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. Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment.
Peaceful, nonviolent revolutions against tyranny have been every bit as successful as those involving military confrontation. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., achieved great political successes by practicing nonviolence, and yet they suffered physically at the hands of the state. But whether the resistance against government tyrants is nonviolent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism.
True patriotism today has gotten a bad name, at least from the government and the press. Those who now challenge the unconstitutional methods of imposing an income tax on us, or force us to use a monetary system designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor are routinely condemned. These American patriots are sadly looked down upon by many. They are never praised as champions of liberty as Gandhi and Martin Luther King have been.
Liberals, who withhold their taxes as a protest against war, are vilified as well, especially by conservatives. Unquestioned loyalty to the state is especially demanded in times of war. Lack of support for a war policy is said to be unpatriotic. Arguments against a particular policy that endorses a war, once it is started, are always said to be endangering the troops in the field. This, they blatantly claim, is unpatriotic, and all dissent must stop. Yet, it is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty.
It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous undeclared no-win wars that are politically inspired. Sending troops off to war for reasons that are not truly related to national security and, for that matter, may even damage our security, is hardly a way to patriotically support the troops.
Who are the true patriots, those who conform or those who protest against wars without purpose? How can it be said that blind support for a war, no matter how misdirected the policy, is the duty of a patriot?
Randolph Bourne said that, "War is the health of the state.'' With war, he argued, the state thrives. Those who believe in the powerful state see war as an opportunity. Those who mistrust the people and the market for solving problems have no trouble promoting a "war psychology'' to justify the expansive role of the state. This includes the role the Federal Government plays in our lives, as well as in our economic transactions.
NuLabour, of course, has excelled itself in getting embroiled in wars: the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. Even those on the Left have suggested that the "War on Terror" is, really, little more than convenient rhetoric—designed to keep the population in a state of fear and induce psychological dependency on the state.
If that were not enough, we now have another "war" to contend with.
The battle to deal with climate change needs to be fought like "World War Three", the head of the Environment Agency has warned.
"This is World War Three - this is the biggest challenge to face the globe for many, many years. We need the sorts of concerted, fast, integrated and above all huge efforts that went into many actions in times of war.
"We're dealing with this as if it is peacetime, but the time for peace on climate change is gone—we need to be seeing this as a crisis and emergency," she said.
Needless to say, she is talking absolute bollocks, but she has learned the NuLabour rhetoric well; after all, if this is a war, and an effectively near-infinite one at that, then many will feel that it is more than enough to "to justify the expansive role of the state".
One may disagree, of course; one might write off Ron Paul as a lone nut. Except, of course, it is tricky to do so when he has managed to raise so much money from ordinary people.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by an extraordinary outpouring of Internet support Monday, hauled in more than $4.2 million in nearly 24 hours.
Paul, the Texas congressman with a libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraq pitch, entered heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based giving tied to the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day.
The $4.2 million represented online contributions from more than 37,000 donors...
Let us hope that those libertarians in Britain would be as keen...