orwell quote:
That rifle on the wall of the laborer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there!
- 1940, in the democratic socialist weekly "Tribune," quoted in "Orwell: The Authorized Biography," by Michael Shelden Posted by: John Bartley K7AAY at December 18, 2004 12:53 AM

I am from England and I too like Orwell (although he's not without faults.)

It's noticable that various political groups claim Orwell as their own. I suppose that is an indication of the importance of what he had to say.

Two further points:

A common mistake is to regard 1984 as a prediction... It was actually partly satire, although containing a warning. But it was not meant to be prophetic.

And I always think a combination of the work of Huxley and Orwell render a more accurate possible future, or even present...

But don't get too depressed - there's always H.G. Wells, John Wyndham, Arthur Conan Doyle...

Posted by: Benjamin at December 18, 2004 04:25 AM

Orwell's quote not withstanding, British gun control between the wars severely limited the number of guns in private hands. When WWII broke out this put constraints on arming the Home Guard. Americans responded by sending their privately owned rifles to Britain.

After the war, the British government reverted to form and those donated rifles were confiscated and destroyed.

Next time, screw 'em.

BTW: You forgot Kipling, Benjamin. God of the Copybook Headings is one of my favorites.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 18, 2004 04:43 AM

Check out James Burnham's "Suicide of the West," which I read as a high school freshman in 1964. Like Orwell, Burnham was a former Leftist whose eyes had been opened to the reality of hypocrisy and totalitarianism among his former comrades. What made his book so striking to my young mind was how he demonstrated that too often the differences between liberals and lefties are merely of degree, not of fundamental conviction. Thus, there are no enemies on the Left if you are a liberal and your ability to see the truth about totalitarian leftist regimes and personalities is all but incapacitated. Your critical faculties can only focus on your own regime and its faults.

Posted by: Mark Tapscott at December 18, 2004 06:47 AM

Mark,
I have to disagree with you. As a liberal, I am horrified at leftist totalitarianism. That is why this is one of the few blogs that I read with regularity.I don't think I have any incapacity whatsoever to see the truth about leftist totalitarian regimes and personalities.

Posted by: miriam at December 18, 2004 08:10 AM

Mark Tapscott,

Orwell has remarks on Burnham in several places. His main observation was that Burnham tended to project current trends into the future as if things would always continue in just the same direction. Reminds a bit of the current bru-ha-ha about the EU being overrun by Muslims due to their birth rate. I haven't read Burnham myself, so can't comment on the matter myself.

Michael:

I think the attitude Orwell speaks of really came into being after the suicide of European civilization in WWI. Some of the left, the communists, for instance, felt that they could not support their countries in the war. In the beginning they were pushed to the side, but after the war they appeared vindicated. Indeed, after the war it was fashionable to consider anyone who took part as some sort of idiot, from the generals to the politicians, to the citizens who went off to fight. Those who came of age immediately after WWI were very different from those who marched off to the trenches five years before.

Posted by: chuck at December 18, 2004 08:14 AM

ah, but you quoted the wrong bit.

"England is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare’s much-quoted message, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control—that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase."

I love the combination of exasperation & clear affection for his country.

Have you read Camus? You really ought to. I love Orwell's writing but I love Camus' even more. I'm talking about the essays, not the novels--I've never been much for his novels.

"In this way the Right abandoned the monopoly of the moral reflex to the Left, which yielded to it the monopoly of the patriotic reflex. The country suffered doubly. We could have used moralists less joyfully resigned to their country's misfortune and patriots less ready to allow torturers to claim they were acting in the name of France.... If I annoy anyone by writing this, I ask him merely to think for a moment about the divergence between the ideological reflexes. Some what their country to identify itself wholly with justice, and they are right. But is it possible to be just and free in a dead or subjugated nation? And does not absolute purity for a nation coincide with historical death? Others want the very body of their country to be defended against the whole universe if need be, and they are not wrong. But is it possible to survive as a people without doing reasonable justice to other peoples? France is dying through inability to solve this dilemma."

I quoted that in my first ever blog post. It's much more true now than it was then. Depressing.

