Paul Krugman and Hatriotism

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Yesterday while almost all Americans were recalling 9/11 with sadness, mixed with pride for the heroism and self-sacrifice amply displayed by so many of their fellow citizens that dark day, economist Paul Krugman in his blog, hilariously entitled Conscience of a Liberal,  at the, where else, New York Times, posted this:

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

I guess one reason Krugman disabled comments was to prevent people noting the typos and poor grammar displayed in this short blog post.  Another reason is because commenters would have pointed out that what he had just done was the blog equivalent of going to a funeral and spitting on the coffin. 

 I do give Krugman credit, however, in that his blog post is a fine example of hatriotism, a hatred of one’s country, that is popular among a fair number of elites in this country and in Europe.  They regard patriotism as dangerous and retrograde.  They sneer at any manifestations of it, assume that others cannot really be patriots and must have some ulterior motive and always can be counted upon to assume the very worst about their country and their fellow citizens who do not share their disdain for the land of their birth.

The Church of course views patriotism differently. Paragraph 2240 of the Catechism states:

2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.45

[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . .
So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.46

The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, “that we may lead a quiet and
peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”47

As for America, Pope Benedict has a keen appreciation of the role America has played in the world:

From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has
been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social
life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the
Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this
conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are
created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature
and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the
difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which
were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble
principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious
beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the
struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too,
particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in
a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations.

In the next few days, I look forward to meeting not only with
America’s Catholic community, but with other Christian communities and
representatives of the many religious traditions present in this country.
Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom
to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the
same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and
group can make its voice heard. As the nation faces the increasingly complex
political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American
people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an
inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the
effort to build a more humane and free society.

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal
responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this
country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense
of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the
cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a
sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage
to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to
reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held
out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good
(cf.
Spe
Salvi
, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John
Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism
in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows,
time and again, that “in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation”,
and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus,
46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President
Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality
represent “indispensable supports” of political prosperity.

In regard to Mr. Krugman and the other purveyors of hatriotism, my deepest emotion is one of pity.  Going through life eaten up by hate is a very poor way to live.  Sir Walter Scott said it best long ago:

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath
said,
This is my own, my native land?
Whose heart hath ne’er within him
burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
From wandering on a foreign
strand?

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures
swell.
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as
wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in
self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go
down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonor’d, and
unsung.

17 Responses to Paul Krugman and Hatriotism

  • Thos. Collins says:

    Krugamn & Co are way too smart for all that old-fashioned “God Bless America” claptrap. They snigger at the hardhats chanting “USA! USA!” and the “God and guns” morons who inhabit who inhabit flyover country.

    Give me Archie Bunker any day.

  • RL says:

    What’s really funny about this is that there was a marked sense of unity immediately following 9/11 as well as an increase in church attendance. GWB was increasing in popularity and was receiving support from many or most on the left. It wasn’t until the Dems realized they can’t win elections by taking the position of “yeah, what Bush said” that they commenced building a wedge and driving it in.

    There’s a reason why Krugman is only respected by the NYT editorial board and one other guy, and it is coherent thought.

  • Art Deco says:

    Charcters like Krugman are demographically unimportant. Unfortunately, they often hold consequential positions in the world of public discourse. How that came to be and what is to be done about it are the interesting questions.

  • Indeed, Art.

    Also, it strikes me, Krugman’s wish for the “unity” that might have been reflects the Orwellian concept of unity which predominates among extreme partisans of all sorts: the idea that “unity” consists of a world completely cleansed of those with whom one disagrees. Krugman could only find the unity which he wishes he could look back on if most of the population of the country ceased to exist.

  • Pinky says:

    I dunno. I’m no fan of Krugman, but he’s putting the blame on the politicians he disagrees with, and only secondarily on the country for letting the politicians get away with (what he thinks are) their misdeeds. Everyone but the most chauvanistic gets frustrated at his country for not following his vision for it.

  • Foxfier says:

    Charcters like Krugman are demographically unimportant. Unfortunately, they often hold consequential positions in the world of public discourse.

    I hope it’s just the squeaky hinge problem, but I fear it isn’t… local radio jocks have been making the same sort of “What happened to our unity, why can’t you horrible nasty people be unified” type arguments, and some of my relatives (Alright, by marriage, and known flakes, but still) are echoing it.

  • Joe Green says:

    Krugman is supposed to be an economist, which is a job for people who tell people why they don’t have jobs. He’s out of his league on most issues, along with Friedman, Dodd & Co.

  • Penguins Fan says:

    Krugman was labeled by national Review Online as the Most Dangerous Man in America (this was before Obumbler was elected President).

    Krugman’s writing would get him run out of town in most American cities and towns, but in New York, the epicenter of 9/11, he has his constituency, as well as a lousy, third rate publication with an editorial policy that puts it beneath the National Enquirer that provides him with the means to blather.

    The New York Times is a despicable piece of garbage. I do not know why Carlos Slim puts his money into it – without Slim the paper would have gone out of business.

  • Donna V. says:

    Another thing: he complained about a “subdued” observance of 9/11! What did Krugman want, the country to make like it was the Fourth of July, with fireworks and marching bands? The people at Ground Zero, Shanksville and the Pentagon were solemnly commemorating the anniversary of a mass murder. I don’t know if Krugman was in NY on 9/11, (he seems to reside in a galaxy of his own making), but, gee, Paul, surely someone told you it wasn’t a happy day.

  • DarwinCatholic says:

    Another thing: he complained about a “subdued” observance of 9/11! What did Krugman want, the country to make like it was the Fourth of July, with fireworks and marching bands?

    Well, clearly if it was not subdued it would have featured Obama and Greek columns — not to mention the oceans ceasing to rise.

    It strikes me that to any sane person somber commemorations are quiet natural. Our parish had asked policemen, firemen and military personnel to come in uniform and had a blessing out by the flag pole after mass. Our pastor read our Pope Benedict’s prayer from when he visited Ground Zero.

    Sure, it’s just one small town in Ohio, but there’s not a single other commemoration (including Memorial Day or the 4th of July) which gets that level of attendance and participation for something outside of mass. I think every single person who was at mass came — no one just hurried home.

  • Suz says:

    Agreed, Donna V., that “oddly subdued” is a puzzling turn of phrase, considering the gravity of the events being recalled. Reading on, it appears that another ten or eleven phrases in Mr. Krugman’s brief post are also quite beyond my understanding.

    I know a “hatriot” and he is without a doubt the unhappiest person of my acquaintance. And he wants everyone to be just like him.

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