The other day D-Squared called Steven Den Beste a nasty name for daring to mourn the people killed on September 11th. Den Beste, you see, lives in San Diego, and he didn’t know any of the New Yorkers who died, so mourning, in his case, is “grave-robbing.” Now this raises a nice question. Just what sort of relation will do? Apparently family, friends, and professional colleagues all qualify. (In another post D2 magnanimously lets Ann Coulter, who had a friend who died in one of the planes, off the hook.) Interestingly, mourning fellow members of humanity is OK too, as long as they aren’t fellow Americans; at least I haven’t seen D2 complain about “grave-robbing” when lefties shed crocodile tears over the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that American sanctions are supposed to have killed.
So it’s not a matter of proximity, and it’s not a matter of choice either, since we choose our colleagues only incidentally and our families not at all. It seems, in fact, that only countrymen are out of bounds, and only patriotism is objectionable. Moral high-mindedness, or reflexive anti-Americanism? You make the call.