Waving your flag

There’s nothing like a terrorist attack on your nation and your way of life to bring out a bit of defiant pride, that is patriotism. I was never one to raise the flag but it still flies outside my home (though I will confess to wearing it less often on my lapel). In Britain, where Marc Danziger is visiting, he is seeing British patriotism rise. He reads a bracing set of articles in The Telegraph and quotes in full a stirring list of 10 principles the paper says British believe, including this one:

The English-speaking world. The atrocities of September 11, 2001, were not simply an attack on a foreign nation; they were an attack on the anglosphere – on all of us who believe in freedom, justice and the rule of law.

Amen, cousins.

Marc has lots of links from the Telegraph and then picks out this oddly insulting and inappropriate quote from a New York Times correspondent there:

So what do foreign correspondents think of the British?

Sarah Lyall, of The New York Times, says: “It used to be about the stiff upper lip, cream teas and cricket, but all that changed after Princess Diana died. The British don’t have an obvious set of values now other than their knack for self-depreciation.”

I’m going to bet that Ms. Lyall, seeing that in context of the stories, is cringing. Or I certainly hope she is.

(And editors worry about reporters blogging and saying inappropriate things…. when all they have to do is talk to other reporters.)

  • http://cellar.org/iotd.php Undertoad

    Marc Danzinger??

    Oh, Armed Liberal! Why didn't you say so!

  • Mumblix Grumph

    Flag lapel pins…

    I remember when Phil Donahue profusely thanked an anchorman (Brokaw, I think) for not wearing a lapel pin on his show.

    I guess the sight of the American flag to Phil is like serving hot cross buns to a vampire.

    Ass.

  • HT

    Self-depreciation? Is that how you deduct yourself from your income taxes? Sheesh. It's self DEPRECATION.

    Wasn't it Norm Crosby who used to do the schtick where he constantly used large but incorrect words to turn his monologues into gibberish? I fear that he wouldn't be funny anymore, because too many people wouldn't realize there were any "mistakes".

  • http://www.islamic-news.co.uk Glen Jenvey

    British patriotism is on the rise, yes you are so right!

    After the attacks it seems it has brought us brits even closer,

    Sit back and enjoy your tea and Check this out!

    Cheers!

  • http://www.tyndallreport.com Andrew Tyndall

    "Oddly insulting and inappropriate."

    Why are the British being insulted when it is pointed out that the "stiff upper lip, cream teas and cricket" stereotype was just that, a stereotype?

    Why are the British being insulted when a reporter observes a diversity of values rather than an "obvious uniform set"?

    It is a large country. It has always been riven by regional, class and ideological differences and factions. Those contrasts have embued English- speaking culture from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Dickens to the Ealing comedies.

    People who think the British (or even the English) are all alike are the ones who are being inappropriate and insulting. It would be like saying all Americans have a cowboy mentality.

  • http://buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Andrew: Being told you have no values is, I think, insulting and inappropriate. No one is saying they are all alike even more than Americans, who are less all alike. But we do have values as a nation. And so does Great Britain, or it wouldn't be great.

  • Glyn

    As a Londoner, I haven't noticed any increase in Union Jacks being flown, which I find quite surprising. But that list of values, seems to be so general that it could be applied (for instance) to Canada just as much as to Britain. And I don't have any problems with Sarah Lyall's response – if the Brits can't come up with a better answer then it's a little hard on her to expect a better response to such a question with no notice, at least she didn't call us snag-toothed soccer hooligans.

    By the way, Jeff, we're not called Great Britain out of boastfullness – it's a geographical term to distinguish us from Normal-sized Britain (i.e. Grande Bretagne rather than Bretagne or Brittany in France). Yes, we were named that by the French!

  • Glyn

    By the way, has anyone noticed a trend for Americans to take up British citizenship recently? I only ask because two acquaintances of mine have separately done that in the last three months, and there's this article from last week about two other Americans who have just done that titled:

    "I'm an American, let me in"

    Can Americans have dual nationality, or do you have to be American or nothing?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1531254,00….

