Sunday, December 05, 2010

Have you taken the Outsider Test for Patriotism?

Apparently one of the big issues that will be important in the next campaign is American Exceptionalism. Does Obama really believe that America is the greatest nation on God's green earth. Meanwhile, over at Debunking America, the question has been raised as to whether people like Romney, Palin, and Huckabee have taken the Outsider Test for Patriotism.


Mr Veale said...

I'm an outsider, and I don't think that America is the greatest nation on Earth.
But I can see why insiders (and some outsiders) would think that it is.

As an Ulsterman* I can categorically state that Ulster is the greatest nation* on Earth.
Any outsider who agrees with that is in dire need of psychiatric help***.

*Or "Norn Irish"

**(A difficult trick to pull off, mind you, as Ulster isn't actually a nation, but it makes as much sense as anything else in Norn Irish politics)

***Or, to put it in Norn Irish -"ach, yer hed's cut, wee mon if y' think that like"

Mr Veale said...

There's actually a serious point about the "outsider test" in that post.
The USA has a chance of passing it; the less said about Northern Ireland the better.


The Uncredible Hallq said...

"There is another intellectual virtue, which is that of generally or impartially. I recommend the following exercise: When, in a sentence expressing political opinion, there are words that arouse powerful but different emotions in different readers, try replacing them by symbols, A, B. C, and so on and forgetting the particular significance of the symbols. Suppose A is England, B is Germany and C is Russia. So long as you remember what the letters mean, most of the things you will believe will depend upon whether you are English, German or Russian, which is logically irrelevant."

Bertrand Russell, "Philosophy for Laymen"

shiningwhiffle said...

It seems like our political parties keep slandering each other until the other one actually buys into it and decides to just be proud of their lunacy. Ugh.

Is Debunking America also suggesting that patriotism == exceptionalism, and just switching sympathies on the matter? I sure hope not.

I'm thinking that's the moral of this post. The Outsider Test should foster sobriety and reflection, not necessarily abandonment of one's position entirely.

Mr Veale said...


(i)How do you assess a nation without considering the feelings of its citizens?
(ii)What about my wee counterexample?


shiningwhiffle said...

I think there's a nice sports analogy that sums up the situation:

Patriotism is like supporting your team because they're your team. You want them to win, and the opposing team to lose.

This isn't incompatible with understanding — here the Outsider Test comes in — that people loyal to the other side want their team to win and your team to lose, and that there's nothing wrong with that.

In legitimate conflicts (where universal justice or universal charity doesn't come into it), it's right to remain loyal to your own family or community.

Exceptionalism, on the other hand, is like the Alabama or Auburn fan who seems to think their team has the sanction of God Almighty. I live in Alabama, and I've heard of families disowning their children for going to the wrong university over this stupid conflict.

(I personally prefer Auburn, but not if they're up against my own University's team.)

Brenda said...

America is well on it's way towards a fascist dictatorship. If the republicans get their way, kiss your freedom goodbye.

Bob Prokop said...

Wow! I can't believe I agree with Brenda on something. There's hope for finding common ground yet!

Mr Veale said...

OK - I think it takes an "insider" (a citizen of the USA) to believe that Republicans are Facist, and that Democrats are Socialists.)

You really don't have that much to complain about...I have a socialist and former, unrepentant terrorist as my Deputy First Minister, and a populist demagogue as my First Minister.

The grass really isn't greener over here.

Mr Veale said...


Alabama and Auburn are on the brink of war? Why am I only reading about it here?


Brenda said...

@ Bob Prokop -- We probably all have much more in common that many realize. Arguing about religion tends to marginalize everything else. I was raised Lutheran and consider myself agnostic, not atheist, very much against the New Atheists.

"I think it takes an "insider" (a citizen of the USA) to believe that Republicans are Facist, and that Democrats are Socialists."

I would have agreed with you about previous republicans. This new bunch scare me though. I think they've gone 'round the bend, lost their marbles, took a trip to crazytown etc. You are right that most Americans have no idea what real fascism or socialism are. I worry that we may find out. Not just for us, but for the world.