Posted by: Katherine at December 18, 2004 08:22 AM

Re: the source of the world "lollapalooza" as mentioned in the linked article - it doesn't seem to be, as claimed, a password used by Marines, it came from a Three Stooges film, according to Wikipedia.

Re: the alleged Orwell gun quote. I've never encountered that one before, and aside from ad nauseum requoting on pro-gun websi.tes, I can't seem to track down the original. And as the spelling of "laborer" in the quote above is American, not British, it makes my "this is a myth" spidey sense go all tingley.

Re: Burnham. I've read Burnham's "Managarial Revolution" which deeply influenced Orwell, and was the source of his three-superpower war in 1984, and was also the basis of his IngSoc party structure. I don't recall Orwell being particularily critical of Burnham.

And about Mark's assertion: Thus, there are no enemies on the Left if you are a liberal and your ability to see the truth about totalitarian leftist regimes and personalities is all but incapacitated.

As Orwell was a leftist, and was (to my eye at least) extremely aware of the dangers of left-wing totalitarianism, I'd say that your postulate is bunk.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 18, 2004 09:31 AM

Further on that Orwell "gun on the labourer's wall" quote. Stupid spidey sense may be broken, it seems like it's valid. Makes sense, Orwell certainly knew one end of the gun from the other.

Speaking of Orwell quotes, here's a fun one:
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it. Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homocidal maniac.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 18, 2004 09:37 AM

DPU:

The Orwell of 1940 is a very different Orwell than the Orwell of 1945. Or the Orwell of the early 30's. One of the fun things in reading Orwell is watching him mature. What I also enjoy is that he is a Victorian at heart, socialist or no. Wonder what his position would have been if he had survived another 10-20 years?

Posted by: chuck at December 18, 2004 09:50 AM

Katherine,

I do like Camus (his novels, I haven't read his essays.) In your cited quote he was writing (obviously) about Algeria. I do hope you aren't drawing too many comparisons between Iraq and Algeria. They are only alike in the most superficial of ways.

Please see Christopher Hitchens on this point.

---

Guerrillas in the Mist

Why the war in Iraq is nothing like The Battle of Algiers.

By Christopher Hitchens

Having been screened by the special operations department of the Pentagon last August (see Charles Paul Freund's piece in Slate), The Battle of Algiers is now scheduled for a run at the New York Film Forum. Unless I am wrong, this event will lead to a torrent of pseudo-knowing piffle from the armchair guerrillas (well, there ought to be a word for this group). I myself cherished the dream of being something more than an armchair revolutionary when I first saw this electrifying movie. It was at a volunteer work-camp for internationalists, in Cuba in the summer of 1968. Che Guevara had only been dead for a few months, the Tet rising in Vietnam was still a fresh and vivid memory, and in Portuguese Africa the revolution was on the upswing. I went to the screening not knowing what to expect and was so mesmerized that when it was over I sat there until they showed it again. I was astounded to discover, sometime later on, that Gillo Pontecorvo had employed no documentary footage in the shooting of the film: It looked and felt like revolutionary reality projected straight onto the screen.

When I next saw it, in Bleecker Street in the Village in the early 1970s, it didn't have quite the same shattering effect. Moreover, in the audience (as in that Cuban camp, as I later found out) there were some idiots who fancied the idea of trying "urban guerrilla" warfare inside the West itself. The film had a potently toxic effect on Black Panthers, Weathermen, Baader-Meinhof, and Red Brigade types. All that needs to be said about that "moment" of the Left is that its practitioners ended up dead or in prison, having advanced the cause of humanity by not one millimeter.

Those making a facile comparison between the Algerian revolution depicted in the film and today's Iraq draw an equally flawed analogy. Let me mention just the most salient differences.

1) Algeria in 1956—the "real time" date of the film—was not just a colony of France. It was a department of metropolitan France. The slogan of the French Right was Algérie Française. A huge population of French settlers lived in the country, mainly concentrated in the coastal towns. The French had exploited and misgoverned this province for more than a century and were seeking to retain it as an exclusive possession.

