I Thought ‘Dissent Is Patriotic’

Townhall.com | Dennis Prager | Aug. 11, 2009

Living in liberal Los Angeles, I am surrounded by people — and bumper stickers — I do not agree with.

One of the more popular liberal bumper stickers of the last decade tells us “Dissent is Patriotic.” Now, as it happens, it is impossible to truly disagree with that phrase, not because it is self-evidently true, but because it is self-evidently meaningless. As are most left-wing bumper stickers.

For example, another popular liberal bumper sticker proclaims, “War Is not the Answer.” It, too, is completely meaningless. If the question is, “What is the square root of 8?” war is not the answer. But if the question is “How do you stop genocidal regimes?” war probably is the answer.

As concerns “Dissent is Patriotic,” the fact is that dissent is neither patriotic nor unpatriotic. Sometimes it is one, sometimes the other, sometimes it has nothing to do with patriotism. The right to dissent is a basic American value. But that is not what the bumper sticker says.

Those who dissented when Alabama schools were racially integrated were not acting patriotically. Those who dissented against British rule in North America are considered our greatest patriots. Those who dissent against the doctrine that global warming caused by human beings is leading to worldwide catastrophe are courageous and probably right, but their dissent is neither patriotic nor unpatriotic.

The worst part of the liberal mantra, “Dissent is Patriotic,” however, is not that is meaningless. It is that it is apparently meant solely to defend liberal and left dissent. Dissent against the right is inherently patriotic.

Dissent against the left is another matter. To Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and to the New York Times Paul Krugman and every other left-wing commentator I have read on the issue, those who dissent against the Obama/Democratic Party health care plan are not only not patriotic; they are Nazis, mobs, white racists (according to Krugman’s non-sequitur thesis) and are always organized. They are activists sent by health insurance companies, the Republican Party, or by some other nefarious right-wing organization.

To the left, it is almost inconceivable that normal “hardworking” Americans, even Democrats, might find the idea of an immense increase in government intrusion into our lives frightening.

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One thought on “I Thought ‘Dissent Is Patriotic’

  1. The hypocrisy on display in the healthcare debate is really beyond belief. I’m waiting with bated breath to see if this ruse works with all the peace-loving centrists I know. They are good people who really believe that what they read in the Times or see on CNN is the truth. But painting dissenters in this case as maniacs and thugs after having painted dissenters throughout the Bush presidency as heroes and patriots seems really over the top to me. I’m waiting to see if this is the tipping point when all of these very nice people begin to realize how low these guys are.

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