Every country does have ideals. But the specifics matter. It’s a bit like saying every human has talents — sure, but some talents are greater than others. A great composer and a great armpit-farter may be equally rich in their degree of talent, but not in the quality or desirability of their talents. I
Are our ideals really no better than any other country’s? Are they worth defending only because they are ours?
.. And Rich was of course a full throated yes. He then went on to say that he’s coming around to the idea that “there’s no such thing as a bad nation, only bad governments.”
.. What if America just had the social and political priorities of Sweden or Norway? It’s fine to say you’d still love her, but you know what? It’s also fine to say you wouldn’t.
.. He went on to explain that as an immigrant from a decent country, what appealed to him about America most is its culture and its system of law. He conceded, grudgingly, that if we changed our ideals we’d lose some of the stuff he loves. But at the end of the day he’d still love America regardless of her ideals.
.. Rich argued for the “everybody’s special” school of patriotism and nationalism.
.. If National Review had completely different editorial positions — pro-choice, pro–gun control, etc. — would the cast of The Editors not be less in the love with National Review? The question answers itself.
.. Imagine one person tells you that his ideal form of government would be to get rid of the Constitution and make Kim Kardashian queen. You’d think that person is silly, probably even deranged. Now imagine that 270 million Americans believed that and, having the necessary supermajority to pull it off, voted away our Constitution. As the coronation of Queen Kim, First of Her Name, unfolded on every channel, would you not change your view of America, her culture, and her people? Might you not fall out of love with America as it is?
.. My hunch is Rich et al. would still love America, but you know what America they would love? The America That Was. They might even join the resistance to the regime of Queen Kim
.. They’d be fighting against the American nation in the name of that great and glorious cause, the American Idea. And that’s the crucial difference.