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?


Tore Claesson said...

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

Patrick West 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.