2) In 1956, the era of French and British rule in the Middle East had already in effect come to an end. With the refusal by President Eisenhower to countenance the Anglo-French-Israeli attack on Egypt at Suez in November of that year, the death-knell of European colonialism had struck. There was no military tactic that could have exempted a near-bankrupt France from this verdict. General Massu in Algiers could have won any military victory he liked and it would have changed nothing. Frenchmen as conservative as Charles de Gaulle and Raymond Aron were swift to recognize this state of affairs.

Today, it is Arab nationalism that is in crisis, while the political and economic and military power of the United States is virtually unchallengeable. But the comparison of historical context, while decisive, is not the only way in which the Iraq analogy collapses. The French could not claim to have removed a tyrannical and detested leader. They could not accuse the Algerian nationalists of sponsoring international terrorism (indeed, they blamed Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt for fomenting the FLN in Algiers itself). They could not make any case that Algerian nationalism would violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty or even threaten to do so. Thus, French conscripts—not volunteers—and Algerian rebels were sacrificed for no cause except the lost and futile one of French reaction. The right-wing generals of the Algeria campaign, and some of the extreme settlers, actually did conduct an urban guerrilla rearguard action of their own, in Paris as well as Algeria, and did try to bring off a military coup against de Gaulle, but they had been defeated and isolated by 1968.

I would challenge anybody to find a single intelligent point of comparison between any of these events and the present state of affairs in Iraq. The only similarity that strikes the eye, in point of guerrilla warfare, is that the toughest and most authentic guerrilla army in Iraq—the Kurdish peshmerga—is fighting very effectively on the coalition side. Not even the wildest propaganda claims of the Baathist and jihadist sympathizers allege that the tactics of General Massu are being employed by General Abzaid or General Sanchez: Newspaper and political party offices are being opened not closed, and just last month the Saddam ban on Iraqi pilgrims making the hajj to Mecca was rescinded.

If one wants to make a serious Algerian analogy, however, there are far more recent events on which to base a comparison. During the 1990s a very bitter war was fought, in the casbah of Algiers and Oran as well as in the countryside, between the FLN (now an extremely shabby ruling party) and the forces of Islamic jihad. A very great number of people were slaughtered in this war, which featured torture and assassination and terror of every description. I have seen estimates of deaths that exceed 150,000. The FLN eventually won the war with the backing of three forces: the Algerian army, the secularized urban middle class, and the Berbers or Kabyles who make up one of the Arab world's largest non-Arab minorities. It wasn't very pretty, and it involved the use of some repulsive measures, but if Algeria had fallen to the fundamentalists the bloodbath would have been infinitely worse and the society would have been retarded almost to the level of Afghanistan. Millions of people would have left or tried to leave, creating a refugee crisis in France and perhaps giving M. Jean-Marie Le Pen (a brutish and boastful veteran of the first Algerian war) an even better shot at the presidency than he managed in his upset first-round triumph in 2002. Fascism would have been the all-round winner.

That "Battle of Algiers," not Pontecorvo's outdated masterpiece, is replete with examples and parallels that ought to be of great interest and relevance to ourselves. Can an Arab and Muslim state with a large non-Arab minority and many confessional differences defeat the challenge of a totalitarian and medieval ideology? In this outcome, we and our Arab and Kurdish friends have a stake, whereas in the battles of the past (as of the present) one can only applaud the humiliation of French unilateralism and neocolonialism, whether it occurs on-screen or off.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 18, 2004 10:03 AM

Patriotism and intelligence will have to come together again.

This will never happen so long as patriotism is defined as mindless adherence to conservative power. In this day and age, why even lament? I love my country, but as long as I am firmly against the self-destructive antiterror policies of the Bush Administration, I am labelled an America-hater.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 18, 2004 10:06 AM

I'm not especially intending to compare Iraq and Algeria. I don't know enough about the specifics of Algeria. To some extent Algeria is a good argument for the right at the moment, as Hitchens notes--as bad as the French occupation was, what followed was incomparably worse. And the brutal Islamist thugs in Algeria probably have quite a bit in common with Zarqawi.

