The Left hates to have their patriotism questioned, regardless of how much contempt they openly display of it. They can call it “a congenitally racist country,” as The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates did; or say that “We began America with genocide, then built it with slaves”, as Michael Moore did; or “The U.S. is the world’s leading terrorist state,” as Noam Chomsky declared it to be – but if you respond by asking if they love this racist, genocidal, and terrorist state, they inevitably take great offense at the suggestion that they may not.
This is especially true of President Obama. His allies in politics and in the press reacted to Rudy Giuliani questioning his love of country as if the Mayor had commented blasphemy against the Lord Himself (which, I suspect, in many of their eyes, is precisely what Giuliani had done).
“Thou Shalt Not Question Another’s Patriotism” is then a new commandment. Such questioning is “racist,” according to a number of observers. It was a “ghoulish, repulsive, race-baiting assertion,” said US News & World Report. He has fallen from his role as America’s Mayor, laments CNN. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he felt sorry for Giuliani, “It’s sad to see when somebody who’s attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly.”
Of course this commandment is a very specific one. It only applies to Democrats whose patriotism is challenged by Republicans. How else can one explain the lack of outrage elicited from Senator Harry Reid calling the Koch Brothers “un-American,” or Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez accusing Tea Partiers of being “unpatriotic,” or Bill Nye “The Science Guy” calling those who don’t accept his views on climate change as gospel “unpatriotic?”
Senator Obama called President Bush’s deficit spending “unpatriotic.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called both President Bush’s and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s actions regarding the Iraqi War “unpatriotic.” Yet, neither has been called “racist” for their opinions. Josh Earnest isn’t weeping over their tarnished legacies, as far as I can tell.
Yet more than just calling out Giuliani’s critics for their hypocrisy, it is also important to acknowledge the accuracy — even the ordinariness — of his remarks.
To speculate that anyone with mentors like terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorhn, communist Frank Marshall Davis, or firebrand Jeremiah Wright; or has a wife who was not “really proud” of her country until she was in her mid-40s, is not patriotic hardly qualifies as a leap of reasoning. Obama was, after all, the Presidential candidate, who, in 2008, initially refused even such perfunctory displays of patriotism such as wearing a flag pin, or placing hand over heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. But, what provides best evidence to support Giuliani’s remark is not so much Obama’s associations, but rather who he is.
Who he is is a Progressive. Progressivism is an anti-Western philosophy. The United States is a Western nation. It only follows that Obama would not love America.
America’s political philosophy is marked by a belief in a government limited by federalism, the separation of powers, a constitution, and a foundation of Judeo-Christian values. It is a belief in free markets and the right to private property. Perhaps most of all America’s Western view is rooted in the belief in the natural and God-given rights of the individual.
This has been so since the publication of a number of enormously influential works, especially that from St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, Edward Coke, Frédéric Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, Frederick Douglass, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and many others. It was these men and women who helped shape Western civilization – from the writing of the Magna Carta to the formation of the U.S. Constitution to even the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.
Progressivism is a rejection of these views. Instead of this Western tradition, Progressives favor the more Eastern approach to government, which is – though this may be an oversimplification – that of a political and economic collectivism under the guidance of a Benevolent Dictator.
Rather than a central government with limited powers, Benevolent Dictatorships takes power from the individual, the states, and the legislative and judicial branch as well, all for (and they never seem to feel they’ve emphasized this point heavily enough) the greater good. As President 0bama says, “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation to in order to make sure that we are providing Americans with the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”
We see America’s shift towards Benevolent Dictatorship exhibited in a myriad of forms almost daily; including Obamacare, Common Core, Net Neutrality, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and minimum wage laws. All of these concentrate power in the hands of the executive. But we see it particularly in the rise of what is often called ‘the fourth branch of government’. These are the government agencies such as the EPA and the FCC that have been increasing in strength since the Franklin Roosevelt administration which now seem unaccountable to anyone except for the will of the President.
As law professor Jonathan Turley argued, “the rise of this fourth branch represents perhaps the single greatest change in our system of government since the founding. We cannot long protect liberty if our leaders continue to act like mere bystanders to the work of government.” (A good discussion on administrative law can be found here).
Progressivism also largely rejects religion, especially Western religion. Although Obama himself is Islamophilic, rejection of Western religious values – such as the sacredness of the life of the unborn – is commonplace among the Left.
In fact, according to Gallup faith in God is significantly lower among Liberals than Conservatives. Jews, one of America’s most reliable Progressive voting blocs, is — again according to Gallup — the least theistic of all religious groups, with 54% of Jews describing themselves as non-religious.
Western faith is an object of scorn to most of the intelligentsia of the Progressive movement. Saul Alinsky, for example, who is yet another of Obama’s mentors, was an agnostic who described the Catholic Inquisitions as one of ‘the greatest crimes in history perpetrated by religious fanatics.’ Socialist Noam Chomsky describes “the God of the Bible” as a genocidal “creature” who was “ready to destroy every living creature on Earth because some humans irritated Him.” Frank Marshall Davis, according to his biographer Paul Kengor, disdained both God and Christianity.
So it is no surprise to hear President Obama display such open contempt for Christianity, the primary faith of the West, as he did when he compared the Crusades to Islamic terrorism, while he promotes the ‘religion of peace,’ Islamism, – the faith of the East.
Biblical faith is antithetical to Progressivism because the Benevolent Dictatorship cannot tolerate fealty to anything other to itself. If “the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God,” as President Kennedy argued in 1961, what role is left for the Benevolent Dictator? He becomes the mere protector of those rights, rather than the benefactor of them.
More than his educational background, it is Obama’s Progressivism that made Giuliani’s comment resonate so loudly. Many Progressives do love an America – but they love the America they are fundamentally transforming America into rather than the America of Western values that presently exists.