Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives





The True Patriot loves his country but distrusts his government.
The True Christian cares about people from every nation.

Where does "Patriotism" go wrong?
      Corrupt politicians claim to be our Savior. They claim to bring the benefits of "salvation" to a nation: health, welfare, security -- these are the ways the Hebrew word for "salvation" is often translated in the Bible -- and this is what corrupt politicians promise to give you if you vote for them. Believing their promises is "idolatry," according to America's Founding Fathers.
      When you put the laws of your nation ahead of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," you are guilty of idolatry, or hyper-patriotism. Patriotic Germans who put Hitler above "Thou shalt not kill" were idolaters. Scientists who create weapons of mass destruction for any government are guilty of idolatry.
      Are you putting your government ahead of God?
      "Patriotism" can become a dangerous cult.
Cato Institute Forum on Patriotism

Is patriotism good for anyone other than flag manufacturers? If so, good for whom, and why? Do we have special obligations to some people simply in virtue of common membership in a nation state? If so, how is this different from special obligations to some in virtue of a common race, or a common religion? Does the unquestioned utility of shared nation-level institutions require a special sentiment, patriotism, to hold it all together? Would our institutions be more effective if we were more patriotic? Patriotism is surely useful for creating the solidarity needed to defend against an external enemy. But aren’t our potential enemies patriotic, too? If we need patriotism for defense against patriotism on the offense, wouldn’t we all be better off with multilateral disarmament?

To tackle these questions and more, we’ve assembled a lineup of world-class political theorists, starting with lead essayist George Kateb, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Emeritus at Princeton University and author of Patriotism and Other Mistakes. Commenting on Kateb’s essay, we’ll have the American Enterprise Institute’s Walter Berns, author of Making Patriots; William Galston of the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland, author of The Practice of Liberal Pluralism; and Chandran Kukathas of the London School of Economics, author of The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom.

True Patriots are not those who remain silent in the face of government abuses and departures from the Constitution. They are active and vocal in their attempts to bind down their rulers with the Constitution.

But "the Constitution" can be anything. Even the Constitution must be "under God."

Patriotism and Nationalism

Patriotism is an emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland. This attachment, also known as national feeling or national pride, can be viewed in terms of different features relating to one's own nation, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to those of nationalism. An excess of patriotism in the defense of a nation is called chauvinism; another related term is jingoism.

The English term patriot is first attested in the Elizabethan era, via Middle French from Late Latin (6th century) patriota, meaning "countryman", ultimately from Greek πατριώτης (patriōtēs), meaning "from the same country", from πατρίς (patris), meaning "fatherland". The abstract noun patriotism appears in the early 18th century.


Patriotism and Christianity

"Our citizenship is in heaven"
Philippians 3:20

For the Enlightenment thinkers of 18th-century Europe, loyalty to the state was chiefly considered in contrast to loyalty to the Church. It was argued that clerics should not be allowed to teach in public schools since their patrie was heaven, so that they could not inspire love of the homeland in their students. One of the most influential proponents of this classical notion of patriotism was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


Christian Globalism

"What of patriotism? Does the Christian man cease to be patriotic? By no means, but he has a new outlook on national life and national greatness. He insists that "righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." The Christian man forevermore lives there. He does not care at all how big the empire may be, but he does care enormously whether it be pure. I am going a step further than that. The Christian man in the fulness of Christian experience ceases to be particularly anxious about the national greatness of his own people in his passion for the national greatness of all peoples. When leaving His disciples, Jesus Christ said, "All authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and disciple the nations." The Christian Man recognizes the right of the other nations as well as that of his own. He cannot have any interest in anything that goes to the making of his own nation if by making that nation great some weaker people is harmed and hurt and downtrodden. "He made of one every nation of men." Jesus Christ to-day loves as devotedly, as passionately, as perfectly the nation lowest in the scale of civilization as the highest: The German as much as the Englishman, the Boer as much as the Britons. The measure in which we are Christian men is the measure in which we climb this height of the recognition of the oneness of humanity, and entertain a great love for it."
- G Campbell Morgan The Westminster Pulpit Book 3, Pages 324-325

Gustave Gilbert was a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail. He kept a journal of his conversations. Gilbert kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary. On the evening of 18 April 1946, as the trials were halted for a three-day Easter recess, Gilbert had a conversation with Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief Hermann Goering. Gilbert wrote:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."