Monday, June 30, 2008


I've written before about patriotism and its cousin, nationalism. Here are a couple new points about American patriotism:

Surely, I can state categorically that any political philosophy that has as its core value some variation of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is antithetical to American values and, therefore, unpatriotic.

Surely, I can state categorically that any political philosophy makes the “world’s” feelings a priority over American interests or sovereignty is antithetical to American values or survival and, therefore, unpatriotic.

That jibes nicely with what I wrote in the first linked post.

Update, July 1, 2008: More. More still.

Update #2, July 10, 2008: This piece jibes with my views precisely.

Far more American is the sentiment Benjamin Franklin expressed: “Where liberty dwells, there is my country”.

Thus, most Americans love their country in a more conditional way — not as a thing in itself, but insofar as it embodies core ideas about liberty. It is in the same spirit that our Presidents and miltary officers and naturalizing citizens swear to defend, not the land or people of the United States but its Constitution — a political compact. This is adaptive in many ways; one of them is that tribal patriotism is difficult to nourish in a nation of immigrants...

But patriotism by dissent can take a much stranger turn. An influential minority of Americans now behave as though loving their country as it might be in the imagined future, where everything they don’t like about it is fixed, excludes loving their country as it actually is...

At its extreme, patriotism by dissent becomes a kind of anti-patriotism in which dedication to an imagined America-that-might-be produces actual, destructive hatred of America as it is and has been. Unreasoning, extreme patriotism is sometimes called “chauvinism”, after the Napoleonic French officer Nicolas Chauvin; for this kind of anti-patriotism I shall analogously coin the label “chomskyism”, after a well-known U.S. radical who appears to embody it.

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