Jonah to Hitchens to Betsy, a 4th Round-up

Jonah to Hitchens to Betsy, a 4th Round-up July 4, 2006


Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell, The Four Freedoms

On July 4th we celebrate freedom. So why am I so depressed to read this, by Gary Larsen?

Editorial page editors at the McClatchy Co.-owned Minneapolis Star-Tribune removed king-sized hunks of syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg’s recent column about New York Times, et al. revealing national secrets and compromising national security, during the war on terror.

Seems the Star-Tribune didn’t like Goldberg’s musings, so they cut them. (Probably a space thing, right? I’m sure.) Larsen, helpfully, gives us the redacted portion the Star doesn’t want people to see:

“As befits his role in public discourse, Bill Moyers provided an illuminating caricature of this thinking. After the 9/11 attacks, he wrote, ‘This catastrophe has reminded us of a basic truth at the heart of our democracy: No matter our wealth or status or faith, we are all equal before the law, in the voting booth and when death rains down from the sky.’” And because of this, Moyers argued, America must implement the usual laundry list of liberal social policies, including the repeal of NAFTA and the implementation of single-payer health care.

“But Moyers was hardly alone. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., proclaimed in the Washington Post that 9/11 justified a ‘new New Deal.’ The New York Times joyously proclaimed that ‘Big Government Is Back in Style,’ and its indefatigable chorus of asininity — Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd et al. — pounded their spoons on their high chairs about the un-Americanness of tax cuts during a war. ‘Since 9/11, our government has asked no sacrifice of civilians other than longer waits at airline security,’ Frank Rich whined.”

More was cut – Read the whole thing and think carefully about just who it is talks about the “chill wind” of “censorship” that blows while George W. Bush is president. Please note that the wind seems exceptionally strong coming from the left.

Meanwhile…


Freedom of Worship by Norman Rockwell, The Four Freedoms

Christopher Hitchens, preparing for his citizenship exam, began ruminating on the Constitution, and has written a great piece:

I would perhaps be suspected of excess Fourth of July zeal if I said that the First Amendment is my life as well as the source of my living, but I swear that it would not be that far from the truth. No other country has such a terse and comprehensive statement of the case for free expression: considered important enough to rank first, and also to rank with the freedom of religious conscience. The jewel in the crown of the Bill of Rights does not say that Congress shall make no hasty or crowd-pleasing law abridging the right of assembly and protest. It stoutly insists that Congress shall make no such law.
[…]
If I find that I have stuck a flag-stamp on an envelope and accidentally put it on upside-down, I admit with slight embarrassment that I now start over with a new envelope. Nobody would ever notice my tiny disrespect, but I still won’t commit it. However, the whole case would be altered if I was told that I had to get it right. The flag would no longer stand for the constitutional spirit that gives it meaning in the first place. It may once have waved over hellish plantations but it was also defended to the end by the Maine regiment at Little Round Top. Without ambiguities and ironies, it would not be what it is. And ambiguity and irony are just what the flag-fetishists do not understand.

He has smart observation on what the constitution does and does not say…do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Then head on over to Betsy Newmark’s page, where she is thinking about patriotism and it is express by the left and the right:

If you have the mindset that, until we achieve the ideal, you cannot love the country, you will not answer that Pew poll question positively that you consider yourself very patriotic. You may love the possibility of what this country can become, but your reservations will outweigh whatever it is that you honor about this country. And, I would maintain, that people holding that position are more likely to have a liberal viewpoint on a whole host of issues.

Well thought-out.

LGF points out that for some, the the imperfect exception is the standard by which a nation should be judged. So, you know…one bad soldier makes a whole nation bad, even if the nation does the right thing in prosecuting the soldier. Not well thought-out.

Personally, I believe one can be on the left and still be strongly patriotic. My sister is an unrepentant Bush-hating leftist who proudly flies the flag and wears a flag pin (I rarely do that, myself) because she loves this country unabashedly and sentimentally. I buy her flag-flying with a sneer in Bush’s direction a lot more than I buy all of these agonized, “I love my country but it’s sooo hard to show it because it’s sooo bad…” intellectual giants.

Lorie Byrd, trying to help such as these sensibly suggests they stop equating “flying the flag” with loving George W. Bush, and just lighten up a bit:

For those on the left worried that if they wave a flag tomorrow they might be thought to be supporting the President of the United States, or the U.S. military, or American capitalism, relax. Fly the flag, sing some patriotic songs, shoot off some fireworks, eat some hot dogs. I did when Bill Clinton was President and no one that I know got the impression that I was endorsing him. One thing it seems most everyone, right and left, can agree on is the beauty of the U.S. Constitution and appreciation for the freedoms we are so blessed to experience. I encourage everyone on the right and left alike to celebrate what you find great about this country.

EJ Dionne looks at how we are still working for the ideal.

Jimmie Bise notes that John Kerry is still telling us how to be the right sort of American while Eric Alterman is showing us how to be the right sort of very snotty perpetual adolescent.

Hang Right brings us something great: Tony Blair on What it Means to Be An American. One of those things we never quite saw on the news:

…I know it’s hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I’ve never been to, but always wanted to go…I know out there there’s a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, “Why me? And why us? And why America?”

And the only answer is, “Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.”


Freedom from Fear by Norman Rockwell, The Four Freedoms

Gateway Pundit takes us to a soldier’s memorial for some quiet perspective.

Ed Morrissey brings us all along on a tour of the Pentagon

Noblesse Oblige writes on the Kings and Queens of Freedom

Since yesterday I spent so much energy writing about the serious problem fruit presents to the world, I hope you’ll forgive me if for the Fourth I run an essay I wrote a while back, America is Wide Awake and Dreaming Glorious Dreams.

I saw all of this and thought about the everyday people who had punched their time clocks day after day to build such a treasure, and I felt such a sense of pride and admiration well up inside me that I couldn’t speak for a moment. When I could, I turned to the fellow and said. “Look around you. Are you blind? Look at America!


Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell, The Four Freedoms

I still believe it, after all. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Don’t Miss:
Pajamas Media gets you on your feet for the anthem and then brings a ton of great links, including the great James Cagney doing “Yankee Doodle Dandy!. Perfect!
Alexandra’s enthusiastic round-up (Check out her end quote).
Keshertalk’s Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy! playlist H/T Overtaken by Events
A great round-up at Wizbang!
Michelle Malkin’s comprehensive round-up
Villainous Company’s thoughts on Bill Keller


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