Living in liberal Los Angeles, I am surrounded by people -- and bumper stickers -- I do not agree with.
One of the more popular liberal bumper stickers of the last decade tells us "Dissent is Patriotic." Now, as it happens, it is impossible to truly disagree with that phrase, not because it is self-evidently true, but because it is self-evidently meaningless. As are most left-wing bumper stickers.
For example, another popular liberal bumper sticker proclaims, "War Is not the Answer." It, too, is completely meaningless. If the question is, "What is the square root of 8?" war is not the answer. But if the question is "How do you stop genocidal regimes?" war probably is the answer.
As concerns "Dissent is Patriotic," the fact is that dissent is neither patriotic nor unpatriotic. Sometimes it is one, sometimes the other, sometimes it has nothing to do with patriotism. The right to dissent is a basic American value. But that is not what the bumper sticker says.
Those who dissented when Alabama schools were racially integrated were not acting patriotically. Those who dissented against British rule in North America are considered our greatest patriots. Those who dissent against the doctrine that global warming caused by human beings is leading to worldwide catastrophe are courageous and probably right, but their dissent is neither patriotic nor unpatriotic.
The worst part of the liberal mantra, "Dissent is Patriotic," however, is not that is meaningless. It is that it is apparently meant solely to defend liberal and left dissent. Dissent against the right is inherently patriotic.
Dissent against the left is another matter. To Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and to the New York Times Paul Krugman and every other left-wing commentator I have read on the issue, those who dissent against the Obama/Democratic Party health care plan are not only not patriotic; they are Nazis, mobs, white racists (according to Krugman's non-sequitur thesis) and are always organized. They are activists sent by health insurance companies, the Republican Party, or by some other nefarious right-wing organization.
To the left, it is almost inconceivable that normal "hardworking" Americans, even Democrats, might find the idea of an immense increase in government intrusion into our lives frightening.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”