Also, don't think Camus is some knee jerk anti-colonialist just because he's left-of-center. His family was from Algeria.

OTOH Algeria is, quite obviously, a better comparison than the idiotic analogies to World War II the right makes constantly.

Anyway, with that quote, I am thinking more of:

--the indifference to or defense of Abu Ghraib, the torture memos, and various other credibly allegations of abuse by much of the right.

--how for too much* of the left, opposition to Bush's policies and the Iraq war (which in my mind was legitimate and quite correct) is threatening to metastatize into a general belief that terrorism and radical Islam are not real threats that do not need to be forcibly opposed.

*but still a minority and a pretty small minority at that.

Anyway, you should read the essays. "Resistance, Rebellion and Death" is the book I have, and is a less depressing read than it's title might suggest. People group him with Sartre, but he really has much more in common with Orwell, in both style (no one else that I can think of writes so clearly or so well) about these subjectand substance. (e.g. both risked their lives in violent opposition to fascism.)

Posted by: Katherine at December 18, 2004 10:23 AM

Kimmitt,

Has it ever occurred to you that you're a reactionary? Orwell wrote that sentence before George W. Bush was even born.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 18, 2004 10:25 AM

Katherine,

I don't think Camus was a knee-jerk anti-colonialist. Opposition to French colonialism put him on the right side of history. If the Bush Administration wanted to annex Iraq, as France annexed Algeria, I would be one of his staunchest opponents.

(Although, as you passively note by your mention of Sarte, it is certainly possible to be an anti-colonialist and a fool at the same time.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 18, 2004 10:29 AM

I like the Done With Mirrors essay. His.her emphasis on the basic goodness of America is my touchstone for whether the person with whom I am speaking is worth my time. If they are willing to grant that the United States is a source of great good in the world, then I'm willing to discuss our myriad problems/mistakes and see if I can learn something. If they are not willing to grant my premise, then that implies they believe America should be destroyed/changed to something fundamentally different.

THAT person is my enemy.

Posted by: spc67 at December 18, 2004 11:18 AM

Has it ever occurred to you that you're a reactionary?

Of course I'm a reactionary. I want to go back to a time when civil liberties were respected, when politicians were held accountable for failures on their watch, when economic policy consisted of something other than borrowing as much money as physically possible, when Russia's nukes were well on the way to being demilitarized, when the Right felt that it was the duty of patriotic Americans to dissent . . . I'm a reactionary for the good old days of the 90s.

Ah, who am I kidding? You're the one who gleefully shared in the labelling of anyone who opposed the Iraq war as "Saddam-lovers." You're as complicit as any. You yourself are one of those who define patriotism as mindless adherence to conservative foreign policy.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 18, 2004 01:25 PM

..."the good old days of the 90s" ????
dude, what ARE you smoking?

Posted by: jlb at December 18, 2004 02:34 PM

Patriotism

from Heretics by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"Being devoted to this multitudinous vision of duty, Mr. Kipling
is naturally a cosmopolitan. He happens to find his examples
in the British Empire, but almost any other empire would
do as well, or, indeed, any other highly civilized country.
That which he admires in the British army he would find even
more apparent in the German army; that which he desires in the British
police he would find flourishing, in the French police.
The ideal of discipline is not the whole of life, but it is spread
over the whole of the world. And the worship of it tends to confirm
in Mr. Kipling a certain note of worldly wisdom, of the
experience of the wanderer, which is one of the genuine charms of his best work.

The great gap in his mind is what may be roughly called the lack
of patriotism--that is to say, he lacks altogether the faculty of attaching
himself to any cause or community finally and tragically; for all
finality must be tragic. He admires England, but he does not love her;
for we admire things with reasons, but love them without reasons.
He admires England because she is strong, not because she is English.

...Thus Mr. Kipling does certainly know the world; he is a man of the world,
with all the narrowness that belongs to those imprisoned in that planet.
He knows England as an intelligent English gentleman knows Venice.
He has been to England a great many times; he has stopped there
for long visits. But he does not belong to it, or to any place;
and the proof of it is this, that he thinks of England as a place."

