Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, July 4, 2008

On Patriotism

First, some quotes on patriotism: a definition:

Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it; "they rode the same wave of popular patriotism"; "British nationalism was in the air and patriotic sentiments ran high" WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Now, some quotations:

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." -- Samuel Johnson

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -- Mark Twain

"Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man"- with his mouth." -- Mark Twain

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." - Theodore Roosevelt

"My country, right or wrong" is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying "My mother, drunk or sober." -- G.K. Chesterton

"A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle." -- George William Curtis

"Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering

"I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her." -- Zorna Neale Hurston


There is hard patriotism and then there is cheap patriotism.

Cheap patriotism is only doing things like this:

  • Hanging a flag outside or on your car
  • Putting a "support the troops" ribbon on your car
  • Accusing those who criticize the government or the President as being "unpatritotic" or "traitors" or "committing treason."
Hard patriotism includes:

  • Serving in the armed forces.
  • Standing up for what is right and what is just, especially when the tide of public opinion is going the other way.
  • Donating your time for the betterment of your community.
  • Government service with no goal of amassing power or self-aggrandizement or abusing your power because you can.
  • Donating resources that you cannot afford to (if it doesn't hurt to give, it doesn't count).
We have a lot of cheap patriots in this country. We have a lot of people who think that if they wave the flag, they are being patriotic. We have a lot of people who have avoided doing the acts of hard patriotism, and in this I include the members of those "yellow elephants" who are more than willing to send other people's kids off to fight in wars without serving themselves. We have people who went into government not to serve the Americas people, but to advance a certain political or religious agenda at the expense of all others.

I do not regard such people as patriots. Many of them are indeed scoundrels.

If you want to find the real patriots, take a walk to the park in your town and read the names on the war memorials. You will find them in veterans' hospitals; the patients, surely, but also the staff and the volunteers. You will find them in schools and in government.

Above all, you will not find a true patriot equating dissent with disloyalty, for those who do are "loyalists," not patriots. Those folks would have been on the side of the British in 1775. This day does not belong to such servile fools.

1 comment:

Anonymoustache said...

Great post.
And just in case it wasn't clear... my comment in the previous post was tongue-in-cheek.
Also, here's a funny patriotism quote from Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary:
---"In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first"---