Scorn on the Fourth of July

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


628x471The Fourth of July is over, and despite most of America taking great joy in celebrating our independence and freedom, many members of the American Left are glad that what they consider to be an unseemly spasm of over-hyped jingoism is finally over. For these oh-so-enlightened and morally superior souls, a racist and irredeemably imperialist America is something to be mourned, not celebrated. Independence Day is thus a time for commemorating their hatred of the country and waving it for all to see.

The late leftist historian Howard Zinn’s work was given a platform by The Progressive magazine in 2010, when they trotted out his 2006 screed, “Put Away the Flags.” “On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blesse[d],” Zinn wrote. “Is not nationalism–that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder–one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?”

Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild wrote an equally obnoxious “me too” piece that same year, “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4.” “You can call me unpatriotic if you’d like, but really I’m anti-patriotic,” he whines. He continues:

I’ve been studying fascism lately, and there is one inescapable fact about it: Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism. And patriotism is but the father of nationalism. Patriotism is not something to play with. It’s highly toxic. When ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties. It gulls people into believing their leaders. It masks those who benefit most from state policy. And it destroys the ability of people to get together, within the United States and across boundaries, to take on those with the most power: the multinational corporation. Plus, it’s a war toy, wheeled out whenever a leader needs to improve his ratings by attacking some other country–often after invoking God’s name, too.

Rothschild’s solution? “We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.”

That American superiority complex, better known as American exceptionalism, has made this nation a beacon of liberty throughout the world. It is America’s patriots, many of whom have sacrificed their lives, who have preserved that liberty. That would be the same liberty that allows terminally ungrateful people like the late Zinn and Rothschild to spew their noxious nonsense without fear of imprisonment, or the kind of “reeducation” that occurs in genuinely fascistic societies.

Perhaps what liberals fear the most about Independence Day is contained in a 2011 report by Harvard University. It found that celebrating America’s independence accrues to the interest of Republicans. “Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” says the report. It went on to say:

The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party.

Such academic nonsense misses a central reality: the political right has not “appropriated” 237 years of American history, tradition, and culture. The political left has largely abandoned such ideas, an effort emphasized by President Obama himself, who made it clear in 2008 that “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” was an integral part of his agenda.

In 2012, Hollywood celebrities like Chris Rock and Zach Braff reminded Americans that leftists never fail to bring the apparently indelible stain of America’s enduring racism to the Fourth of July table. “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks,” tweeted Rock. “Slaves weren’t freed for another 90 years. So maybe just enjoy some of the fireworks…,” tweeted Braff.

Since they are celebrities, it is unsurprising that these two, along with other like-minded Hollywood luminaries who share the same sentiments, can be so ignorant of history. As black American intellectual Thomas Sowell reminds us, “slaves and enslavers alike have been of every race, religion and nationality.” He also reminds us why people like Rock and Braff remain clueless to that reality. “But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people.”

Sowell then offers the clueless a reality check. “If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance,” he writes.

So why does the left persist in flogging America for its past sins? Because they impose 21st century leftist values on historical figures and events, rather than viewing those events within the context of when they occurred. And they do this with a specific purpose in mind. “Those who mine history for sins are not searching for truth but for opportunities to denigrate their own society, or for grievances that can be cashed in today, at the expense of people who were not even born when the sins of the past were committed,” Sowell explains.

One of this year’s most disgusting anti-Fourth of July rants comes courtesy of the popular website Gawker. In “Hatetriot’s Day: July 4 Is America’s Crappiest Holiday,” writer Ken Layne insists that “Independence Day is the worst of America’s joyless national celebrations, the day when everyone will predictably act like a buffoon and nobody has the decency to Opt Out.” Layne has nothing but unbridled contempt for the nation’s founding documents:

Today, 237 years since that cursed piece of paper launched a war that killed 50,000, formalized the genocide of indigenous Americans, and locked African slaves into another century of bondage, the Declaration is still little more than a casserole of Enlightenment tropes dumped over the money grudges of the One Percent….But along with the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration has been the subject of more infantile modern-day nationalistic nonsense than all the rest of the world’s legal structures combined.