Posted by: Virgil K. Saari at December 18, 2004 03:58 PM

dude, what ARE you smoking?

Which of the items I described was not a part of the 90s?

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 18, 2004 03:59 PM

Kimmitt

In 1998, former President Clinton and the US Congress declared war against Saddam for having violated numerous United Nation's resolutions, yet Clinton failed to act upon his own declaration. Instead, Clinton went to war in Kosovo without United Nations approval, he didn't even bother to ask for permission. After all, France and Germany needed a military so he obliged them both yet, our allies did not even help pay the tab! I consider these actions as a dereliction of duty and they both happened in the good ole days of the 90's.

Also, the Enron scam was going on without a peep from anyone while under Clinton's watch. Due in part to much of that corporate fraud, Clinton had created a false economic "bubble" destined to pop.

Plus, on the very last day of his presidency, Clinton pardoned a crook named Marc Rich in exchange for votes who, turns out, was aiding Saddam/United Nations Oil-for-Food scam.

Oh yeah, Clinton perjured himself under oath and before the American people over his sexually-uptight and stupid lie.

Those are the days my friend, I'm so very glad to end.

Posted by: syn at December 18, 2004 04:39 PM

One more thing, I did not vote for Clinton nor did I approve of his domestic policies however, I did support his act to stop the genocide in Kosovo because it was the right thing to do. My support of the war in Kosovo was based on my "patriotic" ideal that America is a place of goodwill and humanity, not for any partisian purposes.

The people against the war in Iraq are not simply against the war in Iraq, they are against an American President, as well as, the goodwill spirit of the American people.

Posted by: syn at December 18, 2004 04:52 PM

Lefties, he's talking about you.

No matter how many times you say it, you aren't patriotic. You aren't "pro-troops", you hate the flag, etc. We know it, you know it. Everybody knows it. End the charade.

And if you won't take my word for it, take George Orwell's.

Posted by: David at December 18, 2004 04:57 PM

David: No matter how many times you say it, you aren't patriotic. You aren't "pro-troops", you hate the flag, etc. We know it, you know it. Everybody knows it. End the charade.

Shorter version - no-one is taking down David's strawmen. So don't even bother trying.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 18, 2004 05:11 PM

Well, David's quote just goes to show, that Orwell sure is versatile.

Michael--I can't stand Sartre, either politically or the experience of trying to slog through those books. "Nausea" is right.

My favorite things by Camus are not actually the Algeria writings, or the famous things like "Reflections on the Guillotine," but the things he wrote during and about WW2. For instance, I remember this quote doing more to pull me together than anything after September 11.

"I relive those pilgrimages I once made with all the men of the West: the roses in the cloisters of Florence; the gilded bulbous domes of Krakow; the Hradschin and its dead palaces; the contorted statues of the Charles Bridge over the Oltava; the delicate gardens of Salzburg. My memory has fused together such superimposed images to make a single face, which is the face of my true native land. And then I feel a pang when I think that, for years now, your shadow has been cast over that vital, tortured face. Yet some of those places are ones that you and I saw together. It never occurred to me that someday we should have to liberate them from you. And even now, at certain moments of rage and despair, I am occasionally sorry that the roses continue to grow in the cloister of San Marco and the pigeons drop in clusters from the Cathedral of Salzburg and the geraniums grow tirelessly in the little cemeteries of Silesia.

But at other moments, and they are the only ones that count, I delight in this. For all those landscapes, those flowers and those plowed fields, the oldest of lands, show you every spring that there are things you cannot choke in blood."

okay, enough with the proselytizing.

Posted by: Katherine at December 18, 2004 05:15 PM

The Orwell of 1940 is a very different Orwell than the Orwell of 1945. Or the Orwell of the early 30's. One of the fun things in reading Orwell is watching him mature.

There is also some speculation that the tuberculosis had affected his mental processes, as he had a lot of behavioural changes, and did some stuff that his long-term friends thought out-of-character for him. But that might be baseless, as he was becoming quite alarmed at the new forms of authoritarianism that were rising in Europe. Maturing? I think that's a bit simplistic. Changing his mind as new conditions required.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 18, 2004 05:17 PM

Which of the items I described was not a part of the 90s?

