Thursday, August 19, 2004

Even More Julia Child Conservatism

Another aspect of conservatism is patriotism. Not any elaborately theorized nationalism, but a simple, instinctual desire to serve one's country in times of danger. Right after Pearl Harbor, Julia Child tried to sign up for the WAVES, but was rejected because of her unusual height. She ended up with the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA).

This also suggests that that real patriotism doesn't require xenophobia and its more specific manifestation, Francophobia. Julia Child loved America and loved France, and believed that the former could learn from the latter. That is, true love of country doesn't require that one believe one's homeland to be without flaws or incapable of progress. Then again, those were also days in which the French thought there was something to be learned from America, when they sought to tap into some of our optimism and energy (just as Julia Child tried to get America to learn from France's insistence on civilization and tradition).

2 comments:

alkali said...

"Another aspect of conservatism is patriotism."

Compare:

"Another aspect of whiteness is patriotism."
"Another aspect of being born again is patriotism."
"Another aspect of heterosexuality is patriotism."

How is the claim that "Another aspect of conservatism is patriotism" meaningful except as a slur on the patriotism of liberals?

Anonymous said...

This description would better characterize most of the so-called liberals that I know than it would the higher visibility "conservatives". Witness Kerry vs. Bush & Cheney: (from E.J.Dionne's recent column) "Kerry served in Vietnam's combat zones while both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney avoided the war. Bush served stateside in the Texas Air National Guard [after his father pulled strings to jump him past 100,000 other applicants] ... and Cheney avoided the military altogether. The hawkish veep has explained blithely, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service." "

I'm wondering more & more these days what's so conservative and patriotic about the right wing. Its "patriotism" is largely bombastic nationalism and xenophobia, and its conservatism seems to have much more to do with using power to enrich the powerful (in the form of huge giveaways to giant agribusiness, pharmaceutical co's. and defense contractors) than with any principled doctrines. (Maybe there is a doctrine here: "socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor", as someone once put it.)