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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yes, I DO Question Their Patriotism

Part of what I am doing here is to dismantle the suppositions and pre-conceived notions that have been erected in our public square of debate as untouchable. There are some memes and supposedly inviolate concepts which are used to try and stifle that debate. It’s a cheap way of trying to prove your point by curtailing the argument from the get go. Thomas Sowell discussed this tactic in “The Vision of the Annointed”.

One of these is the idea of that you cannot question someone’s patriotism. To do so is a scurrilous and slimy, and it is supposedly akin to Red-Baiting and McCarthyism. The idea is that questioning someone’s patriotism is a cheap-shot and a method of intimidation. The meme is that no matter what someone’s point of view, they are all patriots and simply disagree with policies or issues. Of course, this is something that only applies to Democrats and Liberals, as we will see, but more on that later. For now, let’s define our terms, and then point out that is very much possible to question someone’s patriotism, and to prove that they are unpatriotic.

We need to define our terms, because much of what happens today is the warping or muddling or terms in order to suit anyone’s viewpoint. The attempt to confuse or twist the very meaning of words is insidious in itself, but it part of a larger evil. It is Orwell’s “1984” come to life in all of its ugly absurdity. We’ll deal with that in another post.

Let’s take the definition of “Patriotism” first. Source: Merriam-Webster Online

pa·tri·ot·ism
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&-"ti-z&m, chiefly British 'pa-Function: noun: love for or devotion to one's country

Love for or devotion to one’s country. Okay, so, to say that someone is NOT patriotic, is to say that they do NOT love their country. Let’s look at “Patriot”:

pa·tri·ot
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&t, -"├Ąt, chiefly British 'pa-trE-&tFunction: nounEtymology: Middle French patriote compatriot, from Late Latin patriota, from Greek patriOtEs, from patria lineage, from patr-, patEr father: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.

A Patriot is one who loves his or her country, and SUPPORTS ITS AUTHORITY AND INTERESTS.

Okay, so, based on this, we can say that someone who is not a patriot would be one who does not love their country, and does not support its interests. Remember, Merriam-Webster and the English language says it, not me. Got an issue with the definitions? Complain to them, either the company or the Brits.

Just for clarification, let us just take a look at “Love”:

love
Function: verbInflected Form(s): loved; lov·ingtransitive senses1 : to hold dear : CHERISH2 a : to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for b (1) : CARESS (2) : to fondle amorously (3) : to copulate with3 : to like or desire actively : take pleasure in 4 : to thrive in

To love one’s country, you would hold it dear, cherish it. (Interesting #4, as well, to THRIVE in it). I'll ignore the copulate part.

So, someone who is a NOT a patriot would be someone who does not hold their country dear, or who does not like it with any sort of intensity. Thus, if we were to find people who fit this description, would we not find someone who was unpatriotic, and thus could legitimately question their patriotism? Yes, logic says we would. Now, can we find anyone like that?

Enter Natalie Manes, of the Dixie Chicks fame.

Now Natalie got some heat two years ago for some comments she made about her President while overseas at a concert. The appropriateness of that comment in that situation can be debated, and it has been. I had my thoughts about Manes’ patriotism back then, but I am willing to at least concede it is a matter of debate. The following is not. This is Manes speaking recently to the London Telegraph:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

Now, that statement speaks all for itself, really. It would be hard to write a more conclusive statement about Manes’ patriotism, or lack thereof, than this, and she is the one who made it. Knowing, however, that there are the dense and ideologically driven out there which will resist even this bald statement for what it is, so let me reprint it, replacing “patriot” and “patriotism” with the Merriam-Webster definitions we discussed above:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for love or devotion for one's country," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be someone who loves and supports their country? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about devotion to their country."

I mean, case closed, right? If someone were to come up to you and declare the above, and then denied that they were not patriotic, would you not think them either hypocritical or insane? The conclusion: Natalie Manes is a person who is not a patriot. She says it in her own words. Period.

Okay, having demolished this idea that you can’t question someone’s patriotism, we will periodically return to this to explore other people’s statements, and using logic and these definitions, establish whether are not they can be called unpatriotic. It’s a long list so it will take some time. If your disagree with my conclusion here so far, then, well, you are flat wrong. Reread it. Tell me how I am off base. That should be amusing since I am not, but go ahead.

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