All of them.

Posted by: Eric Blair at December 18, 2004 05:33 PM

Michael, thank you for the link to "England your England" I was an Orwell-a-phile as a teenager in the late 60s but haven't read anything by him in 35 years, to the best of my memory.

Damn, that man could write! He was writing 65 years ago, about events of the preceding 20-30 years, but his language and observations still have resonance.

I don't want to start, or get involved in, another bun fight, but for any of the conservative commentators who claim Orwell as one of their own, I urge a reading of the full article.

Just one quote:

"...the people picked a leader nearer to their mood, Churchill, who was at any rate able to grasp that wars are not won without fighting. Later, perhaps, they will pick another leader who can grasp that only Socialist nations can fight effectively."

I'm not saying I agree with Orwell, but give the man his due and recognize him for what he was - a lifelong commiteed socialist.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at December 18, 2004 06:55 PM

To some extent Algeria is a good argument for the right at the moment, as Hitchens notes--as bad as the French occupation was, what followed was incomparably worse.

Katherine, the French killed about a million Algerians during the independence war. That is, in my books, worse than the actions of the GIA thirty years later (no matter how bloody and nasty the Islamists were).

Posted by: Pearsall Helms at December 19, 2004 07:23 AM

>>>"There is also some speculation that the tuberculosis had affected his mental processes"

double,

right. Orwell slams quisling Lefties and you think it's because he was going insane. Good one.

If you're going to ignore my "strawmen", how bout you address Orwell's, instead of merely calling him insane.

Posted by: David at December 19, 2004 09:07 AM

But at the same time I've come to view a person's ability to express positive things about the U.S. as a test to distinguish the honest left from the pod-people, Chomskyites, and Moore-istas. -- Callimachus

Is this quote off topic?

Posted by: Curtis at December 19, 2004 09:37 AM

love my country, but as long as I am firmly against the self-destructive antiterror policies of the Bush Administration, I am labelled an America-hater.

I love my country, but as long as I am firmly for the progressive and proactive antiterror policies of the Bush Administration, I am labeled a racist, imperialist thug known as 'an American.' I don't know you, so I don't know for sure if you love this country or not, but if you want to know why leftists tend to be painted with that brush, you need look no further than the uber-leftist -- Michael Moore.

Posted by: Achillea at December 19, 2004 11:47 AM

"Patriotism and intelligence will have to come together again. Can they?"

You think they haven't? Well, well, well... looks like someone's still staring down his nose at those dumb patriots out there. Maybe the problem isn't so much stupid patriots as stupid "intellectuals."

Posted by: Redneck at December 19, 2004 05:40 PM

I see two sides here....the far right and the oh-so-feared-by-the-left PNAC, or far-right....The PNAC scares me also, but right now that is not the fight for patriots to fight....patriots, in other words people that believe that America is a great country, and honestly does only strive for good, need to fight the very unpatriotic far-left, which is epitomized by the ACLU.

America doesn't always succeed in going about the good fight in the right way, but we are entitled to our mistakes. Patriots know we aren't perfect, but they also don't hate it when we are.

Posted by: Kender at December 19, 2004 10:52 PM

Patriotism and Intelligence will have to come together again.

Kimmit is totally correct: This will never happen so long as patriotism is defined as mindless adherence to conservative power.

Unfortunately, he, Mork, and double pretty much always define Michael's expression of patriotism, or anybody's, as mindless adherence to conservative power.

The Left's continued mischaracterization of patriotism, for Bush-hate purposes, is creating a void in the Dem Party. A void of patriotic, constructive criticism. The Leftists here continually delight in pointing out problems, which almost always do exist, but fail utterly at offering better alternative actions. Like cutting spending somewhere in the gov't budget.

Fight Saddam or let him rule, rape, and murder. Those were Bush's choices; Bush chose to take Saddam out. (I'm really looking forward to the upcoming trials, even before the election.) If you oppose Bush's choice, you supported Saddam.

