Just what I need the day after Memorial Day -- E.J. Dionne hectoring me on "true" patriotism.
If the 2008 election is to be a debate about the true meaning of patriotism, then bring it on.
[. . .]
Yet Obama cannot simply cede the terrain of patriotism to McCain, and progressives should not assume that patriotism is somehow a bad thing, akin to jingoism or nationalism.
The reaction of too many progressives to patriotism is "automatic, allergic recoil," say two young Seattle writers, Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer, in their important book "The True Patriot."
Instead of recoil, they offer rigorous standards for what patriotism should be. "True patriots," they write, "believe that freedom from responsibility is selfishness; freedom from sacrifice is cowardice; freedom from tolerance is prejudice; freedom from stewardship is exploitation; and freedom from compassion is cruelty."
[. . .]
A competition between Obama and McCain over who can issue the most compelling summons to service would serve the country far better than an empty rhetorical skirmish over which of these candidates is the true patriot.
To these guys, freedom is a wonderful thing, but you have to celebrate it by giving it all up, dedicate your life to public service, sacrifice for the common good, lose yourself in the masses. I thought I had long moved on from the need to take comfort in Ayn Rand. Perhaps not.