On Labeling and Other Matters
My good friend Hasan defines a patriotic American as more than a citizen by birth (or immigration), but as an upholder and defender of core American values. I couldn't agree more. I suspect that there are many on the left who are tired of hearing their patriotism questioned because they aren't unequivably in favor of our current policies, and that's a fair objection.
I plead guilty to using labels in my earlier post
, - 'progressive', 'Truman Democrat' - that some may see as stereotyping; my intent was to provoke discussion on whether there is a schism between the 'progressive' (i.e., quite radical) wing and the more moderate, traditional Democratic wing. I am of the opinion that there is, and that the Left will have to address it one way or another. The most plausible long-term outcome is the spinning off of the progressive faction into a European-style Green Party, as I mentioned.
Perhaps I should explain why I consider myself a conservative, and what that means to me. I, too, believe firmly in the Bill of Rights, and I can understand why some of our post-9/11 actions are viewed as an infringement upon civil liberties. It is essential that we carry out that debate. In my view, the most fundamental human right is life. The second is freedom. You can't enjoy liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you're not safe from those who wish you harm. This is the rationale, whether right or wrong, of many of the actions in the War on Terror.
My core belief is in the primacy of the individual. To me, the right to private property and to minimal government is sacrosanct. I don't endorse the libertarian extremes of an emasculated government that basically builds highways and fights wars. I believe the state has a proper role in most issues, but our politicians must always be guided by the threefold aim of the founders to ensure 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'.
Of course, there's much more to it than that, and we'll have all the time in the world to get into these things further. I appreciate Hasan's hesitancy to embrace the label of liberal - it can be used as a bludgeon, just as the appellation 'right-winger' can. In case you're wondering, the title of this blog is a tongue-in-cheek poke at this high degree of partisanship. I hope we'll avoid that trap most of the time; I'm sure we'll fall into it occasionally, as well.