Few things speak to one’s infantilism better than trashing the very essence of that which gives one the freedom and the opportunity to belittle one’s fellow Americans, and to wallow in one’s self-aggrandizing sense of superiority. Yet perhaps the most telling aspect of all this vitriol is that it is all so predictable and boring. Like Layne, many American leftists are a joyless bunch, terminally uncomfortable with anything resembling gratitude or balance. For them, America’s perceived shortcomings can only be measured against a standard of absolute perfection, as opposed to the performance of other nations around the world. Thus, the preponderance of evidence that points to the greatness of our nation is irrelevant, as long as one factoid of imperfection can be found.

The Fourth of July will forever be anathema to them. For that, they are to be pitied–and then ignored.

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  • UCSPanther

    ” Different conservative groups would love to repeal a variety of
    amendments including the 8th, the 14th, the 16th, the 17th, the 19th and
    possibly the 26th amendment.”

    And many left wing groups would love to appeal many parts of the constitution, with the first and second amendment near the top of the list…

  • tagalog

    I don’t see Independence Day as a “joyless” national holiday. I see many Americans enjoying themselves in myriad of ways. Maybe it’s the sour lobbies who are joyless, and projecting their joylessness on the rest of us and our Stupid Party holidays. Oh well, nothing keeps them from hopping a plane to Libya or Egypt or Syria and enjoying the joy of patriotism in those places.

  • unionville

    It’s a good thing that Matthew Rothschild and others of his mindset weren’t in my neighborhood yesterday. We were awash in patriotism. From all the flags lining the streets to the red, white and blue clothing. And we also had the good fortune of having a couple of Iraq/Afghanistan war vets who were home, as well as one WWII vet in the ‘hood. We celebrated our behinds off.

  • glpage

    One of the really cool ideas our founding fathers had was the concept of voting with your feet. If you don’t like the policies of your local government you can move to another that more closely mirrors what you believe. It also holds true at the national level. I remember back when I was a long-haired hippie, anti-war protester wannabe there were bumper stickers that said, “America Love It or Leave It.” Back then I was terribly indignant about that message. But now, I do understand what it was all about. This country was founded to be a unique place with unique values centered on the rights of the individual, not a small set of privileged few or the collective. People that value the collective or being subservient to the privileged few have all sorts of other places to live. Rather than attempting to tear down this unique place, they should relocate to a place more amendable to their beliefs and quit trying to ruin this unique country.

    • mkat68

      “they should relocate to a place more amendable to their beliefs and quit trying to ruin this unique country”

      And as they’re packing their bags to leave, let them remember that there are still many countries in the world where the people are not even free to do that.

  • KatieNorcross

    If Chris Rock and Zach Braff actually believed what they preached then these 2 fine examples of African-Americans can drop the American part and become Africans. The sooner they do this, the better the country will be.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Several liberal sites have checked in today seeking to replace celebration of Independence in 1776 with celebration of the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863.

    The reason seems to be that Frederick Douglas did not think much of celebrating the first but would presumably approve celebrating the second.

    • Philo Vaihinger

      The motivating complaint is that Independence did no good for the black people of America, then mostly slaves.

      Douglas was one of those who always asked, “But is it good for the black man”?

      Much like those who always reputedly ask, “But is it good for the Jews”?

      Me, me, me, I, I, I.

      Too many only children (“only childs”?), if you ask me.

    • ann

      HA PLEASE ENOUGH WITH THE FALSE CRAP…the firsts MAN TO OWN A SLAVE IN THE THIRTEEN COLONIES WAS A BLACK MAN…he went to court to get the right to own his BLACK SLAVE…SO GET TO KNOW THE TRUE BLACK HISTORY BEFORE YOU SPEW…BLACKS FOUGHT IN THE REVOLUTION…GET YOU HISTORY RIGHT…

      • Philo Vaihinger

        You are way off topic, and off your meds.

        I was writing of Douglas’s complaint.

  • ann

    PROUD FREE AMERICAN…great time was had by all fireworks,hot dogs,chips, home town parade and all the RED,WHITE AND BLUE, ALONG WITH THE NATIONAL ANTHEM …YEP, YOU BET…FREEDOM RINGS, NO MATTER HOW THEY TRY TO ENSLAVE US…WE WILL BE MEN DETERMINED TO BE FREE!!!

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Hmm. American Independence probably didn’t do a lot for the handicapped, either. How wicked if those who were not handicapped got some good out of it. How wicked if, as of today, we all get some good out of it, handicapped or not. But the poor handicapped didn’t get anything out of it, right away. How awful.

