November 15, 2005

Questioning Their Patriotism: Between a Rock and...

From David Adesnik, on Oxblog "Are the Democrats Lying?":

"IF THE DEMOCRATS ARE LYING, THEN THEY REALLY ARE UNPATRIOTIC": That is the basic argument that Glenn makes here, and that Tom Maguire has aptly summed up by observing that

I believe there is a substantial difference between "Your false charges are undermining the troops" and "Your criticism is undermining our troops".

I agree with this argument in the abstract, although I don't think that it justifies what George Bush said. For Bush to be in the right, it should be transparently clear that his opponents are lying. I would argue that while the Democrats may not be telling the truth, it is not intentional. Instead, they have succumbed to confusion, short-sightedness, and unthinking resentment of the President.

Which, when you think about it, are ideal qualities to have in a political opponent, aren't they? Not just because an opponent with impaired judgment is easy to outmaneuver, but because they're a little less endearing to folks making up their minds about who ought to be governing them.

Update: David says, later:

It is wrong and offensive to argue that simply changing one's opinion is unpatriotic, regardless of the motive.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that most Democrats have come out against the invasion only because of the polls. This fact may demonstrate that the Democrats have no ideas of their own about foreign policy, but it isn't immoral.

Which raises an interesting question. Is there an essential difference between being unpatriotic and being ineptly or inadequately patriotic? Does the quality of patriotism matter, and if so how much? Implied in Glenn's criticism is the observation that the Democrats allowed proximate advantage to overrule or eclipse long term or broader advantage for the nation. While that may not be unpatriotic, it does suggest a deficient patriotism. I'd argue that quality definitely matters, and that the quality of patriotism that Michael Yon is documenting with brilliance (of non-Americans in this case), and that Ernie Pyle documented in a former age, is what's making the difference between winning and losing.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia)

By Demosophist at 12:19 PM | Comments |