Friday, April 22, 2016

A Leftist view of patriotism

The Left can't help it.  They just cannot see straight.  The academic article below by Israeli academic Gal Ariely starts out by standing reality on its head.  He is perfectly right in saying that in recent years in America there has been a "more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices".  But who is responsible for that?

America has been undergoing quite spectacular attempts by Leftists endeavouring to squash Christianity in general and rejection of homosexuality in particular so is  Dr. Ariely blaming the Left for speech suppression?  Far from it.  He says the guilty ones are patriots!  Patriots these days are usually conservatives so Dr Arielya has got the boot on precisely the wrong foot!  For a HUGE chronology of Leftist censorship activities, see here

The whole aim of his article is to discredit patriotism. But there is nothing wrong with patriotism.  It is the Leftist distortion of patriotism -- nationalism -- that is the problem. Orwell understood the distinction between the two:

"There is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.

Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality"

So how does Dr Ariely demonize patriotism?   He shows that in economically advanced societies, patriotism tends to be low but in impoverished and strife-ridden societies it tends to be high.  In a cautious academic way, he draws from that the entirely perverse conclusion that patriotism is in general a bad thing EVEN IN COUNTRIES WHERE IT IS LOW.  He does not consider that patriotism in affluent countries might be the unproblematic residuum of an often mixed phenomenon.

So the final sentence of his article makes no distinctions about patriotism:  "This study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume".  He clearly thinks patriotism is all the same, wherever it is found.  No nuance there.  I suppose all men are equal as well.

The Israeli Left are certainly a poisonous lot.  Excerpt only below

Why does patriotism prevail? Contextual explanations of patriotism across countries


Addressing the normative and empirical debate regarding the nature of patriotism, this paper examines the social contexts in which patriotism – defined here as an expression of national pride – thrives. Combining diverse theoretical explanations, it investigates whether expressions of patriotism are related to globalization, state function, social fractionalization and conflict. A multilevel regression analysis of data from 93 countries led to three principal findings. First, citizens of more developed and globalized countries are less likely to be proud of their country. Second, citizens are more likely to be patriotic in countries characterized by higher levels of income inequality and religiously homogeneity. Third, citizens of countries exposed to direct conflict – that is, suffering terror and causalities from external conflict – tend to exhibit higher levels of national pride. Patriotism frequently being identified as a mandatory political commodity, these results suggest that, overall, patriotism forms part of a less attractive matrix than its advocates tend to assume.


The rise in patriotism in the United States following 9/11 has led to two trends – a stronger sense of solidarity and civic engagement, the ‘we’ becoming more important than the ‘me’ (Skocpol 2002; Sander and Putnam 2010), on the one hand, and a more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices on the other. These different outcomes reflect the long-standing debate concerning the nature of patriotism, conventionally defined as love for and attachment to one’s nation (Bar Tal and Staub 1997; Kosterman and Feshbach 1989).


An overall pattern nonetheless emerges. By and large, higher levels of patriotism occur in countries whose citizens are worse off. In societies that form part of the globalized community, enjoy more income equality and are not subject to the threat of terror or external conflict, patriotism levels appear to be lower. Taking into account the fact that politicians, pundits and philosophers frequently describe patriotism as a mandatory political commodity, this study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume.



Sanders Is Just Another Tax-Evading Liberal Hypocrite

Bernie Sanders has won the hearts of basement-dwelling socialists everywhere with his angry, septuagenarian rants against the evils of capitalism and the greedy One-Percent, his denunciation and vilification of America’s top earners and producers, and a market system he deems “unfair” to the poor and the middle class (he actually once argued that there are poor kids in America because consumers have too many choices of deodorant).

Sanders has also repeatedly criticized anyone who takes advantage of standard tax deductions in order to lower their taxable income, and therefore their effective tax rate. His campaign website states, “We need a progressive tax system in this country which is based on the ability to pay. It is not acceptable that corporate CEOs in this country often enjoy an effective tax rate which is lower than their secretaries.”

Sadly, socialist hero Sanders turns out to be just another garden-variety, hypocritical, tax-evading liberal/progressive. He has perfected the art of the very tax avoidance he claims is immoral. Having spent much of his adult life on unemployment, and occasionally “working” by writing “rape fantasy” for leftist birdcage liners for $50 a pop, plus a brief but failed stint as a carpenter, Sanders avoided paying income taxes for decades by not holding a steady job until he was 40. And when he finally did get a job, it was a government job — he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He then went on to win election as the only openly socialist member of Congress, where he has been ever since.