  • http://www.tyndallreport.com Andrew Tyndall

    Sorry, Jeff, you are wrong on this one.

    Lyall did not say the British have no values…only that they do not have "an obvious set" of them.

    Some British equate their patriotism with their nation's history of military prowess, its royal family, its tradition as an island fortress. Others celebrate its working class traditions, its progressive role in dismantling empire, its liberal multiculturalism.

    Some honor Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher for standing up to Nazis and Argentine military dictators. Others see them as imperialists and union busters.

    Lyall is correct that the disparate reactions to Princess Diana's death exposed a lack of a common national understanding about what it means to be patriotic.

    For the English, however, (not the Scots and other Britons) Lyall is wrong about one thing. As a uniform value, all England wants to see Australia defeated at cricket. All England shall be disappointed.

    I think Lyall is wrong, however

  • http://www.tyndallreport.com Andrew Tyndall

    jeff–give us a preview screen back. that last sentence fragment had no business there–andrew

  • Franky

    Glyn,

    Yes you can have dual citizenship of America and Britain. It's extremely useful as allows one to live and work anywhere in Europe and the US.

  • Yehuda Cohn

    "There’s nothing like a terrorist attack on your nation and your way of life to bring out a bit of defiant pride, that is patriotism. I was never one to raise the flag but it still flies outside my home (though I will confess to wearing it less often on my lapel"

    1. I never considered 9/11 to be an attack on my "way of life." It was an attack on the government of the U.S. What is an attack on a "way of life” anyway? — other than some euphemism like "they hate us because we're free."

    2. "Defiant pride" is patriotism? — that makes no sense. Patriotism is being a good citizen (e.g., voting, volunteering, paying taxes, joining the Army) For me, "pride" is one of the Seven Deadly Sins — humility is a virtue. I guess these are "quaint notions," inoperative in the age of the War on Terror and Christian Nationalism.

    3. I never felt the need to wear a flag on my lapel, house car, or anywhere else. I'm in the U.S., what's the point? "Support the Troops"? — that's another euphemism with no practical meaning.

  • Yehuda Cohn

    Jeff:

    The Seven Deadly Sins website defines "pride" as … (http://deadlysins.com/sins/index.htm)

    "Pride" is excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise.

    Yeah, Jeff, I think the above definition aptly describes "pride" in the context you used it.

  • W.J. Jones

    What? 9/11 was an attack on the government? You're kidding, right?

    How is an attack on a building filled with office workers an attack on our government? I suppose you mean that figuratively, but even then you have zero grounds to make that argument.

    I guess you could make the argument that the bombing was over our involvement in Iraq — wait, we weren't in Iraq. Sorry, try again for another reason to defend the terrorists and their bloodthirsty actions.

    No, the attack on 9/11 was an attack on our country and it was indeed an attack on "our way of life," yours and mine, for everything from our tawdry television to the freedom women enjoy in our country.

    If anything, Timothy McVeigh's Oklahoma City bombing was an outright attack against our government. He was as anti-government as they come, not anti-United States, yet we think of the innocents he killed, not the anti-government rhetoric that he believed.

    Just as a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, apparently only the bombing of your neighborhood, local school or your workplace would convince you that the terrorists want to kill us all for being who we are.

    Or would that change your mind at all?

  • ppk

    "… they were an attack on the anglosphere – on all of us who believe in freedom, justice and the rule of law."

    This is one of the odder statements that I've seen. I just tried to look up anglosphere in a couple of dictionaries and couldn't find a definition. The best I can figure it is that anglosphere means the english speaking world. The correlation between the "anglosphere" and people who believe in freedom, justice and the rule of law is very little. I would argue that the vast majority of people in the "Hispanosphere", the "Francosphere" the "Deutschosphere", the "Hebrewosphere" and the "Hindosphere" also believe in these things.

    So, the 9/11 attack wasn't on any of them (metaphorically speaking)? What does english have to do with it?

  • Dmac

    Yehuda –

    You can't preach moral relativism regarding nihilism like 9/11 – they weren't protesting anything coherent, they just wanted to kill as many of our citizens as possible – period. Just like Khobar Towers, Lebanon, the first WTC attack, our embassies in Africa – all before 9/11.

