Thoughts on July 4th
"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."
— Bertrand Russell, British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 - 1970)
"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious."
— Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)
"Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles."
— George Jean Nathan, American drama critic & editor (1882 - 1958)
What a world we live in. All the smartest, wisest, coolest people are properly cynical about everything American. Faith in God is a symptom of simplemindedness to them. Capitalism is an evil, self-focused system of haves and have-nots that generates the friction of emotion that creates the criminal. Reason is all powerful and things of the heart and emotion are animal artifacts to be properly discarded and disdained.
Those who live lives of traditional values are mocked as not only stupid, but losers who secretly wish to live a libertine lifestyle of debauchery and decadence and eventually, if lucky, will find someone to lead them down that path. Suckers fight for their country because it is the only way to get ahead and cops are creeps who break up really great parties and are just bullies fulfilling their, no doubt, sexual dysfunctions by harassing innocent people of the under classes or intellectual superiority.
As one of those dull-witted folks who followed the path of faith and crime-fighting, I have been a bit of a student of history and find this strange intellectual enterprise not to be particularly uncommon. Oddly of the three cynical quotes above you find only one American, although their sentiments can be found on any given day on the Comedy Channel, the News from any major outlet, or on the floor of Congress. The vast majority of today’s college kids would find them to be maxims; truths, not quotes. How unfortunate that such a shallow sense of virtue should have such a foothold among our intellectual classes. I just hope the backlash to this belief system is more productive than it has been traditionally.
I have one great hope. We still have a large majority of men and women who live in faith and strength. I meet folks from throughout our Nation as well as Canada and many European countries that have not forgotten the roots of Western freedoms and marvelous exception to human history that we live in today. Humans throughout history have lived at war, enslaved, and starving. We live in relative peace, free, and overweight! As we celebrate another year of America’s symbolic birthday let us pause and remember the one reason we exist as we do…the patriot: those who love their Nation and the principles it was based on. Those whose faith guided them to fight to create and preserve it and do so today should be ever in the minds and hearts of those who live under that Country’s sanctity in safety.
Take a moment to remember why we celebrate the Fourth of July. Remember that history records that republics invariably fall when their citizens no longer love them enough to risk, to fight, to preserve them.
To you who wear the badge or uniform that protects us, I give you thanks. I pray you never deny that service is not a function of reason, but of faith and love. Freedom is just a shared belief, preserved in strength and courage and as the burger, brats, and dogs and brew are shared on this holiday, I hope we all toast the reason for this season…Freedom!
"Our heroes are those... who... act above and beyond the call of duty and in so doing give definition to patriotism and elevate all of us.... America is the land of the free because we are the home of the brave."
— David Mahoney
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
— Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson English author, critic, & lexicographer (1709 - 1784)