Statism ≠ Patriotism

From Reason TV:

Why should the wealthy accept a steeply progressive income tax?  “It’s time to be patriotic,” according to VP Joe Biden, “Time to jump in; time to be part of the deal.” Does that mean, as the video description asks, that the people who pay the most taxes are the “patriotest Americans”?

Biden’s suggestion that dislike for taxes in general and redistributionist or progressive taxes in particular is unpatriotic is indicative of a larger problem with the modern use of the concept of patriotism. Rather than being related to any reasonable desire to see one’s country move in a correct direction, it is too often bastardized into “anything which goes against the politics of those in power.” As Ron Paul has argued,

The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state…

…[Now,] Loyalty to the state and to autocratic leaders is substituted for true patriotism; that is, a willingness to challenge the state and defend the country, the people and the culture. The more difficult the times, the stronger the admonition comes that the leaders be not criticized.

Our current times are nothing if not difficult, and now more than ever the truly “American” and “patriotic” thing to do is to examine the actions of the state with a critical and wary eye.

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