Prof. John Lukacs observed in his recently published book Democracy and Populism that a common theme of nationalists (as opposed to patriots) and their sort is the constant call to a people to Awake! In other words, to fail to agree with their diagnosis and their policy prescriptions is to be virtually unconscious, asleep, unaware of the world around you. No one who is paying attention can seriously believe differently from the one who is trying to wake you from your dreamworld. Achtung!
This came back to me as I was reading over Santorum’s “Blathering,” I mean, “Gathering Storm” speech, in which the call to “wake up” or a remark about someone or other “sleepwalking” in the midst of great danger was repeated several times. There is one sense in which this sort of sleep/wakefulness rhetoric is commonplace enough, but in the context of Santorum’s “the Iranians–with their mighty Venezuelan friends!–are coming to conquer the world” argument it takes on a rather more obnoxious quality.