Tag: Patriotism

Patriotism Not Nationalism

 

National Review has sparked an important debate about nationalism. As someone who has been accused throughout her life of excessive love of country (can’t count the number of times I’ve been reproached for arguing that despite slavery, Jim Crow, and the internment of Japanese Americans, our country is eminently lovable), I feel a bit awkward rebutting anything that travels under the name “Love of Country.” Nevertheless, I must join Jonah Goldberg, Yuval Levin, Ben Shapiro, and others in demurring from Rich Lowry’s and Ramesh Ponnuru’s defense of nationalism.

Lowry and Ponnuru are two of the writers I most admire (at a time when that group is shrinking fast). If they make an argument with which I disagree, I’m inclined to question my own judgment. So I remain open to the possibility that they are right. But it seems to me that their willingness to believe that nationalism, as opposed to patriotism, can be benign is not convincing.

Everything they assert about the naturalness of nationalism — it arises out of the same soil as love of family, community, church, etc. – is true of patriotism. It’s true, as Lowry and Ponnuru note, that the left has discredited itself over the years by its hostility to sincere patriotism.

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Bishop Robert Barron had an interesting response to Scorsese’s new movie Silence. The article contains spoilers which I will not recount here. But in it Barron submits a provocative comparison of religious loyalty with national loyalty under extreme circumstances. In the following hypothetical scenarios, consider multiple objects of devotion — loyalty to God, loyalty to nation, […]

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… A Government by the People, for the People

 

Before this election (long before this election), I moved here from Canada to live in the greatest country on Earth, and despite who wins tomorrow, it will still be the greatest country on Earth. Maybe not as great as we thought it was in the past, but there is still no place I’d rather live. I’m here here by choice, not by birth, and no matter who wins tomorrow, I will still chose to call this country home, because some things are worth fighting for.

America is not defined by who leads us, it is defined by the people who live here and call it home. Remember that as you look at your friends on Wednesday and the choices they made. This election has been so contentious because both sides see the other side as the cause of all that’s wrong in this country, when in reality, there is nothing in America that is not created by Americans.

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The Colin Kaepernick story is only interesting to me insofar as it illustrates an undeniable reality about our media. In this case, our sports media. Earlier today, I noticed that all of the top trending topics on Facebook were names of people who had been asked about Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. […]

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We just celebrated Flag Day. As I drove through our town, flags were lowered on Flag Day to half-staff. The news of the terrorist attack in Orlando was just settling in with a deep heaviness upon our state of Florida, the nation and the world. I have a handful of small flags that I tuck […]

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Remembering D-Day

 

shutterstock_238057456June 6 marks the anniversary of that Day of Days in 1944 when the Allies began the historic invasion of Nazi-occupied France. At great cost in blood and treasure, and with no certainty of victory, the armies, navies, and air forces of the free world concentrated their efforts in a heroic attempt to get a foothold in coastal France from which to repel the Nazi invaders.

We all know how that ended but on the eve of the invasion things looked grim enough that General Dwight D. Eisenhower prepared a statement for release in the event the invasion failed. Here is a roundup of some excellent links to remind us of the bravery, heroism, and sacrifice of those men — mostly very young men — who laid it all on the line on this day 72 years ago so that others might live free.

Order of the Day issued by Gen. Eisenhower on D-Day. It reads in part:

The America I Grew Up In, Now Gone

 

shutterstock_3359855Ever notice that certain people lose their cool whenever a conservative claims that the America he grew up in is disappearing? It doesn’t matter whether the claim is made by Donald Trump, the Tea Party, the Chamber of Commerce, or the RINO squish brigade. Mere mention provokes apoplexy on the Left.

“You preferred the America where blacks were getting hosed in the streets?” they howl. “When gays were discriminated against and couldn’t live openly? You think those were the good old days? You liked it better when the poor, the elderly, the sick, and the uninsured were just abandoned and left to fend for themselves?”

Well, gee, I don’t know. When you put it like that …

Reconciling Faith and Politics

 

shutterstock_197666240I’ve recently discovered a little conflict going on between my religious beliefs and political ideology. Obviously I’ll find a way to reconcile the two because both are core to who I am as a person, so I cannot withstand such a bipolar condition for long. The first problem is one of charity. As I commented in the PIT yesterday:

So I’m conflicted between religion and politics. My church has an outreach where once a month or so they go to Seattle and distribute needed items to the homeless. I’m sure the homeless love getting new socks, clean water, and especially some of the other things like pre-stamped envelopes and writing material, but I have trouble seeing helping people in their condition as being more appropriate than helping them out of their condition.