    Do you even understand how on earth this country came into being? Without pride of country (and a corresponding set of "radical" principles) the United States never would have survived in the first place. The entire Western world was against us from the start (although the French came in later) – most were ruled by monarchies and/or dictatorships.

    Then you go completely off the rails by quoting some quixotic thing called "Christian Nationalism" (what?), while also performing an oxymoron by quoting the Seven Deadly Sins to make your case. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, please learn our history before trying to make fine distinctions between Patriotism and Pride.

    Serious case of cognitive dissonance here.

  • Yehuda Cohn

    Dmac:

    "Then you go completely off the rails by quoting some quixotic thing called “Christian Nationalism” (what?), while also performing an oxymoron by quoting the Seven Deadly Sins to make your case. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, please learn our history before trying to make fine distinctions between Patriotism and Pride."

    Your comment seems unintelligible…

    I "quoted" Christian Nationalism? — No, I referred to it. Minor distinction. And, I don't think there's much "quixotic" about Christian Nationalism (i.e., evangelical militarism).

    I "performed an oxymoron"? I don't see how (what do you mean?). I was just saying that while Jeff talks about "pride," I can't help but remember that pride in one of the Seven Deadly Sin. Is it not? Has something changed?

    And, what does "our history" have to do with the distinction between "patriotism and pride"?

  • Dmac

    Unintelligible? Okaayyy – an oxymoron is basically expressing two separate thoughts or ideas that are in direct conflict with each other. Talking about some figment called "Christian Nationalism"while also quoting the Seven Deadly Sins is a good example of this. Cognitive dissonance means roughly the same thing.

    Now, onto the famous "Christian Nationalism" polemic. Please provide reliable sources for this statement. For example, how about something official from our State Department expressing this sentiment, or maybe some quotes from our governmental leaders expressing the Onward March of Christian Soldiers. This means you can't talk about statements from some of our nutbag religious spokesmen – that's not related to policy decisions, unless you're a conspiracy theorist. That would be helpful to your case here.

    Hope I've helped clear that up. If not, I don't know what else to say.

  • Yehuda Cohn

    W.J. Jones:

    >"… it was indeed an attack on “our way of life,” yours and mine, for everything from our tawdry television to the freedom women enjoy in our country."

    You sure it just wasn't an attack made in retaliation to our foreign policy?

    Do you really think there are people willing to trade their lives because they don't like our T.V. programs and women’s lib? (If they are, then they really start to resemble the Christian Right.)

    >"…Sorry, try again for another reason to defend the terrorists and their bloodthirsty actions. "

    I never said 9/11 was in response to Iraq, you did — why should I "try again for another reason"? You're in an echo chamber — hearing yourself, not me.

    And, they're not any more bloodthirsty than we are, can’t you see that? We've killed far more innocent people than they have. Both are to be condemned for innocent deaths.

    >"… apparently only the bombing of your neighborhood, local school or your workplace would convince you that the terrorists want to kill us all for being who we are. "

    Even if a bombing killed me, if doesn’t necessarily follow that they did it because of "who we are," it would only mean that I was killed by somebody with a serious beef against me, the U.S., or both, that all. How you get to the "who we are" part is beyond me.

    But, please tell why you say they kill us for “who we are” as opposed to what we do? How do you know that?

  • Yehuda Cohn

    You asked me to cite “quotes from our governmental leaders expressing the Onward March of Christian Soldiers.” Okay, how about General William Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He said:

    "I knew that my God was bigger than his God. I knew that my god was a real God and his was an idol." Boykin has also made several statements indicating that America's enemy was "a spiritual enemy…called Satan," and that "radical Muslims" hate the United States, "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and roots are Judeo-Christian and the enemy is a guy named Satan."

    That sounds like Christian Nationalism to me. How about you? Or, do you agree with him (probably)?

    Now please answer my question:

    Is “Pride” in one of the Seven Deadly Sin or not?

