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Patriotism Redux

I’ve written before on what citizens owe their country, and blind support is not patriotism in my view. I think that a blind support, my country right or wrong, would be analogous to suicidal tendencies in a person. I wrote on this before, amongst others in my posts Patriotism: What Do I Owe My Country? (2008) and My Country, Right or Wrong? (2009).

I would still stand by both of those posts, but I want to link to some newer discussion. The issue has come up again in connection with attorneys who represented people accused of terrorism, and the suggestion that they should not serve. Robyn Blumner discusses that here and I agree.

There is an unfortunate tendency to treat “accused” as guilty, so criminal defense attorneys are automatically trying to get bad guys off. But the integrity of the justice system requires their service in this fashion, and they should be congratulated and rewarded, not demeaned.

I found the Blumner post via Dave Black Online, and since his blog doesn’t divide into posts, I’m going to quote his take on patriotism here:

  • True patriotism is love of country, not love of government. Neo-patriotism is mindless worship of the state.
  • True patriots refuse to honor government above God. Neo-patriots gladly deify government.
  • True patriots understand loyalty as adherence to the ideals upon which the country was founded. Neo-patriots believe in blind submission to the bureaucrats currently running it.
  • True patriots believe that eternal vigilance is necessary to keep politicians under check. Neo-patriots are willing to entrust their lives to politicians thinking this means loyalty to the ideals spelled out in the Constitution.
  • Neo-patriots think that if you criticize U.S. foreign policy or the country’s obsession with security you are “unpatriotic.” True patriots believe that the exercise of critical judgment is absolutely necessary to any civilization that is to stand or forge ahead, and that it is both their right and duty to criticize their government.
  • In the final analysis, I concur with President Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”

    Just so!

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