One Brow said...

Leave it to the Republicans to take a logical fallacy and call it essential to patriotism.

Mr Veale said...

From what I gather the Republican Party is rather big. I imagine that it admits a wide variety of opinion.

They can't all be dangerous fascists, surely?

Bob Prokop said...

Mr. Veale,
I assure you. They ALL are!

shiningwhiffle said...

They can't all be dangerous fascists, surely?

Republican voters are typically decent people who just have a mildly different set of values than Democratic voters (on average). One of my best friends is a Republican and he's the nicest, most open-minded, most tolerant person I know.

The politicians are another story altogether. They've become completely lost in their own ideology. Somewhere along the way, they started believing their own propaganda. Basically, they're the Marxists of the political right.

Fascists? I wouldn't go that far, but close with neocons like PNAC.

I say all this as a former Republican.

JS Allen said...

@Graham - I'm Ulster by ancestry, and former republican, and can assure you that these new clowns are in a class by themselves. Technically, the biggest problem are a subset of the republicans officially known as "tea-baggers".

Bob Prokop said...

The wierdest thing is that they (the Republicans) seem utterly incapable of learning from experience. After 10 years of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy failing to produce a single new job, they now insist that extending them will magically create new jobs all over the place. How can this be? I remember hearing somewhere that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting the result to somehow be different.

So how's that "taxy-cutty" thing workin' for ya'?

David said...

I can always take the outsider test on a political question by how long it takes for someone to call the other side a Nazi/fascist or communist/socialist. These comments are right about average. John W. Lofus would be proud at the rapid fire name calling.

I'm glad I haven't wasted my life worrying about how much money or taxes the "rich" are making or paying.

After reading the history and visiting the old country of my grandparents, I'm glad they got on that boat.

Mr Veale said...

You know what you guys need?

A constitutional monarchy.

Mr Veale said...

I know a few people...I could get someone to drop in a kind word with Her Majesty, if you like.

I know you've that awful deficit, and a health system held together with duck tape and spit.
But I'm sure she'd take you back at a reduced price.

Mr Veale said...

It'll be worth it to have that blonde girl from Fox News!

David said...

Mr Veale,

Being an American raised by an Irish family with IRA sympathies and then (to the anger of my father) becoming Anglican, I still prefer our hot blondes on Fox to your Queen.

I also prefer duck tape to government bureaucrats.

Anonymous said...

So how's that "taxy-cutty" thing workin' for ya'?

Ask Obama, as he apparently wants to cut taxes before them.

Enjoy that hope and change you voted for. I voted for it myself this congressional election. ;)

Blue Devil Knight said...

Speaking of Patriots, happy with all that trash talking now Rex Ryan.

Just got back from game. It. Was. Awesome. Total domination of the talk-heavy Jests. Voice gone.

Mr Veale said...


All right; we'll split the difference.

Britain will become the 51st State; Her Majesty and the Hot Chick from Fox can be co-regents.

I think you'll find that my plan is flawless.

Bob Prokop said...

But if we did that, we'd end up driving on both sides of the road. No, wait! We already do!!

Mr Veale said...

I thought of that. It's on page 96 of my plan for the reconstruction of the English Speaking world.

We take it day about. Mon, Wed, Fri right hand side. Tues, Thurs, and Sat left hand side.

We'll take Sunday's off.

Any more questions?

Brenda said...

"They can't all be dangerous fascists, surely?"

TX GOP Official Opposes Jewish House Speaker: Christians ‘Are The People That Do The Best Jobs’

"We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,"

Oh gosh, that sounds a bit... fascist. But NO! You misunderestimate:

“They’re some of my best friends,” he said of Jews, naming two friends of his. “I’m not bigoted at all; I’m not racist.”

Glad we cleared that up.

shiningwhiffle said...


To be fair, Texan Republicans are the most radical. They're the only Republicans to still openly call for the abolition of Social Security.