As a heartless conservative I find some works of charity to be more like casting one’s pearls before swine. It can seem like a waste of resources to do things we know won’t change outcomes one way or another. However, this is approaching the matter all too materially. As has been discovered by my fellow church members, the homeless they reach out to are much more moved by the things that confirm their humanity than by items which merely meet physical needs. Making that real connection is, in my estimation, vastly more valuable than the reasonably small cost of the items, and it is the best way to actually fulfill the goals of ministry.

Conservatism and Nationalism in a Political Supercollider

 

shutterstock_25982731In physics, colliding well-known particles into each other at high energies can open up whole new areas of study. I had a part time job in college analyzing and cataloguing film from a particle collider. Before we had computers do pattern recognition, we had people looking at the trails on film after collisions for anomalies. It was a miserable job and I probably missed the keys to the universe through sheer boredom. All I had to do was blink and that whole new realm of physics was lost forever. Want to know why you do not have a flying car? Blame me and the hangover I had after a Friday night at school. I’ll cop to it.

The same applies to politics where, this year, we witness the collision of two completely different particles of different charge and behavior: conservatism and nationalism. And we are watching the trails right here on the pages of Ricochet.

Most of the comments revolve around conservatism and many member acolytes show up with their rulers, calipers, and Ghostbusters-like measuring gear for anti-conservative phenomenon. Sometimes they cross the streams on a thread.

Ways to Give Aid and Comfort to the Enemy

 

Tinker-Tailor-BOOKAt the conclusion of John le Carré’s famous spy novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, British intelligence officer George Smiley recounts his questioning of Bill Haydon, an agent whose character in the book is loosely based on the exploits of one of Britain’s most notorious traitors during the early days of the Cold War, Kim Philby. Smiley managed to pry several nuggets of information from Haydon’s confession, including his contempt for Britain and rejecting his country for “aesthetic” reasons, only partly informed by morality.

In the annals of the world’s second oldest profession, why should Bill Haydon’s motives matter to the rest of us? After all, the Cold War has long been over, and one supposes that the huge corpus of espionage literature has moved on to juicier, more current topics. Still, this character’s reasons for switching sides retain their grip on our judgments, because Western educational systems have created breeding grounds for reaching similar kinds of conclusions. In fact, the contemporary relevance of Haydon’s thoughts is frightening.

However, it certainly is not necessary to throw oneself into a full-blown, Ann Coulter-like (Treason!), “loose lips sink ships” mode, and I am far from having any expertise in the sordid and convoluted realm of spying and national betrayal. Still, some back-of-the-envelope musing about this complex subject may generate some useful hypotheses about different ways of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, a phrase found in the Constitution. Here are a few to consider.

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In 1944, Stravinsky added his arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner to the program he was conducting with the Boston Symphony in an effort to foster and preserve patriotism during such difficult times. The police caught wind of the radical dominant seventh chord in the arrangement and ordered Stravinsky to pull the piece on the grounds […]

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“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We just attended my elder daughter’s high school graduation (she made Salutatorian, following in my footsteps of coming in second), and they began the ceremonies […]

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I’ve been wracking my head over this one for several years, ever since I heard it used in Mercury Rising (1998).  There, it is used in a complimentary way, but by an authority figure who will, of course, turn out to be a civil-liberties-violating kind of bad guy.  That puts a decidedly negative spin on the […]

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Staring into the Abyss

 

shutterstock_148716611One of our newer members, Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, made a splash with “A Love Letter from a Swedish Conservative.” Despite all the doom, gloom, and raining I’m about to do, I’m very glad for that essay. I’m also glad that Rob, Peter, and James still have the time to drop in on new members’ posts and say welcome. Someone should be optimistic and happy and in love with the United States. I regret that I am not among them.

My inability to put my distress in words accounts for why I haven’t created a serious post in months. I still can’t put it in words, but I’ll try to be less scattered than in the past. It started with one of the podcasts quoting Norman Podhoretz’s My Love Affair with America. I don’t remember anything else about the podcast, but as I mulled it, I realized I don’t have any particular fondness for this country. Not anymore. I don’t have any particular fondness for any other country, either. I couldn’t put my finger on why, though.

I still can’t put my finger on it, but I think it is related to three related things: 1) we are all, collectively, insane; 2) despite the insanity, we are boring; and 3) bored insanity is stifling and confusing.

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When the astronauts made their moon shot, they were allowed a very small weight for personal items. Amongst those items they brought along a tape recorder. When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, they commemorated the occasion with a song. Which one? Fly me to the Moon. There’s something uniquely American in that; the sheer […]

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