  • Gee

    To say “Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism.” is kind of like saying breathing causes cancer. Everybody that got cancer had to breath at least once.

    Pretty stupid and simplistic statement

  • Hugh Vincelette

    Although not an American, I have lived in the US (San Diego) for many wonderful years. I am neither liberal nor conservative. It depends on the issue. Most of my friends in San Diego were in the USN or USMC, & served with distinction.They were liberal in their perspectives, & fiercely patriotic; willing to give up their lives in defense of liberty, equality, & justice. The demonization of the “left” reveals how uninformed people can be. Liberal thinking created the US Constitution. Liberals got women the vote, got African-Americans the vote, created Social Security, which lifted millions of elderly out of poverty, Liberals ended segregation, passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, created Medicare, & passed the Clean Air & Clean water Acts. Conservatives opposed every on of these measures.

    • bluffcreek1967

      The Left has earned every ounce of ‘demonization’ they get. Yes, it’s true that many worthy U.S. military members are liberal and yet have served with distinction. I too honor them because of their service to our nation. But that doesn’t mean that liberal service members are politically informed or correct in their views. Just as in the general public there are a lot of low-information voters, so too in the military there are a lot of low-information voters. Such men and women might be patriotic, but they can also be inconsistent or dead-wrong in their thinking as well.

      Citing some of the great things that liberals have accomplished, such as creating Social Security, Medicare, etc. is hardly going to get any praise on this site. Liberals also helped to morally destroy our nation, divide us as a people, help dope up the nation, erect a huge Welfare state that has enslaved millions, have opposed lowering taxes, helped create a bloated excessively bureaucratic government, and help elect a man as president who has done his best to increase our national debt and virtually destroy the country we grew up in. These are NOT things to be proud of and liberals within the U.S. ought to hang their heads in shame.

    • Painted Horse

      Are you sure you don’t have a bridge to sell us as well?

    • Cathy1000

      What you refer to is “classical liberalism” which is the foundation of all of our documents and our rule of law! Classical liberalism has NOTHING to do with liberal in its current sense!
      These policies and legislative issues would thus have been the result of the “Republican party” or whatever it was called over the ages.

  • mtnhikerdude

    They hate America . Made their fortunes here . Why don’t they just leave ?

  • johnnywood

    Was slavery just ended last month? Some of these ignorant asses act like it was. Unless I am mistaken the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law almost 50 years ago, but what do I know/ I`m just a “racist” White boy.

  • popseal

    I first encountered this hatred when I had just returned from my second Vietnam tour, had become a Christian, and returned to college. It was hurtful then and infuriating now. But since I’ve had a chance to let the chemistry crystalize, I do in a way feel sorry for such sorry souls as theirs. Bitterness is an acid more hurtful to the container, than the one upon whom it is poured.

  • cxt

    Hugh Vincelette
    You might want to a goa bit more ease on the claim/s there buddy.
    You also might wish to be a little more accurate with the terminology as well.
    In point of fact:
    “LIberal think created the Consitution”
    Kinda depends on just how you define that term does it not? “LIberal” is arguable but since most of what the Founder belived is widely viewed as “Conservative” these days is more complex that your blanket assertions woould suggest.
    “LIberals got women the vote”
    Maybe–but same problem/s as above.
    “Got African-Americans the vote”
    More Republicans voted the various civil rights acts than did Democrats. The guys with the nasty/evil anti-black policies were “liberal” Democrats.
    The Democrats are in point of fact, the LITTERAL “pro-slavery” and “pro-Jim Crow party. Maybe that does not square with the term “liberal” but AGAIN, kinda depends on the specifics of your assertions.
    “Conservatives opposed on every one of these measures”
    It would be much more accurate to say that conservatives “opposed” CERTIAN SECTIONS of the mentioned acts.
    That “conservatives” don’t care about civil rights, the elderly, clean air and water is the trope–buts its far from accurate.
    And your saying so does not MAKE it so.
    Your post is more propaganda than fact/s.

  • fliteking

    Agreed. Liberals act as if every white fella would own a slave if the law allowed the same . . . meanwhile slavery is still a major problem in Africa . . . wonder why King O. did not comment on the same during his recent trip there.