  • Yehuda Cohn

    Dmac:

    You asked me to cite “quotes from our governmental leaders expressing the Onward March of Christian Soldiers.” Okay, how about General William Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He said:

    "I knew that my God was bigger than his God. I knew that my god was a real God and his was an idol." Boykin has also made several statements indicating that America's enemy was "a spiritual enemy…called Satan," and that "radical Muslims" hate the United States, "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and roots are Judeo-Christian and the enemy is a guy named Satan."

    That sound like Christian Nationalism to me. How about you? Or, do you agree with him (probably)?

    Now please answer my question:

    Is “Pride” in one of the Seven Deadly Sin or not?

  • Dmac

    But Yehuda, that was the General's personal views, not official policy. Do you not see that little problem? Does he not have a right to his personal views? Wait, don't tell me – in your perfect world, he's an atheist! As for me, I could give a rat's behind about who worships what God, but don't cast aspersions on someone's beliefs in order to buttress your untenable theme. You're making specious arguments here – no smoke, no fire.

    And you keep talking like a metronome regarding Pride being one of the Deadly Sins – ok, I'll bite – Gosh, you're right! She shoots, she scores! But you've just used one religious allegory as an example of making your contrary point about another, so instead you've directly contradicted yourself – again. Do you not see the inherent lack of logic here in what you're stating?

    Good Lord (oh, sorry about that, just my Christian Nationalism showing).

  • John Dumpkin

    are you assholes all fully insane?

  • Dmac

    And another intelligent voice is heard from…

  • danny

    Dmac:

    You're missing the point: Christian values are good. Christian Nationalism is not to be confused with anything Christ-like. Christian Nationalism is simply a highjacking of terms by ideological militarists (neocons) to dupe the ignorant (largely) Christian masses unwitting patriotic support. True studied Christians don't buy into the war because they know thay JC would never be part of it.

  • http://ruthcalvo Ruth

    Why is it that the British are such objects of negative attention all of a sudden? First Chirac on food, then the attrocious terrorists, now reporter/commentator pontification? Bad Karma?

  • penny

    I’m going to bet that Ms. Lyall, seeing that in context of the stories, is cringing. Or I certainly hope she is.

    She's not. She works for the NYT's.

  • http://whataretheysaying.powerblogs.com mary

    Is “Pride” in one of the Seven Deadly Sin or not?

    I'm not a Christian, many other readers aren't, so what's your point? The hijackers weren't Christian either.

    Since the 9/11 hijackers were motivated, not by Islam, but by strict Wahhabi dogma and pre-Medieval Shariah law, the important question to ask is – are 'infidels' considered to be najis, or filth, according to their laws?

    The answer to that question is yes. They attacked us because our lives and our civilization is filth to them. Like the KKK, they're motives are primarily racist – they're opposed to any mixing of cultures and religion.

    And, they’re not any more bloodthirsty than we are, can’t you see that? We’ve killed far more innocent people than they have. Both are to be condemned for innocent deaths.

    Islamists in the Sudan, trained and staffed by al Qaeda and motivated by the same strict dogma and laws have killed 1 million +. That's not counting the ethnic cleansing and slavery that Islamsits have imposed throughout the Middle East and Africa, or the many thousands dead as a result of terrorist attacks around the world.

    Which innocent deaths do you think America should be condemned for?

  • http://whataretheysaying.powerblogs.com mary

    that should be "their motives" – sorry about the bad grammar/spelling throughout.

  • Yehuda Cohn

    Mary:

    You (among many others here) seem so politically poisoned, blinded by ideology, and animated by deep hatred that it's hard to imagine how this world will ever see one day of peace.

  • http://whataretheysaying.powerblogs.com mary

    ..umm…what "hatred" is animating me here? And what ideology are you talking about?

    Politically poisoned? I should have known it wasn't the fish.

    And which innocent deaths do you think America should be condemned for? I'm sure you have an answer, it's a simple question.

