Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why You Should Not Be a Conservative: Apologizing for America (1)

It is very common for conservatives to believe the following:

(1) If you ever admit that the United States has ever acted in a less-than-exemplary manner, then you are apologizing for America.

So...were you to admit that slavery was bad--or even that it fell to some extent shy of perfection--then you, my friend, are a sniveling turncoat. You are an apologizer.

If you think that women should have been allowed to vote earlier than they were, or that we treated American Indians less well than we should have, or that we have ever made an error of any are an apologizer.

Now, to admit error is not to apologize. So they're just wrong about (1).

But let's give them their best case. It is not apologies, after all, that they really care about:

It's admissions of error that they care about.

They complain about "apologies" because--on the supposition that you've done nothing wrong--apologizing is worse than admitting error. Apologizing, after all, requires both admitting error and apologizing for it. So they take rhetorical liberties and wail about apologies, but even admissions of error are verboten on their view.

The problem here is exacerbated because they also hold that:

(2) One should never apologize for anything the United States has ever done.

(1), combined with (2), basically entail:

(3) You should never admit that the United States has ever acted less than perfectly.

Now, this is insane, as it means that you should never admit what is a plain fact, that every sane person knows to be true--to wit, that the United States has not always acted perfectly.

We might also point out, ad hominem, that it's a damn weird thing for a bunch of people who hate the U.S. government to believe. The political faction that spends the most time criticizing the U.S. also demands that it never be criticized.

The delusion of American perfection is one of the things that drove me away from the Republican party early in my political life. And it has gotten something like an order of magnitude worse since then.

Is there anything more irrational, revolting and just plain stupid than a person or a group that refuses to admit error? This loathsome tendency alone is enough to make American conservatism a non-option for rational people.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home