Freitag, Februar 02, 2007

Spurious Dissent...

One of the beloved memes of the left these days is that "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" and to put those words into Thomas Jefferson's mouth.

That always made me wonder: did he really say that?

Well, I went and looked.

He never said that.

And to make the leftist lie even worse, he comes close to saying exactly the opposite, as can be seen here:

"Political dissension is doubtless a less evil than the lethargy of despotism: but still it is a great evil, and it would be as worthy the efforts of the patriot as of the philosopher, to exclude it's influence if possible, from social life. The good are rare enough at best. There is no reason to subdivide them by artificial lines. But whether we shall ever be able so far to perfect the principles of society as that political opinions shall, in it's intercourse, be as inoffensive as those of philosophy, mechanics, or any other, may well be doubted." TJ to Thomas Pinckney, 29 May 1797

So, instead of viewing dissent as the highest form of patriotism, Thomas Jefferson actually saw it as a great evil, less evil than the lethargy of despotism, but evil nonetheless.

That doesn't really suprise me, considering another meme so beloved of the left: What if there was a war and no one came?

But I already covered that here.

But let's repeat it, as it remains relevant:

"What if they gave a war and no one came?
Then the war will come to you.
He who stays home when the fight begins
And lets others fight for his cause
Should take care. He who does not take part
In the battle will share in the defeat.
Even avoiding battle does not avoid
Battle, since not to fight for your cause
Really means
Fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause.

 - Bertholt Brecht.

Link to the original there.

All of this, of course, is spurred by the three columns in the Washington Post by Arkin. That's a link to Arkin; you can find the opeds here, here, and here, in chronological order.

The man's not treasonous, but he is irresponsible. Severely so.

Not fighting for your cause really means fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause.


Jeremayakovka hat gesagt…

Guten Tag,

There's something tres precieux about Americans and free citizens of other liberal democracies claiming that disagreement with government policy constitutes "dissent."

Such a claim obscures the real intellectual and moral courage of daring to publicly disagree with tyrannical regimes - where the consequences of doing so are real, swift, and lasting.

It also tends to puts the opponent on the defensive (imposing an unnammed pressure to demonstrate that articulated and implemented policy is not dictatorial) while assigning a moral (and even martyr) status to those who are in opposition rather than oppressed.

(This is my first visit to your blog. Saw your comment at the Romanticism article at PJM.)

John F. Opie hat gesagt…

Hi -

Thanks for commenting! Glad you came by. :-)

You're absolutely correct: posturing about how wonderful and courageous you are by simply disagreeing with the government belittles and degrades those who actually take risks in saying what they do.

And it is wishful thinking on their parts, an attempt to don the mantle of true dissent, something that is rather silly in the US when freedom of speech is so carefully articulated and protected.

What some want really isn't free speech, but rather protection from any consequences of what they say, as Arkin at this point probably desperately would like.

Best regards,