Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What does "patriotism" mean?


Just recently John McCain questioned Barach Obama's patriotism. I wonder what patriotism is code for--what signal the word sends out to people that transcends the philological essence of the word.

Go ahead, call me a conspiracy theorist. But I believe that linguistically when the "Liberal Media" is assailed, liberal media, or Eastern Liberals or pointy-headed Ivy-Leaguers is populist patois that translates roughly to "Jew." In the old Soviet Union, the code used was "rootless cosmopolitans." Today, high oil prices are being blamed, not on Exxon-Mobil (who tallied $13 billion in profit last year) but on speculators. Speculators = Jews.

So, back to patriotism and its meaning. Questioning Obama's patriotism during the 2008 campaign means one thing--the same thing "elite" means. It means "nigger." It means he's not one of us.

To learn more about this psychological inversion, read Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-intellectualism in American Life." In this book, Hofstadter traces the social movements that altered the role of intellect in American society from a virtue to a vice. The "vice" of intelligence gave us twelve years of Bush (including four with Dan Quayle as vice president.) Eight years of Reagan. Will it now give us four of McCain?

2 comments:

Tore Claesson said...

The pen is mightier than the sword.
Devious use of language is the dark side of it.

P Dub said...

I firmly believe, and have for a long time, that intellect in current U.S culture is more than a vice. It has become the ultimate profanity (in the 'contempt for God' meaning of the word). And yes, I'm both an ad freak and a pointy-headed Ivy Leaguer. The combination makes working in a post-literate society rather interesting some days.