Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Monday, December 17, 2007

Narrow Notions of Nationalism

Getting steamed up about the latest James Carroll column is a sucker’s game. He’s a well-educated moron who shouldn’t be taken seriously. But he does get published twice weekly in the Boston Globe, which means apparently some people do take him seriously. Scary thought.

Today’s column is about religion in America. Here’s a sample:

Yet such American smugness seems to miss the largest point of difference between the Old World and the New. In the very years that majorities of Europeans were walking away from organized religion, they were resolutely turning away from government-sanctioned killing, whether through war or through the death penalty; they were leaving behind narrow notions of nationalism, mitigating state sovereignty, and, above all, replacing ancient hatreds with partnerships. All of this stands in stark contrast to the United States, where the most overtly religious people in the country support the death penalty, the government's hair-trigger readiness for war, and the gospel of national sovereignty that has made the United States an impediment to the United Nations.

Where to begin? It is rich to have one of the smuggest men in journalism criticize American smugness. And by America, he means those Red State Americans who still cling to the “narrow notions of nationalism”—that atavistic belief that America should remain a sovereign nation. James Carroll on the other hand is a global citizen, in exile among an unenlightened people. He pledges allegiance to the United Nations; the Internationale is his anthem.

It is strange that the anti-globalism people who smash McDonald’s windows and burn SUVs at G-8 conferences are the same ones who want to create a global bureaucracy—more power to U.N. kleptocrats and new Kyoto-style regulation of American businesses doing business in America. When they say that they celebrate diversity because our children need to navigate an increasingly globalized world, it sounds like they are dreaming of training businessmen to make money in Tom Friedman’s flat world of international supply chains, but they despise Wal-Mart and any capitalist enterprise. The kind of globalization they’re dreaming of is one-world government. They’re dreaming that one day our kids will become Ministers in the new World Climate Regulatory Board headquarters in Khartoum. If big government on local, state and national levels is a measure of compassion, why not dream really big and add another layer: big international government?

A few choice phrases in the selection above:

--“They were resolutely turning away from government-sanctioned killing.”

What he’s describing is the fact that Europe no longer pays for its own defense. Since they have someone else (the U.S. military) to do their “government-sanctioned killing” for them, they can put on airs of moral superiority. Smug is too kind a word.

-- “hair-trigger readiness for war”
Calling a two year long process a “rush to war” in Iraq apparently isn’t histrionic enough.

And finally: “the United States [is] an impediment to the United Nations.” Yes, thankfully.

No comments: