Friday, February 17, 2017

The difference between patriotism and nationalism

Mona Charen has an important Townhall column today that makes a clear distinction between these two concepts, and in the process reiterates one of the most important things for us to keep in mind concerning Donald Trump: He has no developed understanding of real American greatness, of the philosophical underpinnings of its founding documents.

Demagogues of the right -- or nationalists -- argue that our troubles are the result of immigrants taking our jobs or foreigners stealing our factories. This is not natural love of home and hearth or reverence for America's founding ideals. It is scapegoating.
Which brings us to the proximate cause of this debate [on whether nationalism is a laudable sentiment]: President Trump. Far from deepening our appreciation of our history or institutions, he embodies the reasons to be wary of demagoguery in the name of country. In him we see strutting nationalism ("America first!") but little true patriotism. He claims to pursue America's interests, yet has shockingly little respect for the nation he heads. He doesn't love the country enough to have familiarized himself with the basics of our system. In one debate, he said judges "sign bills," and in a Capitol Hill meeting with congressmen, he praised Article XII of the Constitution. What patriot can claim that we lack the moral authority to criticize Turkey's crackdown on independent journalists, or impugn this country as no better than Russia when it comes to political assassination? As Trump demonstrates, nationalism is not patriotism in a hurry; it is resentment draped in the flag. 

This is why the dichotomy held up by his devotees - the man of action vs. the pointy-headed theorists - makes my teeth grind.

There are immutable principles that a Republican president ought to be guided by.

Presidential leadership ought not to be situational. That leads to chaos, as we are seeing in real time.


  1. So what do principled Republican cognoscenti do about a Russian spy ship hanging around just off our shores? Just wondering, cause I loved his 2 options: do nothing or blow it out of the water. Your ilk always cried cowardice when Obama did nothing.

  2. No one is to judge another, not their behavior, not their choices, not their love of country.

  3. As long as it stays in International waters, I don't know that we can do much beyond express our concern through diplomatic channels.

    I'm not sure why "judgement" is being brought up in this context. Is Mona Charen judging someone?

  4. Your linked article indicates Donald Trump doesn't love his country enough.

  5. Come on, blow the MFer out of the friggin' water anyway. Let's take names and kick some ass! I want to see some patriotic or nationalistic gumption here. Oh well, wait till the next gnat buzzes us then.

  6. What she is saying is that DJT lacks the depth as a human being and the intellectual heft to have the kind of love for country a president ought to have.

    And the comment about "blow[ing] the MFer out of the friggin' water anyway" - since you don't mean it, what was your point? Do you see no distinction between patriotism and nationalism?

  7. Patriotism is love of country. Nationalism is, well, protection of country, I guess. Both often involve killing or being killed. What killed off the American Indian?

  8. Well at least I have to face it. Politics lands no longer further than a sound bite. Hopefully the next generation may discern more pragmatically than current reality. There is always hope!

  9. The pendulum has swung back to the military industrial. I am neither a flag burner or a flag waver. As old Lao used to say, war should be waged like a funeral. When many people are being killed,
    They should be mourned in heartfelt sorrow.
    That is why a victory must be observed like a funeral.
    But who's listening to him? Glisten all ye bald military heads, you men of white and military might. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Your brilliance is but a human stain.

  10. There are immutable principles: Please list these? The longer the list the better. This certainly a good place to start.

  11. 1.) God's true and full nature is revealed in the Bible. We need His grace because we are innately sinful.

    2.) A good or service is worth what buyer or seller agree that it is worth. Period. No other entity has any business being party to the agreement - certainly not government.

    3.) Given human nature, there will always be crime and there will always be war. Therefore, municipalities will always need police, and nation-states will always need military forces.

    4.) Representative democracy is the governmental structure best suited to the guarantee of freedom.

    5.) Male and female are the two distinct types of human beings - and most other species of animals. Men and women, for reasons of hormonal makeup and DNA, approach life differently and those approaches compliment each other.

    6.) The ideal family structure is a husband, a wife, and their biological offspring. Situations in which the children are adopted or one spouse has died can thrive as long as all parties are committed to cultivating such virtues as loyalty, compassion, humility, humor, respect and mutual encouragement.

    7.) There is no such things as marriage between two people of the same gender.

  12. The longer the list, the better? Go check out Catholicism then, and don't listen to Ellen White.

  13. Your last point is incomplete. In what sense is that assertion made? Are you denying the existence of committed same-gender relationships, or imposing a narrower definition of the term "marriage" than that recognized by, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court?

  14. Yeah, you can't go by the Supreme Court on something like that. I think we're both in agreement that Dredd Scott and Plessey vs. Ferguson were bad decisions. You may even agree with me that Roe v. Wade was an awful decision!

    But even more fundamentally, look at the way female & make genitalia are designed. They are made to fit together, and merge fluids that can make more people. Two guys or two ladies can't do that.