Todd Gitlin of Columbia University is right on the nose when he says that leftists look unpatriotic because they're dissociating from the majority of Americans.

Gitlin spoke to a group of approximately 20 students about his recently released book, "The Intellectuals and the Flag," which discusses what he characterized as the political left's strategic failure in addressing contemporary national issues. He elaborated on his feeling of frustration concerning what he views as liberals' voluntary estrangement from the rest of the nation, citing their alleged rejection of patriotism as an example of this alienation.

"I think that the upshot is that patriotism is experienced by many people on the left as something of an embarrassment," Gitlin said.

Gitlin said he thinks left-leaning individuals are now rejecting patriotism because they believe it forces them to identify with a larger group of Americans with whom they disagree and contradicts the spirit of cosmopolitanism that they espouse.

Leftists don't want to identify themselves as patriotic (except insofar as they're eager to change the definition of the word to fit their own behavior) because they don't want to be linked to American actions or beliefs that they don't like. They don't want to be grouped together with their political opponents under the label "Americans" because they feel there are more differences than similarities.

Such thinking certainly undermines the strength of our country and society, but that weakening alone doesn't mean the leftists are wrong (though I do think they're wrong for all sorts of reasons). Wrong or not, such diverging views coupled with an urge to dissociate will eventually fracture our nation.

(HT: James Taranto.)

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