Yet even as he rages against the capitalist machine, he indulges in the very acts he condemns. Last week, Sanders released his 2014 income tax return, and it was quite revealing. It shows that Sanders and his wife, with a combined income of $205,271, paid just $27,653 in federal income taxes after taking more than $60,000 in deductions for things like home mortgage interest, real estate taxes, state and local taxes and job-related expenses. This gave him an effective tax rate of just 13.5%, lower than the 15.2% he would have paid had he not taken the deductions, and far lower than the 27.4% rate paid by the “millionaires and billionaires” in this country (according to the IRS, the exorbitant tax rate for “millionaires and billionaires” kicks in for people making as little as $200,000/year).

With an annual income over $200,000, lavish congressional benefits, and two homes (one in Vermont, one in DC), Sanders is far wealthier than the average American struggling just to make ends meet. So, one might ask, with such a level of comfortable wealth, and no children depending on him, why is he trying to weasel out of paying his “fair share”?

Of course, we already know the answer: abject hypocrisy. To quote George Orwell’s socialist utopian novel Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” For hard-core leftists like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and their greedy followers, being a good socialist means never having to say you’re sorry for using government force to take from your neighbor, while simultaneously hiding as much of your own wealth from taxation as possible.

That’s how Joe Biden could keep a straight face while saying we should be happy about paying higher taxes because, “It’s time to be patriotic,” even though he took every deduction available to him while giving a total of just $369 to charity over an entire decade. It’s why Rep. Charlie Rangel, who once chaired the tax-policy writing House Ways and Means Committee, can demand higher taxes and more government spending while hiding income from luxury rental property in the Dominican Republic. It’s how former Treasury Secretary Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner can demand more taxes while being an admitted tax cheat. It’s how Secretary of State John Kerry (who lives in Massachusetts) can lecture us, the unwashed masses, on the need to sacrifice more of our money at the altar of confiscatory taxation while registering his luxury yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, helping him avoid a one-time sales tax of $437,500 on his $7 million yacht, plus the $70,000 annual excise taxes he’d have had to pay (then again, why should he care? He got his money by marrying the widow of Republican Senator H. John Heinz III of the Heinz food fortune; it wasn’t even his money).

Former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), former Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM), Nancy Killefer (Obama nominee for Deputy Director of OMB), Hilda Solis (former Obama Labor Secretary), Ron Kirk (Obama appointee as White House chief trade representative), and literally dozens of Obama administration appointees and aides owed massive amounts of back taxes, and many still do.

Even wealthy liberal businessmen like Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, George Lucas, Jim Sinegal, and Sergey Brin, who routinely lecture us on the virtues of higher taxation, use every trick at their disposal to lower their effective tax rates or hide taxable income, or just refuse to pay all their taxes.

Liberal Democrats absolutely love to rage against conservatives for greedily wanting to keep more of the money they earn, and making slanderous accusations of corruption, as when former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of not paying taxes. Of course, Romney did release his tax returns, which revealed that he had paid every single penny of taxes owed, plus an incredibly generous amount given to a number of charities. Reid still refused to apologize for his blatant lies.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill one said, “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Liberal Democrats daily prove that he was spot on.



Police Shooting Fatalities: Behind the Numbers

Nearly 1,000 people were fatally shot by law enforcement last year. Of them, 948 were male, 783 brandished a deadly weapon, the victims were predominately white (494) compared to black (258), and most (353) were between the ages of 30 and 44. These are just a few of the details chronicled in a highly detailed Washington Post database that was launched when several years ago “Wesley Lowery was surprised to discover that there were no official statistics about such fatalities,” the Post says. That effort paid off. Yesterday the Post was awarded a Pulitzer Prize “[f]or its revelatory initiative in creating and using a national database to illustrate how often and why the police shoot to kill and who the victims are most likely to be.”

The Post further explains that the database “soon yielded new insights into the use of deadly force by the nation’s police officers.” It continues: “The data showed, for example, that about one-quarter of those fatally shot had a history of mental illness; that most of those killed were white men (although unarmed African Americans were at vastly higher risk of being shot after routine traffic stops than any other group); and that 55 officers involved in fatal shootings in 2015 had previously been involved in a deadly incident while on duty. Another important finding: The vast majority (74 percent) of people shot and killed by police were armed, and killed after attacking police officers or civilians. This finding countered the impression left by several high-profile fatalities that police routinely use excessive force [emphasis added].”

As Reason notes, the database is already leading to reforms, which is a good thing because some police departments desperately need it. But on the flip side, crime is increasing countrywide because of the Ferguson Effect. It’s not often we get to say this, but this award seems appropriate, and the Post’s project will hopefully help strike a balance. Probably 99% of these police shootings were justified, but police aren’t above accountability either. The biggest question remains though: Even though we now have hard evidence, will the grievance industry actually weigh the facts in lieu of their prejudices?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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