Saturday, November 3, 2007

Very Cosmopolitan

As some of you know I'm running for a seat on the Baltimore City Council. My district is full of affluent cosmopolitan progressives, whose arrogance is only eclipsed by their ignorance. You know the self described "reality-based" community. Yesterday I received, in the mail, the following hand written response to a campaign flier I distributed throughout the district. The response was written on the back of the flier with no return address on the envelope. Here is the unedited response in its entirety:

You Republicans just don't get it. You would destroy public schools so that your so called faith based schools could thrive & create a 2 level system of very well educated & very poorly education. That's what's wrong with America today. Very rich and very poor--no middle class thus making us a broken nation.

Taxes? We get what we pay for. Our teachers are underpaid. Amtrack goes begging an out highways are deteriorated. And our health care compared to other nations is a joke. You need to visit other nations-not Mexico- to learn about health care in Europe or ride a train in Japan.
"My theory is that your brain is the size of marble and twice as
smooth." -Dilbert

Witness cosmopolitanism at its worst. Everything in anyplace other than America is good and we are a broken nation because of troglodyte Republicans.

Cosmopolitans of America unite, you have nothing to lose except your nation and your liberties.


PAUL FOER said...

What exactly or who exactly do you mean by the term "affluent cosmopolitan progressives"? It sounds eerily similar to a term used by Joseph Stalin to describe Jews in the USSR, but the term he used was "rootless cosmopolitans."
So in which district are you running? Would it perhaps include the upper Northwestern section of Baltimore?

Mark Newgent said...

What I mean are white urban dwelling liberals who are so full of themselves that the mere fact of a conservative in their midst sends them into apoplectic fits. The anonymous letter writer obviously lacks the courage of their convictions.

Next time you try to accuse someone of anti-semitism take a look around first. Notice the "I STAND WITH ISRAEL" banner in the upper right hand corner of my blog.

The Reticulator said...

Your anonymous letter writer is certainly well equipped with stereotypes and prejudices! Maybe someday s/he will move up to the point of addressing the actual issues you raise.

Bruce Godfrey said...

Mark, it would be easier to appreciate your views if you were to substantiate where you stand more on these issues. While smugness from your opponents is an easy and inviting target - what member of the human race doesn't like to see his smug opponent take a face plant into the concrete?- your views would get more rhetorical light if you removed them from under your bushel basket.

Example: health care. My own view favors a national health care system, but one that fits in with a basically capitalist country's general model like what pretty fair-market Australia has; I would oppose a more intrusive Canadian model. But my view is only as solid as my data and my premises. I might be wrong. I can be sold away from this view.

I had the same thought - momentarily - that Paul had re: "cosmopolitan" as a term of abuse. I think that having a cosmopolitan worldview is an excellent idea and I would commend it to you. We are a great country but other countries have their virtues and successes as well. To appreciate and emulate the virtues of others is not treason or self-hatred, but maturity. The Swiss run a better train system than we do, despite nasty terrain. The Belgians make beer to die for.

Congratulations on your moral win from the other side of the ideological fence. While I suspect you preferred an electoral one, the sting will fade but your pride won't as the former depended on other's mercurial opinions and the latter on your moral virtue.

Mark Newgent said...


Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I greatly appreciate them.

The Green’s especially Maria Allwine, deserve accolades as well, they fared better than any Republican in the election. Although, I disagree with most of their platform, I was glad to see Maria in the race. She at least put out another perspective and another choice for Baltimore. Personally, I think it will take generations to end the current political machine in Baltimore. They are sustained by too much federal and state money, which they dole out in patronage, which consequently get the busses moving on election day.

Do other nations do some things better than the US? Sure, I have no problem conceding that point. However, I am of the opinion that there are two types of competing patriotisms in America, which roughly define the two sides of our culture war. There is cosmopolitanism or the global "we," who believe that America is about dissent and change inseparable from "progress," these are the “cosmopolitans” I referred to in my original post. Opposed to them are the traditionalists or those who believe that there is a distinct and exceptional American culture worth preserving, the “national we.”

Now this is a just a rough outline for the purpose of our discussion, obviously the lines might not be so distinct and there is overlap, but I think the general description holds. To see where I am coming from see this piece by Jonah Goldberg, I tend to agree with his analysis on this.

What Goldberg says is that the “national we” might have answers to questions that the “global we” does not have, and in some cases vehemently dislikes. In fact, many parts of the “global we” actively work on eliminating the views of the “national we” from public life. I’m speaking here of political correctness, and attempts to remove religion (i.e. Christianity) from the public square.

I don’t have a problem with making the case that other countries do this, that, or the other thing better than the United States.

BTW, Irish beer is better than Belgian beer. I’ll put Guinness or Harp against Chimay any day.

What I have a problem with is the patriotism of the “global we” arguing that there is “a global test” for acting in our national interest or that we need to consult international law to discern the real meaning of our own constitution. That, type of patriotism, to me is dangerous. In fact, you can look back and see this form of “non traditional” patriotism in action.

Apologizing for espionage on behalf of Stalin by likes of Alger Hiss, and the Rosenbergs, historian Ellen Shrecker wrote, "they did so for political, not pecuniary reasons… As communists these people did not subscribe to traditional forms of patriotism; they were internationalists whose political allegiances transcended national boundaries. They thought they were ‘building… a better worlds for the masses,’ not betraying their country.”

Now, I’m not saying that all Americans with a cosmopolitan world-view are traitors or guilty of self hatred. Rather, for some, this cosmopolitanism is only a step or two a way from outright anti-Americanism.

I cite Sean Penn as an example. Like his father, Leo Penn, Sean shares a similar cosmopolitan world-view. Leo Penn was a full-throated Stalinist who ended up on the Hollywood blacklist. Leo was an ardent supporter of the Nazi-Soviet Pact and routinely denounced FDR as a warmonger, all in the name of a cosmopolitan notion of social justice as embodied by the Soviet Union. Sean as we know went over to Iraq to snuggle up with Saddam. Other examples that fit this category are International ANSWER, Code Pink, Victor Navasky, and Lynne Stewart among others.