  • Dmac

    Mary, Mary, don't you understand? Just share hands around the world and sing kumbaya, and forget about the man standing directly behind you with a switchblade. You just need to try to understand his motivations for killing you – after all, he has a right to his opinions, and his culture demands your immediate death because…well, because you're an infidel. Can't you see that you and almost everyone else on this blog are just being judgemental and unfair?

    There are pictures released today from Iran with the two unfortunate boys who were about to be hanged – because they happened to be gay. Now of course we can't condemn that action either, because we just don't understand them.

    Really, if someone wants to kill all of us just because we exist, who are we to sit in judgement of them? Moral relativism rules, man!

  • NameWitheld

    Dmac, what's your view on capital punishment for juveniles?

  • Dmac

    It depends on the crime and the age at which it is committed. Are we talking the Menendez brothers? The Starkweather serial murders? Gang murders? Self – defense?

  • NameWithheld

    Dmac, the offence isn't interesting. I'm interested if you believe that there is any circumstance when juveniles should be sentenced to death.

  • Dmac

    On the contrary, the offense means everything in cases like that – if you're not willing to give an example, you're just talking in hypotheticals, which represent nothing except crude argumentative gambits.

  • NameWithheld

    Dmac, no it's rather simple. Is there any instance when you would support the death penalty for a juvenile. The fact that you refuse to answer only leads me to the conclusion that you do support it.

    So I'll give you an example.

    Would it have been alright to hang the two juveniles in Iran if they had killed both their parents since their parents disproved of them being gay? That is they were sentenced to death for committing four murders.

  • Dmac

    Gee, such a simple question, huh? But I can't give a blanket answer for a serious crime in which you can't even disclose a myriad of issues that would bear on what their sentences would be. Issues such as:

    Had they committed any previous criminal actions?

    Had they suffered any prior physical abuse from their parents?

    Were these crimes done in a fit of passion, or were they planned out in advance?

    You see, in this country we have a system of law, where the accused get full legal representation and a trial by a jury of their peers. Evidence is presented and testimony is given, and then it's up to the jury to decide. Then there are appeals that may be filed, and every legal recourse is given until their options are exhausted.

    If I used your logic on making your earlier assumption, I would say that the fact that you haven't given me any circumstances that would be called extenuating means you're either unclear on what persuasive speaking entails or a mongoloid.

    But try to have a good night under the bridge anyway, ok?

  • NameWithheld

    Dmac, personal attacks… nice…. says a lot about you….

    Anyway. You still won't answer if there is ANY circumstances when you would argue that a juvenile should be sentenced to death. So as I wrote earlier you are obviously for it under some circumstances but I gather you don't think homosexuality is one of them. I'm also guessing that you brought up the hanging in Iran to show how barbaric the country is or something.

    Most nations on this world view the execution or sentencing to death of juveniles as barbaric. China, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia have all done this since 1990. And of course the US. Nice group of countries to belong to.

    Personally I can say that I don't believe that there is any kind of crime that should be punishable by death, no matter if the perpetrator is a juvenile or an adult.

  • NameWithheld

    I tend to have a problem with people arguing that it is bad to execute / sentencing juveniles to death not because it's wrong in every case but because the crime and the circumstances aren't severe enough.

  • http://647658 Dmac

    You were taking a heck of a long time in getting to whatever point you were trying to make – in the future, it may help if you just state your case and wait for a reaction, rather than play the grand inquisitor, asking and answering for people in lieu of getting the response you so desperately want – and yes, that behaviour says something about you as well, my friend.

    Are you aware that the death penalty was outlawed for most of the last generation, and is intensely debated in this country ad nauseum? That's what a democracy is all about, correct? I guess these facts don't matter in your superior morality – oh, if we all could just be filled with the kind of wisdom as people such as yourself exhibit 24/7.

    Let's try the same haphazard logic you're using here and see if you can defend your own comfortable, black and white worldview:

    War – good or bad?

    Rape – crime or just some fun – loving krazy kookalahs?

    Mass Murder – an abomination on humanity or an understandable reaction to fair market coffee?

    Remember, following your rules in limiting any response that isn't all – positive or completely negative, the world waits breathlessly for your coherent and insightful proclamations to these vexing issues.