Patriotism Means Service, Not 'Dissent'

With fewer liberals than ever enlisting in our armed services or serving in command positions, liberals have redefined patriotism to mean “dissent,” protesting against U.S. policy. Why? Because that is what liberals do. They criticize their country and moralize to their countrymen. They are generally not policemen, firemen or soldiers. They are “above” the rest of us.

But dissent is not service. Dissent is simply personal gratification, a right guaranteed. Though I have a right to eat, my eating is not an act of patriotism. Patriotism is service; and the act of denouncing one’s country simply serves one’s personal need to be heard.

Likewise, idealism has been redefined by many liberals to mean doing that which undermines U.S. attempts at self-defense and condemning one’s country abroad, even though by so doing one jeopardizes the physical safety of fellow citizens.

More often than not, left-wing parents of these “idealistic” young people are far more proud of their children engaged in “dissent” than if they were serving in the military. To these elitists, military service is an embarrassment, beneath their class, a sign of failure to have really “achieved.” But such is the luxury of certain well-heeled, comfortable, haughty elements in our society. They can confer upon themselves and their dissent the label “courage” knowing that other peoples’ 19- and 20-year-olds are out there making sure that they, the perpetual protestors, are safe to vent their disdain for this country, our safety, and the military protecting them.

In fact, it is the opposite of courage — it is the height of conformity. For in their circles, dissenters against everything American are lauded and praised as sophisticated, cosmopolitan, smarter. Dissenters are not parochial but internationalists, i.e., better.

In today’s politically-correct milieu, the truly courageous are those willing to buck the salon mentality by being pro-American.

One would have hoped the sophisticates could at least have given the military its due, a grateful recognition. Instead, this clique of “patriots” does whatever it can to stymie the military and even denigrates our soldiers’ backgrounds. New York City media elites and their neighbors tell us that our soldiers are uneducated, rednecks, that they come from the poorer regions of the country and enlist, therefore, not out of a sense of duty and honor but out of a need to have a job and make some money.

By disallowing R.O.T.C. on campus and harassing military recruitment officers, they send their personal message that military service is ignoble and those that serve are engaged in something bad. By being ever so eager to indict our soldiers for war crimes whenever a quick decision is needed to save a U.S. life over that of a terrorist, it is obvious they care not a wit about our young heroes, wishing instead to demonize them.

That many seem indifferent to our soldiers is a consequence of their not having, today, family, friends or neighbors in the military. Many do not personally know an active marine or army gunner. It is true that soldiers do not pass the “interesting” test that has now become the standard for admiration within fashionable social circles. After all, it is not as if a soldier were a wealthy anti-American novelist, or an engaged gay couple, or Tookie Williams.

Yet, to have such rage at those things military and at our soldiers implies more than simply ignorance or a difference in opinion. It has to be personal. The antagonism is so emotional! What is behind, as one famous liberal said, this loathing of the military?

It is jealousy and bitterness. Jealous that with all their education and sense of betterness, they do not have the courage to do what the soldier does. Though not afraid of the courtroom, they are afraid of the battlefield. They are better at appeasement and words than hand-to-hand physical combat. They could not live the Spartan soldier life, nor rely on a gun for survival.

Many of us cannot soldier, but we have the grace and humility to be grateful to those who can. There is, however, a certain type of liberal that will not abide in others the masculinity he can not muster — a masculinity that he was taught, early on, to fear and, therefore, despise.

It is a meanness: “I will not credit that which I’ve chosen — out of fear — not to do. I will not acknowledge that which reflects, deep down, my weakness.” They deny their weakness by depicting the army as an evil war machine unworthy of them and conceal their selfishness by claiming those who serve do so not out of honor and duty but as a means for temporary employment.

Leftists are bitter that instead of our country relying on them, the schooled internationalists, to negotiate our outcomes, we as a country place our hope in the strength of our military and soldiers to achieve victory and, thereby, determine our destiny. “How dare George Bush overlook the negotiating, Jaw-Boning Class — the ‘best and the brightest’ — and place our future in the hands of generals and those Ollie North types. Why, most of them never went to Columbia or Brown, as did we.”

Yes, it is a “class” thing. Today’s liberal leaders, and most of their children, are snobs. They are convinced they are superior. They’ve become rich, and smug. Imbued with this “appreciation” of themselves, they gravitate to the political philosophy that, today, thinks in condescending terms, a nouveau class-ism where the “enlightened’ are supposed to rule and get all the credit — not the military.

Back in the 1960s, the left derided values like patriotism and heroism. They scoffed at these antiquated, bourgeois, puritan notions. I remember. I was there. Living now in an age where steadfast values have resurfaced, the liberal/left imputes them to itself. In its Orwellian way, it has turned core values upside down to match what it is: Patriotism is dissent, heroism is making your country defenseless. Soldiers are misfits, and those like the President wishing to protect our children are a threat to our security.

Are these people evil or misguided beyond hope? Perhaps, they are simply immersed in a spoiled world with no relation to reality or history. Beyond question, they are wound up in an arrogant sense of superiority over their countrymen. I don’t think America has ever been plagued by an educated, wealthy group so ardently un-American. How did it come about that America bred in its midst such self-worshipping ingrates and self-centered brats?