Similar choices in Sudan, or the Congo, today. Take US action or accept thousands of murders. The Left needs to look at real results, not some Unreal Perfection of costless idealism.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at December 20, 2004 01:51 AM

"I love my country, but as long as I am firmly against the self-destructive antiterror policies of the Bush Administration..."

"I love my country, but as long as I am firmly for the progressive and proactive antiterror policies of the Bush Administration..."

Calling for more patriotism is pretty useless unless you can define the term apart from partisan policy.

One of my favorite bits of Orwell is in his article about politics and language, where he points out that no one wants to define "democracy" because everyone wants to be able to use the word to describe themselves and an agreed upon definition would make that inconvenient.

Posted by: Michael Farris at December 20, 2004 01:56 AM

"If you oppose Bush's choice, you supported Saddam."

So, are you in favor of preemptive war against Iran and NKorea? or do you support the mullahs and Li'l Kim? Or will you wait for someone to make that decision for you?

Posted by: Michael Farris at December 20, 2004 03:11 AM

David: right. Orwell slams quisling Lefties and you think it's because he was going insane. Good one.

David, I'd suggest that you learn to read simple sentences instead of eagerly jumping onto whatever partial discussion that props up your simple-minded caricatures of anyone that happens to be to the left of your political stance.

But I doubt that will happen, so here's an emphisized version of what I said that might make it through your reality filter:
There is also some speculation that the tuberculosis had affected his mental processes, as he had a lot of behavioural changes, and did some stuff that his long-term friends thought out-of-character for him. But that might be baseless, as he was becoming quite alarmed at the new forms of authoritarianism that were rising in Europe. Maturing? I think that's a bit simplistic. Changing his mind as new conditions required.
And here's a bit from Wikipedia:
In 1949 Orwell spoke to the Information Research Department, an organization run by the government to encourage the publication of anti-communist propaganda. He offered them information on the "crypto-communist leanings" of some of his fellow writers and advice on how best to spread the anti-communist message. Orwell's motives for this are unclear, though it does not necessarily follow that he had abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted - merely that he detested Stalinism, as he had already made very clear in his earlier published works. Some have also speculated that the tuberculosis from which he suffered had affected him mentally.
I realize that it's an act of the purest optimism to try and clarify this with you, as you seem to be intent on avoiding discourse and instead enjoy attacks based on partisanship rather than opinion. But that's the positive-outlooking kind of guy I am. Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2004 08:56 AM

Similar choices in Sudan, or the Congo, today. Take US action or accept thousands of murders.

And when Bush fails to act in both cases, will he then be a genocide-lover?

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 20, 2004 11:02 AM

Maybe I'm dumb but I think the reason "progressives" sneer at patriotism is the same reason they sneer at people who embrace religion.
Elite people simply don't do such things. Hicks NEED religion. People of vast intelligence do not. Hicks need to be bound by conventional morality. Elites do not.
Waving a flag? Joining the army? Elites don't do that kind of thing. Only the economically desperate join the army.
"Progressives" were once known as snobs by the great unwashed. Gee, when was the last time you heard that expression used by anyone? Anywhere? In the media?

Posted by: jag at December 20, 2004 03:49 PM

I'd suggest that you learn to read simple sentences instead of eagerly jumping onto whatever partial discussion that props up your simple-minded caricatures of anyone that happens to be to the left of your political stance.

poor double. It's not a simple-minded caricature. Orwell essentially said the same thing I'm saying.

Like this:

In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings.

--George Orwell

Simple minded caricature? Not all at. Same thing here in the U.S.

--David

Posted by: David at December 20, 2004 05:57 PM

David, I had no idea that you were channelling the spirit of Eric Blair. Or perhaps you're suggesting that you are fit material to wear his mantle. You have, after all, read two of his books. That should carry you past the obvious discrepancy that he was an intelligent, articulate, non-partisan English socialist, whereas you are none of those things.

In the meantime, may I suggest that you dwell on this from your new-found socialist mentor:
Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.
Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2004 07:46 PM

double,

hahaha! That's your sole argument? That Orwell died a socialist, and that he was non-partisan?

Well, you don't have to convince me about that. That's the only reason he's worth quoting regarding you Leftists.

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