Couric’s Comments Spark National Debate

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Couric spoke.  Then Goldberg spoke.  And then lots of people (including me) spoke.  The people at the New York Times blog cover it all.

I think these commentors have nailed it:

I too experience a profound uneasiness (for all the reasons stated so well above) with the jingoism that too often passes for patriotism these days. As John Prine would say. “your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore.”

— Posted by CAS

Patriotism at its core is living a life consistent with the belief in the concept that all men are create equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

A key word here is “inalienable”. It means that no one has the right to prescribe how another person pursues happiness.

It is often the case that those who shout their patriotism do so in the support of violations of our inalienable rights. The implication is that those who disagree are unpatriotic.

— Posted by Mike Angelastro

Also of interest is that Goldberg ignored what appears to be Couric’s real point, which is that the media became too jingoistic in the run up to the Iraq war, allowing flag lapel pins to substitute for real investigation of the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq and WMDs. The question of more or less patriotism in the news is not one that should ever come up; the media’s job is to be impartial reporters and investigators, not to inculcate patriotism.

Further, I’m slightly shocked that Goldberg considers nationalism a good thing. Clearly he missed his history lessons on certain world wars.

— Posted by Zach