Saturday, July 8, 2017

Liberal Self-Hate

At Power Line, Steven Hayward quotes a lengthy passage from James Burnham's 1964 book Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism. I reproduce that passage (ca. p. 178) here for your enjoyment.
The average liberal is just not too concerned about, not so emotionally involved in, nationhood, national patriotism, sovereignty and Liberty as is a fellow citizen to his ideological Right. It does not shock him when bearded young men say they will never fight for their country, nor is he indignant even when they express preference for a country other than their own. If a mob in an underdeveloped land smashes the consulate or embassy of his nation, he is not much aroused; indeed, he may well conclude, after interpreting the facts, that justice was on the side of the rioters.

He feels little thrill when the flag goes by. And quite probably finds pledges to the flag or oaths of allegiance actively distasteful. He approves of many of the weighty books setting out to show the relativity and morality equivalence of diverse religions and cultures, and to decry the backwardness of those Westerners who still believe that in some rather important sense Western civilization is superior to Buddhism, Islam, communism, atheism and animism, and therefore worth preserving. . .

It does not seem to him an anomaly that his own nation’s communications industry should on a massive scale print the books, produce the plays and movies, present the television scripts of those who hate his nation and his civilization, and seek, often avowedly, the destruction of both.
It is getting ever harder to shrug off the self-hatred Burnham describes eloquently. Part of me says it's okay to hate people who hate their own society. Some part of me still disagrees, I'm not sure for how long.