Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 635, September 4, 2011

"The people who benefit from the
system see reform efforts as attacks"

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What is Patriotism?
by Sean Gangol

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I had first started writing this article right after my family and I celebrated the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day. Due to being occupied with more important matters, such as a job search, it took me a while to complete the article. This year the celebration was relatively quiet compared to the previous years, thanks to the burn ban, which prohibited the sell of fireworks. Usually I get annoyed by such bans, but since we have been experiencing severe droughts throughout Texas, brush fires have even been created by people throwing lit cigarettes out of moving cars. At least in this case there was an actual excuse, as opposed to those who want to ban fireworks to protect us from ourselves. I suppose that it was the lack of excitement that got me thinking about what the holiday actually means and how it has been perverted by statists who run this nation.

I have always found it amusing that nanny staters like to keep us from hurting ourselves by banning fireworks and setting up police checkpoints to search for drunk drivers. Back when people first started celebrating their independence from Merry Old England, it bared a stronger resemblance to Mardi Gras then how most people celebrate the Fourth of July in this day and age. Back then people were encouraged to celebrate the birth of their nation to the fullest, which they usually did by getting intoxicated in public and firing their guns in the air (not that I would recommend this). It's ironic that drunken debauchery was the norm back in those days, but now we have police checkpoints that look for anybody who has the slightest hint of alcohol on their breath. I am aware that automobiles weren't around in that period, however many people regularly operated heavy machinery while intoxicated (I wouldn't recommend this either). As for those nanny state wimps who say that people can't be trusted with something as simple as fireworks, they at the very least would find themselves mocked and ridiculed by the party animals of the 18th and 19th Century. At the most these same statists would likely end up tarred and feathered, depending on how much alcohol had been consumed that night.

I also came to the realization that another concept has been corrupted by these same government stooges. Like Memorial Day and Veterans Days, the Fourth of July is regarded as a patriotic holiday. Patriotism is the very thing that has been bastardized beyond all reorganization. This term can be simply described as one's love for his country, but has been used to justify the grossest violations of our personal liberties.

Back when congress passed the abomination known as the Patriotic Act, Attorney General John Ashcroft said that anybody who complained about loss liberties was actually aiding terrorists. So in other words, it is actually more patriotic to allow the Feds to roll over the Fourth Amendment by writing their own search warrants.

Obama worshippers once called Rush Limbaugh unpatriotic after publicly wishing for the failure of the president's policies. Apparently it is more patriotic to sit by as our precious messiah destroys whatever we have left of the free market along with the hope of prosperity then ever questioning his wisdom.

I remember when Bill Clinton said that he couldn't understand how anybody could claim that they love their country, while hating their government. Gee Bill, could that have anything to do with you guys destroying the very liberties that made this country great?

One of the issues I find the most amusing is the controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance. This is an issue that is most popular among neoconservatives who are determined to shove patriotism down the thoughts of all children from Kindergarten to High School. Whenever you hear about a school that doesn't force kids to recite the pledge, the neocons go into a hysterical frenzy and accuse the school administration of being un-American. They never see the irony in that logic. The pledge was created by a socialist who wanted to boost the sales of the American flags that he sold for a living. Back when they first started reciting the pledge, they would extend their hands in the same way that the Romans would salute Caesar and the people of Germany would salute Hitler. Of course the salute was abandoned during the 1930's when Hitler took over Germany. I have nothing against somebody who wants to voluntarily say the Pledge of Allegiance. What I do have a problem with are those who feel that they have to force it down the throats of school children. The idea of forced patriotism makes absolutely no sense. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy Hallmark card, I have to point out that patriotism is something that comes from the heart. You can't force patriotism anymore then you can force somebody to fall in love.

Another thing that I take issue with is the justification of the draft in the name of patriotism. The draft is one of the greatest violations of individual liberty. I hear people who say that we all have a civic duty to serve our country during a time of war. There are others who believe that the draft should be implemented during peace time by forcing young people into public service. I used to think that people who dodged the draft were cowards who weren't worthy of American citizenship, but I came to realize that the draft doesn't fit in any free society. In reality, the draft is a form of involuntary servitude that was outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment. Supporters of military and domestic conscription laugh whenever this is brought up, but how can you force people into civil service and call it anything else but slavery? As for those who use civic duty as an excuse, I have only this to say: I owe the government absolutely nothing. The government is supposed to be our servant, not our master.

It just goes to show that people have forgotten what patriotism is really supposed to be about. It isn't just about the love of one's country; it is also about the love of the freedoms that made this country great. To me the Fourth of July is not just about the celebration of our independence, but the principals that made this country great. Yet these same principles are routinely squashed by the government in the name of patriotism. Here is my question to Bill Clinton and every other stooge who shares his wisdom: How can you say that you love this country when you seem to hate the principals that made this country great in the first place?

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