For years, at least since Michael Dukakis ran for President, Democrats have been complaining that Republicans are questioning their patriotism. For the most part, this is simply clever demagoguery. Questioning someone’s patriotism does not sit well with voters, and hence it is useful to play the victim card.
But all this does raise a question: is there something to the charges? As I understand liberalism, it does not believe in patriotism. The reason why liberals always wish to build international institutions like the UN and th World Court, and the reason why liberal lawyers believe in applying internationally popular laws to America is because liberalism is an ideology that wishes to transcend the nation-state. Liberals wish to create a world in which patriotism is not necessary. In that sense, liberals don’t believe in partiotism. To the degree that they love America, it is because they see America as a vehicle for furthering that vision.
Conservatives, by contrast, believe that we are, of necessity, stuck with a world of particular nations and balance of power. Hence patriotism can be a good. We believe that our nation is particularly good, and hence particularly deserving of love. I suspect this is what they mean when they suggest that conservatives are mean-spirited and divisive. They are blaming the messenger. Human nature ain’t what liberals think it is. The hatred we have seen in the Left, since it was invented during the French Revolution, is the result of reality clashing with their hopes for universal peace, harmony, and brotherhood. It is what happens when a vision of the future crosses the fine line between idealism and misanthropy.