This. Is. Not. True. At. All. These folks cling to this ideological trope as tightly as any Marxist clings to the class struggle.
George W. Bush: “We know that the desire for freedom is not confined to or owned by any culture. It is the inborn hope of our humanity.” pic.twitter.com/X1CY9QI3KO
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 19, 2017
Delusional belief in “Universal Values” animates left and right Wilsonians, and it leads to terrible policy, mostly because it’s not true. It’s simply an article of faith.
But it doesn’t survive real scrutiny: what is a random Iraqi’s idea freedom? A Yemeni’s? An Italian’s? Etc. “Freedom” often takes a backseat to “piety”— this is true in the Islamic world or on college campuses, where piety beats freedom every time.
Look at stifling PC culture on campuses today and tell me “freedom” is a Universal Value. Oops, they’re busy saying “speech is violence.”
Used to be that the Universal Values delusion was easily disproven by looking at other cultures. Now, a look at our own disproves it. Progress!
Sorry, but what exactly is “the fundamental idea of America” that you think Biden believes? Ok, he’s not a communist. Is that all it takes now?
I’m not going to vote for Joe Biden. But I watch these debates and see him as someone who at least believes in the fundamental idea of America. Bernie wants to uproot it and supplant it with something radically different.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 16, 2020
I think a lot of pundits on the Right take for granted things like “the fundamental idea of America” without thinking at all deeply about it. That “idea” ends up being (surprise!) pretty much the Bush ‘04 GOP platform more than anything else.
The allure of Joe Biden—Joe Biden!—for this set is absurd on its merits: he’s senile, insanely corrupt, always wrong on policy. But he offers the illusion of winding back the clock to a time when the GOP kept losing, but at least their voices were the “responsible “ones.
Anton made this critique in Flight 93. It wasn’t even the pro-Trump conclusion that pissed them off the most; it was the critique of the conservative media and think tanks that sent them to grab the pitchforks. It was a direct hit—woke up the Right—and nothing was the same after.
Occurred to me later that the original tweet about “the fundamental idea of America” is really just another Universal Values tweet. I’ve said a lot about the Universal Values Delusion over the years, and how it’s become the unexamined premise of the old, moderate GOP.
From the Freedom Agenda (most fully and infuriatingly articulated one the Bush 2nd Inaugural) to immigration, it’s the ideological fuel behind so many of their policy projects.
In order for it to make sense, “the fundamental idea of America” has to be theoretical, divorced from any conception of a people and a real nation with a culture, shared experience, commitment to founding ideals—in other words, a heritage.