Patriotism – Pledge – Paul – Party: 2011 Update

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* I have never considered myself to be a patriot. 

* The way Dr. Paul has defined it caused me to reconsider my position.

* What follows is that reconsideration.

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Written with regard to the linked video below:

Patriotism – Ron Paul [link edited for length]

In the referenced speech Dr. Paul says that those who dissent from illegal, immoral and unconstitutional actions by the state are patriots.

Hmm… I do those things to the degree that I am willing to accept the consequences of my action…and my inaction, both. However, I think the difference between the patriotism Dr. Paul spoke about and the patriotism I don’t exhibit lies in the intent behind the dissenting behavior regarding certain actions by the state.

The intent of my action is to defend liberty. The intent of Dr. Paul’s patriotism is to shape and constrain the state. The actions arising from these two different intentions are obviously very closely related. This subtle distinction has accounted for all areas where I might disagree with Dr. Paul’s political actions.

It has long been my position that I am not a patriot. I don’t hold with Nationalism (or any ‘ism’ for that matter). I chafe at indoctrination into herd-like, nationalistic patterns by public education system programming, including pep rallies and assemblies. I do not pledge allegiance to the flag nor to the republic for which it stands.

I believe in symbolism but I do not pledge allegiance to it. Abstractions are not worthy of my allegiance. Case in point, the US flag is used to elicit pledges from people who believe themselves to be defenders of freedom even though the Republic for which it stands is crushing their social and economic freedom out of existence in pursuit of Empire; politicians selling the future in pursuit of political glory in the present; federal and local law enforcement treating citizens as suspected terrorists on first sight; congress and central bankers devaluing the savings and the future value of each person’s labor deliberately and continuously, and on and on…

Yet, people LOVE to pledge…they love to feel part of something…even if that something is rotten to the foundations.

I’m human, I want to belong. I want to pledge my allegiance too! I’m just picky about where something so valuable as my allegiance should be placed. Where there exists the struggle for the defense of liberty through limits on government, there is my country, there is my allegiance.

My allegiances are reserved for the ideals of liberty and for my fellow defenders of those ideals. Period. I am not anti-social. I can treat opposition and apathetic and misguided people with respect but I do not mistake them for compatriots; especially on an issue-by-issue basis. I am fortunate to live in the USA when/where I am able to openly express my opinions and act on my preferences. This country has been very good to me. Likewise, I live a life that tends to be very good for this country. I am not intent on creating a better USA. I am intent on defending liberty. The better future doesn’t come from “victory” in the present. It comes from defending liberty in the present so that individuals are free to create that better future.

The struggle for the defense of liberty is eternal. I accept responsibility for that struggle. Does that make me a patriot? Honestly, I don’t care. Label it this, label it that, my actions still are my actions. The label is irrelevant to the consequences. If the result is a better USA, great. If another country opens its doors and welcomes defenders of liberty as a vital and necessary component for the vision of the future embodied in that country’s charter, I’d leave the USA in a heartbeat. . . or so I like to think. The reality is I’m probably stuck here for the duration for various reasons, including, of course, personal preferences. It is up to me to live my life with purpose within the constraints of the world into which I was born. I choose to defend liberty here. Now.

I do not use my passionate defense of the ideals of liberty as the basis for an isolationist intellectual barrier against effective participation in the political process. I do not coddle those I believe to be fooling themselves with their ego-centric, self-righteous self-marginalization and other politically non-constructive behavior. Before readers jump in to post a scathing comment that I couldn’t care less about, please check to see if the shoe fits. I’m not making the claim that all 3rd party members are fooling themselves about their role in the political process. We need third parties. I don’t want to see them dissolve. I think it is important for those who consider joining a third party, or independent status, to understand the self-marginalizing nature of their choice so they don’t harbor unrealistic expectations based solely on the influence of their faith and passion about the 3rd party ideology of their choice. I don’t think it is too much to expect that individuals gauge their behavior by its consequences with regard to their stated goals and objectives. I have met oodles of Libertarians and independents who are simply unable to do this. They are driven by blind faith and passion, not reason and objectivity. How ironic, huh? A foaming-mouthed Randroid can only have entirely missed Ayn’s message and that the Rothbots (including the brilliant Rothbard himself) somehow in their academic navel gazing have twisted Mises Human Action into a cult of IN-action with regard to effective, constructive political behavior.

I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind about their choice in party but I feel an obligation to those who are wasting their time in useless activity to know, in no uncertain terms, that their intellectual isolationism results in the enemies of liberty being in charge of the GOP, the most powerful political tool on the planet. Any way you slice it, that simply cannot be viewed as an effective strategy for the defense of liberty.

Ron Paul Republicans are working vigorously to control as many local and state party positions as possible. From a position of authority (by way of being elected to those positions) within the party the message of those joined voices will begin to influence the direction of the party. I originally wrote the preceding sentence in 2008, a few weeks after the election. Today, anyone involved in the GOP must recognize that was and is a true statement.

The time to strike is now, while the party is reeling from the past election and while the GOP old-guard rank-and-file voters are milling about wondering what to do. I’ve always found that when faced with people who are waiting to be told what to do, the best way to see my goals met is to tell them what to do. Some will, some won’t, so what? I don’t care what most people do, only those who are doing productive activities — either for, or against my goals. I’m inclined to encourage the former and discourage the latter; it is just what I do.

Furthermore, I don’t care about the intentions other defenders of liberty hold. If they defend liberty because they belive it is the patriotic thing to do, great. If they believe dissenting from the state is patriotic and they wish to be a patriot and their actions result in the defense of liberty, great. If they intend to use the power of their minds and emotions to grow the LP into a major party that can one day overwhelm the two-party system then all I can do is point out how such folly leaves the GOP in the hands of their enemies. I don’t see that as a patriotic act by any stretch of the word…but then, I don’t place any stock in the concept of patriotism anyway.

The real question is, “Do the consequences of your behavior align with your stated goals?”

Each of us must answer that question for ourselves, individually.

-Jahfre Fire Eater


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