Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Edifice of Cynicism

Today, Phi Beta Cons demonstrates the dazzling range and flexibility of conservatarian thought. First, Fred Schwarz indulges in a bit of harebrained Manichaeism (the kind men like):

When conservatives look at the American flag, they see hope and inspiration; when liberals look at it, they see "an edifice of cynicism."
So conservatives feel and liberals think? I'd always heard it was the other way around.

If Schwarz claims that the pleasure conservatives feel when they see the flag comes from inspiration and hope, rather than a thrill of anger at the hippie fags who refuse to bow down before it, who am I to doubt him?

This begs the question of what they hope for, though, and I think it's fair to say that if idolatry is the best thing they can be accused of, cynicism is not quite the worst. It sounds as though Schwarz would like us to drop everything and start drooling the moment a flag is waved; you don't have to be Ward Churchill to suspect that this Pavlovian patriotism benefits Schwarz and his co-religionists much more than it does the good ol' US of A.

Next, Candace de Russy (the fearless, the undaunted) displays a taste for microphilosophical nuance that puts that arch-quibbler John Kerry to shame:
Journalist Thomas Friedman, hardly a champion of free-market capitalism, got a pie in his face this week while speaking at Brown University.
No one can accuse de Russy of having lax standards for what constitutes championing free-market capitalism. Here's one of Friedman's typically ambivalent remarks on the subject, which Tim Russert managed to beat out of him with a length of galvanized rebar:
I was speaking out in Minnesota -- my hometown, in fact -- and guy stood up in the audience, said, 'Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you'd oppose?' I said, 'No, absolutely not.' I said, 'You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.
You'd think that'd be enthusiastic enough for anyone. But de Russy apparently feels that Friedman's chipmunk-on-meth cheerleading amounts to damning the Invisible Hand with faint praise (despite her own discomfort with "the apparently boundless public appetite for debased and scabrous material," the market's response to which is "of course thoroughly designed for profit").

I fear that the rest of us have little hope of winning her favor, which is particularly sad for me as I'd hoped she'd accompany me to this year's China Sex Culture Festival, where "modeling is very rich and refined, and for the first time pushed the ancient palace bed, pillow, ancient Hohuan chairs precious exhibits way reflects scientific Old to the evolution of modern sexuality and how the past serve the present."


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, today when I see a flag these days, it's likely to be being used as a political shot rag by right wingers. This is easy for them to do because they have no use for the thing it sybolizes, a democratic United States. Since they have destroyed the thing that is supposed to be symbolized by the American flag, they have rendered the symbol empty of substance. At least that's what Fred Schwarz does here when he turns it into a propaganda tool.

Schwarz. The tragedy of Life Boy poisoning.

merlallen said...

This liberal served in the Navy. I was once proud to salute the flag.
Conservatives don't serve in the military at all. Or they start out as cons and become libs.

Anonymous said...

in all seriousness, allow me to take a second to say thanks for your service, Merl. although saying it isn't nearly enough.