Patriotism or tribalism?

Captain Ed Morrissey has a great analysis of an L.A. Times column by Joel Stein.

Does Stein even bother to read conservatives or listen to them even for an hour? Fifteen minutes? I’ve never heard one yet that argues for America’s perfection or the need to freeze us in the current political and policy status quo. It’s absurd on its face and should be embarrassing to the LA Times’ editors.

The answer is of course not. Stein and liberals don’t read things conservatives write though the reverse is certainly true.

That difference, which we commonly call American exceptionalism, defines the difference in patriotism and leads Stein to the ultimate conclusion of his column, which is that belief in that exceptionalism amounts to little more than tribalism. I’d buy that if it wasn’t for the fact that more people leave their homes to come to America than any other country to find freedom, liberty, and a chance at prosperity. We literally can’t keep people out of the United States, and it’s one of our more intractable political problems. Vast numbers of Americans aren’t fleeing to Europe or Africa or Asia or even South America. People from those lands flock to the US. There’s a reason for that, and that migration pattern tells why American exceptionalism is real and not just some tribalistic, Neanderthal reaction to one’s birth place.