Sunday, October 12, 2008

Love of One's Own

Do you love this country for what it is now, or only for what it might become? The Left, made up as it is of malcontents of various sorts and tenors, has never been satisfied with the basic condition or direction of this country. America is only ever great in prospect; there is never any reason to celebrate or feel good about where we are in any given historical instant--it's always bad, with never enough of what is good. The capacity of open societies for self-criticism and evaluation they have made into a form of national self-hatred and abasement, scolding us for what we are not, and, through the vision they provide for the glorious future they will lead us into, tell us all we need to know about what they really think of America as it is. Roger Kimball is one who believes there is a deep reservoir of affection for this country among its real inhabitants--that is, those of us actually living in the present with our feet on the ground, as opposed to those whose only point of contact with America is as a politicized abstraction, a vehicle for projecting their utopian fantasies, which are usually merely the indulgence of self righteousness. Away with these prigs!

Kimball's edifying piece is here. Read it, and buck up.


Citizen.VII said...

"Do you love this country for what it is now, or only for what it might become?"

Neither. I love this country for what it was 200 years ago. To me, that's what makes America greater than other countries. What America was then was essentially different from the rest of the world (to use Aristotelian terms). Today's America is only accidentally different from many other countries in the world (not all countries).

I suppose I do have a sort of hope that America could return to being great, in and of itself, but whether it does or not, I can love it for what it was. That's why I do not consider myself a "conservative." I am not really interested in conserving any of our current political system, except where it still mirrors the ideas of The Founders. In that sense, I consider my self a Progressive (progress towards a lost ideal), while others would consider me a Regressive (moving backwards to a failed ideal that we wisely abandoned).

Harold said...

ah, my friend, your instincts are correct, but you probably are not appreaciative of the amount of the Founder's work that is still with us. I share your alarm and disgust--is that putting it too strongly?--with much of our current situation. But longing for the past is not a way forward. We cannot replicate the Founder's thought--but we can learn to think like the Founders, in our present circumstances.