"Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let me label you as they may." ~ Mark Twain
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It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government. ~ Thomas Paine
Independence Day is my favorite holiday because it celebrates the Natural Right to secede from political entities. It is also celebrated by getting together with friends to enjoy grilling a variety of meats and vegetables, boating and related water sports, playing with the kids in the pool and tipping a few beers among other activities done just for fun. Don't forget the fireworks. Unlike religious holidays and holidays that celebrate state myths, political debate is socially acceptable at these gatherings on Independence Day. I submit for discussion on this Independence Day the difference between patriotism and nationalism.
The state and its propaganda artists have perverted the meanings of so many words in our political language that George Orwell must be spinning in his grave. Liberal used to mean people who believed in liberty, but now it refers to socialists. Conservatives use to refer to people who saw that the good in society was worth conserving, but now it refers to warmongering hypocrites. Patriotism has also been perverted to encompass what should really be termed nationalism.
The core difference between true patriots and pretend patriots (who are really nationalists) is understanding what constitutes "my country" and "my government." State is really a better word to use because it better emphasizes this difference, but most people see the state as being the only form of government. Thus country, nation, state and government have all become largely synonymous in common usage. Even modern dictionaries reflect this common usage.
A country is the geographical area where a common culture, language, tradition and ethnic heritage are prevalent. A state (or Government) is the institution exercising a monopoly on the use of force within a designated geographical area (such as a country). Patriots recognize that the biggest threat to liberty within a country is the gang controlling its laws, banks and security forces. Nationalists ignore the threat of granting local gangs these monopoly powers because it is a "necessary evil" to fight foreign bogeymen out to destroy us because they are envious of our superior culture. See how liberty gets left out of the equation when fear rules reason.
Patriots sacrifice out of generosity for their fellow men in the pursuit of freedom for all. The ideal of liberty supersedes material comforts because in order to be truly free individuals must live among other freemen. Patriots are humble in their duty to fight for universal liberty.
Nationalists sacrifice out of self-indulgence in their quest for greatness. The belief in their culture's superiority supplants all other principles. The only people allowed to be free are those who think, act and vote like they do. Nationalists are arrogant in their duty to follow politicians seeking hegemony over the earth.
Patriots seek peace; nationalists require conflict. Patriots defend an ideal of non-aggression; nationalists impose their beliefs with aggression. Patriots offer an example of how men may be free by acting like freemen; nationalists never know freedom because they subjugate themselves to the collective and its leaders. Patriots believe in political freedom; nationalists believe in political power. Patriots believe that dissent is essential to distilling truth in political matters; nationalists believe that dissent is traitorous to the One True Vision that all must be loyal too.
The path from nationalist to patriot starts with understanding the difference between your country and those who rule your country. The old saying of a duty to "king and country" has been changed slightly to a duty to "majority rule and government." The former were called serfs and the latter are called voters. Patriots declare themselves free from such artificial chains; nationalists declare their chains to be a badge of honor while seeking to put them on others and kill them if they resist. Spreading democracy in the name of spreading freedom is a cruel joke at best and an evil crusade at worst.
I wish to conclude with an anecdote from a contributor to the Strike The Root Forum who recently had somewhat of an epiphany. This veteran recognized the ruling gang of criminals for what they are and how he had supported their power with his participation in the voting ritual; so he decided to burn his voter registration card. Then he decided to do it on Independence Day and further suggest to those gathered with him in celebration to do the same. This is a non-violent, symbolic act of secession furthering the cause of liberty. Every individual that secedes from the political body that rules us is an inspiration to others. There are still people in this country with the courage to be sovereign individuals. This person is an example of real live true patriot.
Happy Independence Day!