“Modern liberal intellectuals have had a notoriously difficult time coming up with a decent account of patriotism even when they have felt it…. they have proclaimed their allegiance to a hypothetical, pure country that is coming into being rather than to the one they inhabit.”–Richard Lowry & Ramesh Ponnuru, “An Exceptional Debate”.
Comes the obvious response: “Conservatives proclaim their allegiance to a mythical, pure country they claim formerly existed rather than to the one they inhabit.” This response, both to Conservatives in general and to Lowry and Ponnuru in particular, has been said many times.
Both of these ideas, of course, may correctly be called “Utopianism”; a dangerous mindset. I suspect this is what people mean when they espouse the idea that Republicans and Democrats are really the same, and both are equally dangerous to the average person.
This isn’t quite true. The Democrats (Liberals) are more susceptible to the latest political fads and fashions; the Republicans (Conservatives) are much more likely to be unwilling to change from tradition, even if the traditions are meaningless and unhelpful. Still, one can be forgiven for thinking that the two sides are too preoccupied with creating their perfect Dream-Nations that they neglect to carefully consider what the best policies actually are.