I think my face just melted:
McArdle’s column is about the flag and the National Anthem. Unlike the Harvard Law communists, she’s in favor of them. But she laments the struggle over the Anthem, which is the fault of Bothsides, cousin of Notme and Ida Know. Some think kneeling during the Anthem is “a near cousin to treason.” Others hold “lengthy debates” over “whether the third verse of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ was racist,” the big sillies! Room for Debate, but surely We Can All Agree that that third set of shadowy figures who “suggested that perhaps we should just stop playing the national anthem at sporting events” — which is the new Abolish ICE — are definitely N.G. and “rather shockingly naive about what it takes to hold a country together.” The non-naive view, apparently, is that we need flags and anthems or Thus Falls The Republic.
“Nationalism” has become a dirty word in the modern era, having become inextricably associated with repression of minorities and imperialist ambition. We’ve forgotten that the nationalists actually did start out in the 19th century with a worthy and difficult project: persuading a large group of people to think of themselves as a single unit.
You may wonder what the hell she’s talking about. The country has from the beginning been united by wars and, and when none can be provided, whispers of foreign intrigue. Every general from the War of 1812 onward who distinguished himself in battle has become an automatic Presidential contender — until the modern era, when our military adventures became so obviously insane that the most hawkish members of the electorate now spit on a war hero and vote in a draft-dodger. If you don’t know history, at least think of President Flightsuit and Mission Accomplished.
But wondering what McArdle’s talking about is a waste of time — she doesn’t really have arguments, just routines and sub-routines. For the Owning the Libs routine, for example, in this case she says sure, nationalism got a bad rap because of nationalists — not like that could happen again! — but liberals who don’t like white nationalism are nonetheless constantly and hypocritically “engaging in nationalist projects” like the welfare state, checkmate! Libs like bread and roses, McArdle’s masses like blood and soil — same diff, really. Plus the “groupish instinct” that transubstantiated into the nation-state “evolved in the African plains” — see, Africa! And you guys claim to like black people.
Roy’s takedown is worth reading in full. Anyway, I’m sure we can all agree that if they would just start doing God Bless America after every half-inning we could all come together as a country and agree that women less socioeconomically well-situated than Megan McArdle should not have access to safe abortions.