This time we have some actual breaking news on the podcast! After discussing the Pelosi/Squad dispute (TNR article here) and the Mueller testimony today (NR article here), we turn to Senator Josh Hawley's (R-Mo.) speech at the National Conservative Conference a few days ago. We discuss the deeply anti-Semitic overtones of singling out 3 Jewish academics (out of 4 mentioned) to blame for "cosmopolitan elites" who despise patriotism, have no national roots or identity, and sell out the working class to international business.

But then we actually looked up the quotes of the academics he mentioned, and discovered that he had wildly mischaracterized all but one of them. Indeed, one said basically the opposite of what Hawley accused him of.

The discussion of Hawley's deception starts at 40:15, but we'll also include the details below the fold. You can listen to our previous episode about patriotism here.

In his speech, Hawley said the following:

According to the cosmopolitan consensus, globalization is a moral imperative. That’s because our elites distrust patriotism and dislike the common culture left to us by our forbearers.

The nation’s leading academics will gladly say this for the record.

MIT Professor Emeritus Leo Marx has said that the “planet would be a better place to live if more people gave [their] primary allegiance ‘to the community of human beings in the entire world.’”

NYU’s Richard Sennett has denounced what he called “the evil of shared national identity.”

The late Lloyd Rudolph of the University of Chicago said patriotism “excludes difference and speaks the language of hate and violence.”

And then there’s Martha Nussbaum, who wrote that it is wrong and morally dangerous to teach students that they are “above all, citizens of the United States.” Instead, they should be educated for “world citizenship.”

You get the idea. The cosmopolitan elite look down on the common affections that once bound this nation together: things like place and national feeling and religious faith.

In reality, Sennett was the only one whose writing actually fully fits this description (in a 1994 New York Times op-ed). Here's more context from the Nussbaum quote (in a 1994 Boston Review article):

As students here grow up, is it sufficient for them to learn that they are above all citizens of the United States, but that they ought to respect the basic human rights of citizens of India, Bolivia, Nigeria, and Norway? Or should they—as I think—in addition to giving special attention to the history and current situation of their own nation, learn a good deal more than is frequently the case about the rest of the world in which they live, about India and Bolivia and Nigeria and Norway and their histories, problems, and comparative successes?


Once again, that does not mean that one may not permissibly give one’s own sphere a special degree of concern. Politics, like child care, will be poorly done if each thinks herself equally responsible for all, rather than giving the immediate surroundings special attention and care.

Nussbaum is against nationalism and patriotism in general, but not to the sneering extent that Hawley says, and indeed allows that people can take special care for their own surroundings and communities. Nowhere does she disparage place or religious faith as such.

Leo Marx's quote comes from a roundtable response to Nussbaum's article. The quote above comes from the introduction -- but the entire remainder of his piece is dedicated to questioning the quote's premise:

It is one thing to establish the rational and moral superiority of cosmopolitanism, but quite another to get it adopted. If most people really chose their beliefs according to those criteria, nationalism would have disappeared long ago. Professor Nussbaum's case for cosmopolitanism would be a lot stronger if she acknowledged, and somehow dealt with, the deep non- or extra- or ir-rational roots of its triumphant rival, nationalism. As a result of the history of the two concepts of over some three millenia, cosmopolitanism has been -- still is -- associated with urban sophistication, learning, privilege, high status, and a quasi-aristocratic intellectuality and aestheticism; on the other hand, nationalism has been -- still is -- identified with the relatively straightforward, passionate, anti-elitist programs of land-oriented, populist mass movements. When we consider the roles the two actually have played in cultural history, choosing between them becomes a far more intractable problem than Professor Nussbaum suggests. It is bound to generate a deep, discomfitting ambivalence in left-wing intellectuals.

He then goes on to defend the better side of American identity in particular:

Her neglect of historical particularities also mars Professor Nussbaum's views of the American case. She seems to regard American nationhood as indistinguishable from other routine embodiments of nationalism. But the originating concept of the American republic was exceptional in at least two respects. First, unlike virtually all other nations, the United States was founded on precisely defined political principles; and second, those principles, as set forth by Jefferson and his committee, were not selected for their particular local, ethnic, racial, cultural, or geographic relevance, but rather for their putatively universal moral and rational validity. Whatever the record of actual American practices since 1776, the fact is that this nation initially was -- and in principle remains -- dedicated to an Enlightenment brand of cosmopolitanism. When Professor Nussbaum asks why we should think differently of Chinese people when they become Americans, the answer that the founders would have given is clear: these people of Chinese origin are different because they ostensibly have sworn allegiance to the universal principles of American republicanism. Unlike adherents of most forms of nationalism, we Americans have endorsed an exacting set of standards by which we would have our national behavior judged. (Those standards embodied in our founding documents and institutions, incidentally, provide a useful basis for repudiating the cruder, more jingoistic expressions of American patriotism of our constitution.) It is odd that Professor Nussbaum should ignore her own country's unique commitment to the kind of cosmopolitan, supra-nationalistic and eminently rational principles she would have humanity embrace.

One might quibble with that argument, but Hawley's representation of Marx here is simply rank dishonesty.

Worst of all is the treatment given to Lloyd Rudolph. His quote (from the same roundtable as Marx) straight-up does not say what Hawley says it does. On the contrary, Rudolph defends a certain notion of patriotism:

Patriotism is not always and everywhere the same. It lives in different histories and different narratives. Martha Nussbaum seems to neglect these differences: she detests patriotism and admires cosmopolitanism. Richard Rorty and Sheldon Hackney, she says, affirm patriotism. Patriotism for her is aggressive, exclusive, intolerant nationalism; it can lead to the kind of hatred and violence toward the other practiced by Hitler in his time and Slobodan Milosevic in ours.

This is not how I read the Rorty and Hackney effort to recover a common American language, a language that can transcend and inform recognition of and respect for difference in America. Martin Luther King articulated and affirmed American patriotism in his inclusivist, non-violent pursuit of civil rights for African Americans. Today, his legacy helps gays and lesbians, single mothers, and new immigrants to claim civil rights and contributes to the discourse and practice of human rights in world arenas.

Hawley's quote from Randolph is specifically not referring to patriotism as such, but instead bigoted, violent, or criminal versions thereof:

Instead of going after Rorty and Hackney, who share many of her concerns, Martha Nussbaum might do better to go after the scoundrel patriots of our time, the Oliver Norths, Pat Buchanans, Pat Robertsons, and Jerry Falwells. Their patriotism excludes difference and speaks the language of hate and violence.

Emphasis mine. Randolph says patriotism can be a good thing if developed properly, just that it can also have some downsides. But admitting that would jam up Hawley's narrative about the conspiracy of all-powerful (((academics))) bent on destroying Jesus, baseball, apple pies, and America itself. What an abject liar.

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