Patriotism ≠ Statism and Militarism

It seems that many people tend to misunderstand the true meaning of patriotism.  It should be no surprise to find Vice President Joe Biden as one of the louder members of the statist/militaristic faction of “patriotism.”  Speaking at an American naturalization ceremony in Iraq for American soldiers who were becoming citizens July 4, Biden made some typically statist remarks.  CNN reports:

“We did [the naturalization ceremony] in Saddam’s palace and I can think of nothing better.  That S.O.B. is rolling over in his grave right now,” Biden said of the former Iraqi dictator, who was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and executed by the Iraqi government in 2006.

Standing in the shadow of a 50-foot American flog, the service members recited the Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance in the rotunda of the Al-Faw Palace, now part of the U.S.’s Camp Victory complex in Baghdad.

This, my friends, is NOT patriotism.  The previous statement then obviously begs the question — what is patriotism?  Robert Higgs over at has an interesting answer.

Bill Clinton once felt moved to scold the people who took offense at some of the government’s especially monstrous recent crimes by saying, “You can’t love your country and hate your government.” Au contraire, Slick Willy. I am living proof that you can indeed. I do so in every waking minute of every day, and sometimes in my sleep, too. To be perfectly frank, I have trouble in understanding how any decent, halfway honest person who loves America cannot hate its governments, inasmuch as by their laws, their judicial decisions, their regulations, and their daily conduct they prove themselves a standing reproach to every ideal embraced by the men who shed their blood to establish this country’s independence from the British Empire.

…loving America has nothing whatsoever to do with loving its governments and their actions. Moreover, everything about this country that truly warrants a free person’s love is antithetical to the operations of its governments…The good that this country embraces does need defense, of course, but the protection it most urgently requires is defense against those who falsely purport to be its guardians and saviors.

Read the rest here.

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