The Spectacle Blog

Unpatriotic Conservatives

By on 4.6.08 | 4:07PM

Joe Klein has decided to clarify his views on conservatism and patriotism in the face of conservative criticism. After a detour into something about how the "right-wingnutters" started it, Klein explains, "I didn't question the patriotism of conservatives: I simply argued that it is more patriotic to be optimistic about the chance that our collective will--that is, the best work of government--will succeed, rather than that it will fail or impinge on freedom."

Klein continues that supporting civil rights laws, Medicare, Social Security, universal health care, etc. is more patriotic than opposing any of these goodies. (How many of today's conservatives actually oppose most of these things, Klein doesn't say.) In other words, liberals might not be inherently more patriotic than conservatives but taking liberal positions is more patriotic than taking conservative ones. Well, that clears everything up.

Unfortunately, the confusion of love of government with love of country is all too common. Klein does allow, "Conservative skepticism has its place; it can be a valuable corrective when government goes flabby and corrupt or engages in wild neo-colonialist fantasies abroad." Indeed, it can be. I wish it would correct these things more often.

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