Wednesday, July 08, 2009

And All For One

There's a grab bag of things worth mentioning regarding Boethius' latest.

The first thing is that I am very little conflicted about loyalty to America, and in particular that it constitutes one polity. There are a lot of ways to think about this, but I look at it from in a very practical way. No matter what the difference in weather, food, or accents, when I fly from Chicago to Los Angeles it's still the same country. It's not only about the formalities of passport control, but for me at least it really does feel that way too. But in flying from Los Angeles to Guadalajara, you land in a different country. It's as simple as that.

Elaborating on the particular loyalties of dissident conservatives, it's worth contrasting them to the mainstream Right. For the mainstream Right, there is a nexus of political loyalties that's fairly well understood at the gut level. The mainstream Right is connected on one end with the Republican political establishment, and on the other to Greater Red State America. This is in addition to the general patriotic loyalty to America in general. This is important because it creates the possibility of understood premises in a conversation with a mainstream conservative. For the dissident conservatives, leaving aside any questions of loyalty to America in general, their secondary political positive loyalties are quite murky. Even if one of them claimed to be loyal to paleoconservatism or Crunchy Conservatism, the objects of such loyalty are too fragmented to count. Therefore there tends to be a hint of sophistry in their arguments: it's always a little too vague just who's interest they're arguing for.

The libertarians are an interesting case: to the extent they exist as part of the Right at all, they function as dissident conservatives some of the time and mainstream conservatives the rest. Politically speaking I think their biggest issues have to do with organization, which come to think of it is sort of related to loyalty in their case.

About Bin Laden et al, I don't believe they fear being the victim of persecution by the state for the sake of religion. Instead they intend to be the religious persecutors themselves, through the state or whatever means of power they can use. We can hope, that the physical and cultural barriers between us and them mean that we can protect ourselves from them easier than some would have us believe. IMO that's an interesting, highly contingent judgment call. By contrast, the question of loyalty is this circumstance ought to be trivial.

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