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Saturday, April 12, 2014


Our textbook talks about American civic culture.  The late Samuel P. Huntington wrote:
[Americanism is] not a tradition or a territory, not what France is to a Frenchman or England to an Englishman, but a doctrine – what socialism is to a socialist. To reject the central ideas if that doctrine is to be un-American. There is no British Creed or French Creed; the Académie Française worries about the purity of the French language, not about the purity of French political ideas. What indeed would be an „un-French‟ political idea. But pre-occupation with "un- American" political ideas and behavior has been a recurring theme in American life.
Niall Stanage reports at The Hill:
Liberals have lately been employing a political term of abuse that was once mainly a weapon of the right.
Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser on Wednesday in Houston, President Obama described laws that he said restrict voting rights as “un-American.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) earlier this year described conservative activist billionaires Charles and David Koch as “un-American.”

And amid a rambunctious meeting of the House Oversight Committee last month, the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) described the conduct of his Republican counterparts led by chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.) as "un-American."
“Un-American” has long been a multipurpose insult. A quick Web search reveals that it has been used as a term of objection to, among other things, the National Rifle Association, torture, Rush Limbaugh and a willingness to repair, rather than replace, consumer goods.
The president has not only attacked his opponents as un-American, but he has also attacked them for purportedly using the term themselves.
And they [our predecessors] knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn, when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American, when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter, that at that point, we don't merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges, we lose something essential about ourselves. (Address to a joint session of Congress, September 9, 2009)
It's only in this environment that we've seen the other party suddenly say that that's socialism, that that somehow is un-American. That somehow the critical role that Government has played as a partner with the marketplace to create opportunity for everybody, that somehow there's something wrong with that. I reject that vision, and I think the American people do too. (NYC fundraiser, March 1, 2012).
The reason it's not happening is because there's a small faction that insists that our tradition as a nation of laws, but also a nation of immigrants somehow is un-American, and they oppose it. (Remarks to Business Roundtable, September 18, 2013).