But, yeah, the Republican party pretty much throws reason and moderation out the window whenever it conflicts with their holy war on liberals, terrorists, pagans, and other bogeymen (real or imaginary).

The Democrats, by contrast, are cowards and liars.

Eh, what can you do?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Wow, while I'm not sure it is totally relevant, if that's true the TX Repubs are more repulsive than I thought. I thought NC was backwards, but this is almost unbelievable I look forward to seeing it verified in more mainstream news outlets.

Steve Hays, is he part of the 'global South' that you hope to see growing in leaps and bounds?

Blue Devil Knight said...

I should say I hope it isn't true, but I'd like to see some reporting from less partisan sources. Sometimes liberal "news" outlets will report this kind of thing and it turns out to be fabricated.

I don't think it is fascistic, it is anti-semitic, ignorant, backwards-ass redneck Christian rural south idiocy. Not fascism.

Mr Veale said...

All of these problems merely justify my 54 State, Dual monarch solution.

(Why 54 States? My plan involves assimilating Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada. We'll sell Alaska to the Chinese, wiping out all our deficits!)

Mr Veale said...

(We sell Sarah Palin to Fox TV...raising the average IQ of the English speaking world by 200%...)

David said...


The leader of the Republicans in Texas is a Jew? Pause. If I took seriously every link sent to me that quoted some minor politician fighting for his group (homosexual, secularist, Black Nationalist) to have more political power I would be as politically irrational as you. So, people want their group to have more political power...yawn. You even suckered in BDK who is usually a fair minded guy and didn't bother to check out the Republican response to this kind of group think lunacy. Good job.

Mr Veale, I'm all for England joining the Union so long as we can have Newton, Churchill, or Wilberforce on our $50 bill rather than U.S Grant. I would also hope that our schools would teach the poems of Donne, Milton, and Blake rather than the postmodern atheistic crazed poets that have weaseled their way into our public schools in California.

Bob Prokop said...

What's wrong with Grant? Brilliant general. We wouldn't be one country today without him.

David said...


In the West he was great, in the East it was hey-diddle-diddle-right up the middle which cost too many young men their lives.

But, Lincoln trusted him so maybe he was the man the Union needed. Glad to be in a preserved Union.

Blue Devil Knight said...

David: I did say I would like to see corroboration outside of this biased source. Anyone have links to other sources on this story? I was suspicious because it is almost too "good" to be true, in the sense of upholding stereotypes of the ignorant southerner that liberals want to believe.

Bob Prokop said...

It was on MSNBC last night, but perhaps you consider that a "biased" source?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Bob, no I consider that reasonable. So what is David complaining about exactly if this is an accurate story?

Blue Devil Knight said...

OK it's been picked up by enough sources that I believe it. Wow. Just. Wow.

Here's a good sources.

These people do not understand the basic principles of our Constitution, should actually read the founding fathers that Beck keeps telling them about. Wow.

Mr Veale said...

So...the 54 State solution it is then...

I'll mobilize the Texans

David said...


My comments were not meant to be a complaint but a shrug.

A fundamentalist Christian from a fundamentalist area gets elected and wants fundamentalist to have more political power. This is about as interesting to me as a secular progressive from Marin County in California promoting secular progressives to more political power. Cooks' comment about Christians doing a better job is about as upsetting to me as Judge Sotomayor saying a Latina makes better judgments than a white male. The hype of both statements I put in the category of normal political rough-and- tumble. In other words, I find it hard to take seriously.

What I do take seriously is the comparison between two large States, Texas and California. One is run by mainly “Religious Conservatives” and the other largely by “Secular Progressives.” In every comparison I can find, from economics to public education, from taxes to laws regulating personal behavior Texas is winning the day. If there is some obscure statistic where my dear California is better off that Texas, I could use the encouragement. That either the loons that run California or the loons that run Texas are fascist is, well, lunacy.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I agree that they aren't fascists.

But the difference is that this isn't a political but sectarian attack, which goes against the principles upon which my country was founded (not sure if you are from the US).