So Democrats Love America More than Republicans?

In a column entitled "Which Party Loves the U.S.A.?," the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne, Jr. presents an interesting formulation.  Democrats love their country more than Republicans, because Democrats love it the way it is right now (with burgeoning non-white immigration, altering the demography), while Republicans (above all, Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz) "yearn for the United States of Then."

It appears that Mr. Dionne has in mind more than a mere change in color among our people when he observes, "Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley all stand for the rights of a younger America – today's country – that  is less white, more Latino and Asian (and yes, more Muslim) than was the U.S. of the past. "  For, he continues, "[t]he cultural changes that have reshaped us are welcomed as part of our historical trajectory toward justice and inclusion."

And so it appears that there was something good about the America of Then: it had an admirable historical trajectory.  The problem, we venture to suppose, was that Americans of old did not realize that this trajectory of justice and inclusion pointed in the direction of making the white race the minority.  Some of them may have thought that in the case of slavery, justice consisted in the end of the slave trade, followed by emancipation, followed by civil and voting rights.  Others may have thought it good to have people come here from around the world, but perhaps not that justice dictated turning the country into Africa, Latin America, or Asia.  Why is that the target of the historical trajectory for Dionne?  Do justice and inclusion dictate against there being any white-majority countries?  Is that a punishment justly meted out to the guilty white race because of its transgressions at the beginning of the historical trajectory?

The "United States of Then" seems to have had yet another virtue, in Dionne's estimation, since he tells us that liberals (among whom he surely numbers) pine for it.  "Decades ago," America was "more economically equal," Democrats fondly recall.  They similarly remember "liberalism's heyday during the New Deal and civil rights years."  Was it during the New Deal, then, that the country was "more economically equal" – in the depths of the Great Depression?  No matter.

Historical illustrations aside, we surmise that for Dionne, it is equality and more equality still that denote the historical trajectory toward justice.  The younger America likely is not so deferential to the elderly and their morality.  Age engenders no special deference any longer.  The non-white America apparently is not so inclined to assimilate to the traditions and way of life hitherto characteristic of our people.  Otherwise, why would their arrival betoken a change in the "culture"?  The cultures of the world, including those characterized by sharia, are all as good as ours.  What but a kind of atavism, a nostalgia for an American republic that is all but gone – and rightly so, since it stood opposed to other political systems and moralities, and did not let their representatives come here willy-nilly to change us – accounts for alarm at the current state of affairs by conservatives?  This is not a "fallen nation," as they suppose.  It is a nation that has progressed – all change in the direction of equality is progress – and it is the original scheme of the country, by now outdated, that has fallen.

When it is said that we love our country, what precisely is meant?  In his Politics, Aristotle says that the country is the "regime" (the constitution, system of government, or way of life).  The decision of individuals to live together within a certain moral compass is what defines the country, and a change of regime changes the country to a different one (consider, e.g., the Kaiser's Germany, Weimar Germany, Nazi Germany, Communist East Germany, democratic Germany).  To love the nation defined by America's founding documents is not to love one transformed into socialism or leftist authoritarianism,  into a violent theocracy, or into a decadent shell of democracy, in which every vestige of piety has been supplanted by hedonism.  It is, rather, to protect the nation from being perverted and transformed into one of those things.

Mr. Dionne might reflect that the calendar has nothing to do with it.  He and his co-ideologists would quickly enough express disapprobation of a country that they deemed "McCarthyist" or "racist."  They did, before what had been the counter-culture in many respects became dominant.

Abraham Lincoln said, "A nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its laws.  The territory is the only part which is of certain durability."  Those who love their country naturally will not look with indifference upon dramatic change in its people and laws.  And one ascribing a superior patriotism to the proponents of such a change must explain why we need now abandon all that attended our rise to greatness.